First Singapore had plans to launch ‘flights to nowhere’, which departed and returned to Changi Airport but were later canceled because of environmental concerns. But now another new idea is moving forward: the country will start to allow ‘cruises to nowhere’ from November.

Cruise ships have not been permitted to stop in Singapore since March 13 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Singapore Tourism Board has now issued new guidelines for cruises through their mandatory CruiseSafe certification program, which requires that boats sail at 50% capacity or lower and embark on a round-trip journey with no ports of call. These cruises will be open to Singapore residents only.

Two companies with their home port in Singapore, Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International, will participate in the pilot program. Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream will set sail on 6 November, and Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will launch in December.

Singapore Tourism Board launches home cruise program for residents only
Singapore launches 'cruise to nowhere scheme for residents © Sakdawut Tangtongsap/Shutterstock

‘The government will monitor the outcomes of the pilot sailings carefully in the coming months before deciding on the next steps for cruises," the Singapore Tourism Board said in a statement.

The CruiseSafe protocols include infection control measures at every stage of the passenger journey – including a mandatory COVID-19 test before boarding – and ensuring 100% fresh air throughout the ship. Masks and social distancing are also required, and random inspections will be carried out to ensure compliance.

‘This cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain the confidence of passengers’, Keith Tan, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, said in a statement. "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."

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