It seems there’s no escaping the coronavirus, even when you’re going nowhere. A Royal Caribbean cruise returned to port in Singapore just days after setting sail on a “cruise to nowhere” due to an elderly passenger coming down with COVID-19.
The four-day trip on the Quantum of the Seas set sail on December 7 from Singapore in a bid to reinvigorate tourism in the face of the pandemic. While the ship was operating at 50 percent capacity, there were still nearly 3,000 passengers and crew members willing to take the chance on a trip to absolutely nowhere. Current quarantine procedures on the Quantum of the Seas recall those taken earlier this year when cruise ships were major vectors for the infection. From CNN:
The man has been taken to a hospital in Singapore. The remaining 1,679 passengers and 1,148 crew members will be tested for coronavirus, even if they were not in direct contact with the infected passenger, and will not be permitted to disembark from the ship until they get a negative test result.
Until then, everyone has been asked to remain in their staterooms, and food and other amenities are being delivered to them.
“We worked closely with the government to develop a thorough system that tests and monitors all guests and crew and follows public health best practices,” a Royal Caribbean representative said. “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.”
The cruise to nowhere had no ports-of-call, no off-ship activities, required passengers to always wear masks when in public areas on the ship and was open only to Singapore locals who could show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Indeed, it was the safest a cruise could possibly be during a pandemic, which is to say not very safe at all.
Cruises to nowhere kinda sound like an oxymoron to me, as the ships generally don’t transport people from point A to point B. Sure passengers might visit multiple locations, but they usually end up in the same port they started from. Nowhere cruises join expensive sightseeing flights to nowhere as the latest risky, pointless and wasteful attempt by the tourism industry to stay afloat. There will likely be more as, at least in America, cruise enthusiasts say they are ready to reboard their fancy floating toilets, regardless of the risks. The first cruise ship to ply the waters of the Caribbean reported an onboard COVID-19 case last month, with a much smaller complement of passengers and crew.