Singapore to start ‘cruises to nowhere’ for leisure travel amid pandemic

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New Delhi (NVI): The Southeast Asian island Singapore to begin ‘cruises to nowhere’ in the seas for the oceanic lovers and travellers from November, in a bid to revive its coronavirus-hit tourism industry, according to country’s tourism board.

“The Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream and Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will begin round-trip journeys with stringent health protocol from November and December respectively,” the Singapore Tourism Board said in a statement.

These two cruise ships will start sailing from Singapore into the open seas and back as the city-state, which aims to give residents some outlet for their wanderlust amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The round-trips won’t have any stopovers or ports to call, 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.

Recently, some countries have been participating in the trend of ‘flying to nowhere’, Singapore, decided against it, in view of the environmental consequences of fantasy flights, come up with a new initiative of starting ‘cruises to nowhere’.

The Singapore tourism board has developed a mandatory CruiseSafe certification program by which will set out stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the journey.

Under the certificate program, some of measures include COVID-19 testing of crew and passengers, increased sanitization, fresh air circulating measures, and onboard steps to discourage close contact and intermingling. The boats sailing is also reduced at a capacity of up to 50 per cent and entry only for residents in the southeast Asian country.

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

“Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region,” Tan added.

The cruises will also require guests to have mandatory COVID-19 tests prior to boarding and refrain from close contact with others on the ship.

Furthermore, Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are in the process of attaining the certification, the board said, adding that the government will decide on the next steps for the cruise industry after carefully monitoring the voyages.

According Royal Caribbean International, its three-night sail from Singapore to nowhere has a base price of USD 257. It is also offering various flexible terms and conditions, including COVID-19 related onboard medical cost cover, of up to S$25,000 (USD 18,400) per person, too woo customers.

-RJV