Starting next month, Singapore will allow the sailing of cruise ships heading “to nowhere,” the country’s tourism agency announced. The decision will allow their citizens to have additional recreation activities amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, safety guidelines will be in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
‘Cruises to Nowhere’
Singapore has allowed two cruise lines to sail, with Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream to start in November. Another cruise line, the Quantum of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International, will begin sailing in December, Bloomberg reports per a Singapore Tourism Board statement. However, the cruise lines will only accept reservations from residents in the country. Also, they can only operate at 50 percent capacity. The journeys will also remain round trips.
Singapore’s cruises to nowhere to start in November with strict safety procedures https://t.co/cQlXD1B4c8
— Bloomberg (@business) October 8, 2020
For the past several months, cruise ships all over the world remained parked in ports as the COVID-19 outbreak began in March. The entire industry had to shut down as the virus reached the seas, like the Diamond Princess sailing in Japan earlier this year.
Cruise operators need to implement safety measures prescribed under the CruiseSafe certification program. Basically, it includes health protocols like testing the crew and passengers if they contracted COVID-19 prior to boarding. Moreover, cruise ships should have boosted sanitation efforts, implemented fresh air circulation practices, among others. Also, operators should discourage passengers from close contact with other people. Passengers, on the other hand, have to wear masks at all times.
The cruise pilot serves as “a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience” to make passengers confident again, STB CEO Keith Tan said.
The Singapore Tourism Board claimed that the country becomes one of the pioneers to employ certification programs for cruise lines. The decision to allow cruise lines serves as an attempt to boost its tourism industry. Previously, Singapore officials said that they can’t afford to wait for a COVID-19 vaccine to become widely available, Bloomberg noted.
“Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region,” Tan added.
But before cruise lines can even begin to sail, a third-party evaluator will have to take an assessment. Also, crew members have to undergo coronavirus testing before and after their 14-day quarantine.
Currently, both Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean work on obtaining the CruiseSafe certification, which they would need to operate.