Cruise plans ruined by conflicting instructions

My spouse and I were booked to go on a four-day, three-night cruise to nowhere on Quantum of the Seas from Monday to yesterday.

There is a listed disclaimer that passengers embarking on the cruise must not have travelled overseas in the last 14 days.

Given that I am an airline cabin crew member, I made inquiries with the travel agent and the Royal Caribbean office in Singapore to check if I am exempted from this requirement, as I am fully vaccinated against Covid-19, have done regular swab tests (which had negative results) and have not served any stay-home notice or quarantine order.

I was informed by those I contacted (including two Royal Caribbean associates) that I was allowed to embark on the cruise.

Thus, I proceeded to book and pay for the cruise, then took a mandatory swab test 72 hours before the cruise, which also had a negative result.

On the actual day of departure at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, I informed cruise reception personnel that I am a cabin crew member and had been abroad in the last 14 days, but have been given clearance to board the cruise by Royal Caribbean. I also showed all my documentation as proof.

I was told they had to double-check with the ship's management team. Shortly after, I was told that I was denied boarding as I was not exempted from the rule that passengers must not have travelled overseas in the last 14 days.

Even though Royal Caribbean will be extending a full refund to me, all the time and effort spent on making preparations for the cruise have been wasted.

I was informed by the manager at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre that numerous cabin crew members have been denied boarding for the same reason. Why then did the Royal Caribbean associates at the contact centre give me the green light for travel?

If airline crew are not exempted from the rule, Royal Caribbean and its affiliated travel agencies should not allow booking in the first place.

The incident has caused my spouse and I great disappointment, as it was our 26th wedding anniversary celebration.

Wee Chin Hin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2021, with the headline 'Cruise plans ruined by conflicting instructions'. Subscribe