Coming soon to Singapore: Cruises to Nowhere
Singapore Airlines’ grand ambitions to host “flights to nowhere” may not have materialized, but the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has approved the gradual resumption of cruising from November 2020, beginning with “round-trips with no ports of call”—essentially, cruises to nowhere. However, these cruises can only be conducted with safety checks and procedures firmly in place: these pilot cruises be sailing at a reduced capacity of up to 50 per cent, and are only open to Singapore residents.
To allay concerns of people who are going for such cruises, a research conducted by the Healthy Sail Panel—a joint safety task force between Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line—discovered that it may be easier to avoid contracting Covid-19 on a cruise ship as opposed to other forms of travel, due to their ability to ensure control within the entire environment while implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. This, together with STB’s mandatory CruiseSafe certification for cruise lines, outlines “stringent hygiene and safety measures through the passenger journey—from prior to boarding, to after disembarkation”.
The series of safety measures include a mandatory Covid-19 test prior to boarding and infection control measures at every stage of a passenger’s journey, strict and frequent cleaning and sanitisation protocols onboard, ensuring 100 per cent fresh air through the ship and emergency response plans for any incidents related to Covid-19. To leave no stones unturned, crew members will also be routinely tested.
According to reports from the news media, and the Singapore Tourism Board, Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International are in the process of attaining the certification, but have been approved for pilot cruises as they have demonstrated the capabilities’ to implement protocols and measures. Furthermore, overseas crew members serving on these cruises will be subjected to stringent measures, including a Covid-19 test and 14-day isolation period in their home country before departure to Singapore, followed by another Covid-19 test on arrival and at the end of a 14-day Stay-Home Notice in Singapore before serving on board.
Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream will set sail on November 6, while the Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will follow suit in December 2020.