On its plans to launch cruises to nowhere, Genting HK has made good. The Genting Cruise Lines arm of the company reached an agreement with Singapore to offer meandering cruises as a way of getting people’s minds off the COVID-19 pandemic, and has now made a splash with its first official sailing out of the country, following a similar introduction last July in Taiwan. Apparently, there was no lack of interest in this first trip, either.
On its first voyage this past Friday, the World Dream set sail with about 1,400 passengers, about half of its maximum capacity and allegedly the maximum permitted due to anti-coronavirus policies. These policies also include social distancing practises in all public areas , increased rules on the handling of food and beverages, 100 percent ventilation of fresh air in staterooms and public areas, as well as the inclusion of a new medical facility on the ship. A Polymerase Chain Reaction ( PCR) machine includes that facility, which can reportedly detect bacteria and viruses much faster than other methods.
All guests and crew will also be tested regularly, apart from the PCR machine. All guests will have to pass a COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test before gaining access to the ship, and those who are seven years of age or older will have to carry a MICE Pod token, which monitors wearers to ensure that they adhere to social distance guidelines. That requirement stems from orders handed down by the Ministry of Health of Singapore.
The cruises will be short, just about two or three nights. They should, however, offer some much-needed relief and give individuals the ability to step away from the stress created by lockdown. The cruise industry, however, has often been seen as a breeding ground for the virus, with large numbers of individuals confined to smaller spaces where it is easier to propagate the virus.
In the event that the virus suddenly appears, the World Dream thinks it’s ready. It has also designated seven cabins as isolation cabins, in addition to safety and health measures, and has 34 quarantine rooms for individuals who may have come into close contact with the alleged positive case. On the 19-deck vessel that is equipped with a ventilator, there is also an intensive care unit ward.
It would be an understatement to say that Genting HK needs these sailings to be successful. As it looked to launch a whole fleet of ships, the company had leveraged itself pretty thin and the COVID-19 situation had a major impact on its plans. In order to keep the business afloat, it had to suspend payments to creditors and reportedly has around $3.37 billion in outstanding debt. The company’s chairman, Lim Lok Thay, is said to have put up his entire stake in Genting HK, about 76 percent of the company, as collateral so that things could continue to move forward.