The Singapore Tourism Board has announced the resumption of cruises in November.

Pilot itineraries will be offered by two lines that are homeported in the country − Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean.

To ensure the safety of passengers and crew, the pilot sailings will consist of round-trips with no ports-of-call. Sailings are only open to Singapore residents, and ships will run at a reduced capacity of up to 50 percent.

The lines are advertising the trips as “seacations”.

STB is also developing a mandatory CruiseSafe certification programme, which will see a series of stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey – from pre-boarding to post-disembarkation.

As part of the CruiseSafe programme, all passengers will be required to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing prior to boarding. They will also have to comply with safe management measures, such as mask-wearing and safe distancing of 1m between groups of passengers.

Pilot cruises start from November 6 with Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream.

World Dream will be the newest built cruise ship to homeport in Singapore, offering a series of 2 and 3-night ‘Super Seacation’ sailings during the school and year-end holidays.

A mandatory Covid-19 test will be conducted on all guests aged 13 and above before embarkation.

All guests aged seven or above are also required to present their personal TraceTogether Token or registered TraceTogether App (a Singapore government initiative to enhance contact tracing) at the time of check-in.

One of the first lines to restart cruising, Dream Cruises resumed its operations of Explorer Dream on July 26 in Taiwan, with island-hopping itineraries out of Keelung.

It was given the green light to resume cruising in Singapore, thanks to an exemplary safety track record during the first two months of operations in Taiwan.

“We are delighted to be the first cruise ship to restart operations here in Singapore and to give a much-needed boost to the local tourism industry,” noted Mr Michael Goh, head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines and president of Dream Cruises. “We are able to provide Singapore residents with more vacation options beyond land-based resorts and we hope to bring back the joy of cruising with safety being paramount.”

As for Royal Caribbean International, the first sailing on Quantum of the Seas will begin on December 1. Sailings are currently available for booking, and will include 2, 3 and 4-night Ocean Getaways.

Similar to Dream Cruises, RCL will implement rigorous health & safety protocols that include testing and screening, upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that enhance filtration, stringent cleaning practice, reduced capacities for greater physical distancing, expert medical care and upgraded medical facilities.

With all guests required to undergo Covid-19 testing, Royal Caribbean will cover the cost of every passenger’s test for sailings departing on or before 30 January 2021.

To grant cruises greater peace of mind, Covid-19 protections include a 100% credit towards a future cruise should a guest or any member of their travel party test positive for the virus during the three weeks prior to their cruise; or a full refund if a guest tests positive during their voyage.

The line will also cover Covid-19 related costs up to 25,000 SGD per person in the travel party for onboard medical expenses, any required quarantine and travel home.

“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” said Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International.

The Singapore government will be monitoring the outcomes of the pilot sailings in the coming months, before deciding on next steps for cruises.