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Quantum Leap: First Look At Cruising During Unusual Times

Bruce Parkinson

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Cruise lovers and industry watchers around the world were watching closely yesterday as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas became the first ship of the world’s second-largest cruise line to head out to sea with paying passengers.

quantum of the seas in singapore

Quantum of the Seas at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Nine long months after Royal Caribbean grounded its entire 26-ship fleet due to the global health crisis, Quantum’s departure was seen as a ray of hope, with optimism for a rebound already on the rise thanks to positive news about vaccines.

Based in Singapore and catering exclusively to residents of that city-state, Quantum is offering a four-month series of ‘Ocean Getaways,’ three- and four-night sailings with no port calls to avoid unnecessary contact between guests and local people.

Onboard, occupancy has been reduced by at least 50 percent to allow for social distancing. On the first cruise, the Singapore Cruise Society reports that there are just under 1,100 guests, less than a quarter of capacity.

Passengers must produce a negative PCR test taken three days before boarding, and there’s a long list of health precautions including daily temperature-taking, intensive medical-grade cleaning, an enhanced HVAC system promising 100 percent fresh, filtered air, and enhanced medical facilities including more doctors and nurses.

Courtesy of the Singapore Cruise Society, the following photos offer a glimpse of the current Quantum experience — and give a taste of the changes North Americans can expect once cruising returns to our shores.

quantum of the seas singapore

Quantum of the Seas awaits its first paying guests in nine months at the Port of Singapore.

quantum of the seas singapore

Guests arrive by appointment for staggered check-in at the cruise terminal, greeted by PPE-wearing Royal Caribbean staff.

quantum of the seas singapore

All guests must use a wearable device that connects to the TraceTogether app, allowing rapid tracing in the event it is necessary. 

quantum of the seas singapore buffet

Hands-free: smiling crew members now serve all the food at buffets on Quantum of the Seas. And the cuisine looks as delicious as ever.

quantum of the seas singapore

What’s for dinner? As always, Royal Caribbean guests will enjoy a huge range of dining choices. The hard part is deciding what to choose — and when to stop!

quantum of the seas singapore flowrider

There’s plenty of fun even without port calls, as Quantum of the Seas features a host of action and adventure activities, including the FlowRider surfing simulator shown here, the RipCord by iFly simulated skydiving experience, bumper cars in the SeaPlex, and an all-new Royal Escape Room.

quantum of the seas singapore north star

Adventure awaits on Quantum of the Seas’ top deck, including the North Star, an observation pod attached to a giant arm that takes guests 300 feet above sea level, delivering stunning ocean views.

quantum of the seas singapore vintages wine bar

Constant cleaning means guests can travel with peace of mind. Signage lets guests know that seating areas have been freshly disinfected.

quantum of the seas singapore theater

With occupancy capped at a maximum of 50 percent, there’s plenty of room for guests to spread out and enjoy the wide variety of entertainment aboard Quantum, including Broadway musicals, ice skating, and original productions.

quantum of the seas singapore theater show

They may be wearing masks to protect themselves and others, but the entertainers aboard Quantum of the Seas are still delivering passionate performances.

quantum of the seas singapore towel animal

Familiar friends: yes, beloved towel animals are part of the Quantum of the Seas ‘Ocean Getaway’ experience.

Photos courtesy of the Singapore Cruise Society

Bruce Parkinson has written about cruising and the broader international travel industry for more than 25 years.

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