The unexpected outbreak of coronavirus in 2020 put a pause on cruising for 15 months. During this time period, cruise lines worked with experts to create key health and safety protocols to implement once cruising was set to begin. They have also been working diligently with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also known as the CDC.)

Now cruise lines have been working on their restarts. On June 5, Celebrity Cruises’ restart began with the Celebrity Millennium. She successfully sailed out on her first Caribbean cruise from Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and has continued with more sailings.

Celebrity Cruises’ Protocols

Celebrity Cruises has implemented diverse measures to keep its passengers and crew members safe. Cleaning and sanitation protocols have been enhanced, its medical centers upgraded. All crew members have been vaccinated. Additional measures include proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 PCR test for passengers. Also, Celebrity has reduced the number of guests onboard. Its June 5 sailing was at 30% capacity.

Metropolitan Restaurant

Metropolitan Restaurant

With the restart of the Celebrity Millennium, at least 95% of passengers have had to show proper documentation they had been vaccinated. A vaccination is required for all passengers ages 16 and older. (For sailings departing on or after August 1, this vaccination requirement will apply to all passengers 12 and older.) Also, cruise passengers have to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test that was done less than 72 hours prior to arrival and obtain approval to enter via that country’s Electronic Health Authorization System, also known as EHAS.

The boarding of cruise passengers has involved staggered arrivals, set by appointments, as well as having contactless transactions. At the gangway ramp, passengers’ temperatures are taken and then they are ushered on the ship, where their passes are scanned.

Celebrity’s digitally advanced mobile app has expedited the boarding process.  Guests are able to do an eMuster experience that they can complete on their mobile device or the interactive stateroom TV.

During the terminal check-in and check-out process, all passengers from the age of 2 years and older are required to wear an appropriate face covering. Once onboard the ship, face coverings are not required under CDC guidelines, though local governments may have their own stipulations.

Celebrity Millennium’s Sailings in the Caribbean

The Celebrity Millennium’s seven-day sailings out of Philipsburg, St. Maarten began on June 5. This first sailing had just 600 passengers onboard. (The ship can accommodate about 2,100 passengers, based on double occupancy.)

Celebrity Summit TheRetreatSunDeck

Celebrity Summit The Retreat Sun Deck

The cruise included stops in Barbados, Curacao and Aruba. Celebrity Cruises’ “Safety Bubble” included following each island’s requirements for cruise passengers disembarking and visiting. In Barbados, passengers were required to take a shore excursion with Celebrity Cruises in order to get off the ship. Aruba and Curacao allowed disembarking passengers to visit on their own; a pre-booked shore excursion through Celebrity was not required.

Overall, the June 5 cruise went extremely well. One of the requirements was that  all passengers had to have a negative COVID-19 test (as well as proof of vaccination) done within 72 hours before disembarking in St. Maarten on June 12.  Two cruise passengers tested positive but were asymptomatic; they were immediately put into isolation and monitored.  According to Celebrity spokeswoman Susan Lomax, the two people flew home via private air.

Restart of Celebrity Summit and Repositioning of Celebrity Millennium to Alaska

The Celebrity Millennium is continuing her sailings from St. Maarten to the Caribbean. In later July, she will be repositioned to Seattle, where she will begin sailing on seven-night cruises to Alaska on July 23. The Celebrity Summit will finish out the Southern Caribbean sailings from St. Maarten through August, then will offer a series of four- and five-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale through late October.

Celebrity SummitML19-OceanviewCafe

Celebrity Summit Oceanview Cafe

Details about the Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit

After the successful debut of the Celebrity Edge in 2018, Celebrity Cruises started a new initiative, Celebrity Revolution, in 2019. It involved the complete modernization of the line’s entire fleet. The $500 million investment includes new design and technology features.

Both the Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit have been revolutionized. Included are new exclusive spaces for suite guests – the Retreat Lounge, the Retreat Sundeck and a private restaurant.  There are new dining and entertainment partnerships, and the main restaurants, along with the Rendezvous Lounge, Sunset Bar, and Oceanview Cafe, have been modernized.

Celebrity Cruises’ Phased Restart of Other Ships

Celebrity Cruises’ plan to restart cruising is a phased restart, and the line is doing this with eight of its 14 ships. Its newest ship, the Celebrity Apex, sailed out of Athens, Greece on June 19 on her maiden voyage in the Aegean. Her original launch in March 2020 was delayed due to COVID-19 and the pause of cruising.

The Celebrity Edge is going to start sailing on seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Fort Lauderdale in July, and the Celebrity Silhouette will be sailing from the United Kingdom in July. And there are more updates to come.

Some Positive Takeaways

With the phased restart cruising, Celebrity Cruises is implementing its Healthy Sail Panel protocols as well as ones set up by the CDC.

Implementing all its health and safety protocols, Celebrity Cruises continues to create a “Safety Bubble” so that cruise passengers can feel comfortable and safe while enjoying their time onboard and in ports.

Now is a great time to think about planning your next group cruise.

Cindy Bertram has 15+ years of cruise industry expertise in marketing, content creation, sales and training as well as social media. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago complements her high creative edge and liberal arts BA. She can be reached at