What It Is REALLY Like on the First Cruise From the U.S.

We share all the details LIVE from the first cruise from the U.S. on Celebrity Edge currently sailing for the first time in 15 months!

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The first cruise from the U.S. has officially set sail after 15 long months! We are currently onboard Celebrity Edge which is docked in Costa Maya, Mexico today. While we were fortunate to sail on Adventure of the Seas just under two weeks ago, this sailing is a major milestone for eager travelers. Of course, we have received a number of questions about the voyage. So, here is our honest take on what it is really like on the first cruise from the U.S. in over a year.

Celebrity Edge is the First Cruise From the US

What It Is Really Like on the First Cruise From the U.S. in 15 Months

Getting Ready for the Cruise

Unlike our travels a few weeks ago, getting ready for this first cruise from the U.S. with Celebrity Cruises was a breeze. There were really no differences in our preparations and the pre-cruise process. For this trip on Celebrity Edge, there was no pre-cruise testing required for vaccinated individuals.

Celebrity Cruises did require individuals to complete a pre-cruise check-in process. With this check-in, we were assigned a boarding time. Luckily, we were able to snag the first boarding group at 12 pm.  

Then, 24 hours before our sailing, we were required to complete a health questionnaire within the Celebrity Cruises app. This series of questions required us to attest that we had no symptoms of COVID-19.

First Cruise from the U.S.

Embarkation Day

The first day of any cruise is always the most exciting. It can also be one of the most hectic days. With a 12 pm boarding time, and no early arrivals allowed, we did our best to time our share ride to the port.

We arrived around 11:55 am. Like most cruises, there was already a small line of eager passengers forming.

Showing our Xpress passes to a team member at the terminal, we were allowed to enter and begin the check-in process right away. Here, there were a few differences from a typical cruise.

First, there were social distancing markers on the ground, and staff were assigning those with the proper boarding times to a designated spot.

First Cruise From the U.S.

Second, all of the passengers were required to wear face coverings during the embarkation at the cruise terminal.

Finally, a staff member did scan both our passports and vaccination card. They had us attest that this was a legal and original card and also verify our health status had not changed over the past day. Given that this is a Florida embarkation port, furnishing your vaccination card is optional; though, all cruisers in the terminal were eager to comply.

Heading up the escalator in Terminal 25, we did a quick security check and headed to an additional agent who quickly verified our Xpress passes and passports.

At last, we were heading toward the gangway. Along the way, we bumped into the one and only Captain Kate, who was gracious enough to take a photo with us.

First Cruise from the U.S.

Among some of the first cruisers onboard, we were greeted with cheers and applause by the amazing crew from Celebrity Edge.

This entire process took under 20 minutes.

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Muster Drill

Again, we were very excited that Celebrity Cruises also employs the new Muster Drill 2.0.

This digital version of the safety drill allows cruisers to complete most of the requirements of this mandatory drill right on their digital devices or stateroom televisions. Once completed, guests are required to visit their muster station for a quick overview. The process worked the same on Celebrity Edge as it did on Adventure of the Seas.

We watched the videos and checked in at our muster station, the Blu dining room, during our explorations of the ship. It was quick and simple.

This is certainly one of the differences on the first cruise from the U.S. that we much appreciated.

Entering Our Stateroom

We had been waiting a long time for this moment. Luckily, the staterooms were ready immediately upon embarkation.

Entering the ship on Deck 5, we were allowed to remove our masks. We then grabbed an elevator straight up to Deck 12. This is when it was starting to sink in that we were officially on the first cruise from the United States!

First Cruise From the U.S.

Making the long trek down the portside hallway, we finally reached our Sunset Veranda, cabin 12263. The stateroom is gorgeous.

The modern and sleek color palette, marble floors in the bathroom, and oversized aft-facing balcony are perfect. We are home.

This cabin is certainly an upgrade to the Infinite Veranda cabin that we had during our previous cruise on this ship.

The only small difference within the cabin is that Celebrity Cruises provided us with some face masks and hand sanitizer.

Dining on the Ship

Before our cruise on Celebrity Edge, we pre-booked all of our Celebrity Select Dining reservations. Celebrity Edge has four main dining rooms. Each features the rotational nightly menu, as well as exclusive menu options found only at that venue.

Of course, we made sure to book a reservation at each of the venues. Also, we booked three specialty restaurants.

First Cruise From the U.S.

What really surprised us about dining on the ship is how similar it is to pre-COVID times. In fact, we have not witnessed much purposeful social distancing in any of the dining rooms and restaurants. There are no tables reserved for social distancing like we witnessed on Adventure of the Seas.

Reservations are available in the app and are strongly encouraged. Still, there is a standby line for guests without reservations. These guests receive a pager that will notify them when a table is ready.

However, there are some changes in the Oceanview Café. Mainly, staff are serving individuals food in the buffet. While we are not big buffet fans in general, the quality of the food has been excellent.

Entertainment

Another shocking non-change to this cruise is the entertainment. Unlike Adventure of the Seas, Celebrity Edge does not require cruisers to have reservations for the main theater shows.

Likewise, the cruise ship has maintained the traditional early and late showtimes each night. There is also no distancing in the main theater. Where the first Royal Caribbean cruise held the theater capacity at approximately 25%, the main theater on Celebrity Edge is allowing up to 100% capacity.

First Cruise From the U.S.

Now, the ship is only sailing at about 36% capacity. So, there have been no issues getting seats for the shows and this reduced capacity naturally allows for extra space.

Cruise Ship Activities

Cruising is certainly back! The cruise director Lauren and her team are hosting a number of activities and events all cruise. This first cruise from the U.S. has all of the same events you would expect. Along with live music in several venues, there is a host of other activities.

These have included events like the Silent Disco in the Club and a Resort Deck sail away party complete with dancing and a DJ. During the day, there is trivia, Celebrity Beyond the Podium talks, Deal or No Deal game shows, and more.

The casino is open and appears to have all the slot machines and table games available for gamblers. Mixology and upcharge wine seminars, Rooftop Garden movies, and other game shows like Family Feud are among the many onboard activities offered so far on this cruise.

First Cruise From the U.S.

Unlike Adventure of the Seas that seemed to avoid events where crowds could form, Celebrity Edge is not shying away from letting people gather and interact. While we are a bit surprised, we are also happy to see that cruising has returned full force this trip!

Of course, this is possible because Celebrity Cruises is sailing with 95% or more of vaccinated passengers. In fact, our sailing is nearly 99% vaccinated with only a small group of children making up the unvaccinated population.

Time Ashore

Shore excursions and going ashore at ports of call still remain one thing that is different on the first cruise from the U.S. Celebrity Cruises is continually updating its stance on going ashore. This policy is different for each port of call.

Of course, this is due partly to each destination’s own health and safety standards. So, for our trip, we were informed last minute that cruisers would be allowed for free explorations in Nassau, Bahamas. However, we would be required to take Celebrity shore excursions in Mexico.

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During the cruise, the policy changed again. The cruise line is now allowing us to go ashore independently in Costa Maya.

Pre-cruise, we did book two tours through the cruise line for each of these ports of call. So, this will not alter our plans.

Cruisers looking to sail this summer will need to be flexible and abide by these ever-changing regulations.

Lastly, cruisers also need to abide by the local regulations for mask usage. Currently, the Bahamas and Mexico require that passengers wear masks when going ashore.

Our Experiences on the First Cruise From the U.S.

We are happy to report that cruising with Celebrity Cruises has not changed much since the pandemic. In fact, there are far fewer changes on this first cruise from the U.S. on Celebrity Edge than our recent trip on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.

First Cruise From the U.S

This is mostly due to the vaccination requirement. With this extra layer of safety, the cruise line is able to offer the same great cruise vacation.

While there are some small changes and modifications, they mainly go unnoticed. With a little additional planning and flexibility, cruisers can get back out to sea and enjoy the same amazing cruise experience.

In fact, now is a great time to sail with Celebrity Cruises given the reduced ship capacity that is anticipated to be in place through the end of the year.

Comments

What else do you want to know about the first cruise from the U.S.? Would you sail on Celebrity Cruises with these measures in place? Drop us an anchor below with your 2021 cruise plans.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don
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  1. We are on here as well….everything has been amazing….its a wonderful feel to be on the waters again….Celebrity is going above and beyond….truly a cruise to remember….

    Booked on the Edge soon…. thank you for all your great info. One question. Is it still ok to use cash to tip for drinks? We usually give a few dollars tip with drinks… or are they trying to be totally cashless? Thank you.

    Shearin

    Thanks for a great informative & positive report. We will be on the fare that does not have the “Always Included” so we are wondering if the Captain’s Club has a nightly cocktail event from 5-7 as they have in the past. Where would they have it on Edge?

    Love Celebrity I already have my cruise booked with them for next year and cannot wait to get back on the open seas.

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