All aboard the cruise to nowhere, one of the only ways to scratch your travel itch while going abroad is barred (sort of). Except, perhaps, if you're a frontline healthcare professional?
After DJ-turned-healthcare worker Jade Rasif was recently stopped from boarding the Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, the cruise operator has clarified that guests who may have come into contact with Covid-19 patients will not be allowed on the cruise ship.
Jade had been due to set sail on the cruise on Dec 7. But prior to boarding, she received a letter informing her that Royal Caribbean was unable to welcome her aboard as she did not meet their health protocols and policies.
She then shared a couple of Instagram Stories where she admitted she was "holding back tears", announcing that there would be "no cruise for [her]".
"Part of my job is I might potentially come into patients with Covid-19. Because of that, I'm not able to board the cruise," she said.
In response to AsiaOne's queries, the Royal Caribbean said all guests have to declare if they were experiencing any Covid-19 related symptoms and if they had been in contact with anyone who has the virus or symptoms of it, on top of their recent travel history and health history.
All guests are also required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction test. Only those who pass all the tests and screenings are allowed to board.
"Jade Rasif, who was due to sail with us, had indicated that she may have been in contact with Covid-19 patients due to the nature of her job as a frontline healthcare worker. As a result of this declaration, she was denied boarding."
Jade added that she completely understood their reasoning, explaining that as a healthcare worker "the last thing we want to do is become health hazards ourselves", though she warned other healthcare workers that they might face the same situation due to their jobs.
In the letter she received, Jade was assured that she would receive a refund for all the items she had paid for.
The Royal Caribbean also said that they have reached out to her to offer her another sailing and that they "look forward to welcoming her onboard Quantum of the Seas soon."
She added: "There will be more cruises in 2021 and 2022, it's all good. If anything it motivates me to work harder so we can get over this pandemic together."
And if anything, it doesn't seem as though Jade's missed out on much, considering how the cruise was cut short and returned to shore on Dec 9 after a suspected Covid-19 case was discovered on board. The case later tested negative for the virus, the Ministry of Health said.
Additional safety measures
Apart from screening its guests before boarding, the Royal Caribbean has a number of measures in place.
These include safe distancing measures, emergency response plans, as well as strict and frequent sanitisation, in compliance with the Singapore Tourism Board's mandatory CruiseSafe certification programme.
Foreign crew are also required to undergo a total of 28 days of isolation and test negative for the virus before departure, while all crew members are routinely tested every seven days.
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