DestinationsTighter rules for land and sea as the Lion City races to curb Covid spread.

Rule of 25% capacity kicks in for Singapore

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Guests have to keep to just two people a hotel room or cruise cabin, although families of up to four pax from the same household can still be booked for the same room/cabin. Pictured: A Palace suite on board World Dream.
Guests have to keep to just two people a hotel room or cruise cabin, although families of up to four pax from the same household can still be booked for the same room/cabin. Pictured: A Palace suite on board World Dream. Photo Credit: Dream Cruises

In the face of a surge in local Covid-19 cases, Singapore has reverted to tighter restrictions for tours, cruises and staycations from 16 May to 13 June.

During this period dubbed Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), attractions and cruises' new operating capacity is now kept to 25% (down from 65%, after being raised to 50% earlier).

For hotel staycations, only two guests are allowed per room. Similarly, passengers on cruise ships are capped at two per cabin, although guests from the same household can book up to four pax per cabin.

Tours can carry on, but with a cap of 20 per outing, and a strict ratio of two pax per group.

Meanwhile, F&B establishments can no longer accept dine-in customers and only offer take-outs. Mirroring the rules on land, restaurants on board cruise ships will now be closed but takeaway meals and room service are still available.

Sailing safely with tighter restrictions

For Singapore cruises — which had resumed in November last year with stringent protocols in place — it's pretty much keeping to the prevailing safety requirements, said Lionel Wong, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services, the operator of the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS).

"At this point, there aren’t many changes, except all cruises will be capped at 25% pax load. We will also be spacing out the waiting areas to accommodate for more space per pax that last time," said Wong. "Testing remains critical."

On top of the PCR tests required of Royal Caribbean passengers three days prior to embarkation, passengers sailing on itineraries from 24 May onwards are advised to arrive for their complimentary rapid antigen test at MBCCS one hour prior to departure "as an extra layer of protection", Royal Caribbean International's Asia Pacific managing director Angie Stephen told Travel Weekly Asia.

Many of the ship's facilities such as RipCord by iFly, the Flowrider and North Star on Royal's Quantum of the Seas remained operational as well. Live entertainment still went on, although live singing is still not permitted and viewing seats are grouped in twos, according to observations made by Singapore Cruise Society on Facebook.

Meanwhile, World Dream's Thailand- and Japan-themed sailings will proceed as planned, the entire ship abiding by the prevailing safe management measures including operating at reduced capacity with enhanced social distancing and safe measures on board, although outdoor activities or any activities without face masks will be temporarily suspended.

Both cruise lines have reached out to affected passengers with the option of transferring or cancelling scheduled cruises.

Royal Caribbean's Stephen added: "We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, and are in the process of finalising additional changes to other experiences to ensure we remain nimble and as we follow the science and work with the authorities to adhere to prevailing measures."

Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises concluded: "Just like before, I know that we can weather the uncertainty of this current challenge and emerge even stronger than before."

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