Skip to content

First Royal Caribbean ship to return to cruising is having a COVID scare

Dec. 09, 2020
5 min read
Quantum of the Seas
First Royal Caribbean ship to return to cruising is having a COVID scare
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The first cruise ship from a major North America-based brand to resume sailing since March is having a COVID scare.

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas returned to its home port of Singapore on Wednesday -- a day ahead of schedule -- after an elderly passenger on board tested positive for COVID-19.

All of the nearly 1,700 passengers on the ship have been quarantined in their cabins since the case came to light around 2 a.m. Wednesday, local time (Tuesday afternoon in America). But they will be allowed to leave the vessel soon, according to the line.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter.

In a statement sent to The Points Guy, Royal Caribbean said it quickly isolated and tested all "close contacts" of the passenger who tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been no additional cases discovered.

As part of new anti-COVID measures, passengers on the ship have been required to wear "tracelet" wristbands that record when they come in close contact with others on board. The wristbands are designed to allow Royal Caribbean to quickly do contact tracing in the event a passenger tests positive for COVID-19.

As passengers on board -- including longtime cruise writer Heidi Sarna -- have noted in social media posts, they've also been required to download and use a "trace together" phone app that also allows for contact tracing.

"We worked closely with the government (of Singapore) to develop a thorough system that tests and monitors all guests and crew and follows public health best practices," Royal Caribbean said in its statement. "That we were able to quickly identify this single case and take immediate action is a sign that the system is working as it was designed to do."

Quantum of the Seas resumed sailings out of Singapore just last week in what at the time was considered a major milestone in the comeback of cruising.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The cruises, which only are open to Singapore residents, are the first that Royal Caribbean has operated since the cruise industry shut down operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. They're also, notably, the first cruises operated by any major North America-based brand since the shutdown.

Most major cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America, have canceled all sailings worldwide through at least February or March.

Royal Caribbean's limited return to cruising is being closely watched as it is the world's biggest cruise line, accounting for nearly a fifth of all cruises taken worldwide.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas is one of the world's biggest cruise ships. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Singapore has been allowing cruise ships to resume sailings out of the city-state for locals only in the wake of a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases since the summer. The island nation has almost completely eradicated the illness, recording fewer than 10 cases a day on most days for the past two months.

Royal Caribbean was the second cruise line that Singapore allowed to restart operations out of the city-state. Asia-based Dream Cruises began short cruises from Singapore on Nov. 6 with a single ship, the 3,376-passenger World Dream.

Royal Caribbean implemented a wide range of anti-COVID-19 health measures on the sailings out of Singapore, including mask-wearing and social distancing requirements, and new limits on the number of passengers allowed on board. The ship this week was sailing with just 1,680 passengers. It normally can hold up to 4,905 passengers.

In addition, to sail on the ship, passengers were required to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 within 48 to 72 hours before arriving at the vessel.

Still, unlike some lines that restarted cruises in Europe over the summer, Royal Caribbean is not testing passengers for COVID-19 at the pier on the day of departure.

The COVID scare on Quantum of the Seas comes just weeks after a COVID outbreak on the first cruise vessel to resume sailings in the Caribbean. In that case, the cruise line -- SeaDream Yacht Club -- was just four days into its first voyage. SeaDream subsequently canceled all remaining sailings for the year.

Royal Caribbean has canceled the next sailing of Quantum of the Seas, which was scheduled to begin on Thursday. As of now, it plans to restart operations out of Singapore on Dec. 14.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by ©2014 Michel Verdure - www.verd

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.