Safe and Gradual Resumption of Cruising
||Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board
In line with the calibrated resumption of economic activities in Singapore, safe cruises will be piloted from November 2020 with enhanced safety protocols for two cruise lines that are home ported here. To provide assurance for safe cruising, 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 safety and well-being of our local community, as well as passengers and crew remain the top priority. In light of this, the pilot cruises 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.
To allow time to review the operationalization of enhanced safety protocols, the pilot cruises will start from November with Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream. Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing in December.
The Government will monitor the outcomes of the pilot sailings carefully in the coming months before deciding on the next steps for cruises.
STB’s CruiseSafe was created in consultation with the industry and is benchmarked against global health and safety standards. Singapore is one of the first countries in the world to develop and implement a mandatory audit and certification programme for cruise lines before they can commence sailings. Prior to sailing, all cruise lines sailing out of Singapore must obtain the CruiseSafe certification, which requires independent assessment by a third-party certification firm. Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International are in the process of attaining the certification. 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.
As part of CruiseSafe, the pilot cruises will have to comply with prevailing safe management measures, such as mask-wearing and 1m-safe distancing. To ensure compliance, 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 (SHN) in Singapore, and will undergo another test at the end of their SHN. Once sailings begin, all crew members will also be routinely tested.
Cruising into the future
As the lead coordinator for cruise in ASEAN, Singapore aims to set a benchmark for the future of cruising in the region with the development of CruiseSafe standards. Singapore also remains confident of the long-term potential of cruising.
“This cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain the confidence of passengers. As ASEAN’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region. We will continue to work with cruise lines and our industry stakeholders to chart a new course for safe cruising,” said Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.
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