With the CDC having proven to be an unreliable partner when it comes to the safe resumption of cruising, various cruise lines and countries in the Caribbean have struck a deal that will see cruise ships leaving from St. Maarten as soon as June 5, 2021.
The ships (in this case the Celebrity Millennium that was originally scheduled for the Alaska season) will not sail in U.S. waters and is therefore not affected by any CDC / U.S. government regulations.
Celebrity Cruises (RCCL) have designed a range of cruise programs that will leave from St. Maarten with 7-day itineraries including Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados as well as an alternate routing that includes the BVI, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Other cruise companies such as Crystal and NCL are looking at similar solutions but Celebrity Cruises has their routings on sale effective today.
You can access the Celebrity website with these programs here.
The moment has arrived when you can finally turn your vacation dreams into your dream vacation with our new Caribbean sailings, beginning June 5, 2021. Your long-awaited escape begins in our new homeport of St. Maarten and includes three more sparkling islands in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
Homeport St. Maarten
St. Maarten is the perfect place to begin your island-hopping escape. Discover Jet Blast Beach (officially Maho Beach), just one of the dozens of alluring beaches and snorkeling sites that ring this tiny island. St. Maarten is split between the Netherlands on the south side (known for duty-free shopping) and France on the north side (known for fabulous food).
7-Night Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados Cruise
Step aboard and join us for a visit to Aruba, a haven for divers and snorkelers, featuring vibrant coral reefs, neon tropical fish, and panoramic views. Discover Curaçao, famous for its traditional Dutch cityscapes in distinctly Caribbean colors (and the taste of authentic blue curaçao). In Barbados, where the old adage, “Life’s a beach,” means 80 pristine beaches and swimming among historic shipwrecks, you’ll find the perfect place to unwind on island time.
7-Night BVI, St. Lucia and Barbados Cruise
Explore Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, and experience an alluring archipelago of lush green mountains, rolling hills, and yacht-filled harbors. In St. Lucia, you’ll find more mountainous than most Caribbean islands, where you can hike the iconic Pitons for breathtaking views and snorkel with kaleidoscopic fish while your stress melts into the sea. Savor the flavors of the Caribbean in Barbados, a culinary capital in the Caribbean.
So far this sounds like a fun, relaxing arrangement on each itinerary.
Here are the types and routing as advertised by Celebrity:
They will only sell Veranda cabins for these sailings, the inside cabins will stay empty which is likely a precaution in case there is a Covid scare on the ship and passengers need to be confined to their cabins.
For fun and giggles I just priced out a cruise as a single occupancy veranda cabin but I quickly lost interest:
I like cruising, I really do but I feel that this pricing is completely out of touch based on the circumstances.
$3000 (+ port tax) for a one week Caribbean cruise with three ports is expensive. Way too expensive. This is the price for an Alaska sailing which usually sell at a premium compared to Caribbean ones.
While Celebrity might try to justify this premium with the scarcity of cruises going at the moment I don’t buy that reasoning. The circumstances of these first post-covid cruises in the North America/Caribbean region (several ships have already been sailing in Europe) are too uncertain to pay that much money for a cruise.
I’m not at all against going back on a cruise ship at the earliest opportunity but not at a price point of $3000 for a one week Caribbean sailing. I’d probably pay a third of that ($1000 single, $500 pP in a Double) to be the guinea pig for them during these first cruises.
For example there is the fine print:
… If a certain threshold level of COVID-19 is detected onboard your cruise ship during your voyage, your voyage will be ended immediately and the ship will return to the port of embarkation, and your subsequent travel, including your return home, may be restricted or delayed. For cruises and guests worldwide: Health and safety protocols, guest conduct rules, as well as regional travel restrictions and clearance to visit ports of call, are subject to change without notice based on ongoing evaluation, public health standards, and government requirements. Onboard and destination experiences, features, itineraries and guest conduct rules vary by ship and destination and are subject to change without notice.
Then there are restrictions for the cruise itself as well as the movement and options on board as well as in port:
Of course, our first priority is always the health and safety of our guests, crew, and local populations, so Celebrity Millennium sails with a fully vaccinated crew, and vacations are available to vaccinated adults and to children under 18 with negative Covid-19 PCR tests within 72 hours of embarkation, for a truly relaxing experience.
This already severely limits the target group of individuals eligible to take these cruises either voluntary or involuntary.
The cruises will be on the newly renovated Celebrity Millennium:
I feel sad watching this video as I was booked on the Millennium in Alaska that got cancelled for obvious reasons.
With the CDC having dragged it’s feet cruise lines have now started to make their own arrangements following the agencies most recent update yesterday that the cruising restrictions will remain in effect until November.
… The cruise lines association noted in a release that since the CDC’s order was issued in October, the agency hasn’t issued additional guidance as it said it would.
Caitlin Shockey, spokesperson for the CDC, told USA TODAY Wednesday that the conditional sailing order remains in effect until Nov. 1 and that next phases are in the works.
“Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19,” Shockey said. “Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review.” …
As these restrictions are only valid for U.S. waters and ports the cruise lines now looked beyond American shores to countries that are willing to do business.
The U.S. administration says it plans to have everyone vaccinated by July 4th yet it plans to leave cruise ships abandoned until November?
Celebrity and other cruise lines are starting to get their operations for the North American market going again after months of being let down a rabbit hole by the CDC.
I could probably use my MGM MLife free cruise or maybe contact another casino host which I might do in order to get the sailing comped but I feel it’s a waste. I rather use it in Alaska next year and right now I can’t commit to booking any such booking as I haven’t received any option for a vaccine yet (my favorite would be BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson).
Would you go back to cruising and book one of these June sailings?