(CNN) — The first major cruise ship open to North Americans since the industry paused over a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic set sail on Saturday.

Celebrity Millennium, part of the Celebrity Cruises line owned by Royal Caribbean Group, sailed from Philipsburg, St. Maarten with paying passengers on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. Royal Caribbean has not held cruises since March 2020.

“Today, we sail, again! This is such a significant moment for our company, our industry and the Caribbean. That this day has finally arrived for our guests and our crew is truly special — beyond words, really,” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said in a statement. “What an honor to now be the first to enthusiastically say, once again — ‘Welcome Aboard!'”
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Passengers aboard the Celebrity Millennium before its departure on Saturday.

Colleen McDaniel/Cruise Critic

The 7-day cruise from St. Maarten will include port stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curacao.

About 500 passengers are on board, over 95% who are fully vaccinated. Children who could not yet receive vaccinations were required to show negative Covid-19 tests.

All ship crew members are also fully vaccinated.

“More than 80% of our passengers said they would prefer to sail on a ship with fully vaccinated people,” Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic who is aboard Celebrity Millennium, told CNN. “It’s like traveling in a bubble.”

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Crew ship employees on the Celebrity Millennium.

Colleen McDaniel/Cruise Critic

“This is the first big ship sailing in the Caribbeans so it feels pretty special,” she added. “The energy and excitement is here is so powerful. The crew is so eager to have people finally on

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