singapore gets approval for cruises to nowhere - Singapore gets approval for ‘cruises to nowhere'

Singapore has received approval for its first “cruises to nowhere”, in which there are no ports of call.

The round-trips won’t have any stopovers, with passengers able to enjoy the facilities on board and take in any sights from afar, but required to remain on the ship the entire time.

To ensure sailings are safe, these pilot cruises, launching in November, will operate at 50 per cent capacity and be open only to Singapore residents.

The Singapore Tourist Board has developed a mandatory CruiseSafe certification that companies must adhere to, setting out stringent hygiene and safety measures.

These include mandatory Covid-19 tests for passengers prior to boarding; strict cleaning and sanitisation protocols onboard; ensuring 100 per cent fresh air throughout the ship; setting up onboard measures to discourage close contact and inter-mingling between groups; and emergency response plans for Covid-19-related incidents.

Measures for crew onboard the ships will be even more stringent.

Those travelling from overseas must undergo 14 days of self-isolation in their home country and test negative for Covid-19 before their departing for Singapore.  

They will be tested again on arrival in Singapore, serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (essentially quarantine) in Singapore, and undergo another test at the end of the two weeks.

Once sailings begin, all crew members will also be routinely tested.

Pilot cruises with these measures in place will start from 6 November on Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream cruise liner.  

These will be followed by sailings on Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, starting from December.

“This cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain the confidence of passengers,” said Keith Tan, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board.

“As ASEAN’s (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region.  

“We will continue to work with cruise lines and our industry stakeholders to chart a new course for safe cruising.”  

The sailings will be the first cruises permitted since Singapore banned the practice in March this year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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It comes as major cruise operators around the world have signed up for mandatory pre-board testing of passengers and crew for ships carrying 250 people or more.

In a statement, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said: “CLIA ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100 per cent testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons – with a negative test required for any embarkation.

“This is a travel industry first and an example of the cruise industry leading the way.

“We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of the passengers, the crew, and the communities we visit our top priority.”

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