Royal Caribbean Returns to Cruising in Singapore

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas ship set sail for the first time since March.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship
Photo: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean completed its first journey this week since the pandemic effectively shut down global cruising in March.

The Quantum of the Seas ship departed from Singapore on Tuesday for a two-night trip to nowhere. It returned to Singapore's Marina Bay on Thursday. Quantum of the Seas ran at 30% capacity and had approximately 1,100 guests on board, Travel Weekly reported.

Royal Caribbean plans to launch longer three- and four-night cruises to nowhere from Singapore, where the Quantum of the Seas will be based for the next several months. Those "ocean getaway voyages" have no port calls and require passengers to participate in a rigorous system of PCR testing and contact tracing. The cruises are also only permitting Singapore residents for now.

Elsewhere in the world, Royal Caribbean has said it will suspend sailing through at least February 2021.

In Singapore, Royal Caribbean has developed a policy of testing and screening all passengers coming on board. Passengers are required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their scheduled departure. They must also wear a wristband, the Tracelet, while on board. The Tracelet is designed to monitor adherence to social distancing policies and to enable contact tracing.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. teamed up in July to build an expert safety panel to advise them as they look to get back to business following a months-long shutdown.

Royal Caribbean has also upgraded the Quantum of the Seas' HVAC system to improve ventilation, stepped up its cleaning efforts, and upgraded medical facilities on board. The ship is Royal Caribbean's first to handle mustering — a key safety drill that used to require all passengers to gather together — remotely. Guests now muster in their rooms using their TVs and mobile devices.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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