Wallace Immen November 10 2020
Royal Caribbean has issued The Royal Promise, a series of guidelines for guests sailing aboard Quantum of the Seas to assure guests that their health and safety is its top priority as the ship begins a series of cruises from Singapore. It’s a glimpse of the changes coming when cruising once again starts for Americans and Canadians. And some of them are going to require significant adjustments to life at sea as we know it:
1. We’re sailing half full
The six-year-old Quantum of the Seas has a capacity of up to 4,900 guests but it will be sailing at no more than 50 per cent occupancy. It’s the sister ship of Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Sea, and Ovation of the Seas, featuring attractions including the robot-tended Bionic Bar, the iFly by RipCord skydiving simulator, and the North Star observation pod that carries guests up to 300 feet above the sea.
2. We’re cruising to nowhere
The early sailings are a test of the onboard protocols. It’s a time when rules about guests getting off at port stops keep changing, so for Quantum at first there will be no ports of call and the cruises are open only to residents of Singapore.
3. Masks mandatory on the sun deck
Face masks are required in all areas of the pool deck unless you’re in the water, where you should continue to observe physical distancing. That may take the place of sunscreen but in a confusing twist, masks are not allowed in pool, whirlpools or on water slides because it can be difficult to breathe if they get wet. That means you’ll want to have a sealable plastic bag to stash your mask when you’re splashing.
4. There’s an app for that
This seems to assume everyone will carry a cell phone at all times. Rather than having waiters take orders for drinks on deck and in restaurants you can tap your request into a mobile app. Royal Caribbean has actually been testing service apps for quite a while. They’ve even been developing a face recognition system to let wait staff find you on a crowded deck—presuming you don’t have a mask on. To avoid queues, your phone can also be used to alert you when it’s your turn to be helped at the Guest Services or Shore Excursions desks.
5. Room service is virtual
No longer will a smiling attendant lay out the breakfast order in your room. To avoid interactions, room service will be left on a tray outside the door. You may be used to this by now if you order food for home delivery, but somehow it still seems kind of anonymous.
6. Sanitization is paramount
Guests need to leave their rooms when they’re being cleaned. All public areas and bathrooms are regularly disinfected, including daily electrostatic spraying. All pool towels are washed with hospital-grade detergents at high temperatures. Guests are reminded to clean hands regularly and use Purell hand sanitizer and wipes available in all public areas.
7. Don’t hold the elevator
Elevators are limited to four people at a time or a single travel group only. Stairs are available as usual and railings are cleaned frequently.