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.
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.
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.
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:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image of courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees