The Asian cruise market is slowly coming back to life, with an ocean cruise ship entering service in Taiwan and domestic river cruising approved on China’s Yangtze River.
Explorer Dream, one of the ships in the Dream Cruise Line fleet, embarked on its first short sailing in Taiwan, leaving from the northern port of Keelung. The cruise line, owned by Hong Kong-based Genting Cruise Lines, developed special two- and three-night island-hopping itineraries to Peng Hu, Matsu Island and Kinmen, as well as Hualien, for the Taiwanese market.
The ship carried 926 passengers on the first sailing Sunday according to the line; about half of the ship’s 1,856-passenger capacity. All passengers were required to complete a health questionnaire and travel history declaration form before boarding; the line did not require a negative COVID-19 test.
Masks were not required, the line said, but free ones were made available onboard. “We encourage them to do, especially in common areas on the ship.”
Genting Out In Front
Genting was among the first cruise companies to outline health and safety protocols within the industry, releasing their plans back in April. including thorough sanitization and disinfection and enhanced hygiene practices for cabins and crew member quarters, public areas and recreational facilities; social distancing in dining, entertainment and public areas; safe food and beverage handling procedures; and fresh air ventilation in staterooms and public areas.
In addition, the crew underwent a 21-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing. Other crew measures included an outbreak simulation drill, under the guidance of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and in consultation with medical experts from the Taiwan Public Health Association.
It took a good deal of coordination with the Taiwanese government for cruising to begin, the line said in a release.
“It is a great honour for Genting Cruise Lines to continue its long and fruitful partnership with Taiwan which began over 20 years ago, as we begin on the road to recovery together due to the COVID-19 pandemic and which will bring hope to the global cruise industry as well,” said Mr. Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines.