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Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 #263814
09/13/2021 02:09 PM
09/13/2021 02:09 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,166
Virginia
Snorkeller Offline OP
Traveler
Snorkeller  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,166
Virginia
We cruised on the Celebrity Edge between August 21 and September 4 – two 7 night cruises B2B (back to back). We had a wonderful time! The first week we were with friends from Tennessee and Indiana; the second week we were on our own, but quickly joined up with a three member group from Florida to keep our trivia success going. We booked the second week while on the ship the first week – Bonnie Buchanan got the credit for the booking, even without having to talk to me.

One reason for the wonderful time was that despite a basic passenger capacity of 2,908 – there were only about 850 passengers the first week and then 1,089 pax the second week (first week I heard different numbers in 800’s – second week I was told the specific number 1,089 several times). I think that Celebrity did want reduced capacity – but not that reduced. They were offering pretty good deals to get people on ship.

The crew was very happy to be working generally and the service level was very high with so few pax. The Edge entered service in 2018 and is very high tech and VERY nice.

Second reason for wonderful time was that we were in the Retreat – a set of amenities/perks for suite guests that gives you access to Luminae (a restaurant for Retreat guests) and a very nice Retreat Lounge, as well as other amenities/perks. We also had Elite status in Celebrity’s loyalty program because of our status with Royal Caribbean – but the Elite status did not give us many other goodies, except a free laundry bag for each of us both weeks.
Partly because of having a wonderful waiter, and a really great service team overall in Luminae, we ate almost all of our meals in Luminae. We did eat one breakfast in the Ocean View (the ship’s “buffet” – which was very nice, with staff serving you whatever you wanted – no self-serve. We got sandwiches at a great sandwich place for a few lunches.

We drove to Fort Lauderdale from Virginia – taking three days for the drive south, detouring to Murrells Inlet and Brookgreen Garden. In order to take a COVID test within 72 hours of embarkation, we arranged for COVID testing at a CVS in Murrells Inlet – which was very easy. Not really knowing when we would arrive, we had scheduled the tests for late afternoon, but we arrived at the CVS about 2:30 and they did our tests right when we arrived. We got the negative results late the next day and I printed out hard copies at the hotel we were staying in at the time.

Passing through northern Florida, we rolled up the windows and held our breath – which was following the strong recommendation of my niece who lives in Jacksonville – her opinion of how Florida is handling the pandemic might well be offensive to some Floridians. In general, throughout the drive, we ate food we brought with us or used drive-through or pick-up options – no inside dining.
We used Park N Go Cruise in Ft Lauderdale to leave the car – which company is excellent – very well organized and much cheaper than parking at the port. No problem with the parking when adding a week to our cruise, just paid for extra week at same price when picking up car.

COVID tests were not required for pax leaving ship in Ft Lauderdale – so, we did not need a test disembarking on September 4. We were required to take a test on the ship in order to remain on ship for our B2B, but the ship made that very easy. On the day before turnaround day, turnaround day being August 28, we were told to report to a room that was set up to give an antigen test. We reported slightly before the start of the testing and we were the first ones there – they tested us immediately and it took less than 5 minutes for the paperwork and testing. They never told us a result – had it been positive, we would have learned of that result very quickly and had to go through a contact tracing process and quarantine for the remainder of time on ship.

So, the tests were negative and we could remain on the ship – with very quick walk through terminal to reboard formally for second week. For both times disembarking, we only had to let a facial recognition machine scan our faces – it recognized us and that was it. No showing of passports, no forms to fill out, unless you had to report acquisition of goods over limit. Very impressive and very big brother scary.

On first week, there were a few children, so the vaccination percentage was not 100%. In first days of first week, we were told over PA by Captain Kate that two pax had tested positive after showing symptoms and being tested. Captain stated that they did thorough contact tracing as best they could, tested a bunch of people, and later learned that no one else tested positive. Not sure, but our understanding was that the two passengers remained quarantined for the rest of the cruise after testing positive. Not sure if they were tested one or more times on the ship after positive result, they probably were.

Second week, we were told that the ship was 100% vaccinated – that is assuming that no one presented a fraudulent vax card, of course. No children not eligible for vax were on board. Crew is 100% vaccinated and they all wear masks at all times when interacting with pax.

We were restricted in ports of call. Costa Maya was dropped from first week, Western Carib, itinerary before sailing. We stopped in Roatan, Cozumel, and Nassau, first week. Only place where there was “free flow” was Cozumel – where we just grabbed a taxi and went to Chankanaab National Park, as is our most common thing to do in Cozumel. In Roatan, you could not do independent tours but could go into port area. We took a ship excursion. In Nassau, I believe you could not leave ship unless on a ship excursion – we took a ship excursion snorkeling.

Second week was Eastern Carib. We stopped at Nassau (same restrictions, we took a land tour of Nassau – which despite how many times we have been in Nassau, we enjoyed). We stopped at St. Thomas, which was free flow, but very strict on mask enforcement – we took a snorkel excursion. Then, SXM – where we took a Golden Eagle ship’s snorkel excursion. Well done – we have never done Golden Eagle before in SXM – thought crew was excellent. You could not leave the ship in SXM unless on a ship excursion. Everything in port area was closed except for a few jewelry stores, one souvenir kiosk, and Sharky’s Bar. The folks in the jewelry stores appeared desperate for business but the wife was too tired to engage with any of them. (If SXM had been free flow, I might have made a deposit at DK Gems, if Deepti was there.) The port area was a ghost town – very strange to see the port area empty of people. We really would have liked to be free to do out own thing in SXM, of course, but things worked out OK. Golden Eagle took us to Little Bay to snorkel (where we had snorkeled 15+ days in June) and Mullet for some beach time. The Captain of the Golden Eagle actually was honest about how much snorkel time we would have – as I told him, that is VERY rare on snorkel boats.

We enjoyed the Edge enough – and just to be on our first cruise since February 2020, that the inability to enjoy the ports fully was not too bad. With regard to COVID, both weeks, but particularly second week, we felt much safer on the Edge than we did in SXM in June, than in our local Krogers, or most anywhere in Florida.

Our next scheduled cruise is on Holland America Eurodam from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, leaving BCN on October 30 and arriving FLL on November 14. It is looking like that will happen, but not at all sure what requirements and restrictions will be for the flight and the cruise.

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Re: Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 [Re: Snorkeller] #263815
09/13/2021 02:51 PM
09/13/2021 02:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,811
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,811
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report and the scoop on how they are handling cruises in SXM. I'm surprised that they are only allowing ship shore excursions, in light of the one ship being home ported there in SXM. But I guess those cruises are over now??

With regard to Florida, you certainly don't offend me. I do not go ANYWHERE without a mask and we have eaten inside a restaurant here I think a grand total of THREE times since March of 2020..


Carol Hill
Re: Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 [Re: Snorkeller] #263827
09/14/2021 08:21 AM
09/14/2021 08:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,278
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
Traveler
TomB  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,278
Virginia wishing STJ
Snorkeller,

Thanks for the report and all the good info! Await to hear on your upcoming TA from Barcelona!
We are now down to 70 days for our trip and getting pretty excited.
Being selfish - we are happy the booking rates are low


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 [Re: Snorkeller] #263834
09/14/2021 11:11 AM
09/14/2021 11:11 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 123
Clearwater, Florida
LSmayda Offline
Traveler
LSmayda  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 123
Clearwater, Florida
Just got off the Eurodam on Sunday 9/12 after being onboard for 3 weeks. It was a great cruise. We were Covid free but had to test once a week. No big deal. Crew were exceptional and couldn’t do enough for you. We had a maximum off 800 people on the ship. Baby steps and they are doing a great job keeping everyone safe. Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Re: Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 [Re: Snorkeller] #263854
09/14/2021 03:52 PM
09/14/2021 03:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,288
P
PelicanPirate Offline
Traveler
PelicanPirate  Offline
Traveler
P
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,288
Thanks sounds like a good trip. Im not sure what protection a ship excursion provides other than contact tracing but i suspect it might force some ship excursion revenue more than DIYer.

If everyone is vaccinated why all the worry? At some point we do get to end this merry go around of shots don't we?

Re: Celebrity Edge Aug 21 to Sept 4 [Re: Snorkeller] #264306
09/23/2021 06:24 PM
09/23/2021 06:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,103
missouri
Cathyg Offline
Traveler
Cathyg  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,103
missouri
Wonderful report....We can all have hope


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