Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced on 8 October the resumption of its cruise sector, where Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International - both homeported locally - will offer cruises starting as soon as next month.
These pilot projects come with noticeably enhanced safety protocols, guided by STB's soon-to-be-confirmed mandatory CruiseSafe certification programme - akin to the cruise version of the SG Clean standard for hotels.
The host of stringent measures will follow the passenger journey from pre-boarding to post-disembarkation to ensure the "safety and well-being of our local community, as well as passengers and crew," states the STB release on Thursday.
As such, the pilot 'cruises to nowhere' will have no ports of call, sail at a reduced capacity of up to 50%, and will only be open to Singapore residents.
Passengers can choose from Genting Cruise Lines' World Dream which sails on 6 November, or Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, which has been given a 1 December launch date.
"The cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise operators to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain the confidence of passengers. As ASEAN's lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore remains committed to supporting and growing cruise tourism in the region. We will continue to work with cruise lines and our industry stakeholders to chart a new course for safe cruising," said Keith Tan, chief executive, STB.
The news comes at a critical moment for tourism-reliant Singapore, where all port calls for cruise ships has been closed since March this year. Should plans sail smoothly, this could finally mean the restart of leisure travel, and provide that desperate opening struggling local agents need to keep afloat.
STB said that the government will be keeping a close watch on these sailings and the adherence of enhanced safety protocols in the coming months, before issuing a next step for cruises.
For travel agents keen to find out more about Singapore's cruise restart, Travel Weekly Asia is currently organising CruiseWorld Asia, a three-part virtual training workshop to engage and educate Asia's cruise trade on the latest updates and safe cruising protocols.
More information about CruiseWorld Asia 2020 programme can be found here.
Click here to register for CruiseWorld Asia.