Chattanooga Family on Board First Cruise Ship to Set Sail From U.S.

A Chattanooga family is on the first cruise ship to set sail from the U.S. following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We already had three cruises cancelled due to COVID from the last year and a half, I guess. So, we were excited to get back to cruising,” says David Swinford, Chattanooga resident.

Following CDC guidelines, the ship is at 40% capacity with over 95% of its passengers vaccinated.

Caribbean Celebrity Edge set sail Saturday from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will return in seven days.

The Swinford family was featured on CBS this Morning on board the ship.

“We feel like with the enhanced cleaning and safety measures that cruising is even more safe now than it was before….It’s about 30 or 40 percent capacity which I thought I would enjoy more, but it’s kind of weird because people watching is part of the draw I guess. There’s always chairs at the pool, there’s you know, always availability in restaurants….This is our first Celebrity Cruise, they’ve done a really good job with personal service and attention and attention to detail,” continues David.

David Swinford says booking the cruise was easy, and it’s been smooth sailing so far.

This is the Swinford families 12th time on a cruise, but they say this time is a little different.

“The kids had to be COVID tested, but we did not because we are vaccinated. So, we had to wait 30 minutes before their COVID tests to come back clear, and then we were able to board the ship,” says David.

Ashleigh Swinford says, “There’s not a lot of children on this ship. There’s probably twenty one twenty two kids on the entire ship, so it’s hard for the kids to make friends which is something they really enjoy on a cruise.”

They say the best part of their vacation so far has been the food.

Tomorrow they’ll stop in Costa Maya for river tubing.

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