S'pore passengers booking Royal Caribbean cruises from Oct must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas was given the green light last year to offer cruises-to-nowhere from Singapore under a pilot scheme. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - All Singapore passengers 12 years old and above who are booking a Royal Caribbean cruise from October will need to be fully vaccinated when they set sail.

This requirement will apply only to all new bookings made from Friday (Oct 1), cruise operator Royal Caribbean International announced on Wednesday. Those who have booked a cruise before October can still sail even if they are not fully vaccinated.

Only two cruise liners - Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas and Dream Cruises' World Dream - are offering sailings from Singapore currently. It is not mandatory for Dream Cruises' passengers to be fully vaccinated, according to its website.

The two cruise operators were given the green light to offer cruises-to-nowhere from Singapore under a pilot scheme which started in November last year. This came after sailings were halted amid escalating Covid-19 outbreaks.

Under the scheme, the round-trip cruises have no ports of call, and passengers have to take a mandatory Covid-19 test prior to boarding.

Royal Caribbean said of its latest move: "The vaccine requirement is one of the many layers of measures that safeguard the well-being of guests and crew, and Royal Caribbean will continue to evaluate and update its measures as circumstances evolve with various government and health authorities."

Vice-president of Royal Caribbean International, Ms Angie Stephen, said that on average, 99 per cent of the guests on its Singapore cruises are already vaccinated currently.

She said: "Children under the age of 12 are not required to be vaccinated and, adhering to the current government restrictions, are allowed to accompany their vaccinated parents to activities, including dining in, as long as they are from the same household, for the duration of the cruise.

"All guests are required to adhere to the recently updated health and safety measures announced last Friday."

Over at Dream Cruises, even though it is not mandatory to be fully vaccinated to set sail, Mr Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises and head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines, said that since July this year, more than 90 per cent of its passengers have been fully vaccinated.

This high rate is reflective of Singapore's vaccination rate, which at about 82 per cent, is one of the highest in the world.

But only guests who have been fully vaccinated are allowed to dine in at the restaurants on board World Dream. Unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below can also dine in if they are from the same household as the accompanying adults. This starts from 11am on the second day of the cruise.

Prior to that, all guests, regardless of their vaccination status, are allowed to dine in, having undergone the mandatory pre-boarding antigen rapid test.

Those who are not vaccinated can opt to take away their food or call for room service.

Mr Goh said: "Dream Cruises will continue to monitor closely the situation and explore the additional layers of potential safety measures, including guests' vaccination requirements in the future."

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