(9 a.m. EDT) -- Genting Cruise Lines has announced the restart of cruise operations for Dream Cruises with Explorer Dream operating itineraries beginning from 26 July 2020.
The 1,867-passenger ship will operate two and three-night "Taiwan Island-Hopping" itineraries, departing from Keelung and calling at Penghu, Matzu and Kinmen islands -- just for the domestic Taiwanese market.
Dream Cruises will become the third ocean-going cruise line to restart cruising, after Hurtigruten resumed services along the Norwegian coast on June 16 for Norwegians and Danes only on vessels carrying around 500 passengers; and SeaDream, which also resumed cruisng from Norway with ships of just 112 passengers.
U.S. cruise lines are on a voluntary suspension of all services leaving from U.S. homeports until September 15. It's the same story in Europe, with most lines suspending services until after summer.
"After months of detailed planning with the authorities to ensure the safety and health of guests and crew, we appreciate the approval of Explorer Dream resuming cruise operations in Taiwan," said Tan Sri KT Lim, Chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong.
Genting has collaborated with DNV GL, the world’s largest classification society, for Explorer Dream to receive the world’s first "Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry (CIP-M)" he confirmed.
Taiwan’s low numbers of COVID-19 cases compared to global figures has also helped with the decision to resume services -- and a desire by the island to kick-start tourism.
During the past few months, Genting Cruise Lines has completely re-examined and enhanced all of its health, hygiene and operating protocols to ensure the safest environment for everyone on board including social distancing in dining, entertainment and public areas, 100 percent fresh air ventilation in staterooms and operations throughout the ship.
Explorer Dream has also undergone a thorough deep cleaning and observation of strict quarantine procedures for her crew. The majority of crew will be from other Genting Cruise Lines ships who have been quarantined for the last three months and all will undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine on land after the ship arrives in Keelung on 30 June. Upon negative nucleic acid test results, an additional 7 day isolation period on board Explorer Dream will provide a total of 21 days of exhaustive preventive procedures before operations begin on 26 July.
Passengers will have to go through stringent health screening processes and guidelines prior to embarkation, disembarkation and social distancing measures on board, as well as thorough sanitization and disinfection and enhanced hygiene practices for passenger cabins and crew member quarters, public areas and recreational facilities, along with safe food and beverage handling procedures will be in place.