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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Singapore gets its first ‘cruise to nowhere’ that can take up to 1400 guests

The 1,400 guests are required to carry an electronic contact tracing device and to the social distance at all times.

By: Reuters | Singapore | Updated: November 9, 2020 5:25:20 pm
bA view of the media event at the Dream Cruises' "World Dream" cruise ship, Singapore's first cruise to nowhere since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the cruise industry. (Picture credit: Reuters)

Hit by cabin fever, hundreds of Singapore residents itching to get out of the tiny country boarded a “cruise to nowhere” on Friday, a rare chance to sail the seas after the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the cruise industry.

Before starting their short “seacation” on the 335-metre (1,100 ft) World Dream, passengers underwent coronavirus swab tests before boarding the vessel, which was operating at half capacity to prevent crowding.

Retiree Ang Sen Hock, 73, said he had no fear about getting infected and had booked several more trips later in the month.

Singapore, Cruise to nowhere, Singapore cruise, Ship to nowhere, Coronavirus pandemic, Singapore cruise seacation, Cruise industry, Singapore COVID-19 updates, Trending news, India Express news Passengers are seen at the Dream Cruises’ “World Dream” cruise ship, Singapore’s first cruise to nowhere since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the cruise industry, amid the coronavirus disease. (Picture credit: Reuters)

“Not worried. Because earlier this year I was also a passenger on this cruise ship and, coincidentally, there were two suspected cases,” Ang said, while waiting for his test.

“But we still boarded and they had special measures.”

The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruises.

Singapore, Cruise to nowhere, Singapore cruise, Ship to nowhere, Coronavirus pandemic, Singapore cruise seacation, Cruise industry, Singapore COVID-19 updates, Trending news, India Express news A medical officer speaks about the available coronavirus tests onboard the Dream Cruises’ “World Dream” cruise ship, Singapore’s first cruise to nowhere. (Picture credit: Reuters)

Singapore’s special cruises, classed as “round trips”, are open only to its residents and sail for a few days in waters just off the city-state.

They follow “flights to nowhere” in some parts of Asia that take off and land at the same airport.

The 1,400 guests are required to carry an electronic contact tracing device and to the social distance at all times.

Self-serve buffets have been suspended and Dream Cruises has upgraded medical facilities to include testing and isolation units.

Singapore, Cruise to nowhere, Singapore cruise, Ship to nowhere, Coronavirus pandemic, Singapore cruise seacation, Cruise industry, Singapore COVID-19 updates, Trending news, India Express news A view of a Christmas show at the Dream Cruises’ “World Dream” cruise ship, Singapore’s first cruise to nowhere. (Picture credit: Reuters)

The president of Dream Cruises, Michael Goh, said the crew would respond decisively to any sign of infections.

“The idea of just getting out of Singapore, even just for a little bit, a few days, it’s really an attractive thing,” said passenger Robert Gaxiola.

“Passengers will be back into the cabin and the ship will do a deep cleaning and sanitisation,” he said. “Within less than six hours we can be back in Singapore.”

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