Singapore Is Starting "Cruises To Nowhere" And They Are Booked Out

Flights to nowhere didn't take off but it looks like cruises to nowhere will set sail next month.
Wednesday 14 October 2020
Royal Caribbean International's "cruise to nowhere" will set sail in December while Genting Cruise Lines will start 6 November. Photo: @royalcaribbeansg/Instagram

Singapore is testing waters with its “cruises to nowhere” in a bid to revive its coronavirus-hit tourism industry, but critics have warned against it as it is a risky move that could spark COVID-19 outbreaks.

According the The Straits Times, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that round-trip cruises without ports of call will take place under a pilot programme beginning in November and December. The two cruise lines involved are Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International.

It’s proving to be a popular option for travel-starved Singaporeans as a Royal Caribbean International spokesman said bookings are up 500% compared with the past two weeks. Their first sailing with 1,000 guests on 1 December is almost sold out.



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We want your vacation to be the best one yet, so we’re handling everything to make sure your only worry is deciding what to pack. Here are a few things we’re doing so you can have a care-free vacay: TESTING FOR ALL Safe vacations start with prevention. Every guest and crew member will be required to test negative for SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) prior to boarding. 100% FRESH, FILTERED AIR There’s nothing like the fresh air of the open ocean. Our HVAC system continuously supplies 100% fresh, filtered air from outdoors to all indoor spaces so you can always breathe easy. MEDICAL GRADE CLEANING STANDARDS We take great pride in keeping our ships sparkling clean. And our new sanitization protocols rival those of even the best hospitals, using certified disinfectants, UV-C sanitizing lights and fogging. LESS GUESTS, MORE SPACE FOR YOUR FAMILY We know that on vacation you just want to relax. That’s why our ships will sail with fewer guests onboard – giving you more distance from others, so you can focus on getting closer to those you care about. UPGRADED MEDICAL FACILITIES & EXPERT CARE There’s nothing more important than your health and safety. And our medical care is stronger than ever with more doctors and nurses on each ship and state-of-the-art equipment enhancements to offer high quality care whenever it’s needed. SAFE, TIMELY RETURN HOME IN ANY SCENARIO In the event a guest or crew member tests positive while we’re sailing, there’s no need to worry that you’ll get stuck at sea. Royal Caribbean has partnered with the Singapore Government to develop transport protocols that ensure the ship can quickly return to port, with all guests permitted to disembark in a timely manner. Learn more about our Royal Promise at the link in our bio.

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The response at Genting Cruise Lines has also been encouraging, to say the least. They received more than 6,000 bookings in just five days. With their first sail on 6 November and a total of 23 sailings lined up, each with a maximum capacity of 1,700 passengers, it seems like this will be a boost for sales after many slow months due to the pandemic.
Mr. Michael Goh, head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines, said calls of inquiry began flooding in almost immediately after the STB made its announcement. In a statement to The Straits Times, he said: “The response has been overwhelming. We call it a ‘superstaycation’, because we offer all three meals, outdoor activities like waterslides and rock climbing, and even a Christmas musical.”
All passengers are to abide by the strict SOPs outlined by the STB of course. They will have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding as part of the STB’s CruiseSafe programme and will also have to comply with safe management measures, such as mask-wearing and safe distancing of 1 metre between groups of passengers.

The global cruise industry has largely ground to halt due to virus-related travel restrictions, and following a series of outbreaks on packed vessels. Several cruise lines worldwide, including Britain’s P&O Cruises and Norway’s Hurtigruten, have cancelled all sailings for now due to travel restrictions. Singapore saw virus outbreaks in crowded dormitories housing low-paid migrant workers, but they have now largely been brought under control.

Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels programme director at Friends of the Earth, has warned about “the potential to have COVID outbreaks” on cruise liners. “The cruise industry was a large contributor to COVID outbreaks in several ports around the world,” she said. She also warned about the environmental impact of restarting cruises. But we suppose for now, those warnings will not be heeded as there are too many people who are hoping for smooth sailing.


Source: AFP Relax News, The Straits Times, Genting Cruise Lines