For what seems like an eternity, pandemic related restrictions have reined in the flourishing popularity of cruising and worldwide travel. Regulations may have challenged the possibility of arrivals and departures from US ports but the old adage necessity is the mother of invention has intervened and it’s time for a celebration! Starting June 5th, Celebrity Millennium will sail seven night itineraries to the deep Caribbean with health protocols firmly in place. Sailing the calm seas of the deep Caribbean has never been easier from the convenient gateway of Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
Flying to St. Maarten
Without compromising safety, the two nation island has opened their welcoming arms to visitors by implementing effective protocols. Flying into the Dutch island requires that guests fill out a detailed application prior to flight departures, receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours before arrival and also purchase a government sponsored COVID insurance policy ($30 per person). Once the application has been processed, visitors will receive an online pre-authorization to travel and upon arrival documents are inspected followed by a temperature check.
Celebrity Millennium itself has implemented its own protocols that provide added confidence for healthy participation in cruising’s inevitable resumption. The cruise will be available to all fully vaccinated adult guests and children under 18 that can provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of embarkation. Company policy requires that all crew be vaccinated and undergo continual testing. Prior to disembarkation all guests will be tested onboard as required for returning back into the US.
Health and Safety Protocols
Comprehensive health safety measures have been jointly implemented according to standards required by local health and governmental agencies. Embarkation time slots are assigned prior to arrival, with processing conducted in the air conditioned comfort of a special building that has been constructed on the pier assuring ultimate convenience in boarding.
Of course these new policies all contribute to the the successful return of cruising to the world of travel but the transformation and update of the ship itself enhances the experience even further. With brand new staterooms, reimagined restaurants and lounges plus a redesigned spa, cruising has never been more appealing. The Millennium weighs anchor for two different weeklong itineraries. One will call on Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados and a second itinerary that includes Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados.
While St. Maarten is no newcomer as an extremely popular port of call, the decision by Celebrity to make it a home port improves the outlook for an island that has been hit hard by the pandemic’s prolonged travel blight. The impact of cruising’s return can not be understated and guests would be remiss if they failed to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their holiday experience with an extended pre or post cruise stay on St. Maarten.
Pre or Post-Cruise Stay on St. Maarten
Having completed the health protocols of entering the island, a two or three day pre-cruise experience allows for a preview of the all inclusive concept of cruising with deluxe accommodations at the Sonesta Ocean Point or Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.
Perched on a rocky promontory jutting out into the blue hues of the Caribbean at the Ocean Point property is the highly acclaimed Azul restaurant. Lunch and dinner features delicious Caribbean flavors served in a romantic setting while the upstairs Casa Blue features lite bite dishes, tapas style, with both venues overlooking the uniquely designed Edge pool. An afternoon delight of live entertainment enhances your poolside rituals and a full service spa treats you to well deserved pampering. Choosing one of the swim up rooms provides for a special initiation into a luxurious lifestyle with a pool two steps outside your balcony.
The adjacent Sonesta Maho Beach Resort features tower style accommodations overlooking an oversized pool with water slide for the young at heart. The waterfront Ocean Terrace serves a variety of dishes in a hybrid buffet style alongside a pizzeria satisfying afternoon munchies. The Palms Grill offers an invitation to savor your meal prepared on a heated table side lava rock and The Point features an array of Italian favorites. Guests staying at the adults only Ocean Point property enjoy access to dine and use facilities at both resorts.
Combining a weeklong cruise of pleasure with an extended all inclusive stay in the paradise of St. Maarten is the perfect way to celebrate the resumption of cruising. It’s about time! Bon Voyage.