Australians are keen to climb aboard Royal Caribbean’s ships for 2022 – including the first deployment of the technologically advanced Quantum of the Seas, the newest ship to the based in Brisbane.

The line’s Australian MD Gavin Smith told Cruise Passenger  after months of safe sailings out of Singapore, Quantum of the Seas will be “the most experienced ship in the world at covid related operations.”

To underscore his point, Royal Caribbean today announced Quantum of the Seas will continue sailing from Singapore through October 2021. Having resumed sailing in December 2020, Quantum’s 11-month Singapore season will mark the longest yet for one of Asia’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ships.

“We have continued to see an overwhelming demand in Singapore to sail on board Quantum of the Seas. With more than 50,000 guests having cruised with us and zero positive COVID-19 cases to date, holidaymakers can rest assured we are focused on delivering safe, memorable cruise holidays,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

“Royal Caribbean’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. I’m confident we’ll continue to see how successful cruising can be through a combination of our proven, healthy and safe practices, which are informed by the Healthy Sail Panel’s 74 recommendations, and the rollout of vaccines around the world.”

Mr Smith said from Sydney: “We’re really excited with the response to the release of our local 2022/23 sailings. It greatly exceeds last year’s performance, where we launched our 21/22 sailings in June 2020.”

He said many Royal guests now felt confident enough to use their Future Cruise Credits on late 2022 and early 2023 bookings. “The early feedback I have from social media has been very strong – lot of questions about vaccines, health protocols and mask wearing.  But there’s a strong belief we’ll have it all figured out by late 2022.”

Mr Smith believes Brisbane will be a major drawcard, allowing the line to attract new cruisers as well as past guests. Queensland has a younger, more family orientated cruise community perfect for Royal Caribbean’s ships, and now no-one would have to add a flight cost to a cruise to sail on one of the most modern ships in the fleet.

Mr Smith is scathing of claims that big ships are less safe than smaller ones.

“I can tell you I haven’t received one question in relation to size or occupancy of our ships from our trade partners or our guests.  I’m not seeing the concerns.”

If a Quantum class ship has 2,200 cabins, at 50% occupancy we will have 1,000 to 2,500 people and 1,000 cabins into which we could isolate passengers if necessary.

“We have duplicated medical centres: one for standard health problems and one for COVID and respiratory illnesses.You cannot achieve that on some of the smaller ships,” he maintained.

Larger ships are better equipped for social distancing and spreading out through meal times.

On a resumption of cruising in Australia, Mr Smith is confident of a season this year, saying: “Every day we are getting closer. So far as the federal government is concerned, they have a number economic challenges. We are on the list of business they are trying to help.”

But he added:  “What we would like to do is increase the pace and sense of urgency. We’re really entering a window of the next three or four months. Need to agree with government to ensure the summer season happens.”

By the next deadline for cruise in June, the industry needed a clear pathway to a resumption of cruising.

“We accept our responsibility on the health and welfare of the nation, but we just want a pathway so we can put our plans in place to deliver.”

He added: “What we ask of regulators is that they judge us not on where we were 12 months ago, but where we are today.”

Quantum of the Seas is due to begin Brisbane sailings in November this year.

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