More than 120,000 have taken cruises to nowhere, with no Covid-19 cases on board: STB

SINGAPORE – More than 120,000 people have set sail on cruises, with no Covid-19 cases on board since the pilot programme to reboot the cruise industry began last November, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Thursday (April 1).

Noting that a cruise pilot was launched last November to regain the confidence of passengers, STB’s director of cruise Annie Chang said that it did so by endorsing cruise operators with rigorous hygiene measures.

“Singapore’s CruiseSafe standards have set a clear benchmark for our cruise partners, who have been diligent in ensuring the measures on board are adhered to,” she added.

On Thursday, Royal Caribbean International announced it was extending its Quantum of the Seas cruises until October this year after the cruise company saw an overwhelming demand for travel.

The cruise-to-nowhere pilot began in November last year, with two operators – Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International – given the go-ahead to offer round trips with no ports of call.

Royal Caribbean said that since its first cruise in December, it has completed more than 30 successful sailings.

“With more than 50,000 guests having cruised with us and zero positive Covid-19 cases to date, holidaymakers can rest assured we are focused on delivering safe, memorable cruise holidays,” said Mr Michael Bayley, president of Royal Caribbean International.

He added that demand will continue to be high with the rollout of vaccines globally and adherence to international safety practices.

To operate cruises-to-nowhere, both Royal Caribbean International and Genting Cruise Lines have to abide by STB’s CruiseSafe guidelines.

They include operating at a reduced capacity of 50 per cent and abiding by strict safety measures and infection protocols.

Passengers embarking on such cruises need to take a mandatory Covid-19 test before boarding and must use TraceTogether for effective contact tracing.

They must also observe safe distancing measures and not intermingle between groups.

Globally, the cruise industry is also making a comeback.

Beyond Singapore, Royal Caribbean is setting sail from Israel for the first time in May, where 50 per cent of its population has been vaccinated as at March 15.

It will also resume sailings in the Caribbean in June and around Britain in July.

Star Cruises, a cruise liner under Genting Cruise Lines, will also be the first cruise line to resume sailings in Malaysia.

Its Star Pisces ship, which can accommodate up to 1,600 passengers will set sail from Penang on May 13.

Join ST’s Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

Source: Read Full Article