Celebrity Cruises’ post-Covid UK sailings: all you need to know
The return of Celebrity Cruises to the UK after a 15-month Covid suspension has been a triumph for the “revolutionized” Celebrity Silhouette, which was renovated in February 2020 but unable to sail until July due to the pandemic delay.
Passengers aboard Celebrity Cruises Silhouette’s maiden post-lockdown voyage from Southampton on July 3 were moved to tears as a welcoming party of crew and executives applauded them onboard the ship. The first 970 passengers, less than half of the ship’s capacity, went up the gangplank wearing masks that concealed hopeful expressions.
Despite the fact that this new normal included regular hand washing, social distancing in the elevators, and the end of the self-serve buffet, many passengers were cheerfully sipping cocktails out on deck without their masks before the ship went away.
The first of this summer’s seven, eight, nine, and 10-night UK cruises set sail on July 3, and the attitude was always casual and pleasant, with guests simply pleased to be at sea again – even if they did occasionally require fleecy blankets around the pool.
Guests must currently be residents of the United Kingdom and have documentation of double immunizations and a negative PCR test within 72 hours of sailing.
If you travel to a designated center, where the tests are automatically invoiced to them, Celebrity Cruises will pay for the tests, but if you go to another center, they will reimburse up to £100 per person.
You’ll need a smartphone to demonstrate the result and your vaccination status on the NHS app, but those without can get a doctor’s note to confirm they’re completely vaccinated, and Eurofins, the PCR test business, will email you a test certificate and also send one to Celebrity Cruises.
Under-18s are allowed to cruise without immunizations if they have a negative lateral flow antigen test, which must be done at the port prior to boarding.
Check-in was surprisingly simple thanks to a staggered arrival system and digital boarding pass, with excellent Southampton ports employees quickly resolving any issues. Passengers who had not gotten their PCR test results in a timely manner were simply invited to take another, with the results arriving with staff in 30 minutes.
There was a “Brinkwire Summary News” while the Celebrity Silhouette was sailing at less than half capacity for its debut cruise.