Royal Caribbean cancels cruise sailings on Jan 31, Feb 3 after Covid-19 outbreak

This move will affect customers who have bought tickets to sail on the Quantum of the Seas ship. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Cruise operator Royal Caribbean International has cancelled its next two cruises to nowhere after it detected Covid-19 cases among its crew.

This move will affect customers who have bought tickets to sail on the Quantum of the Seas ship on Monday (Jan 31) and Thursday (Feb 3).

It had first announced the cancellations in e-mails to affected customers on Sunday morning.

It said that a small number of crew had tested positive for Covid-19.

The operator then said in a media statement on Sunday afternoon that the cruises were cancelled "in an abundance of caution".

It said less than 0.6 per cent of its community on board the cruise had tested positive, without providing specific details of the number of people affected.

The cases, which are all fully vaccinated, were identified during routine weekly testing conducted by the operator. They are on board the cruise that had set sail last Thursday (Jan 27).

The operator said the positive cases were immediately isolated. Meanwhile, close contacts were quarantined and tested.

"Everyone is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic," it said.

"As per safety protocols, the ship will also go through a deep cleaning and disinfection."

Quantum of the Seas will return to Singapore on Monday as planned.

Customers booked on the Monday and Thursday sailings will be offered compensation in the light of the cancellations.

Those scheduled to sail on Monday will receive a full refund plus a 100 per cent credit for future bookings. Meanwhile, those booked on the Thursday sailing will receive a full refund or a 125 per cent credit for future cruise bookings.

The Straits Times understands that the difference in compensation was due to the shorter notice period for passengers due to sail on Monday, as compared to those sailing on Thursday.

"We regret having to cancel our guests' long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding," said Royal Caribbean International.

Business analyst Alan Wong, 44, was among the travellers who were disappointed by the sudden cancellation. Mr Wong, his wife and their two children were set to go on the Monday cruise to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The couple are now trying to find a restaurant where the family can have a reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve on Monday.

“I am shocked and disappointed, as we were only told about the cancellation today,” said Mr Wong.

“We have already packed everything, checked in online and were getting ready for the trip.”

Wealth management consultant Mandy Tan, 36, who is currently on board the Quantum of the Seas, said she has not heard any announcement about the Covid-19 cases so far.

She said things seemed to be going on as normal on the cruise so far, and that she had just participated in a trivia game on Sunday afternoon. She also said she was not worried about the risk of getting infected with Covid-19, as she is fully vaccinated and is taking precautions.

“Of course, I will be sad if I can’t get to spend Chinese New Year with my family (in case of exposure to Covid-19 on board),” said Ms Tan. 

“But it’s my choice to come to a cruise during this pandemic period. There will definitely be some risk, so I can’t complain.”

Quantum of the Seas will return to Singapore on Jan 31 as planned. PHOTO: ST FILE

Another passenger on board the cruise ship, who wanted to be known only as Sandy, 28, said the mood on board the cruise was great.

The yoga instructor said she would not have known that anything was amiss if her friend had not sent her an online article about the Covid-19 cases.

The only disruption she experienced was an evening show on Sunday getting replaced by another act without advance notice.

“It’s the last night of cruise so everyone was out and about enjoying the view and taking photos,” she added.

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