Singapore has announced that it will launch pleasure cruises ‘cruises to nowhere’ that don’t actually visit any ports in November 2020. These cruises may be the next big thing in COVID-safe travel.
The city-state’s national tourism board has partnered with two cruise lines for the initial journeys, the Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream and Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas chosen as the first two ships to take part. The Singapore Tourism Board said in a statement on Thursday, that they begin round-trip journeys from November and December respectively,
This cruise, though, will provide quite a different experience than your typical seagoing journey. For one, there will be stringent protocols for cruise operators and passengers to permit the start of the voyages, these have been established under a CruiseSafe certification program.
They include COVID-19 testing of crew and passengers, fresh air circulating measures, increased sanitization, onboard steps to discourage close contact and intermingling, travellers will have to wear masks while outside of their staterooms and, both boarding and disembarking will be staggered to avoid crowds. Moreover, in order to strengthen the hygiene protocols, ships will have no port calls in between, they will depart from and return to the same spot. The ships are open for only Singapore residents and will operate at no more than 50% capacity.
To ensure safety in not only the ships but also in Singapore all crew members will have to isolate in their home countries, go through a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Singapore and undergo regular testing.
Keith Tan, CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board, said in a statement “This cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain the confidence of passengers. Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region.”
Singapore is looking at ways to boost its tourism industry, which has been hit hard as the pandemic decimated travel. The outbreak has led to record losses at the nation’s flag carrier Singapore Airlines Ltd. and destroyed traffic at Changi Airport. The government warned earlier this week that Singapore can’t afford to wait a year or two for a vaccine to become widely available.
They are coming up with new and innovative ways to boost up their terrorism and bring activity in the sector, For example, Singapore Airlines, the Lion City’s hometown carrier, is organizing a pop-up restaurant onboard a jet parked at Changi Airport.
The World Dream’s first “cruise to nowhere” will begin on November 6, they are offering two and three-night packages. While Quantum of the Seas will set sail from December 1 and will provide three and four-night packages.
To woo customers, Royal Caribbean is offering various flexible terms and conditions, including COVID-19 related onboard medical cost cover of up to S$25,000 ($18,400) per person.
Prices and onboard amenities for Singapore’s two cruises have not yet been announced. However, if recent ‘flights to nowhere’ are anything to go by, then these cruise ship tickets could sell out quickly, no matter the prices. Tickets for Qantas’s seven-hour destination-less flights sold out in just ten minutes. It’s evident that travelers are itchy for something to keep them occupied while borders are closed and planes are grounded.