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Royal Caribbean cruise ship restarts cruises after false positive scare

In:
14Dec2020

Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship to restart operations is back in service and offering cruises again after almost a week of being idle.

Quantum of the Seas departed the Marina Bay Cruise Centre to restart operations following a false positive test that temporarily shut her back down.

Last week, a passenger on Quantum of the Seas took a covid test onboard after not feeling well, and in an abundance of caution, the ship returned to port immediately and cancelled its next scheduled sailing.

After three tests in Singapore, it turned out the original positive test onboard was incorrect and the virus was never a threat on that sailing.

The 83-year-old man's original sample was retested and came back negative on Wednesday. A second fresh sample was tested and also found to be negative.

Quantum of the Seas has resumed her short "cruises to nowhere" from Singapore, offering 3- and 4- night cruises to residents of Singapore only.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain celebrated the rapid response from both the ship crew and the Singaporean government during the false alarm.

"The protocols and collaboration with the Singaporean authorities resulted in swift containment of any potential covid threat, some guest inconvenience, and a recognition that working together our cruises can operate and deliver great experiences."

Safe cruise strategy

In order to offer cruises in a safe manner, Royal Caribbean came up with sweeping changes to its ship that would facilitate all the necessary new protocols.

These multilayered health and safety measures were created based on science, data driven and developed with expert guidance from the Healthy Sail Panel, Royal Caribbean Group’s Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer and the Singapore Ministry of Health. 

Quantum of the Seas has a reduced capacity onboard, and has implemented mandatory universal testing during embarkation and debarkation, and enforced mask wearing, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning practices across the ship, among other required practices.

New to the cruise experience is Royal Caribbean’s Tracelet, a custom wearable required for all guests and crew on board Quantum of the Seas. The technology helps monitor physical distancing and the cruise line’s contract tracing procedures.  

For a healthier and safer adventure for all, guests and crew must wear masks on board and during signature experiences.

Royal Caribbean lowers age for children who have to wear masks on a cruise ship

In:
04Dec2020

Royal Caribbean completed its first cruise in Singapore, and announced its first health protocol change.

Guests booked on upcoming Quantum of the Seas sailings have been informed the minimum age for wearing a mask on a cruise ship has been lowered to 6 years old.

Emails sent to guests explained the change, "To prepare for our return to service, we are continuously working closely with the Singapore Authorities to ensure that our health and safety measures are equal or better to those on land. It is now required for guests 6 years of age and older to wear masks on board."

The rule had been guests 7 years old or younger were exempted from the rule.

Masks are required to be worn by guests and crew onboard and even during signature experiences like skydiving in the RipCord by iFLY simulator and riding the North Star glass observation capsule.

Royal Caribbean successfully restarted cruises with one ship this week, having gotten the go-ahead to cruise in Singapore with Quantum of the Seas.

Quantum of the Seas is the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to restart operations in almost nine months and offers 3- and 4-night cruises with no port stops to only residents of Singapore.

The rules and health protocols on Quantum of the Seas were developed with expert guidance from the Healthy Sail Panel, Royal Caribbean Group’s Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer and the Singapore Ministry of Health. 

Rule changes to Royal Caribbean's comprehensive health protocols are not unexpected, as the cruise line has said the policies would be adjusted.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has talked about the importance of continuously learning from these early sailings to improve overall, "We will proceed cautiously and we will learn from our experiences."

"And unquestionably, we will invest in all these areas more than most of our guests will ever fully see or know."

How cruising changed on Royal Caribbean's first cruise back

In:
03Dec2020

The first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to return to service just wrapped up its first sailing in Singapore, marking a major achievement for the cruise line that has worked for months to get to this point.

Royal Caribbean announced on Thursday that Quantum of the Seas completed its first revenue sailing after careful planning with Singapore's health and tourism authorities.

This is the first cruise ship to be able to resume operations, and it is limited to residents of Singapore. Quantum sails 3- and 4-night cruises with no port stops, which Royal Caribbean calls "ocean getaways".

Angie Stephen, Royal Caribbean's Managing Director of Asia Pacific told the press the cruise line is incredibly proud of this momentous day, "We are thrilled to once again welcome guests aboard Quantum of the Seas and offer Singapore residents the opportunity to get away, relax, and start enjoying the travel experiences they’ve been missing for so many months."

"We are grateful to the Singapore Government for their partnership in making these pilot cruises a reality and pledge our commitment to providing our guests with the safest possible cruise experience."

Cruising safely

How can a cruise ship sail during the middle of a pandemic?

Royal Caribbean implemented a series of comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures that were derived from science, data driven and developed with expert guidance from the Healthy Sail Panel, Royal Caribbean Group’s Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer and the Singapore Ministry of Health. 

Before a guest boards the ship, the new protocols begin with pre-departure health screenings, and meet all regional requirements and guidelines, including the CruiseSafe Certification standards jointly developed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and DNV GL.

 

Quantum of the Seas has a reduced capacity onboard, and has implemented mandatory universal testing during embarkation and debarkation, and enforced mask wearing, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning practices across the ship, among other required practices. 

In addition, all guests will need to scan their SafeEntry QR code required by Singapore upon embarkation and debarkation and have the Singapore Trace Together Bluetooth app or Token at all times during the cruise.

In addition, Royal Caribbean cruise ships have a new HVAC system that continuously supplies 100% fresh, filtered air from outdoors to all indoor spaces. There are also upgraded medical centers to handle any situation.

Read more: Easy guide to Quantum of the Seas new health protocols

New changes to cruise favorites

Royal Caribbean has made sweeping changes to Quantum of the Seas so that it could be ready for the new health challenges of the public.

The cruise line calls its collection of new health protocols, "The Royal Promise", and it encompasses all the new changes onboard to protect guests from the current health crisis.

New to the cruise experience is Royal Caribbean’s Tracelet, a custom wearable required for all guests and crew on board Quantum of the Seas. The technology helps monitor physical distancing and the cruise line’s contract tracing procedures.  

Quantum of the Seas 18 restaurants, bars and lounges have been thoughtfully transformed for healthier and safer dining. At Windjammer Marketplace, previously a self-service experience, dedicated crew now serve guests and offer a greater variety of grab-and-go items.

 For a healthier and safer adventure for all, guests and crew must wear masks on board and during signature experiences like skydiving in the RipCord by iFLY simulator and riding the North Star glass observation capsule.

 Royal Caribbean believes this combination of safety and a fun cruise create vacation getaways that are very appealing for residents of Singapore.

See the changes for yourself

Quantum of the Seas completed its first cruise back, and you can see all of these changes in action with our photo updates.

I posted a new update for each day of the first sailing to share a look at what going on a crusie in 2020 looks like.

First Royal Caribbean ship to sail in 9 months successfully completes first cruise

In:
03Dec2020

Royal Caribbean's first cruise back since the global health crisis began has wrapped up and by all accounts seems to have been a success.

Quantum of the Seas set sail on a 2-night cruise with no port stops from Singapore, and completed the first sailing back.

Photos from onboard Quantum of the Seas are provided by our friends at the Singapore Cruise Society, who sailed on Quantum to check out all of the changes and new protocols the cruise line has made to the cruise experience.

Quantum of the Seas arrived in the early morning hours back in Singapore.

She arrived back at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre to begin her disembarkation.

Just like every Royal Caribbean cruise, the Windjammer is open for guests to enjoy one last meal before disembarkation.


Departure Process

Guests on Quantum of the Seas are required to get a swab test in the terminal before completing the cruise.

Because of social distancing, Royal Caribbean asks guests to wait in their staterooms to be called for disembarkation.  Traditionally, guests would congregate in public venues to await departing the ship.

Once called for departure, lines and social distancing markers are set up for easy and safe departure off the ship.

As you depart, your temperature will be taken and you are required to have your SeaPass card and tracelet with you. You can then deposit your tracelet as you leave.

Cruise terminal disembarkation

Back in the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, the disembarkation process continues.

The arrival hall is where guests will have a swab test conducted.

Afterwards, it's off to collect your luggage.

After you get your luggage, that's it and you are on your way.

Big thanks to the Singapore Cruise Society for their partnership in sharing what Royal Caribbean's first cruise back in service was like.  Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

I hope you enjoyed this look at what the first cruise back was like, and be sure to check out the photo updates from the entire cruise:

First Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing since shutdown enjoys day at sea

In:
02Dec2020

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas has begun sailing with her first official cruise kicking off yesterday from Singapore.

This is the first Royal Caribbean International cruise since the company shut down operations in March, and we have an inside look at what it is like to go on a cruise during the global health crisis.

Our friends at the Singapore Cruise Society have been sharing photos with RoyalCaribbeanBlog of what it is like onboard this first sailing, which is only open to residents of Singapore.

The second day onboard is a sea day, and a good opportunity to see what is happening around the ship, as well as get a sense of how the new health protocols are working.

Be sure to check out the photos from embarkation and day one on Quantum of the Seas as well.

North Star observational pod only allows 4 or 5 guests (and one crew member) at a time to ride.  In Asia, North Star costs extra (which is not the case in North America or Europe).

 

Like North Star, other onboard activities and things to do have been altered to meet social distancing needs.

Laser tag has been dramatically changed from a close quarter shoot 'em up, to a game where each team stands in the middle of the SeaPlex and shoot targets for 45 seconds to see who has the highest score.

Pool deck on Quantum of the Seas with some seats marked as unavailable due to social distancing.

Water fountains are not available due to health and safety concerns.

Fitness center also has some equipment unavailable.

In Two70, you need to reserve a seat ahead of time via Royal Caribbean's app. There are only about 250 seats available. If you are a family of five, you can sit together. Any groups larger than that will have to be separated. Crew members will guide you to your seats.

The Two70 venue is split up into five zones. After the show, you will leave Two70 according to the zone you are seated in.

Movies being shown in Music Hall, with social distancing in the seats.

Entrances to many venues that commonly have a line are marked where to stand to promote social distancing.

Due to Singapore law, Royal Caribbean stops selling alcoholic beverages at 10pm each night, and no more drinking allowed after 10:30pm.

Meal service combines social distancing with a contactless experience. QR codes to view menus.

Quantum of the Seas ship models for sale, including a ship model key chain.

Royal Caribbean has also altered other traditional cruise activities to foster social distancing.

Bumper cars available for use in the SeaPlex.

Outdoor signature activities available for use.

Breakfast menu to order from on Quantum of the Seas.

Just like yesterday, the Windjammer is full service with crew members serving guests.

That's a wrap for day two on Quantum of the Seas. Many thanks to the Singapore Cruise Society for helping us share what it is like to be on the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship back in service.

First look at the evening and entertainment from Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship back cruising

In:
01Dec2020

The first day is a wrap on Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship to return to service, and we have a look at some of the evening activities onboard.

Quantum of the Seas set sail from Singapore on December 1, and is the first Royal Caribbean ship to offer passenger service again since the cruise industry shutdown in mid-March.

Guests boarded Quantum of the Seas in the morning, and the ship set sail on a 3-night cruise with no port stops and only available to residents of Singapore. It is an important test for a whole series of brief cruises Royal Caribbean hopes to operate in the coming months.

You can view photos from check-in and embarkation to catch up on everything else so far.

The Singapore Cruise Society are sharing photos from onboard the ship with RoyalCaribbeanBlog, and we now have a look at how the evening shaped up.

Dinner

Let's begin with dinner onboard Quantum of the Seas.

For guests ready to enter the dining room, there is social distance markers on the ground to ensure guests in line are not too close together.

Dinner in the main dining room is similar to what most guests may be used to, although there are QR codes on the table where you can pull up the menu.

Escargots, Shrimp Cocktail , Pork Chops and Pad Thai

Royal Chocolate Cake

Entertainment and fun things to do

The SeaPlex on Quantum of the Seas offers a lot of fun activities to do onboard, and Bumper Cars were open for guests to enjoy.

Crew members take guests' temperatures waiting for bumper cars. Our friends reported that the lines were long, but they did move quickly.

Cruise staff will sanitize each of the bumper cars between each sessions, which takes about 2 minutes.

Over in the theater, guests can enjoy the production shows in a socially distanced manner.

Certain seats are marked as unavailable in order to enforce social distancing.

The performers are wearing masks that match their colorful costumes.

Late night

If you are looking for a bite to eat before bed, the usual spots are open, but expect a few changes.

To go to Cafe Promenade and pick up a snack, you will need your SeaPass card, Trace together token/app and tracelet.

Each table has been cleaned and has a card to indicate it is ready, with a card to indicate it is has been sanitized.

Casino

The casino is open on Quantum of the Seas, and just like other venues, has social distancing enforced.  Smoking is still allowed.

More Quantum of the Seas coverage

There is more photos and reports from Quantum of the Seas is coming, thanks to our friends at the Singapore Cruise Society.

First started in 2014, Singapore Cruise Society has documented significant cruise happenings in Singapore. Since then, we have grown to be one of Asia's largest cruise-
centric blog and community, providing everything from cruise vacation experiences to the latest development in the cruise travel industry. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

First look: Royal Caribbean cruise ship begins sailing again in Singapore

In:
01Dec2020

It has been almost nine months, but the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship is back in service with paying passengers in Singapore.

Quantum of the Seas departed on December 1st on a short sailing to begin a new season of cruises from the small South Asian country.

Our friends at the Singapore Cruise Society are onboard the first sailings to share the changes Royal Caribbean has made, and what it is like to sail onboard through photo updates.

Check-in

Quantum of the Seas is sailing from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, and the check-in process has added health checks to the normal embarkation day process.

All guests traveling aboard Quantum of the Seas, regardless of age, must undergo a SARS-CoV-2 (rtPCR) test within 3 days prior to boarding and obtain a negative result. Royal Caribbean will cover the cost of your test for sailings departing on or before March 18, 2021.

All tests will need to be booked through Royal Caribbean’s testing provider – Eurofins. Royal Caribbean will email guests 14 days prior to your sailing with information on how to book the test with the testing provider.

In addition, masks are required in the terminal (and onboard the ship).

Guests will also have to undergo another COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (ART) at the cruise terminal upon disembarkation at the end of their voyage.

Guests who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the past 180 days before embarking, or hold a positive serology certificate dated during this timeframe, will not be able to receive a PCR test, and are therefore unable to cruise.

Contact tracing

Something new for Quantum of the Seas is guests must download a contact tracing app on their phone, or collected a token.

Guests have the choice of downloading the  TraceTogether app or collected the TraceTogether (TT) token in order to board the ship.

TraceTogether is a digital system which the Singaporean Government had implemented to allow for better contact tracing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. The system was initially made up of an app, by the same name, and was later supplemented by a physical token. The token and the mobile application work offline but using Bluetooth technology, and records the token ID of others in close contact of guests above a certain time. The token will not record location data etc.

Guests will be provided another wearable piece of technology called a "Tracelet", which will assist in contact tracing onboard. Guests will be required to have the Tracelet, TraceTogether Token/App active always throughout the voyage. Crew members will also be required to participate in this contact tracing effort.

Please note that children below 7 years old are exempted and are not required to have the TT Token or app with them.

Embarkation

After completing check-in, guests are able to board the ship with a new emphasis on social distancing.

 

Social distancing, masks, sanitization and more

Royal Caribbean has added a variety of new health protocols to keep guests and crew healthy onboard.

In each stateroom is a complimentary face mask, as well as hand sanitizer to use.

Social distancing markers and reserved chairs to promote social distancing are found all over the ship.

At the Windjammer buffet, guests are served by the waiters there.

Another big change is Muster 2.0, which is a new approach to the cruise ship safety drill.

Instead of going to a muster station and standing in close proximity to others while listening to safety instructions, guests can conduct the safety drill from their stateroom television or in the Royal Caribbean app.

After completing the steps in the eMuster, guests then go to their muster station to confirm they know where it is located and are marked done.

In an effort to be be as contactless as possible, guests can also view menus and order items via the QR codes.

More coverage to come!

I will be sharing more Quantum of the Seas coverage right here, thanks to our friends from the Singapore Cruise Society.

Singapore Cruise Society is the leading cruising blog and community in Southeast Asia.

First started in 2014, Singapore Cruise Society has documented significant cruise happenings in Singapore. Since then, we have grown to be one of Asia's largest cruise-
centric blog and community, providing everything from cruise vacation experiences to the latest development in the cruise travel industry. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Here's what Royal Caribbean will require guests to do for first cruises back in Singapore

In:
23Nov2020

Royal Caribbean is about to restart cruises again with Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, and we have our first look at what guests can expect onboard.

The first Quantum of the Seas sailings will depart in early December, and guests booked on December cruises have received an email from the cruise line with what to expect on embarkation day.

Past cruisers may recognize these emails, but with the new health regulations and protocols, there are some big changes outlined.

Here is a look at everything the cruise line recommends you do. The full email is included at the bottom of this article.

Take a COVID-19 test before the cruise

Testing is a major component to Royal Caribbean's multi-faceted approach to keeping everyone safe on a cruise, and you will need to take a test before you arrive.

Royal Caribbean says every guest must get a rtPCR SARS-CoV-2 test (between 24 hours and 3 days before your cruise), and bring your negative test result with you on embarkation day.

There will also be additional health questions to answer on the app before you sail.

According to Royal Caribbean, the cost of a SARS-CoV-2 test is included in your cruise fare for sailings departing on or before January 30, 2021 from Singapore.

Contact tracing app or token required

Anyone going on Quantum of the Seas will need to have either downloaded a contact tracing app on their phone, or collected a token.

Guests have the choice of downloading the  TraceTogether app or collected the TraceTogether (TT) token in order to board the ship.

Passengers without either will not be allowed to board the ship.

Please note that children below 7 years old are exempted and are not required to have the TT Token or app with them.

Introducing the Tracelet

Royal Caribbean trademarked something called a "tracelet" in October, and it is now confirmed as a contact tracing wristband.

In the cruise terminal you will be provided a Tracelet, which is a wrist wearable that will help us with contact tracing onboard.

Just like your SeaPass card you should have your Tracelet and your TT Token/ turn on the TraceTogether app on you at all times throughout your sail with us.

Check-in times matter

In the past, check-in times were more suggestions, but it looks like the cruise line will enforce them now.

Royal Caribbean says for the best check-in and boarding experience, be sure to arrive only during your pre-selected check-in/wellness screening time with your entire traveling party.

Your check-in appointment is dedicated for your screening, so arriving earlier will have you turned away until your time.

App will be super important

Royal Caribbean's smart phone app is going to be incredibly important, as it allows for less hand-to-hand contact between guests and crew.

In addition to enhanced onboard sanitation, the app will be how you make reservations for all dining, shore excursion, activity, and entertainment.

In addition, the app will be how you conduct the onboard safety drill. This must be done before the ship sails and is required of all guests.

Stay tuned for live coverage from Quantum of the Seas!

Many cruise fans are excited to see the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship sail soon, and RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com has teamed up with the Singapore Cruise Society to bring you updates from the first sailings.

Singapore Cruise Society is the leading cruising blog and community in Southeast Asia, and they will be on the first Quantum of the Seas sailings in December.  RoyalCaribbeanBlog will be one of the exclusive partners sharing photos and updates from onboard Quantum of the Seas to showcase what the first cruises back are all about.

Demand for new Royal Caribbean cruises in Singapore "exceeded expectations"

In:
13Oct2020

It has been less than a week since Royal Caribbean announced its first cruise ship would restart cruises in Singapore, and demand for these sailings is already off to a great start.

The Strait Times reports while Royal Caribbean has not provided exact booking numbers, demand has "exceeded expectations".

Royal Caribbean will begin sailing with Quantum of the Seas on cruises with no port stops, which are also limited to residents of Singapore. These 3- and 4-night sailings begin on December 1, 2020 from Singapore.

The cruise line did confirm that demand for these new sailings are up 500% compared to the previous two weeks, and the first sailing on Quantum of the Seas is almost sold out.

Royal Caribbean Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Angie Stephen, believes the new bookings reflect the public's "pent-up desire to travel".

She said the four-night cruise sailing every Thursday evening is particularly attractive, as guests need to take only a day off from work on Friday to enjoy a long weekend on the cruise.

Royal Caribbean has received permission from the Singapore government to conduct these sailings, which are pilot cruises that must meet all requirements and guidelines for safe cruising.

These first Quantum of the Seas cruises are round-trip cruises from Singapore with no port stops.  They are also sailing at reduced capacity of up to 50%, and open to only residents of Singapore.

When cruises resume in Singapore, a variety of comprehensive new health protocols will be implemented onboard Quantum of the Seas including:

  • Testing and screening
  • Upgraded Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems that enhance filtration
  • Stringent cleaning practices
  • Reduced capacities for greater physical distancing
  • Expert medical care and onboard facilities

These protocols will continuously be evaluated and enhanced as new procedures and advancements in technology become available. 

The first sailing on Quantum of the Seas on December 1 is capped at about 1,000 guests.

Royal Caribbean to begin charging for select signature attractions on Singapore sailings

In:
15Jul2019

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean roundtrip sailings from Singapore beginning November 16, 2019 will find fees for some signature attractions onboard. Nine-night or longer and repositioning sailings are excluded.

 

Royal Caribbean will begin charging for North Star and Ripcode by iFly features as a mean of improving, "the guest experience by minimizing wait times and no show reservations".

Guests will be able to purchase tickets for these activities on Cruise Planner. The costs for these features onboard Quantum of the Seas’ Singapore departures will be:

  • Ripcord by iFly: $29 pp USD
  • North Star: $12 adults pp USD / $8 child pp USD (up to 11 years)
  • Bumper Cars: Complimentary (with option to upgrade to Express Lane for $5 pp USD)
    • Please Note: Express Lane option is to be paid onboard at the Seaplex/Bumper Car area

Royal Caribbean has been charging for North Star and Ripcord by iFly on Quantum of the Seas in China since 2015.

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