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Celebrity Cruises will accept mixed vaccines following CDC update

In:
19 Oct 2021

Celebrity Cruises will accept mixed series of Covid-19 vaccines of many kinds for cruise ship passengers.

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update to its policy last week, the Celebrity Cruises website has been updated to reflect it will accept mixed series of any two of the following vaccines, with a minimum of 28 days between doses, as fully vaccinated: 

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson,
  • AstraZeneca
  • Sinovac
  • Sinopharm

Prior to this update, Celebrity Cruises did not accept mixed dosages of non-mRNA vaccines, such as AstraZeneca.

Earlier this summer, most cruise lines changed their policy to prohibit mixed vaccines due to the CDC update.

Celebrity stated in its policy the change was a result of the CDC's change in stance, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clarified their position regarding mixed vaccinations and provided Celebrity Cruises with updated guidance."

You can view the updated policy on Celebrity's website.

The issue of mixed vaccines affects residents of certain countries where the practice was encouraged by their governments, such as Canada.

Read moreWhat you need to know about going on a cruise if you're Canadian

Thus far, Royal Caribbean International has not updated their policy to match yet, but Celebrity has been usually quicker to update their policies than Royal Caribbean International, including the many updates to mixed vaccines.

When the mixed vaccine policy was changed earlier this summer, Celebrity was always a day or two ahead of Royal Caribbean in posting the new policy.

Booster shots

In addition to mixed vaccines, the Celebrity Cruises website lists a policy about booster shots.

Guests who have received 3 or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, due to booster regimens, will be considered fully vaccinated if at least one of these conditions is satisfied:

  • At least 2 of the doses are mRNA vaccines administered at least 28 days apart. The final dose must be completed at least 14 days before sailing.
  • At least 2 of the doses are AstraZeneca administered at least 28 days apart. The final dose must be completed at least 14 days before sailing.
  • At least 1 dose is Johnson & Johnson, completed at least 14 days before sailing.

Celebrity Cruises will not ask for proof of vaccine in Florida, but there will be different rules for those passengers

In:
08 Jun 2021

Ever since Celebrity Cruises announced restart plans for cruises from the United States, the big question has been how will the cruise line get around Florida's vaccine passport ban.

Florida passed a law that prohibits any business from asking anyone to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccine.  

Under Florida law, it is impermissible for any business operating in Florida to require patrons or customers to provide documentation certifying Covid-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery “to gain access to, entry upon, or services from” the business.

The new Florida law goes into effect on July 1, and carries with up to a $5,000 fine per violation. 

Celebrity Cruises told travel agents on a webinar on Tuesday that they will not require passengers to show proof of vaccination, but someone that prefers or opts out of showing proof will be held to a different set of protocols onboard, as well as additional costs to incur to confirm they are healthy.

During a webinar with travel agents, Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service, informed travel agents of their plan for U.S. cruises so they can sail and comply with Florida's laws.

Celebrity still intends to sail with at least 95% vaccinated guests, but it will optional to show proof of being vaccinated or not.

Celebrity requires its passengers from the United States who are age 16 and above to be fully vaccinated.  As of August 1, 2021, all guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.

"Florida is a little bit different," Ms. Ritzenthaler explained. "We will still go out with 100 percent of our crew and 95 percent of our guest vaccinated."

"In Florida, we will not require you to have to show proof of vaccination, because we are doing this exactly the right way, but we will go out with 95% of our guests still vaccinated."

If you choose not to show proof of vaccination, then there are additional steps required to fulfill in order to sail.

According to Celebrity, guests who do not show proof of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated and will require a SARS-COV-2 test at the terminal at their own expense.

Guests that do not meet the requirements will be denied boarding. Unvaccinated passengers may be also be restricted in certain ports, depending on the local laws.

"Guests who do not provide documentation of full vaccination will be considered unvaccinated and will require a Covid test at the terminal at their own expense. Guests that do not meet the requirements will be denied boarding."

What was not made clear during the webinar is how exactly Celebrity will ensure a 95% vaccinated minimum of guests onboard, if they are not certain how many guests will not provide proof of vaccination at check-in.

This question came up again, and Ms. Ritzenthaler assured travel agents they would stop selling certain room categories depending on vaccine status.

"Our President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, right before this call said, Dondra, you reassure every travel adviser on this call that we will sail with 95 percent of our guests vaccinated. Guys, the way we're going to do that is we're going to manage the sailing, right?

"We're going to make sure that we open some cabin categories. We closed some cabin categories. We are going to make sure that 95 percent of our guests are vaccinated. That is on us, not you. But you know, you can trust me. You can trust this brand. We will go out at ninety five percent vaccinated on our ships."

Protocols onboard

Masks will not be required for vaccinated guests and children 15 and younger.

Unvaccinated adult guests are required to wear a mask at all times, except while eating or drinking or in their stateroom.

Shore excursions

Guests are not restricted to cruise line excursions, although unvaccinated guests may face restrictions based on local laws.

Returning home

On cruises longer than 4 nights from the United States, unvaccinated guests will be required to take a SARS-CoV-2 test prior to disembarkation, which will be at their own expense.

The disembarkation test will be administered by Celebrity at no cost for children or other persons unable to be vaccinated.

Celebrity Cruises announces second cruise ship to sail from U.S.

In:
08 Jun 2021

We now know what will be the second cruise ship that will restart operations in the United States from Celebrity Cruises.

The Celebrity Equinox will begin sailing from Fort Lauderdale on July 25, with itineraries that visit Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Nassau, Bahamas.

According to the cruise line, Equinox has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to sail.

Celebrity Cruises does not need to operate test cruises because they will mandate at least 95% of its cruise passengers will be fully vaccinated, which means the CDC fast-tracks the ship to restart sooner.

Celebrity made headlines when they announced Celebrity Edge would be the first major cruise ship to sail from the United States at the end of June.

Edge will sail beginning on June 26 on 7-night cruises.

Celebrity Equinox joins eight ships in the Celebrity fleet that have been announced as part of its phased summer restart, including:

  • Celebrity Millennium, which began sailing seven-night Caribbean itineraries from St. Maarten on June 5; and will reposition to Seattle to sail seven-night Alaska Dawes Glacier cruises beginning July 23. Celebrity Summit will then sail the remaining St. Maarten season through August, followed by plans to sail a new series of four- and five-night sailings from Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean through late October.
  • Celebrity Apex – sailing seven-night Greek Isles itineraries from June 19;
  • Celebrity Edge – sailing a rotating schedule of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, beginning June 26;
  • Celebrity Silhouette – sailing the UK coastline as of July 3;
  • Celebrity Flora – returning to the extraordinary Galapagos islands as of July 3, followed by the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition and intimate 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration on July 24, and September 18, respectively.

Celebrity Cruises President and CEO  Lisa Lutoff-Perlo shared her thoughts about the new restart plans, "It is so exciting to announce yet another ship on the heels of Celebrity Millennium leading the industry’s Caribbean comeback to rave reviews just this past Saturday. From the outpouring of comments and emotion from our guests and crew on that sailing, it’s clear that people are ready to cruise back to normal."

"We’ve all been waiting for the day we could get away, again, to the places we’ve been dreaming of and that ‘someday’ is here."

Guests sailing on a Celebrity ship restarting operations this summer can expect a myriad of health protocols:

  • Staggered Arrivals and Departures – Terminal arrivals and departures will be staggered by appointment, with guests having the ability to select their preferred times based on travel plans.
  • Contactless Transactions – Celebrity’s digitally advanced mobile app* transforms the decades-old large-group-gathering Muster safety drill into a personal eMuster experience that guests can complete on their mobile device or interactive stateroom TV, avoiding large group gatherings. The app also expedites the boarding process; and allows guests to read menus and book dining reservations and shore excursions via their smartphone.
  • Appropriate Face Coverings – All guests 2 years of age and older will be required to wear an appropriate face covering in the Terminal. Once onboard, and unless otherwise stipulated by local governments in the destinations being visited, masks will not be required of vaccinated guests in accordance with CDC guidance for sailings with vaccinated crew and guests.

All Celebrity ships will sail with a vaccinated crew. U.S. guests ages 16 and older must be fully vaccinated and, as of August 1, 2021, all U.S. guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.

First cruise ship since March 2020 returns to sailing in North America

In:
07 Jun 2021

For the first time since March 2020, a cruise ship is sailing with paying passengers somewhere in North America.

Celebrity Cruises' Millennium departed St. Maarten on Saturday, and became the first cruise ship since to start cruises in the Royal Caribbean Group in the Western Hemisphere since Covid-19 shutdown the entire cruise industry.

While cruise ships have been able to slowly restart in other places in the world, no major cruise ships have been able to sail from North America, primarily due to regulatory hurdles.

Royal Caribbean Group announced in March 2021 plans to offer cruises from outside the United States this summer, and Celebrity Millennium is the first to return.

Celebrity Millennium is sailing a 7-night Caribbean cruise that will visit Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados.

Celebrity will offer cruises from St. Maarten to Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries through August.

Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo celebrated the return of cruises, "Today, we sail again! This is such a significant moment for our company, our industry and the Caribbean. That this day has finally arrived for our guests and our crew is truly special – beyond words, really." 

"I am so happy to have our crew back onboard doing what they love and providing amazing vacations and service to our guests. I also am extremely grateful to the leadership of the St. Maarten government for their vision and support to make this moment happen. What an honor to now be the first to enthusiastically say, once again – ‘Welcome Aboard!’"

Our sister site is offering a live blog from Celebrity Millennium that you can follow along with!

New protocols

As you might imagine, there are a variety of requirements and new protocols related to this cruise to make it protect against Covid-19 onboard.

The ship is sailing with far less passengers than the ship's capacity so that it can naturally foster social distancing.

Celebrity has leveraged technology to create new arrival, departure and muster safety drill procedures; and updated onboard and shoreside experiences to reflect new standard health and safety practices; all with the well-being of guests, crew and the communities visited by Celebrity ships at the forefront of the planning process. 

In addition, Celebrity is requiring at least 95% of its guests be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Some other protocols include:

  • Staggered Arrivals and Departures – Terminal arrivals and departures will be staggered by appointment, with guests having the ability to select their preferred times based on travel plans. 
  • Contactless Transactions – Celebrity’s digitally advanced mobile app* transforms the decades-old large-group-gathering Muster safety drill into a personal eMuster experience that guests can complete on their mobile device or interactive stateroom TV, avoiding large group gatherings. The app also expedites the boarding process; and allows guests to read menus and book dining reservations and shore excursions via their smartphone. 
  • Appropriate Face Coverings – During the Terminal check-in and check-out process, all guests 2 years of age and older will be required to wear an appropriate face covering. Once onboard, and unless otherwise stipulated by local governments, masks will not be required in accordance with recent CDC guidance for sailings with vaccinated crew and guests.  

Cruises returning to the United States next

While Celebrity is back in the water from the Caribbean, all eyes remain firmly on the United States.

Before that happens,the newest cruise ship in Celebrity's fleet, the Apex, will sail from Greece on June 19.

And then at long last, Celebrity Edge is scheduled to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on June 26, marking the first cruise ship to sail from the United States.

A variety of other ships will return to service over the following months: Celebrity Silhouette – sailing the UK coastline as of July 3; Celebrity Flora – returning to the extraordinary Galapagos islands as of July3, followed by the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition and intimate 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration on July 24, and September 18, respectively; and sailings to Alaska from Seattle begin July 23.  

Celebrity will swap cruise ships for summer cruises from St. Maarten

In:
03 Jun 2021

Celebrity Cruises announced it will change the ship sailing summer cruises from St. Maarten.

An email sent to travel agents on Thursday indicated Celebrity Millennium will be swapped out for July and August sailings with Celebrity Summit.

This change does not affect the first sailings on Celebrity Millennium beginning this weekend.

Why the change? The recent bill which was signed into U.S. law to allow cruise ships to visit Alaska this year is the reason.

According to Celebrity, the legislation inadvertently listed the Celebrity Cruises ships originally scheduled to sail in Alaska, which did not include Celebrity Summit.

The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act specifically listed all the ships the new law applies to, and sure enough, Millennium is listed, but not Summit.

As a result, Summit would not legally be able to sail to Alaska this year without visiting Canada.

After evaluating the situation, Celebrity decided that in order to comply with the new law, Celebrity Millennium must sail roundtrip from Seattle in Alaska.

This means bookings will be transferred to Celebrity Summit and itineraries will remain the similar. It will take Celebrity a few weeks to complete all transactions.

When Millennium gets to Alaska, some visits to Skagway, Alaska will be replaced with Icy Strait Point, Alaska at the end of the cruise season.

Summit will change the port order of the itinerary. On Monday, Summit will now visit Bridgetown, Barbados, followed by a sea day on Tuesday, Willemstad, Curacao on Wednesday and Oranjestad, Aruba on Thursday.

Likewise, the sailings on Summit for Alaska will be altered to make way for Millennium.

Celebrity Millennium arrived at St. Maarten on Tuesday in preperation for her first cruise on June 5, 2021.

Celebrity Cruises announces changes to Captain's Club customer loyalty program

In:
02 Jun 2021

Celebrity Cruises has announced changes to its customer loyalty program for guests when cruises restart.

The Captain's Club program offers benefits and enhancements to the cruise for passengers that are repeat customers, and Celebrity posted an update with changes to their offerings.

Celebrity says they have taken the time during the cruise industry shutdown to make "refinements" to the Captain's Club program.

Events

New events will be held onboard, such as the Captain’s Club Sneak Peek Series beginning on Celebrity Apex.

"Classic members and above can enjoy a sneak peek of the Eden décor, live music, and interactive art at Wonder at Eden in a reserved space just for Captain’s Club members. Plus, you can sample the specialty cocktail of the evening and enjoy a meet and greet with the artists and performers."

An event for Elite members and above is Create and Pour, where you can sip a favorite wine while creating art.  The event is lead by an artist, and will begin on Celebrity Apex.

Welcome Parties will move to the outdoor spaces, such as the Lawn Club and Rooftop Garden.

Captain's Club Cocktail hour has changed as well, and will no longer take place in the lounge.

Instead, guests will be able to enjoy unlimited drinks from the Captain’s Club menu daily from 5pm to 7pm at bars and lounges throughout your ship, including complimentary wine varieties that will now rotate between Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, and Pinot Noir. 

Celebrity says since the line will begin including all guests with unlimited drinks as part of the Always Included package, "we’ll be introducing new events and benefits so stay tuned."

The full list of member events available for your sailing will be provided onboard. 

Member Perks & Benefits

Spa discounts will be available of up to 20% off for Select members and above.

Previously, Captain’s Club members could enjoy a one-time 10%-15% discount based on tier levels while in port. Now, Select and Elite members can enjoy multi-use discounts of 10%, while Elite Plus and Zenith members can enjoy multi-use discounts of 15% and 20%, respectively (excluding MedSpa and Retail).

Complimentary access to Persian Garden on one port day of your choice will still be available on Solstice and Millennium Series Ships for Elite members and above.

Photo discounts

Changes have been made to the photo discounts and offerings.

Celebrity has increased discounts of 25%-50% off any photo packages and up to $300 off Studio Packages for Classic members and above.

In addition, they have added more greenscreen options allowing you to have one photo session with multiple backgrounds.

A partnership with GoPro will offer 360 degree photography and aerial photos.

Laundry

Celebrity is introducing new laundry packages on select sailings for Elite and above members.

  • Evening Chic dry cleaning service for only $35 (up to 8 individual items).  
  • Pressed to Impress, Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith members can add pressing to one of their complimentary bags of laundry per sailing for just $20.  

Details to be available onboard.

Internet

Wifi is included for all guests with the Always Included program, so the Captain's Club discount for internet access has changed.

Now, if you sail with Always Included, you can apply this discount to upgrade from the Surf to the Stream.  If you do not sail with Always Included, you can apply the 10% - 35% discount to any internet package and the complimentary minutes for Elite and Elite Plus will still apply. 

If you book pre-cruise, your discount is combinable with the additional 10% pre-cruise advantage. 

Zenith members will continue to enjoy a complimentary Stream internet package for one device in both scenarios.  

Beverage packages

Another change as a result of Always Included means discounts for upgrading your standard drink package.

Now, if you sail with Always Included, Classic Members and above can enjoy a 5% – 10% discount to upgrade from the Classic Beverage Package to Premium Beverage Package before you sail (pre-cruise).

The percentage is based on your member tier. If you do not sail with Always Included, Classic members and above can also receive a 5% - 20% discount on Classic and Premium beverage packages purchased before you sail and based on tier.

Elite members and above that do not sail with Always Included can also continue to enjoy the daily cocktail hour from 5pm – 7pm at bars and lounge throughout their ship.  Zenith members will continue to enjoy a complimentary Premium beverage package in both scenarios.

Wine

Classic members and above can now enjoy up to 20% off any bottle of wine.

Zenith Member Updates

The top cruiser on each sailing with the most points in Captain's Club can enjoy a complimentary dinner at a specialty dining restaurant, along with complimentary flowers and wine. 

Celebrity will also give Zenith members the opportunity to take part in an interview with our cruise director that will air on our in-stateroom televisions.

Due to social distancing, Zenith access to the lounge at The Retreat and Michael’s Club will be limited to members staying in The Retreat until further notice.

How will Celebrity deal with Florida's vaccine passport ban?

In:
27 May 2021

The cruise industry is celebrating the announcement that Celebrity Cruises will have the first ship to sail from the United States next month, but there seems to be one significant concern that no one seems to have an answer for yet.

Celebrity Cruises will restart cruises from Fort Lauderdale on June 26, when Celebrity Edge sails away.

This is a momentous occasion that marks the return of the cruise industry to American waters, and certainly has a lot of cruise fans excited. 

Celebrity is able to restart cruises so quickly because it will require 95% of its cruise ship passengers to be fully vaccinated.

But Florida passed a law that prohibits any business from asking anyone to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccine.  

So how can Celebrity require and verify its passengers are indeed fully vaccinated without violating Florida law?

In short, there is no clear answer yet what Celebrity or Royal Caribbean Group has planned.


Photo by Broward County’s Port Everglades

The law dictates that it is impermissible for any business operating in Florida to require patrons or customers to provide documentation certifying Covid-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery “to gain access to, entry upon, or services from” the business.

The new Florida law goes into effect on July 1, and carries with up to a $5,000 fine per violation. This means Florida's Department of Health could potentially impose a penalty of up to $5,000 for each customer denied access to a business for failing to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination. 

UPDATE: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was quoted by WFTS on Thursday in response to Celebrity's plans, "Companies doing business in Florida, including Celebrity Cruises, should immediately cease to impose such discriminatory policies upon individuals. Companies that violate this law would be subject to a fine of $5,000 each time they require a customer to present a 'vaccine passport' for service."

Freedom of the Seas is scheduled to run test cruises in June as well, and more Royal Caribbean ships will follow.  Whether test cruises or revenue cruies, Royal Caribbean will be requiring adults to be fully vaccinated in order to sail, so the same issue facing Celebrity Cruises is about impact every other ship operating from Florida.

Lots of theories, but no answers

Until there is an answer provided by Florida, the cruise line, or even the CDC, cruise fans are left to debate the possibilities on their own.

On the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards, readers have tossed around ideas how this could play out.

Ampurp85 wonders if the cruise line's international status factors in, "His law says companies in Florida cannot ask to see such a thing. Most cruise lines are international companies so it would not really apply to them."

smokeybandit thinks there is likely work going on behind-the-scenes to address the issue, "I'm sure both sides are busy trying to find wording that makes both sides look good when cruise lines sail from Florida with vaccine requirements."

Celebrity Cruises announces first ship to sail out of the United States in June 2021

In:
26 May 2021

It looks like Celebrity Cruises will be the first cruise line to sail out of the United States with paying passengers.

Celebrity announced Celebrity Edge will sail out of Fort Lauderdale on June 26, 2021 to restart cruises to the Caribbean.

Edge will offer a 7-night itinerary alternating between Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave Celebrity the green light to restart cruises with passengers because the ship will have at least 95% of its passengers fully vaccinated, along with 98% of its crew members.

All Celebrity ships will sail with a vaccinated crew. U.S. guests ages 16 and older must be fully vaccinated and, as of August 1, 2021, all U.S. guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.

Celebrity also said eight of the 15 ships within the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet now have plans to return to sailing in 2021.

Read moreFirst Timers' Guide to Celebrity Edge

While Celebrity Edge will be the first ship (and cruise line) to restart cruises from the United States, she will not be the first ship in Celebrity's fleet to restart sailings.

The Celebrity Millennium will start cruises from St. Maarten, beginning on June 5 with 7 night sailings to the Southern Caribbean.

Other ships restarting cruises outside of the United States this summer include Celebrity Apex from Greece, and Celebrity Silhouette from Southampton. Celebrity Summit will cruise from the United States on July 23, when she starts sailing to Alaska.

The US summer sailings also follow Celebrity news that beginning July 4, the mega-yacht, Celebrity Flora, will resume sailing the magical Galapagos Islands. She will be followed soon after by Celebrity Xpedition and 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration on July 24, and September 18, respectively. 

Read moreHow is Celebrity Cruises different from Royal Caribbean?

What about Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean International's restart will be slower than Celebrity Cruises, because Royal Caribbean is going about restart differently.

Unlike Celebrity, Royal Caribbean will not be able to reach the 95% mandate of passengers being vaccinated by the CDC to skip test cruises.

As a result, Royal Caribbean needs to conduct test cruises first, before applying for permission to restart revenue cruises with paying passengers.

Thus far, Freedom of the Seas will start test cruises in June, and Ovation and Serenade of the Seas will start cruises from Alaska in July and August, assuming they can complete test cruises and receive permission from the CDC in time.

Celebrity Cruises will let vaccinated passengers not wear masks and passengers can go on their own shore excursions

In:
18 May 2021

Celebrity Cruises just announced new protocols for guests sailing this summer that include changes to mask, vaccine, and shore excursion rules.

These protocols apply to summer cruises from St. Maarten and Athens, Greece.

During a webinar with travel agents, Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service, announced a variety of new protocols for guests sailing on Celebrity this summer.

The policies are an introduction to the new protocols guests can expect once sailing on Celebrity Millennium beginning in a few weeks, as well as Celebrity Apex from Greece.

Here are the major health protocols announced:

  • Guests 16 and above need to be vaccinated.  Previously the rule was 18 years old or older
  • Fully vaccinated passengers can book third party shore excursions, and not limited to cruise line tours, if the port allows it.
    • Celebrity will advise guests onboard if they can go on their own or not, and/or need to wear a mask in port
  • Onboard the ship, fully vaccinated passengers are not required to wear masks inside or outside while maintaining a safe distance from other passengers.
  • Back to back sailings are permitted for fully vaccinated guests
    • Vaccinated cruisers on these sailings will take another antigen test before the second leg
    • Unvaccinated cruisers will have to take a second PCR test

The mask rule change is arguably the biggest policy shift, although those that are not vaccinated will still be required to wear masks. However, Ms. Ritzenthaler said you will not need to wear a mask while seated for dinner, nor outdoors.

"Mask requirements have been eased," Ms. Ritzenthaler shared excitedly, "fully vaccinated guests, masks are not going to be required, both inside and outside as long as you're not in a big, big crowd."

Ms. Ritzenthaler said what constitutes a big crowd is at the jurisdiction of the cruise line right now.

For guests 15 and below, they would have to wear masks in some situations, but not the entire cruise either, "If you're not vaccinated and you can't be vaccinated, you're 15 and below, then you will have to wear a mask if you're going from your room to the restaurant."

"But then when you're seated, you don't have to wear it and you don't have to wear it when you're outdoors."

Celebrity will also provide guests returning to the United States a Covid-19 test to re-enter the country, which is a policy Royal Caribbean said they would offer.

These new protocols are more of a preview of the full set of health and safety protocols it will release soon, which may also be tied to a restart of cruises from the United States.

Celebrity Cruises is the sister company to Royal Caribbean, and it is possible (but not confirmed) Royal Caribbean may have the same protocols.

Royal Caribbean has not revealed its own set of protocols, although it has a similar webinar scheduled on Wednesday with travel agents.

Royal Caribbean did confirm last week that masks will not be required at its private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Celebrity Millennium will be the first Royal Caribbean Group ship to restart cruises from the Caribbean on June 5, with Adventure of the Seas following the next week on June 12.

The new protocols follow similar mask and Covid-19 restrictions being eased in the United States with more and more Americans now vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean's ships will have reduced capacity (around 50% initially) along with fully vaccinated adults onboard.

What is the difference between The Retreat, AquaClass and Concierge Class on Celebrity Cruises?

In:
22 Apr 2021

Whether you live the suite life on every cruise, or are considering trying out an elevated cruise experience on your next sailing, Celebrity Cruises offers a few ways to plus your onboard experience.

One way Celebrity stands apart from sister cruise line Royal Caribbean is by placing a larger emphasis on its suite offerings, with broad suite privileges on almost all of its ships.

If you are trying to figure out what each of the suite programs offers, here is a look at the differences between  The Retreat, AquaClass and Concierge Class.

The Retreat suite program

If you happen to book a stateroom in The Retreat, you get more included with the what you pay.

The Retreat is the name of Celebrity's version of "ship within a ship" concept, where suite guests pay extra to get a number of exclusives available only to them.

The Retreat experience includes:

  • Priority check-in, departure, and port tendering/boarding
  • Luminae at The Retreat private restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Exclusive lounge access: The Retreat Lounge (or Michael’s Club, on non-revolutionized ships)
  • Exclusive sundeck access: The Retreat Sundeck (on Edge Series and revolutionized ships)
  • Dedicated butler service
  • Dedicated pre-cruise Retreat Concierge
  • Always Included benefits
    •  Indulge Package at no additional charge.
  • Shore excursion credit
  • Complimentary 24-hour in-suite dining, including full breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Premium bedding and bath amenities
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of champagne or sparkling wine

The Indulge Package provides a Premium Beverage Package, prepaid tips, and an onboard credit for all guests in the stateroom, plus an Unlimited Stream Internet Package for the first and second guest. Onboard credit amount varies by length of sailing: $200 per person for sailings 1 – 5 nights, $300 per person for sailings 6 – 9 nights, and $400 per person for sailings 10 nights or longer.

Read moreWhat's Included on a Celebrity Cruise?

Aqua Class & Concierge Class

In addition to the suites, Celebrity also has special amenities for some balcony rooms that offer suite-like amenities without the suite price tag.

Both Concierge Class and Aqua Class are balcony cabins that offer a bit more space than a regular balcony room and include extra benefits.

Here is what Aqua Class includes:

  • Priority boarding and early debarkation
  • Shoeshine service
  • Complimentary beach towel service
  • A Personal Spa Concierge to arrange Canyon Ranch SpaClub treatments
  • Binoculars included (for use onboard only)
  • 24-hour room service (extra cost between 11pm and 6am)
  • Pillow menu
  • Blu Restaurant for breakfast and dinner
  • Welcome cans of water (2)
  • Daily flavored ice tea in carafe
  • Location near the spa
  • Unlimited access to Persian Gardens (Solstice and Millennium class) and SEA Thermal (Edge)
  • Spa concierge
  • VIP tour of SPA on embarkation day
  • 10% off spa treatments
  • Two yoga mats on Edge-class ships and "revolutionized" ships
  • Daily Canapes

Read moreHow is Celebrity Cruises different from Royal Caribbean?

If you go for a Concierge Class room, the benefits are slight different.

  • Personalized Concierge services
  • Embarkation day lounge
  • Priority boarding and early debarkation
  • Shoeshine service
  • Complimentary beach towel service
  • Binoculars included (for use onboard only)
  • 24-hour room service (extra cost between 11pm and 6am)
  • Exclusive embarkation day lunch
  • Pillow menu
  • Daily Canapes

The other factor in deciding between Concierge Class and Aqua Class is many repeat cruisers say Concierge rooms get a more desirable location for their cabin on the ship compared to Aqua Class.

Ultimately the decision may boil down to if you want extra spa benefits and want to dine at a private restaurant instead of the main dining room (Aqua Class), or if you prefer to get a better cabin location and other added benefits (Concierge Class).

Other important information

  • Retreat, Aqua, and Concierge guests may, depending on itineraries, schedules, etc can be invited to special sail-away events.
  • Retreat, Aqua, and Concierge staterooms have a dedicated team of stateroom attendants who look over a smaller number of rooms to provide enhanced services.
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