Singapore to kickstart travel with ‘cruises to nowhere’

Qin Xie
·2-min read
Cruise ships have been banned from Singapore since March (Getty Images)
Cruise ships have been banned from Singapore since March (Getty Images)

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is said to be looking at launching “cruises to nowhere” in a bid to kickstart leisure travel in the country.

A cruise to nowhere is essentially a sailing that departs and returns to the same port having spent a period at sea without docking anywhere else.

Passengers are able to enjoy the facilities on board, and take in any sights from afar, but they won’t be able to get off the ship at any point during the cruise.

Specialist risk management company DNV GL has been appointed by STB to create a compliance audit and certification programme for the cruise industry that would allow these trips to take place, Straits Times reported.

Cruise companies hoping to operate these trips to nowhere will have to get their vessels certified to make sure that they’re Covid-secure. It’s also likely that they will have to operate at 50 per cent capacity for the time being.

There is currently no timeframe for when the certification might be finalised.

Singapore issued a blanket ban on all cruise ships in March this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With its borders still largely closed, there’s little scope for international travel.

Last month, the city state’s national carrier Singapore Airlines announced that it was considering jumping on the trend for “flights to nowhere” in light of the fact that it has zero domestic flights and most of its international routes continue to be grounded.

But plans were quickly scrapped in favour of a pop-up restaurant after it received criticism over the environmental impact of such flights.

However, other carriers continue to operate these services.

Tickets for the Qantas flight to nowhere, a seven-hour scenic flight over Australia, sold out within 10 minutes.

Departing and returning on 10 October, the flight won’t stop anywhere, but gives passengers the chance to enjoy views over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and other landmarks.

There were 134 seats up for grabs on the Boeing 787 aircraft, priced between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) depending on the class of ticket.

“It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history,” said a Qantas spokesperson.

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