Life & Leisure

Singapore pilots round trip cruises to nowhere amid flagging industry

Bangkok, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- Singapore on Friday began a pilot program for so-called cruises to nowhere, whereby cruise ships will offer passengers a trip out to sea that begins and ends in the Asian nation in a bid to salvage a sector severely bruised by the pandemic.

The World Dream cruiser, operated by Genting Cruise Lines, will leave port at 9 pm and make its way out to the high seas, offering passengers a two or three-night trip.

The vessel will not be able to call at other ports and its capacity will be capped at 50% due to Covid-19 restrictions. It will, however, offer classic cruise line entertainment, such as theater productions, spa and wellness sessions, a swimming pool and fine dining, according to a statement from the company on Thursday.

The health and safety measures on the World Dream are in line with those required by Singaporean authorities. The cruise management said measures are in place to limit group sizes and ensure social distancing.

Crewmembers have undergone 14 days of quarantine and tested negative for Covid-19 before beginning work.

Keith Tan, director of Singapore’s tourism department, in October 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.”

For the moment the cruises will only be available to Singaporeans or residents of Singapore who can prove they are negative for Covid-19.

Royal Caribbean International is also planning its own round-trip cruises from Singapore, one of the most popular launchpads for maritime tourism in the world.

International cruise line companies were forced to suspend activities after authorities in a number of countries detected outbreaks on a number of vessels and prohibited them from disembarking.

Although several countries are slowly allowing the sector to come to life again — albeit with restrictions — the industry has far from recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

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