‘Cruises to nowhere’ a big hit

MORE than 82,000 people have set sail on cruises, with no Covid-19 cases on board since the pilot programme started last year.

Singapore kicked off its “cruises to nowhere” pilot in November, with two operators – Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International – given the go-ahead to offer round trips with no ports of call.In response to queries, Royal Caribbean International’s managing director for Asia-Pacific Angie Stephen said its Quantum of the Seas had completed 25 sailings with over 35,000 guests and no positive Covid-19 cases.

Stephen added that demand for these cruises was strong from first-timers and repeat customers.

More than 47,000 guests have taken the cruises on Genting’s liner World Dream, said head of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines Michael Goh.

World Dream has completed more than 45 sailings since the programme began on Nov 6.

Both cruise lines have extended their sailing season till June.

When asked whether the capacity of its cruises would be increased from the current 50%, Genting said: “We are working closely with the Singapore authorities, including the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), to ensure that capacity limits are in line with local requirements based on the evolving situation.”

Royal Caribbean also said cruise capacity remained at 50% and it would continue to work closely with the Singapore government to monitor and adjust protocols in place on the Quantum of the Seas.

Last month, Royal Caribbean International’s president and chief executive Michael Bayley said the ship’s passenger capacity may be increased to 65% in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, Annie Chang, STB’s director of cruise, said the passenger capacity limit of cruises remained at 50%.

All ships sailing out of Singapore have to follow the CruiseSafe standards developed by STB such as reducing ship capacity to enable sufficient safe distancing and having an emergency response plan for incidents related to Covid-19.

Serene Tan, 36, has gone on cruises with her family on both Quantum of the Seas and World Dream since the pilot programme began.

“Cruises are as safe as, if not safer than, going to the mall or cinema.

At least everyone is tested before boarding, ” she said. — The Straits Times/ANN

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cruises , tourism , covid-19


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