The successful deployment of Genting Cruise’s Explorer Dream in Taiwan has spurred hope for the development of cruise bubbles in the region.

Following the successful deployment of Genting Cruise Lines’ Explorer Dream in Taiwan since July without any incident, Genting is working with Sanya CBD to develop domestic cruise itineraries out of Hainan.

At the same time, Genting’s Dream Cruises has opened up bookings for its cruises departing from Singapore for inter-country cruises. Sailing from November, some of these cruises span three countries – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It remains to be seen how popular these cruises will be.

A source informed Asian Property Review that the Taiwanese cruises are up to 70% full during the summer holiday months but dipped to about 30% of full capacity after summer ended. Departing from the port of Keelung, the Taiwanese cruise, if successful, is expected to spur the development of cruise bubbles between Taiwan and neighbouring regions that also have their pandemic situation under control, such as the outlying islands of Japan, said Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines at the launch of the restart of Dream Cruises in Taiwan.

“Looking forward, we believe the development of cruise bubbles can further initiate the next phase in the re-establishment of international tourism and spur the economic recovery for a post COVID-19 world.”

New Norms

In preparation for welcoming its first passengers on board, over the past months, Genting Cruise Lines has completely re-examined and enhanced all of its health, hygiene and operating protocols on board including thorough sanitization and disinfection, and enhanced hygiene practices for guest 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, 100% fresh air ventilation in staterooms and public areas, it said in a press statement.

In accordance with Taiwan’s regulations prior to resuming sailing, Explorer Dream observed strict quarantine procedures with the crew having completed a total of 21 days of isolation and passing all COVID-19 testing. In preparation for her inaugural sailing, the ship also underwent a thorough deep cleaning in accordance with EU standard.

As well, the crew participated in an outbreak simulation drill under the guidance of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and with consultation by medical experts from the Taiwan Public Health Association.

Additionally, to comply with social distancing rules, guests will see the debut of the new Flexi-Feast dining concept which allows passengers the freedom to choose from a wider choice of venues and to dine at their leisure.

Trips are localised with Explorer Dream’s itinerary highlighting the physical and geographic beauty of Taiwan, and its culinary and cultural heritage.

Trips will depart from Keelung and call into the popular ports and islands of Peng Hu, Matsu Island and Kinmen as well as Hualien. Collaborations have been forged with the Council of Agriculture to provide local produce on board and a new order-to-home service for their “2020 Top 100 Premium Agricultural Products” on the ship.

Hainan Cruise Hub

Meanwhile, the strategic partnership with the Sanya CBD Administration and a prominent national travel industry corporation to establish a joint venture company to facilitate operations of Dream Cruises’ flagship in Sanya is to eventually launch domestic cruise itineraries out of the central cruise hub of Hainan, and to support the development of a free trade, pilot cruise tourism zone on Hainan Island.

Zhu said: “The long-term goal is to put Hainan on the map as one of the most popular global cruise homeports and the central hub among popular destinations that can be easily reached within 24 hours.”

Sanya boasts an abundance of advantages to complement the pilot implementation of the “Hainan Cruise Port Sea-Upstream Route” plan, such as the first dedicated cruise terminal providing the only cruise itineraries to the Xisha islands in the country.

Further, the Hainan government announced earlier this year the pilot plan for the “Hainan Island Cruise Itineraries for Chinesefunded ‘Flag of Convenience’ Ships” providing more options for cruise companies.

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