SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): To facilitate the resumption of cruises beginning Friday (Nov 6), a Covid-19 testing facility has been set up at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.
The testing facility is located on the third storey of the cruise centre's carpark, and is designed to clear 125 passengers every 30 minutes.
A spokesman for the centre said the facility took just over two weeks to complete, including infrastructure design, construction, flow planning, and testing and execution operations.
Close to 1,700 guests who have joined Genting Cruise Lines' first voyage on Friday will undergo an antigen rapid test at the cruise centre before boarding the World Dream vessel.
Test results will be available within an hour.
Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises and head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines, said any guest who fails health screening or the Covid-19 tests will be prohibited from checking in and continuing with the cruise.
Instead, the guest will be required to go for further examination and testing at designated medical centres stipulated by the Ministry of Health.
Testing for those boarding World Dream on Friday will begin at 9am, with passengers embarking from 2pm, giving them "ample time to enjoy the ship", said Goh.
All embarking guests will be given a designated time slot to take their Covid-19 test to ensure that all will be tested before the ship sets sail at 9pm.
Friday's cruise is the first in a "safe cruise" pilot scheme announced by the Singapore Tourism Board on Oct 8 to ensure the safe and gradual resumption of cruises amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A second cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, will join the scheme starting Dec 1.
Unlike Genting Cruise Lines' customers, those planning to sail on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas must take a Covid-19 test within 48 to 72 hours of boarding.
They will have to take along their negative test certification on the day of their cruise.
Angie Stephen, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Royal Caribbean International, said bookings made in October for cruises were six times the number of bookings received over the same period last year.
The first one, on Dec 1, is sold out.
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