Saturday, June 26th 2021


A Virtual Departure of the Cruise Ship CELEBRITY EDGE

by the proud U.S. Merchant Mariner of 31 years


Many radio stations around the United States put on their air time that the first cruise ship to get underway from an American port carrying real passengers would happen within the hour [Saturday, June 26th 2021 @ 18:00] /

It turned out to be Celebrity’s new cruise ship called the CELEBRITY EDGE, now getting ready to leave Port Everglades / She had last arrived in the Stranahan River’s berth 25 on Monday, the 21st tying up at 07:45 / Fleetmate CELEBRITY EQUINOX was also in the port this day having arrived on Saturday, the 26th at berth 19 at 08:13 /

Things went well and by 18:00 a gang of longshoremen began dropping her lines fore and aft as some 1200 passengers of all ages were about to make history / There were many cheers serenading as the Harbor Pilot gave the helmsman the okay to start the thrusters up forward on the starboard side and then the after ones /

Gently the EDGE began to move sideways towards the East / Having gotten about a ship’s width off the dock in ten minutes time, the engines were reset and at long last the CELEBRITY EDGE was finally backing northward into Lake Mabel, the main part of the Port Everglades harbor making history / The ships bow had a forward heading of 166 degrees although her stern moving on a backing up course of 346 /

Two Mc Allister tugs were on the job, the EILEEN Mc ALLISTER and the TATE Mc Allister / The EILEEN was standing off about 600 feet on the EDGE’s starboard quarter while the somewhat smaller TATE was just off the port bow / When the EDGE began backing, the two Mc Allister tugs turned on their hoses giving the overall scene an additional surprise / The port’s new super pilot boat, the SEVEN, was closer on the port stern as the behemoth cruise ship glided by in reverse /

Once her stem was cleared of the berth by some 250 feet or so, the stern then began moving in a westerly direction / Her reverse speed was about 2.8 knots / Once straightened out and aiming for the entrance channel, the CELEBRITY EDGE came to a complete stop as her momentum was decreased allowing her to change from backing to moving ahead at 18:18 / By 18:23 she had a satisfied headway and was doing 1.1 knots on a compass course of 093 or almost due East /

There were many people in the condos on the north entrance along with the well–wishers on the northern beach and the southern breakwater watching her slip by for the sea buoy and the deep water beyond / Within five minutes she was clearing the southern rocky breakwater and gently building up speed feeling the ocean’s movement about her hull /

A mile off the breakwater her speed was up to 11½ knots due East / The Master of the vessel was pleased that her command was finally working once again for her designed trade of carrying passengers to the adventures of the deck, the sea and the ports to be visited /

Two minutes later she was eased onto a compass course of 136 and Pilot Boat 7 waited patiently on her starboard quarter for the ship’s shell door to be opened and the pilot ladder put over the side / There are strict regulations in place regarding a lee, which side the ladder will be lowered on and the okay for the pilot to disembark the ship / Her speed had been reduced and was passing the 8 knots mark and slowing further /

By 18:45 she was down to barely 4.5 knots on a heading of 156 / Her pilot was successfully away [picked up] and the CELEBRITY EDGE began to gradually build up her speed to just a touch over 11 knots / The 7 fell astern and then was off to put a pilot on board the inbounder MAERSK MEMPHIS, a monstrous containership who was doing 8.8 on a heading of 255 bound for her container berth of 31 / A few hours there and then she’d be back on the high seas destined for Santos / As the EDGE was some 5+ miles off Dania Beach, the MAERSK MEMPHIS had to slow down a smidgeon for the NYK CONSTELLATION was outbound for Cartagena and transiting the short entrance channel of Port Everglades /

As the Command Center was shut down back up in New York just before 23:00, the CELEBRITY EDGE was well on her way making turns for a leisure 11 knots on a compass course of 178 some 30 nautical miles off Homesteads tropical Florida coast bound for Costa Maya Mexico /

J. Fred Rodriguez Jr. [Maritime Historian]


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