Dream Cruises Restarts Sailings in Taiwan, Despite Pandemic

Some eager Taiwanese cruise-goers are among first in the world to embark upon their long-awaited vacations at sea even as the pandemic continues, and satisfying the travel itch without venturing too far from home.

With the support of Taiwan’s government, which is actively working to revitalize the local economy and resuscitate the tourism sector, Dream Cruises just joined only a handful of cruise operators around the globe to have restarted voyages.

Dream Cruises (a Genting Hong Kong brand) today celebrated the restart of its passenger service and return to Taiwan with a special inaugural ceremony and event to launch its new “Island Hopping” itineraries, created specifically for the Taiwanese market, which spotlight the country’s unique geographic and cultural beauty, and its incredible culinary heritage.

Departing from Taiwan’s northern Keelung port and sailing aboard the Explorer Dream, these Island Hopping getaways of up to five days’ duration will whisk about 900 guests off to scenic destinations along the country’s coastline and outlying islands, calling at such popular ports as Peng Hu, Matsu Island, Kinmen and Hualien.

The ship currently carries only one-third of its maximum passenger limit, plus roughly 500 crew members who have already completed a 21-day health screening and COVID-19 testing process before being allowed to board.

According to Reuters, all customer-facing staff are required to wear masks and gloves, buffet service has been scrapped, the onboard casino and spa are closed down, and guest tables in restaurants are spaced well apart and divided by screens. Guests will need to maintain social distancing during their cruise and will be temperature-checked prior to boarding.

Social distancing efforts onboard are being aided through the implementation of Dream Cruises’ new Flexi-Feast dining concept, which gives passengers the freedom and flexibility to choose from a wider selection of food and beverage venues, and dine at their leisure. This should help to prevent meal-time rushes and bottlenecking in certain areas, with seating options spread out across all available restaurants to allow for a more spacious and comfortable experience.

Genting Cruise Lines has spent the past months overhauling its health, hygiene and operating protocols in preparation for this moment. Genting also partnered with DNV GL, the world’s largest classification society, incorporating its healthcare ‘Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry’ (CIP-M) standards and making Explorer Dream the first cruise ship in the world to earn the CIP-M certification. The vessel also received a thorough deep-cleaning process in accordance with E.U. standards prior to embarkation.

Safe food and beverage handling procedures; constant and thorough sanitization and disinfection of guest cabins, crew quarters, public areas and recreational facilities; 100-percent fresh-air ventilation in public areas and staterooms; and social distancing practices in dining, entertainment and shared spaces will all contribute to ensuring the safest possible onboard conditions.

Under the guidance of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and in consultation with the Taiwan Public Health Association medical experts, the crew members have also seamlessly performed an outbreak simulation drill in preparation for deploying viral containment measures, if the need were to arise. Explorer Dream is also equipped with 22 COVID-19 wards in which to isolate any passengers who might fall ill.

Taiwan closed its borders in mid-March as the pandemic advanced globally, and the country has suffered only eleven active COVID-19 cases and experienced zero community transmission, thanks to its prompt preventive actions.

“The restarting of the cruise industry is a remarkable achievement which was made possible by the Taiwan authorities’ swift and effective handling of the COVID-19 crisis and their foresight in resuming the tourism industry to benefit all the ports, the economy and the lifestyle of the people of Taiwan,” said Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines.

“Looking forward, we believe the development of cruise bubbles between Taiwan and neighboring regions that also have their pandemic situation under control, such as the outlying islands of Japan, can further initiate the next phase in the re-establishment of international tourism and spur the economic recovery for a post-COVID-19 world,” Zhu added.

For more information, visit dreamcruiseline.com.

Source: Read Full Article