MIAMI (AP) — The first cruise ship to board passengers at a U.S. port in 15 months is set to sail Saturday from the industry's South Florida hub.
The sendoff will mark a symbolic stride toward normalcy for the U.S., where vaccines curb the COVID-19 outbreak.
For many Americans, the global pandemic first hit home through the news of deadly cruise ship outbreaks, with guests quarantined for weeks and ill passengers carried away on stretchers at ports.
But customers booked on the Celebrity Edge's voyage out of Fort Lauderdale are confident it will be smooth sailing with at least 95% of those onboard vaccinated. Companies are aware the world is watching.
Celebrity Cruises is one of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ brands.
According to the Associated Press, those who are unvaccinated or don't voluntarily show proof of vaccination will be treated as unvaccinated and subjected to additional protocols.
Royal Caribbean said between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, those leaving Florida ports and are not vaccinated will be required to get travel insurance, which must cover all unvaccinated guests over the age of 12.
They must at least get a $25,000 per person policy in medical expense coverage and $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID test result.
The guests will also be required to pay for COVID-19 testing
The company said those who aren't eligible for a COVID vaccine would have to present a negative COVID test result.