Skip to content

A major cruise line will sail from a US port this weekend for the first time in 15 months

June 25, 2021
5 min read
A major cruise line will sail from a US port this weekend for the first time in 15 months
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The long-awaited comeback of big-ship cruising out of U.S. waters finally is at hand.

In a milestone moment for the cruise industry that surely will have cruise fans celebrating, Celebrity Cruises on Saturday will kick off the first big-ship voyage out of a U.S. port since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The seven-night sailing out of Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades will break an unprecedented, 15-month period without a single sailing in U.S. waters by a major cruise vessel.

The last cruise departure out of a U.S. port by a major cruise ship took place in early March of 2020, just before cruise lines around the world halted operations due to the pandemic.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter.

The Celebrity sailing on Saturday will take place on the line's 2,908-passenger Celebrity Edge and feature calls at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Celebrity will be just the first of several major cruise lines to restart operations out of U.S. ports in the coming weeks.

The world's largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean, will launch its first sailing out of a U.S. port since the start of the pandemic on July 2 with a voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Carnival Cruise Line will restart U.S. operations just a day later with sailings out of Galveston, Texas, on July 3 and out of Miami on July 4. Carnival will restart operations out of Port Canaveral on July 31.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Celebrity Edge is one of Celebrity's newest vessels. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

In addition, seven separate major cruise lines have announced plans to restart cruises out of Seattle to Alaska in July and August.

While many major U.S. vacation destinations on land including Disneyland in California have reopened to tourists in recent months as COVID-19 cases have fallen, cruise lines have been delayed in restarting sailings in U.S. waters due to restrictions implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Until recently, the CDC had blocked all but the smallest cruise ships from sailing in U.S. waters. This effectively shut down big-ship cruising in not just U.S. waters but also all of North America. Most big cruise ships that sail in North America use U.S. ports as a base.

While Celebrity Edge is the first big cruise ship to restart operations out of a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic began, it's not the first cruise ship to restart operations in North America.

Both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean have restarted Caribbean voyages in recent weeks with sailings out of non-U.S. ports such as Nassau.

There also have been dozens of cruises on small riverboats and other small vessels operated in the past three months on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waters. All of the trips have been on vessels that carry fewer than 250 passengers and crew, which are not subject to CDC regulation.

Still, the Celebrity Edge sailing this weekend marks what many consider the true kickoff to the return of cruising in North America, and it's a major milestone for the comeback of cruising around the world.

Cruises from U.S. ports -- particularly the Florida ports of Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and PortMiami -- account for a significant percentage of all cruises taken worldwide.

Like all the lines in the midst of restarting departures, Celebrity is implementing a long list of new health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on board Celebrity Edge.

The new measures include sailing with at least 95% of passengers fully vaccinated for COVID-19. To clear that hurdle, the line initially planned to require all passengers 16 years of age and older to show proof of vaccination before boarding. But due to a new Florida law forbidding such a requirement, the line plans only to ask passengers to volunteer such information.

Passengers who don't show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will face significantly different health protocols while sailing including a requirement for multiple COVID-19 tests at their own expense and a mask-wearing requirement.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Tim Aylen
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023