Ahead of her planned return to sailing in the Asian market, Spectrum of the Seas has arrived in Singapore, hosting a brief welcome preview cruise for international guests, the first time any cruise line has been able to sail from Singapore with international passengers in more than two years.
Spectrum of the Seas Welcomes International Guests
Spectrum of the Seas set sail April 2-4 with an eager mix of media representatives, travel trade partners, business associates, and their accompanying family members and guests. Onboard were passengers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and India.
Cruising officially resumed from Singapore in November 2020 with Dream Cruises’ World Dream, quickly followed by Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas in December 2020, the first Royal Caribbean ship to restart passenger operations since the global suspension.
According to Annie Chang, director of cruise development with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), almost 500,000 people have sailed from Singapore since the restart, though voyages have been restricted to “seacations” only with no port calls and for Singapore residents only.
“We have been sailing globally with international guests since 2021, which was an important year for us because we returned to Europe, the Caribbean, and Alaska,” Angie Stephen, vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International, clarified. “However, Spectrum is Singapore’s first cruise with international guests (since the pandemic).”
The first official sailing, departing April 11, is a 3-day Ocean Getaway without ports of call. This is six months ahead of the ship’s initial date to return to Singapore, after spending several months sailing from Hong Kong.
Easing Restrictions and Simplified Arrivals
Welcoming international passengers back to Singapore is largely possible because of local easing of pandemic restrictions, including simplified arrival procedures into Singapore that went into effect on April 1.
Full-vaccinated travelers no longer need to test before arriving in Singapore, which makes it easier and less expensive for international guests to reach the embarkation port.
The easing of restrictions has also increased interest in cruising from Singapore, despite the continuing ban on ports of call.
“Initially, international demand was coming in for Q4 when we have published ports of call,” said Stephen. “Now that it is easier to come to Singapore, many international guests are happy to come here and join our cruise-to-nowhere programs in Q2.”
Other restrictions that have eased are capacity limits, which were previously set at 50%. Now, Spectrum of the Seas can open 75% of its berths to accommodate more eager travelers. More guests can be permitted in the ship’s theaters and other venues, and guests do not need to wear masks in outdoor areas.
The Quantum-Ultra-class Spectrum of the Seas can host 4,246 passengers at full double occupancy, and up to 5,622 guests when every berth on the ship is available. There has been no timeline set for when overall capacity limits may be lifted for Singapore sailings.
Royal Caribbean International has also taken steps to simplify traveling aboard Spectrum of the Seas by expanding where pre-cruise rapid antigen tests can be taken, including permitting some at-home tests.
The company’s Royal app has also been simplified to speed up check-in procedures, and the new e-muster drill has been implemented.
While the next few months of cruising from Singapore will still be cruises to nowhere without ports of call, port visits are planned to resume in October. Spectrum of the Seas will continue to sail 3- to 4-night Ocean Gateway from Singapore. The ship also has an extended season, for a full year, through April 2023.