Celebrity Edge sets sail for Caribbean as first major cruise since COVID-19 pandemic

You could be forgiven for thinking that the cruise industry has all but sunk in the last 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with demand for cruises increasing and some travellers apparently showing symptoms of cruise ship withdrawal, some of the biggest brands are now setting sail for the first time in nearly two years.

Given that it's the first mega cruiseliner to operate, it's quite appropriate that the first ship to head out is named 'Edge': the Celebrity Edge.

The luxury-liner departed from Ft Lauderdale in the US on June 26, led by the first American female cruise ship captain, Kate McCue.

The ship was well on its way at time of publication.
The ship was well on its way at time of publication. Photo credit: Cruisemapper.com

It's one of the most modern cruise ships on the water anywhere in the world. Newshub spent time onboard back in 2018.

Celebrity Cruises' CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo labelled the event the "rebirth of our company and our industry".

Pre-COVID-19, Captain McCue took charge of the first ever bridge to be entirely staffed by women. Now she's in charge of not only the Celebrity Edge, but the entire fleet.

And never before has a seven-night cruise of the Caribbean come loaded with so much symbolism and hope.

"This is a momentous sailing and one that we have been preparing for a long time," said Richard Fain, chairman of Celebrity Cruises parent group.

"Travel is a powerful catalyst for positive change in our world. There's nothing more enriching in life than exposing yourself to new cultures, sights, and experiences."

Brian Abel, from the hotel division of Celebrity Cruises, said the event was almost like a mirage - it was always on the horizon.

"For too long, we've had to encourage one another with dreams of 'someday' returning to being together again. Now, as the world opens up, and we can gather and enjoy our families and friends on an amazing cruise vacation, 'someday' is here," said Abel.

Named 'one of the world's greatest places' by Time Magazine, Celebrity Edge is regarded by many as the most innovative cruise ship on earth. 

Inaugurated in 2018, its unique outward-facing design breaks from traditional shipbuilding. The goal is for guests to feel more connected with the sea and the places they visit, whether it's sipping cocktails from the sundeck of The Retreat, a private oasis within the ship, or taking in the stunning vistas from the botanical Rooftop Garden. 

All Celebrity ships are sailing with a fully vaccinated crew, and all US guests aged 16 and older must be fully vaccinated.