Singapore introduces 'cruises to nowhere' for travel-starved locals
By Lilit Marcus, CNN
(CNN) -- Move over, flights to nowhere -- cruises to nowhere may be the next big thing in Covid-safe travel.
Singapore has announced that it will launch pleasure cruises that don't actually visit any ports in November 2020.
The city-state's national tourism board has partnered with two cruise lines for the initial journeys, with Genting Cruise Lines' World Dream and Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas chosen as the first two ships to take part.
This cruise, though, will look quite different than your typical seagoing experience.
In order to ensure hygiene protocols, ships will depart from and return to the same spot, with no port calls in between. The ships will operate at no more than 50% capacity and are for Singapore residents only.
"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, CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board, said in a statement.
In addition to the reduced passenger load and nonexistent excursions, the cruise ships will follow strict sanitation guidelines, with passengers required to show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding. Fresh air will constantly be cycled through the ship and travelers will have to wear masks while outside of their staterooms.
Both boarding and disembarking will be staggered to avoid crowds.
Those strict guidelines also extend to the people who will be working on board. All crew members will have to isolate in their home countries, go through a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Singapore and undergo regular testing.
The World Dream's first "cruise to nowhere" will begin on November 6, while Quantum of the Seas will set sail in December.
Prices and onboard amenities for Singapore's two cruises have not yet been announced. However, if recent "flights to nowhere" launched elsewhere around the world are anything to go by, they could sell out quickly. Tickets for Qantas's seven-hour destinationless flights sold out in just ten minutes.
And it's clear that travelers are itchy for something to keep them occupied while borders are closed and planes are grounded. For example, Singapore Airlines, the Lion City's hometown carrier, is organizing a pop-up restaurant on board a jet parked at Changi Airport.
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