Cruises to Nowhere Singapore Comparison: Guide to the Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises
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Cruises to Nowhere Singapore Comparison: Guide to the Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises

profileJoel Koh
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Itching to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How about a cruise to nowhere?

I'm on a boat SNL
Source: Saturday Night Live | Giphy

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has announced a pilot scheme that will allow Singapore residents to go for a cruise holiday to nowhere.

These cruises will be round trips with no port of call.

For now, Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are the only cruise lines that are allowed to set sail.

Genting Cruise Lines will be offering cruises on their World Dream cruise ship from 6 November 2020.

While Royal Caribbean will be offering cruises on their Quantum of the Seas cruise ship starting 1 December 2020.

The cruises range anywhere from one to four nights in length and are subject to strict COVID-19 safety measures like operating at 50 per cent capacity and compulsory COVID-19 tests for both the crew of the ship and passengers.

Sadly… you CANNOT use your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers for it.

So… are these cruises to nowhere from Genting and Royal Caribbean worth your hard-earned money?

Here is what you need to know!


Cruise to Nowhere: Genting Cruise Line vs Royal Caribbean Prices

The cruise ships will depart from Singapore, sail around Straits of Malacca before returning to Singapore.

If you’re wondering how popular these cruises to nowhere are…

A quick check on their websites showed that quite a few of the bookings are already sold out.

Here is an overview of the cruise to nowhere prices:

CruiseTwo Nights PriceThree Nights PriceFour Nights PriceCOVID-19 Test FeeAdditional Fees Kids
Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream BalconyFrom $479From $719 -$60 (free for those 12 and younger)Gratuity fee from $21 per night-
Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream SuitesFrom $1,149From $1,539
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas InteriorFrom $334From $374From $509Free$54.15 for taxes, fees and port expensesKids Sail Free*
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas Outside ViewFrom $374From $479From $594
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas BalconyFrom $459From $469From $594
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas SuitesFrom $738From $629From $794

Do note that availability and prices can change frequently.

So make sure you check if the prices are agreeable at the time when you’re booking!

Pro-tip: if you want to get a little discount off your cruise to nowhere booking, remember to use a cashback credit card to get some cash back!


Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream Terms and Conditions 

For Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream, prices are per person/double occupancy and include taxes and fees.

Prices for the Genting Cruise Line are inclusive of the $60 port charges.

If you purchase the three nights cruise, you get a bonus $50 onboard credit.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas Terms And Conditions

For Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the price is… (takes a deep breath) per person, cruise only, applies to selected sailing, lowest available fare stateroom category, based on double-occupancy, reflects any promotional savings, and is subject to change and availability until booked.

(That was a mouthful.)

There is also an additional fee of $54.15 for taxes, fees and port expenses.

Kids Sail Free

This promotion applies to new bookings made between 8 to 31 October 2020.

And selected Quantum of the Seas sailings departing between 1 December 2020 to 18 March 2021.

Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for the 3rd guest and higher who are 12 years old or younger as of cruise departure date, booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom.

The discount applies to the cruise fare only.

All guests (yes, even the kids) are still required to pay the $54.15 taxes, fees and port expenses fee.

Cruise with Confidence Programme

If you book before 30 November 2020, Royal Caribbean will allow you to change and cancel their bookings up to 48 hours before the cruise sets sail, for any reason.

You will then receive a 100% future cruise credit refund.

Either that or you can opt to reschedule your sailing date with no penalty.

In addition, if you test positive for Covid-19 during the three weeks before your cruise.

You will receive a 100% future cruise credit refund.

While those who test positive during the voyage will be entitled to a full refund.

Royal Caribbean has also stated that they will cover up to $25,000 per person for COVID-19-related costs.

That includes onboard medical costs, any required quarantine, and travel home.

Which Cruise to Nowhere Is Better?

I’m no expert when it comes to cruises.

But I suppose one of the biggest draws of going on a cruise would be how nice are the rooms.

Curious to know what you’re getting, here’s a glimpse at what the rooms onboard the cruises look like.

Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream Rooms

Here’s what the Genting Cruise balcony rooms look like:

Genting Cruise Lines balcony
Source: Dream Cruises

And this is what the Genting Cruise Palace Suite look like:

Dream Cruises Palace-Suite
Source: Dream Cruises

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas Rooms

Here’s what the Royal Caribbean’s balcony rooms look like:

Royal Caribbean Balcony Room
Source: Royal Caribbean

And here’s what their suite staterooms look like:

Royal Caribbean Suite Room
Source: Royal Caribbean

Cruise to Nowhere Price Comparison: Genting Cruise Line vs Royal Caribbean

In terms of prices, Royal Caribbean’s prices are more affordable with its balcony rooms costing about $20 less than Genting Cruise Line balcony rooms for a two nights cruise.

Cheapskate
Source: Tenor

Royal Caribbean also has the cheaper interior tickets that go for $334 for two nights.

Apart from that, Genting charges $60 for the COVID-19 test as well as a gratuity fee that starts from $21 per person, per night.

On the other hand, Royal Caribbean only charges a $54.15 fee for taxes, fees, and port expenses.

And they allow kids 12 years old or younger to travel free if they’re the third guest or higher.

Aside: I also like Royal Caribbean’s Cruise with Confidence programme for that extra bit of reassurance.

Is it Safe to Go on a Cruise to Nowhere?

I know what you’re thinking… these cruises safe anot?

Remember in February 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic just broke out?

Several cruise ships became a hotbed for the virus, as by nature, these ships are crowded closed environments without adequate medical resources to deal with a contagious virus.

You might remember the British registered Diamond Princess as the first cruise ship to have a major COVID-19 outbreak onboard.

Diamond-Princess Ship COVID-19
Source: ShipTechnology

The ship was subsequently docked in Yokohama, Japan, for about a month with all its passengers and crew quarantined onboard.

At the end of the whole ordeal, a total of 700 out of the 3,711 people onboard were infected.

And sadly, 14 people passed away from the virus.

Yep… it was a real tragedy.

But! We’ve come a long way since then.

CruiseSafe Certification

STB has assured us that the health and safety of our local community, as well as the cruise ships passengers and crew, remain the top priority.

safety first
Source: Giphy

In light of this, the pilot cruises will be:

  • Round-trips with no ports of call where the cruise ships will depart from Singapore, sail around the oceans and dock back in Singapore
  • Sailing at a reduced capacity of up to 50 per cent
  • Only open to Singapore residents

In order to embark on this pilot scheme, all cruise ships leaving Singapore — including the ones from Genting and Royal Caribbean — will have to attain CruiseSafe Certification.

This certification was developed by STB and DNV GL, a global classification body and recognised advisor in the maritime industry.

It takes into consideration global standards and protocols from various cruise lines, airlines, and global institutes such as:

  • World Tourism Organisation
  • World Health Organisation
  • Cruise Lines International Association, as well as
  • Singapore’s national safe management measures and certification programmes (eg. SG Clean)

What Are The Standards for CruiseSafe Certification?

The CruiseSafe standards include:

  • Infection control measures at every stage of a passenger’s journey, including a mandatory COVID-19 test prior to boarding (passengers will only be allowed to board if their COVID-19 test results come back negative)
  • Strict and frequent cleaning and sanitisation protocols onboard
  • Safe management measures aligned with the prevailing national policy at the time of sailing
  • Ensuring 100 per cent fresh air throughout the ship
  • Reducing ship capacity to enable sufficient safe distancing
  • Setting up onboard measures to discourage close contact and intermingling between groups
  • Emergency response plans for incidents relating to COVID-19

Also, the crew for these pilot cruises will be required to adhere to stringent measures that are more strict than Singapore’s current requirements for cross-border travel.

For example, the crew who need to enter Singapore to serve on board the pilot cruises must first undergo 14 days isolation in their home country and must test negative for COVID-19 before their departure to Singapore. They will be tested on arrival in Singapore, serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) in Singapore, and will undergo another test at the end of their SHN. Once sailings begin, all crew members will also be routinely tested.

For more details about the CruiseSafe standards and onboard activities, you can refer to this STB document.

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I’m no epidemiologist, but I have trust that STB and the cruise liners will do their utmost to keep the pilot cruises safe, as the survival of the travel industry in Singapore and the cruise liners bottom line is at stake.

In addition on Thursday (8 October), the Straits Times polled over 1,000 Straits Times readers about their opinion of these cruises nowhere.

51 per cent gave these cruises the thumbs up while 49 per cent gave it the thumbs down.

But undoubtedly, there will be risks involved with taking these pilot cruises. If you are a bit kiasi (afraid of dying) and have concerns about the safety measures like me, you can always see how the first pilot cruises turn out before booking one.

Otherwise, I’m sure there will be the Singaporeans who are itching for a holiday that will book these cruises.

However, the experiences onboard will be very different from any cruise you’ve been on before.

With that in mind let’s move on to compare the offerings from Genting Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.

Safety Measures on Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream

For starters, Genting requires that all guests aged 13 and over to take a mandatory $60 COVID-19 test before boarding.

world dream 7
Source: Nedcruise

For guests aged seven and over, they will be required to present their TraceTogether Token or registered TraceTogether app at the time of check-in.

In addition, Genting is implementing other compulsory safe management measures on the World Dream, like online check-ins to alleviate crowding, regular temperature checks, and health declarations pre-boarding.

Guests and crew members are also required to keep their masks on except for when they are consuming food and drink or taking part in sports activities.

Capacities for the food and beverage and entertainment venues will be reduced as well.

Onboard the ship, there will be a medical centre with isolation wards that are staffed by two doctors, one of which is an infection control officer.

Not to mention that the ship will be cleaned and sanitised regularly with technology to prevent the recirculation of air throughout the ship and 100 per cent fresh air ventilation.

Safety Measures on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

Similarly for the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, all guests will be required to take a free COVID-19 swab test 48 – 72 hours before embarkation.

With Royal Caribbean covering the cost of your test for sailings departing on or before 30 January 2021.

Quantum of the Seas 6

Onboard the ship, guests will also get to enjoy 100 per cent fresh filtered air indoors or outdoors with the prevention of the recirculation of air throughout the ship.

The ship will also have strict sanitation protocols comparable to hospitals as well as medical officers and increased critical care beds on board.

Guests and crew members are also required to keep their masks on except for when they are consuming food and drink or taking part in sports activities.

Are These Cruises Worth it?

If you are looking for a getaway or want to take your kids on a holiday, this is not too bad an option.

For a three day two night all-in trip, these prices are quite decent.

Prices for the Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream cruises start from about $581 ($479 + $60 COVID-19 test fee + $42 gratuity charges) for a two-night cruise and a balcony room.

Whereas for Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, you get a two-night cruise and a balcony room for $493.15 ($439+$54.15 additional fee).

If you want to go for an even more budget option, you can opt for the interior room for $388.15 ($334 + $54.15 additional fee).

For now, it seems that this will be the only option if you want to travel outside of Singapore for leisure.

But for me, I would wait a little and observe what happens with the plans for Singapore to negotiate air travel bubbles with safe countries and regions

Not to mention that the COVID-19 associated risks that you will be taking going onto these cruises.

But that’s just me.

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
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