Royal Caribbean is about to cruise again — but only this country’s residents can sail

Dec 2, 2020

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In a significant milestone for the comeback of cruising, Royal Caribbean is resuming sailings today in Asia, where it long has had a significant operation.

The world’s largest cruise line is launching short cruises from Singapore with a single vessel — the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas.

The 16-deck-high cruise ship — the 13th largest in the world — will operate three- and four-night “cruises to nowhere” from the city-state that don’t include any port stops.

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The cruises, notably, will be the first that Royal Caribbean has operated since the cruise industry shut down operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, they’ll be the first cruises operated by any major North America-based brand since the shutdown. Most major cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America have cancelled all sailings worldwide until at least February or March.

The new sailings, no doubt, are an exciting development for Royal Caribbean fans eager to get back on the water — as well as cruise fans in general. Royal Caribbean accounts for nearly a fifth of all cruises taken worldwide.

But if you count yourselves among those fans, take note that there’s a catch for those wanting to book one of the Singapore trips: For now, they’re only open to residents of Singapore.

Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Singapore is allowing cruise ships to resume sailings out of the city-state for locals only in the wake of a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases since the summer. The island nation has almost completely eradicated the illness, recording fewer than 10 cases a day on most days for the past two months.

Royal Caribbean is the second cruise line that Singapore has allowed to restart operations out of the city-state. Asia-based Dream Cruises began short cruises from Singapore on 6 November with a single ship, the 3,376-passenger World Dream.

Royal Caribbean is implementing a wide range of anti-COVID health measures on the sailings — many of which we’re likely to see when the line resumes sailings in North America.

The measures include reducing the number of passengers allowed on the ship by as much as 50%. The initial sailing today will be capped at around 1,000 passengers.

Royal Caribbean also is requiring COVID-19 tests for passengers before boarding and social distancing on board. In addition, Quantum of the Seas’ ventilation system has been enhanced with new filtration and new cleaning measures have been put in place.

Quantum of the Seas is scheduled to continue the new short sailings from Singapore for the next four months.

Royal Caribbean has cancelled all other sailings worldwide until at least 1 January. The line normally operates 26 ships.

Cruising has resumed in a very limited way in recent months in parts of Europe, led by Europe-based lines such as MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and TUI Cruises. A handful of lines in other parts of the world including French Polynesia also have resumed limited sailings.

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Featured image of courtesy of Royal Caribbean 

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