Holiday cruises to nowhere ‘sea’ growing demand

How a-boat a show?: A Christmas performance are among the activities on board the ‘World Dream’ cruise ship. — Reuters

There has been a rush to hit the high seas with 13 cruises to nowhere setting sail over the past month or so.

The round-trip cruises without ports of call have taken 30,000 or so passengers since Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream got the ball rolling on Nov 6.

The trips, which are part of a pilot programme announced by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in October, impose strict safety measures to keep Covid-19 at bay, including a reduced 50% capacity and pre-boarding testing for passengers.

The two operators authorised to run such trips – Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International – said that tickets were selling well.

The World Dream, which has run 11 cruises since its first one on Nov 6, offers two- and three-night “Super Seacation” voyages.

Genting Cruise Lines has extended the itineraries to the end of March.

“More Singapore residents are increasingly becoming aware of the start of World Dream’s safe pilot cruises... along with the benefits of cruising, ” said Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises and head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines.

“The responses and inquiries continue to be very positive and we remain highly optimistic of the growing demand during the school and festive year-end holidays.”

Royal Caribbean International held a pilot cruise to nowhere on the Quantum of the Seas on Nov 30 and last Thursday launched its first consumer-oriented voyage since the pandemic began with a four-night getaway for 1,300 passengers.

The vessel set sail again yesterday on a three-night jaunt with 1,700 voyagers.

Angie Stephen, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Royal Caribbean International, noted: “The demand for our product has certainly exceeded our expectations. Singapore is a great base of business, and we’re planning on building back confidence in the cruising industry and ramping up safely.” — The Straits Times/ANN

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