Singapore to pilot cruises to nowhere from Nov, with enhanced safety protocols

Cruise ship Mariner of the Seas is docked at the Marina Bay cruise centre terminal in Singapore on October 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN        (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Marina Bay cruise centre terminal in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore will be launching pilot “cruises to nowhere” with two cruise lines from November, with enhanced hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a media release on Thursday (8 October) that the pilot cruises will start from 6 November with Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream, while Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing in December.

The cruises will be round-trips with no ports of call, and they will be sailing at up to 50 per cent of their capacity. They will be open only to Singapore residents.

CruiseSafe certification for hygiene and safety measures

To ensure safe cruising amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, STB is developing a mandatory CruiseSafe certification programme to set out hygiene and safety measures from prior to boarding until after disembarkation.

All cruise lines intending to sail out of Singapore must obtain the CruiseSafe certification prior to sailing. The certification will require independent assessment by a third-party firm.

“Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International are in the process of attaining the certification,” STB said in the media release. “They were approved for the pilot as they have demonstrated the ability to put in place stringent protocols and precautionary measures as part of their CruiseSafe certification.”

The CruiseSafe standards include:

  • Infection control measures at every stage of a passenger’s journey, including a mandatory COVID-19 test prior to boarding

  • Strict and frequent cleaning and sanitisation protocols onboard

  • Safe management measures aligned with prevailing national policy at the time of sailing

  • Ensuring 100 per cent fresh air throughout the ship

  • Reducing ship capacity to enable sufficient safe distancing

  • Setting up onboard measures to discourage close contact and inter-mingling between groups

  • Emergency response plans for incidents relating to COVID-19

The pilot cruises will have to comply with prevailing safe management measures, such as mask-wearing and one-metre safe distancing.

Requirements for cruise crew

Regular inspections will be conducted on board during the pilots. Cruise lines that are found to be non-compliant will be subjected to penalties including fines, suspension of sailings and revocation of CruiseSafe certification.

The crew on pilot cruises are subjected to stringent measures beyond Singapore’s prevailing requirements for cross-border travel.

For example, the crew who need to enter Singapore to serve on board the pilot cruises must first undergo 14 days isolation in their home country and must test negative for COVID-19 before their departure to Singapore.

They will be tested on arrival in Singapore, serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice in Singapore, and will undergo another test at the end of their SHN. Once sailings begin, all crew members will also be routinely tested.

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