Resumption of Passenger Cruise Sailing Brings Hope and Optimism to ILA Cruise Ports

Resumption of Passenger Cruise Sailing On Saturday At Port Everglades In Florida Brings Hope and Optimism to All ILA Cruise Ports That Work Will Return Soon

NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (June 27, 2021) From Galveston, Texas to Manhattan in New York, all passenger cruise ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; Great Lakes; Puerto Rico, and Canada, the sight of Celebrity Cruise Line’s “Edge” passenger ship boarding 1,200 passengers at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and setting sail, brought joy and optimism to thousands of International Longshoremen’s Association members who have been mostly idled for the past 15 months because of the Corona Virus Pandemic.

But the shutdown of North America’s Cruise Industry ended on Saturday, June 26, 2021, where ILA members of Local 1526 made their way from the local’s hiring hall to Port Everglades where they were greeted by a large scoreboard sign that read: “Someday Is Here – Welcome Back.”

A beaming Johnnie Dixon, President of ILA Local 1526, shook hands and greeted his fellow Local 1526 members as they made their way to Celebrity Cruise’s embarkment area early Saturday morning, where they did something for the first time since early March 2021 – help cruise passengers load their baggage aboard the passenger ship “Edge.” Though the passenger capacity for Saturday’s cruise was lowered from 3,800 to 1,200, ILA members were delighted to return to their jobs, and doing what they love. One ILA member said: “You don’t know what you have until it’s taken away from you. It’s good to be back.”

Celebrity Cruise Line and Port Everglades held a 10 am press conference on Saturday where ILA 1526 and its president, Johnnie Dixon, were praised for their hard work and dedication.

Among those who recognized the ILA were Johnathan Daniels, Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director; Michael Udine, Broward County Vice Mayor; Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group; Brian Abel, Senior Vice President Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises and the Edge’s Captain, Kate McCue.

Captain McCue and Mr. Abel broke down in tears as they recounted the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic but expressed gratitude that Celebrity’s Edge was sailing once again, the first passenger ship in the United States to do so since early March of 2021.

Port Everglade’s neighboring port to the south, the Port of Miami, Florida will resume passenger cruise vessels operations next Saturday, July 3rd, and all ILA ports that handle passenger ships are hopeful their ports will be next.

“I am overjoyed for my dedicated ILA members from the Port of Port Everglades and their president, Johnnie Dixon, to welcome this return of passenger cruise sailings,” said International President Harold J. Daggett. “All ILA Locals and our membership that rely heavily on passenger cruise vessels have withstood a grueling 15 months without work. We look forward to all cruise companies to resume full operations in the near future. Our ILA members will be ready to also resume providing the best and most productive service to these cruise lines.”

Johnnie Dixon, President, ILA Local 1526 Addresses his members at 6:45 am shape at union hall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with Leon Taylor, Jr., Vice President.

Leon Taylor, Jr., Vice President, Local 1526, Fort Lauderdale, offers morning prayer before announcing work orders at 6:45 am shape at union’s hiring hall and headquarters.

Johnnie Dixon, President, ILA LOCAL 1526, outside his union headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Magic and Thrill of Passenger Cruise Sailings returns to Port Everglades and the United States on Saturday, June 26th as passengers and ILA members are welcomed back to Celebrity’s Edge passenger ship.

John P. Walden, ILA member of Local 1526 and Foreman, ILA Porters meets with ILA LOCAL 1526 President Johnnie Dixon, near Celebrity’s Edge passenger ship vessel.

RETURNING TO WORK: Proud ILA 1526 members Willie Kelly (left) and Eddie McReed, happily report to duty at Celebrity Passenger Ship, Edge, which set sail from Port Everglades on Saturday.

Celebrity Cruise Line Captain Kate McCue at press conference prior to launch of “Edge” passenger vessel from Port Everglades on Saturday.

WORKING THE PASSENGER SHIP: ILA LOCAL 1526 member Joshua Smith (left) pausing from loading baggage aboard Celebrity Cruise Line’s Edge, to greet his ILA Local President Johnnie Dixon. Brother Smith and all ILA members working this Saturday at Port Everglades on the passenger ship, were happy to be returning to their jobs and being part of history.

READY TO SAIL; ILA LOCAL 1526 President Johnnie Dixon (right) and Jim McNamara, ILA Chief of Staff, enjoying historic day at Port Everglades as passenger sailings resumed after a 15 month absence. Celebrity’s Edge set sail on Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2021.

Jonathan Daniels (center). Port Everglades Chief Executive Officer and Port Director welcomes Johnnie Dixon, (right), President, ILA LOCAL 1526 and Jim McNamara, ILA Chief of Staff, to press conference prior to launching of Celebrity Cruise Line’s “Edge” on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.