Travel Weekly Asia regional sales director Whey Whey Ng was onboard Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas for its inaugural sailing in Singapore on Dec. 1. She shared her experiences with Travel Weekly Asia editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena for this report.
After a hiatus from operations of nearly nine months, Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas restarted sailing from Singapore on Dec. 1.
These short cruises of three or four days are sailing at reduced capacity and operating under strict health and safety protocols developed by Royal Caribbean in partnership with Singaporean authorities.
Here are some thoughts and observations after joining the inaugural sailing:
• Expect scans and temperature checks everywhere. Together, the wristband token, key card and TraceTogether app/token make up "a trilogy of must-haves" onboard.
Together, the wristband token, key card and TraceTogether app/token make up "a trilogy of must-haves" onboard. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
• Service levels were great, aided by an even higher-than-usual staff-to-guest ratio.
Breakfast queues are orderly, with safety and sanitation checks in place. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
• All reservations have to be made on the app, therefore it is highly recommended that guests to prebook meals and activities.
Social distancing was also in effect at the pools. Passengers must make reservations on the TraceTogether app for all meals and activities. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
• In the restaurants, the buffets were either dished out by chefs or service staff, while staff manned drink dispensers to help guests with their beverages.
• Wait staff cannot help with photos, a reminder to pack your selfie stick.
The new normal: Passengers keep their distance at the ever-popular Flowrider surf simulator. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
• The entertainment is of high caliber, with an international cast putting on enthusiastic performances.
• There is enhanced social distancing and ample space onboard. At the theater, guests are adequately spaced out, with every other row kept empty.
Passengers at Ripcord by iFLY during the Dec. 1 Singapore sailing. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
Cruisers climb the ship's Rock Wall. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia
After nine months without travel, the sailing was a liberating experience, as it offered a refreshing change from the urban landscapes of Singapore.
We sailed into the South China Sea and were excited to see activity on the water; we even waved at passing cargo ships.
And with a wide array of food and activities to choose from, our time on the Quantum of the Seas felt like an all-inclusive holiday, theme park and integrated resort experience all rolled into one.
Note: On a subsequent sailing of the Quantum, the ship returned to Singapore early after a passenger tested postive for Covid-19, but three additional tests of the passenger were negative and Royal Caribbean is continuing with its program there.