Royal Caribbean recently announced that it would extend its cruise to nowhere sailings on Quantum of the Seas till October 2021, making it an 11-month sailing season out of Singapore (and counting).
I’ve sailed twice on Quantum already, and can say it’s a pretty spectacular experience. The best analogy I could give is that of a giant floating theme park, where all your food, activities and entertainment come included. It’s no substitute for flying, of course, but still offers the kind of “out of Singapore” escapism that staycations simply can’t provide.
Royal Caribbean has now released its updated cruising schedule till October, so let’s take a look at the dates as well as potential discounts.
|Royal Caribbean Cruise to Nowhere|
Royal Caribbean Cruise to Nowhere: July to October schedule
Here’s the cruise schedule from July to August:
|3 Nights||4 Nights|
|July||5th, 12th, 19th, 26th||1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th|
|August||2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th||5th, 12th, 19th, 26th|
|September||6th, 13th, 20th, 27th||2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th|
|October||4th, 11th, 18th||7th, 14th|
While Quantum of the Seas does have 2-night sailings (which, in my opinion, are way too short), they’re absent from July onwards. The last scheduled 2-night cruise is on 1 June, and subsequently, Quantum will be doing non-stop 3 and 4-night voyages.
Officially, cruise capacity remains capped at 50%, but don’t count on that remaining for long. The cruises thus far have been uneventful, and when I did my second sailing in March, it was clear that restrictions had been loosened since January (no more post-cruise COVID test, no need to flash the TraceTogether app everywhere on the boat).
Everything points to higher capacity cruises in the near future, and Royal Caribbean is certainly going to be pushing for it. As per their CEO in a February investor call:
So, what we’ve started within Singapore in terms of protocols already being reviewed and there’s in the coming weeks we expect some of those protocols to be changed. For example, load factor constraint at the beginning of our Singapore operations was capped at 50%. We’re now in discussions about increasing that cap to 65% in the coming weeks and some of the testing regimes have changed.
I think it’s still worth cruising even at 65% capacity, but you’ll need to be a lot more strategic with how you plan your activities and dining.
What discounts are on offer?
Royal Caribbean is continuing to offer 50% off fares and up to S$300 in further savings, something they’ve been doing pretty much continuously since December.
However, it’s possible to score some additional discounts with HSBC cards and AIA Vitality. Do note that with HSBC, you can’t pre-select your stateroom, while with AIA Vitality you can. (edit: perhaps that’s changed- see comments section). Why that should be the case I have no idea, but if you’re particular about location (see this post for more details on choosing a cabin), take note.
You can also get some bonus onboard credits if you’re a Royal Caribbean shareholder.
HSBC: 5% off
HSBC is offering 5% off the 1st and 2nd guests on any Balcony and Deluxe stateroom bookings. To take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to book via walk-in (Royal’s offices at at 3 Anson Road, #130-2 Springleaf Tower), phone or email ([email protected]); you will not be able to enjoy this discount on the website.
The obvious card of choice will be the HSBC Revolution, which will earn 4 mpd on cruise transactions, up to S$1,000 per month.
AIA Vitality: Up to 50% off
AIA Vitality members will enjoy up to a 50% discount on Royal Caribbean cruise fares (and yes, this further stacks with the 50% off being offered online).
This benefit can be enjoyed a maximum of once per year, and given that the baseline Vitality discount is 10%, it even makes sense to sign up for one month (S$8) just to use the discount (you can cancel in the subsequent month).
Just like the HSBC discount, you’ll need to email [email protected] to make your booking.
Royal Caribbean shareholders: US$50 bonus credit
If you hold at least 100 Royal Caribbean shares (NYSE: RCL), you’ll receive onboard credits as follows:
- 5 nights or less: US$50 per stateroom
- 6-13 nights: US$100 per stateroom
- 14 nights or more: US$250 per stateroom
Since the cruises to nowhere don’t go beyond 4 nights, you’re looking at US$50. To claim this benefit, send the following information to [email protected]
- Royal Caribbean confirmation number
- Ship name
- Sailing date
- Copy of current brokerage statement (60-90 days) or trade confirmation (30-60 days)
Alternatively, you can fill out an online form via this link. There is no limit to the number of times this benefit can be used each year, but requests must be sent at least 2-3 weeks prior to sailing.
While Voyager of the Seas is tentatively scheduled to come to Singapore at the end of the year, I’d take the schedule beyond October with a liberal pinch of salt. A lot depends on when cruises restart elsewhere around the globe, which in turn depends on the pace of vaccination.
If you want to get out of Singapore without serving a SHN, this is pretty much the only option at the moment. For those who can’t decide between Royal Caribbean and Dream Cruises, check out my comparison article, as well as the full reports below.
|🚢 Cruise to Nowhere: Dream Cruises|
|🚢 Cruise to Nowhere: Royal Caribbean|