In more good news for travel advisors and the cruise industry, Celebrity Cruises announced on Friday that it will make its long-awaited return to cruising this summer in St. Maarten with cruises for vaccinated passengers, beginning June 5.
Celebrity Millennium will homeport St. Maarten for new seven-night itineraries departing through August. Bookings for the sailings open March 25.
The ship will sail with vaccinated crew and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative test result within 72 hours of embarkation.
Celebrity Millennium will sail with comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures developed with expert guidance from parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s Healthy Sail Panel and Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local health and government authorities.
There will be two different itinerary offerings—one will visit Aruba, Curacao, and Barbados, and the other St. Lucia, Barbados, and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
The Aruba, Curaçao, and Barbados sailing will visit Aruba’s natural rock pools, caves, and volcanic lava formations; the Dutch-colonial-style buildings and the Willemstad City Center UNESCO World Heritage Site in Curaçao; and snorkeling and catamaran sailings in the cool blue waters of Barbados. On the Tortola, St. Lucia, and Barbados itinerary, guests will visit Sugar Beach; along with one of the British Virgin Islands’ Tortola.
Private Journeys and Small Group Discovery Tours will also be available for those guests preferring to explore the destinations with only members of their family or traveling companions.
“Returning to the Caribbean after more than a year away is such a significant moment for us. It marks the measured beginning of the end of what has been a uniquely challenging time for everyone,” Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said.
“We have been in constant contact with the leadership of St. Maarten these past months to support each other and share learnings and best practices. That we’re able to offer people the opportunity to safely vacation onboard the revolutionized Celebrity Millennium, is incredible, and that we will sail from the magical island of St. Maarten is very special.”
Celebrity Millennium recently underwent a renovation as part of the fleet's $500 million modernization program. The vessel now boasts brand new staterooms, reimagined restaurants and lounges; and a redesigned spa. At the all-exclusive The Retreat, guests enjoy a private sundeck and redesigned lounge.
Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, applauded the "creative solution" as a safe option to get American cruisers back on the water. "I am vaccinated, and I'm ready to sail now. American cruisers are excited a major cruise line has provided an option in the Caribbean for those who are eager to cruise while following safety protocols. While some travelers may not be able to sail until they are vaccinated, they should make their reservations now with a travel advisor, since there will be limited onboard capacity and there is a lot of pent-up demand.”
The news follows Crystal Cruises announcement this week that it will restart its sailings in the Bahamas starting on July 3.