SINGAPORE: In a sign that the badly hit cruise industry may be sputtering back to life, Genting Cruise Lines announced on Monday (Jun 29) that one of its brands, Dream Cruises, will resume operations in Taiwan.
"Dream Cruises will be the first cruise line in the world to begin sailing after the global cruise industry was shut down due to the [COVID-19] pandemic,” said KT Lim, chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong, the parent company of Genting Cruise Lines.
From Jul 26, the Explorer Dream will operate two- and three-night itineraries that depart from Keelung with stops at Penghu, Matzu and Kinmen islands, said Genting Cruise Lines in a media release.
The company highlighted Taiwan's low numbers of COVID-19 cases and said local authorities have "taken the proactive step to reinvigorate their economy and open up tourism".
The company said in recent months, it has re-examined and improved its hygiene protocols, including social distancing in dining, entertainment and public areas, as well as "100 per cent fresh air ventilation" in cabins.
Most of the crew members will be from other Genting Cruise Lines ships who have been quarantined for the last three months. All of them will also undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on land after the ship arrives in Keelung on Jun 30.
READ: Cruise passenger traffic in Singapore down 52% since COVID-19 outbreak; STB to give industry more support
Genting Cruise Lines added that stringent health screening processes prior to embarkation and disembarkation, as well as social distancing measures for guests and crew, will be in place.
Two of Genting Cruise Lines' ships - SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini - are in Singapore being used as temporary accommodation for foreign workers who have recovered from COVID-19.
CRUISE INDUSTRY ROILED BY CORONAVIRUS
The cruise industry has been pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said cruise passenger traffic in Singapore fell by 52 per cent year-on-year since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak on Jan 23.
From Jan 23 to Mar 9, Singapore handled a total of 65 cruise calls and 156,465 passengers, according to STB.
The Diamond Princess cruise, carrying 3,700 passengers and crew, was quarantined at a Japanese port on Feb 4 after a guest, who didn’t have symptoms while on board, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Hong Kong.
More than 700 passengers and crew on the ship eventually tested positive for the virus, and at least seven died.