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Cruises to nowhere extended as Singaporeans seek to go anywhere

·2-min read
El buque crucero Quantum of the Seas se encuentra en el puerto Marina Bay Cruise Center de Singapur, miércoles 9 de diciembre de 2020. Royal Caribbean dijo en un comunicado que un pasajero del buque
Royal Caribbean Cruises is extending the season for its Quantum of the Sea ship because of “overwhelming demand” for its voyages to nowhere among Singapore residents. (PHOTO: AP/Danial Hakim)

By Joyce Koh

(Bloomberg) — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is extending the season for one of Asia’s largest cruise ships, because of what it said was “overwhelming demand” for its voyages to nowhere among Singapore residents with few options for travel outside of their small island city-state.

Its Quantum of the Seas ship, outfitted with attractions like surf and skydiving simulators, will continue sailing from Singapore through October, after first extending the season through June, the company said in a statement on Thursday. In a nod to the ongoing pandemic, the ship operates with reduced capacity, a mask mandate outside staterooms, and other social distancing measures. More than 50,000 people have sailed from Singapore with Royal Caribbean since the program began.

The Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., docked at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. The ship is back in Singapore and those on board are confined to their cabins after a positive Covid-19 case was identified, cutting short what was meant to be a four-day cruise to nowhere.

The company’s 30-plus sailings in Singapore offer “a real-life, validated model of how cruising can be a unique, safe vacation beyond what many other travel options can offer,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in the statement.

Read More: Singaporeans Stuck on Island Seek Private Jets, Daycations

In Singapore, travel curbs aimed at keeping the virus at bay have pushed its 5.7 million residents to seek other options from staycations to local tours in order to satiate their wanderlust. The country is in talks with places like Hong Kong to re-open borders for travel, and looking to establish quarantine-free travel with places that have successfully controlled the pandemic.

With few alternatives outside Singapore’s borders, the so-called cruises to nowhere, which started in November with Royal Caribbean and Genting Cruise Lines, have proved popular. Some 120,000 people have traveled across more than 90 sailings with no reported cases of the virus spreading on board, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.