(5:25 a.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean has confirmed it will restart cruising from Singapore on December 1.
The line will base the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas out of Singapore offering three- and four-night "Ocean Getaways" -- or cruises to nowhere -- for Singapore residents only and operating at half capacity.
It will be the first Royal Caribbean Group line, which also include Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea, to resume cruising since global cruising was paused in March.
The news comes at the same time as Taiwan-based line Dream Cruises -- which restarted cruising in Taiwan in July -- also announced it would restart cruising in the city state, offering similar short-break cruises from November 6.
"Singapore residents are adventurous travellers and we are so excited to be giving them the opportunity to get away from their daily grind and enjoy a thrilling world-class Ocean Getaway, with total peace of mind," said Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International.
"While the cruise experience will be different than it was pre-pandemic, we are committed to providing the signature Royal Caribbean holiday that guests know and love, while keeping the health and safety of everyone onboard as our top priority."
She thanked the Singapore Government for its collaboration and support and confidence in Royal Caribbean, adding: "We share their strong commitment and focus to reignite the local economy and bring back jobs and services supporting the travel industry."
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is developing a mandatory CruiseSafe certification programme, which sets out stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey -- from prior to boarding, to after disembarkation.
The pilot cruises for both lines will be:
- round-trips with no ports of call;
- sailing at a reduced capacity of up to 50 percent; and
- only open to Singapore residents
The Government will monitor the outcomes of the pilot sailings carefully in the coming months before deciding on the next steps for cruises.
Royal Caribbean Group has been working with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and a panel of medical experts to establish the Healthy Sail Panel, which has drawn up a list of 74 health protocols for the safe resumption of cruising.
In Singapore, Royal Caribbean has been working closely with the local health and tourism authorities to follow all requirements and guidelines including the CruiseSafe Certification standards, which all cruise lines must obtain prior to sailing out of Singapore.
When it resumes operations, Royal will be implementing a comprehensive set of health and safety measures that include, testing and screening; upgraded Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems that enhance filtration; stringent cleaning practices; reduced capacities for greater physical distancing; expert medical care and onboard facilities, and more.
These protocols will continuously be evaluated and enhanced as new procedures and advancements in technology becomes available.
The line is also allowing passengers to make changes and cancellations up to 48 hours before the cruise begins. As well as included with the cruise are COVID-19 protections which include a 100 percent credit towards a future cruise should a guest or any member of their travel party test positive for COVID-19 during the three weeks prior to their booked cruise; or a full refund if a guest, or any member of their travel party, tests positive during their voyage.
Royal Caribbean will cover COVID-19 related costs up to $25,000 SGD per person in the travel party for onboard medical costs, any required quarantine and travel home.
The line has suspended all sailings worldwide until November 30.