Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Edge Departs from Fort Lauderdale to Become First Cruise Ship …

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95% of those boarding the Celebrity Edge have been vaccinated

ABOVE VIDEO: Celebrity cruise to set sail for the 1st time in 15 months. (Yahoo Finance Video)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA (CBS NEWS) – 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, a symbolic stride toward normalcy that will be watched closely by health experts as vaccines curb the coronavirus’ spread.

Industry officials hope the voyage by Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Edge vessel serves as a bookend for people for whom the gravity of the pandemic first hit home in the alarming reports last year of deadly outbreaks on crowded ships, with guests quarantined for weeks, vessels begging to dock and sickened passengers carried away on stretchers at ports.

“We are excited to be part of that,” said Russ Schwartz, a Florida school principal who is honeymooning on the ship and is confident it will be smooth sailing.

“Things have changed drastically. Back then we really didn’t know much about the virus. Cruises at that point weren’t prepared.”

Celebrity Cruises says at least 95% of those boarding the Celebrity Edge have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in line with health requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the ship will run at a reduced capacity.

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