More than 6,000 bookings in five days for Genting's cruises to nowhere
Phones have been ringing off the hook at the offices of Genting Cruise Lines, with the company receiving more than 6,000 bookings for its "cruises to nowhere" in just five days.
Each of these bookings is likely for at least two people.
A total of 23 Genting Cruise Lines sailings, each with a maximum capacity of 1,700 passengers, are scheduled for next month and December.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced last Thursday that round-trip cruises without ports of call will take place under a pilot programme.
Under this, only two cruise lines - Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International - can take to the seas.
A Royal Caribbean International spokesman said bookings are up 500 per cent compared with the past two weeks.
Its first sailing on Dec 1, which is capped at about 1,000 guests, is almost sold out.
Cruises have been suspended since March due to the coronavirus outbreak. But with the number of local infections dwindling, companies have been working with the authorities to find ways to regain their revenue stream after the tourism industry took a massive hit from prolonged measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Michael Goh, head of international sales at Genting Cruise Lines, said calls of inquiry began flooding in almost immediately after STB made its announcement.
He told The Straits Times yesterday: "The response has been overwhelming.
"We call it a 'superstaycation', because we offer all three meals, outdoor activities like waterslides and rock climbing, and even a Christmas musical. It is a complete holiday experience. The ship itself is the destination."
After Covid-19 spread in migrant worker dormitories, two of Genting Cruise Lines' ships were used as dedicated quarantine facilities.
Mr Goh said this was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed the company to "gain a lot of knowledge" and use "what we have learnt and apply it to our operations".
Ms Angie Stephen, managing director of Royal Caribbean's operations in the Asia-Pacific, attributed the surge in bookings to the "pent-up desire to travel".
She said the four-night cruise sailing every Thursday evening is particularly attractive, as guests need to take only one day off from work on Friday to enjoy a long weekend on the cruise.
Starting prices for both companies' offerings range between $359 and $599 per person.