World | Dec 2, 2020

Royal Caribbean resumes cruise shipping after nine-month hiatus

/ Our Today

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First cruise vessel now en route to Singapore with some 1,000 passengers

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean has resumed cruise shipping after a nine-month hiatus due to COVID-19, which resulted in the company shutting down operations with its cruise vessels being docked at their various home ports.

Royal Caribbean’s first cruise ship to leave port since the shutdown, Quantum of the Seas, yesterday set sail from Singapore, offering a restoration cruise. Quantum of the Seas has offered its passengers three and four cruises to only citizens of Singapore with no port stops.

As such Quantum of the Seas will be the first cruise ship to offer paid cruises since March, with some 1,000 passengers on board. While Quantum of the Seas will be able to restart in Singapore, the rest of the cruise lines remain inoperative until further notice.

Royal Caribbean shut down all cruise shipping starting on March 14, 2020 and has not offered any cruise since then. Australia cruises have been cancelled through the end of January 2021.


Cruise shipping elsewhere have been shut down until the end of December 2020. Royal Caribbean announced last month that it has cancelled its Australia and New Zealand cruises on or before January 31, 2021.

“We want to ensure we have ample time to focus on our healthy return to service initiatives and to let you make alternative holiday plans.”

Royal Caribbean

In making the announcement, Royal Caribbean reported that guests on affected sailings in January have begun receiving emails to inform them of the change. The new set of cancellations applies only to sailings out of Australia and New Zealand through January 31, 2020.

The cruise shipping company had planned to resume cruises on January 1, but later announced it had to cancel the cruises to prepare for its new health protocols. According to Royal Caribbean, “We want to ensure we have ample time to focus on our healthy return to service initiatives and to let you make alternative holiday plans.”

In a statement, Royal Caribbean International said it would be extending its suspension of sailings, beyond that of Australia to include sailings departing New Zealand as well on or before January 31, 2021. This is to allow guests booked on January sailings to make alternative holiday arrangements.


The phased resumption of cruise shipping comes amid the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifting its no-sail order on cruise shipping on October 30. In addition to lifting the no-sail order, the CDC also released a list of detailed requirements that could put ships back in operation in the coming months. The CDC’s 40-page directive requires a phased approach to restarting cruises. Companies must first demonstrate they can successfully protect crew members from COVID-19, then conduct simulated cruises with volunteer passengers, then obtain a ‘conditional sailing certificate’ from the CDC. The testing requirements – including PCR testing for all passengers and crew on embarkation and disembarkation days – go beyond the protocols companies have proposed. Most cruise companies – Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages – have canceled all cruises leaving from U.S. ports for the remainder of the year.


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