Dream Cruises is now the gold standard of cruise safety.
Most Australians think cruising is off-the-radar until after the coronavirus pandemic is over. But one cruise company has continued to sail safely out of Singapore and Taiwan throughout 2020 and 2021.
And they’ve done it without one case of COVID.
It’s not just luck. Dream Cruises implemented strict health and safety protocols very early in the pandemic.
Governments around the world are now looking at Dream Cruises as a model of how to cruise safely in the future.
In April 2020, as Australian authorities were battling with COVID cases spreading across the nation, Dream Cruises executives put in place the world’s strictest cruising regulations.
The safety measures covered every aspect of the cruise companies operation.
Dream Cruises, Vice President Sales & Marketing Brigita Devries told Vacations & Travel the company currently cruises out of Taiwan and Singapore.
The cruises are purely for domestic tourists. Taiwan residents can depart Keelung and island hop around Penghu, Matsu, Kinmen and Hualien Islands. In Singapore Dream Cruises run “cruises to nowhere”.
“It’s an incredible experience,” Devries said.
“Our guests can’t take advantage of any land based holidays right now, but they they do have this beautiful luxurious ship at their doorstep.”
“They are able to finally holiday with their family and friends. It’s been a great opportunity for them to also celebrate important milestones together.”
So how have they done it?
It helps that Singapore and Taiwan have both been able to control the coronavirus pandemic, in a similar way to Australia.
That means guests have less chance of having COVID before they get on board.
Every single cruise guest must provide a negative coronavirus test before check-in.
Dream Cruises staggers arrival times for each sailing to avoid clusters of people dragging their luggage onto the cruise at the same time.
At check-in, guests must undertake a rapid PCR test. The results come back within an hour. If they are clear, the guest can board.
Dream Cruises has a new fleet of ships, designed with 100 per cent fresh air ventilated into each individual cabin and every single venue onboard.
The company has reduced the number of guests allowed on board, based on national regulations. In Singapore, Dream Cruises sails at 50 per cent capacity. In Taiwan, it sails at 65 per cent.
The cruise staff has also been reduced by 50 per cent and they must work in “bubbles”, sticking to designated areas of the ship.
“We’ve changed everything, from the fresh air to our crew; reducing intermingling and movement onboard,” Devries said.
Guests can still swim in the pool and use the rock climbing wall. The only difference is, they will need to book a time to use it.
Land excursions are out in Singapore for now. But you can hop off the cruise to explore island ports in Taiwan.
Dream Cruises still has incredible buffets spread, although you need to get the staff to serve you.
Most importantly, the company gives every single guest a tag that monitors their movements for contact tracing, just in case a case occurs.
The safest cruise on the planet
Since the pandemic began, Dream Cruises has completed 59 sailings out of Singapore and 79 from Taiwan.
To date, they have not had one COVID case, in nearly a year of cruising.
“We wanted people to be able to cruise and to know that we considered their safety as the number one priority,” Devries said.
Dream Cruises sister company Crystal Cruises looks set to become the first cruise company to sail to the Carribean in June 2021.
These cruises have the exact same protocols as Dream Cruises, but given the state of the USA, all passengers must be able to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID.
If Australia does open up a travel bubble with Singapore, we can all rejoice in the fact that cruising could be safely back on the horizon.