With the December holidays fast approaching, we don't blame you if the anxiety of having no travel plans this year is creeping in. Well, here's the bad news: there is still no green light to travel overseas for leisure. But if you've planned enough staycations for the year, we're coming in with good news to lift your spirits. Two cruise lines – Genting Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean – have just been granted approval to pilot safe cruises for Singapore residents starting from November. This means that we'll soon be able to set sail on 'cruises to nowhere'.
Genting Cruise Line's 'World Dream' will embark on its first cruise on November 6, while Royal Caribbean's 'Quantum of the Seas' will begin sailing in December. According to a statement by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the two vessels are part of a pilot scheme that will allow round-trips with no ports of call at a maximum capacity of 50 per cent only to Singapore residents.
The 'World Dream' will offer 'Super Seacation' cruise packages for two or three nights. 'Quantum of the Seas', on the other hand, is offering three- and four-night cruises from December 1. Prices start from $334 for a two-night cruise and $374 and $509 for a three or four-night ocean getaway respectively. You can start booking here.
How will it be like?
Of course, in addition to mandatory Covid-19 testing for both crew and passengers, there'll be strict safety protocols to ensure that passengers have a piece of mind. A CruiseSafe certification programme is being developed by STB to provide assurance for safe cruising. The certification, which has to be obtained by all cruise lines sailing out of Singapore, sets out stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey – prior to boarding, to after disembarkation.
Royal Caribbean, for instance, will be implementing a comprehensive set of health and safety measures at every step of the guest journey. Rigorous protocols include testing and screening, upgraded Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems that enhance filtration, stringent cleaning practices, reduced capacities for greater physical distancing, expert medical care and onboard facilities, and more.
If you book your sail-cation on 'Quantum of the Seas' before November 30, you're covered with Royal Caribbean’s Cruise with Confidence program, which allows for changes and cancellations up to 48 hours before the cruise begins. There's also a 100 percent credit towards a future cruise should a guest or any member of the travel party test positive for Covid-19 during the three weeks prior to their booked cruise; or a full refund if a guest, or any member of their travel party, tests positive during their voyage. Royal Caribbean will also cover Covid-19 related costs up to $25,000 per person in the travel party for onboard medical costs or any required quarantine and travel home.
More updates will be announced in the upcoming weeks. But hey, aren't we glad things are finally looking up?