CHICAGO (CBS) — Back on the sea; for the first time since the pandemic, a cruise ship is carrying American passengers in the Caribbean.

So what’s it like? CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory spoke to CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg before he boarded the Celebrity Millennium in St. Maarten.

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“We’re going to see 100% vaccine compliance,” Greenberg said.

In addition to vaccines, there are testing requirements, mask rules when getting on and off the ship, and other restrictions.

Besides people like Greenberg who are working, who would want to go through all that to get back on a cruise?

“You’re dealing with a large population of dedicated cruisers who love their ships.  They’re passionate about it. Think about this last year,” Greenberg said.

In April 2020, the very cruise ship Greenberg and others will be boarding in St. Maarten was anchored off the coast of California, without passengers, waiting for the world to return to normal.

Over the weekend, normal arrived. About 650 passengers – wearing masks – boarded a ship that normally would carry 2,100.

“There are no lines. There are no crowds. They’re operating at limited capacity, which is a great benefit for passengers,” Greenberg said.

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CBS 2 spoke with Greenberg again as he was onboard the Celebrity Millennium in Barbados, the first stop.

Much looks and feels the same, including aerobics by the pool.  Masks are not required for passengers once onboard. The biggest changes, perhaps, have been at the buffet.

“They’ve added something else if you go into the buffet. They have added brand new sink stations where you’re required to thoroughly wash your hands and dry them before you go into the buffet,” Greenberg said. “But you’re not picking out what you want and severing yourself.  It’s being plated for you.”

Another change: shore excursions – passengers are not allowed to wander around by themselves, so the cruise line can maintain a bubble.

“They are watching who goes on the buses. If you’re not going on a bus, you can’t get off the ship. They have it strictly controlled by cabin number. So you’re not going to explore the port on your own,” Greenberg said.

If you’re thinking about taking a cruise, now is the time, with great bargains in the next couple months.

“It’s a buyer’s market for the early birds,” Greenberg said.

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That’s something to get you moving.

Lauren Victory