The first Royal Caribbean cruise ship set sail today after the cruise line shut down its global operations back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas set sail from Singapore in what is expected to be a major milestone for the cruise industry.
The cruise will set sail for 3 nights from Singapore and will feature no port stops on its journey and is expected to sail at less than 50% of its capacity.
All eyes will be on the Quantum of the Seas which has a maximum capacity of 4180 passengers featuring 16 decks of staterooms, dining and entertainment venues. The sailing sees the world's largest cruise line return to the seas in what has been a tumultuous time for cruising.
In November, the first cruise ship to return to the Caribbean suffered an outbreak of COVID-19 on board the small ship SeaDream 1 which was only carrying 53 passengers.
Choosing Singapore was a safe bet for Royal Caribbean as the country has done an excellent job of controlling the virus within its own borders. Since the beginning of October, Singapore has been confirming less than 10 confirmed cases per day on average.
Royal Caribbean has also implemented new safety measures including passengers requiring a negative COVID-19 test before boarding and social distancing being enforced on board.
Additional measures include new air filtration systems and enhanced sanitation.
Royal Caribbean enthusiasts are excited to see the ship resume operations but for now sailings are only open to residents of Singapore.
According to the Singapore Cruise Society each passenger was provided with a tracking bracelet, face mask and personal hand sanitizer.
On the ship, passengers were greeted with social distancing signage, crew in face masks and some with visors, temperature checks and constant sanitation of high touch surfaces.
“Singapore residents are adventurous travellers, and we are so excited to give them the opportunity to get away from their daily grind and enjoy a thrilling world-class Ocean Getaway, with total peace of mind. While the cruise experience will be different than it was pre-pandemic, we are committed to providing the signature Royal Caribbean holiday that guests know and love, while keeping the health and safety of everyone on board as our top priority” said Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Royal Caribbean International, Angie Stephen.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to the Singapore Government for their collaboration and support and confidence in Royal Caribbean to deliver a safe cruising experience. We share their strong commitment and focus to reignite the local economy and bring back jobs and services supporting the travel industry.”
Keith Tan, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Tourism Board said that Singapore remains committed to growing cruising in the region.
As ASEAN’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region. Royal Caribbean International is a key partner in growing cruising in Singapore and the region, and I am confident in their ability to maintain the highest standards of hygiene and safety. We will continue to work with cruise lines and our industry stakeholders to chart a new course for safe cruising.”
Royal Caribbean is the second cruise line to resume operation in Singapore after the ‘World Dream' by Dream Cruises resumed sailing at the beginning of November.
The Quantum of the Seas is scheduled to remain in Singapore for the next several months offering 3 and 4 night sailings.
When Will Cruising Return to the United States?
Although the CDC lifted the ‘no sail order' in the U.S., it was replaced with a ‘conditional sailing order‘ which will see cruise lines go through a series of pre-start regulations and simulated sailings before resuming their first official cruises.
To meet the conditional sailing order requirements is expected to take cruise lines 2-3 months which could see ships begin to resume operations in January.
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