Royal Caribbean cruise returns to S'pore 7 hours early due to medical emergency

Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas berthed at Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Dec 9, 2020.
Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas berthed at Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Dec 9, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Passengers of Quantum of the Seas have had their cruises to nowhere cut short once again.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Singapore on Wednesday night (Jan 20), seven hours ahead of schedule, after a passenger fell ill at sea.

This was due to a medical condition unrelated to Covid-19, said the company on Thursday morning.

Upon arrival, the guest was taken to the hospital immediately, it added.

The ship was originally due to arrive back in Singapore at 6am on Thursday.

Among those on board were Ms Vivi Cheo, 39, who was dining with her family and friends at restaurant Wonderland when a ship-wide announcement informed passengers about the situation at around 8pm.

“They said it was not related to Covid-19 so we were not worried, and hoped that they rushed back as soon as possible,” she said.

However, this meant that the casino and duty free shop had to close half an hour after the announcement. While she hastened to make her last minute purchases, Ms Cheo observed several people rushing to cash out their casino chips.

Upon reaching Singapore, the passengers spent the night on board before disembarking as scheduled.

Despite an unexpected end to a trip that had been planned for almost a month, Ms Cheo added: “We were fine with the situation, a life matters more than finishing our trip.”

On Dec 9, the same ship turned back on the third day of a four-day voyage after an elderly passenger on board tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 83-year-old man had taken a mandatory Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test prior to boarding, and was tested negative. He later reported to the on-board medical centre with diarrhoea and took another PCR test as part of on-board protocols. This test had returned a positive result.

Hours after the ship returned here, the man was found negative for the infection in two further tests.