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Are “seacations” the next step in pandemic travel?

By Alisa Chau 28 May 2021

Header image courtesy of Dream Cruises

As pandemic restrictions gradually become relaxed, and the number of vaccinated folks continues to grow, the summer ahead seems pretty bright for the cogs of travel to start turning again. Although plans for overseas movement largely remains up in the air (or bound to the airport tarmac, rather), there are many exciting alternative modes of vacationing to explore. Just in the past few months, we have seen a lot of out-of-the-box thinking from the travel sector—flights to nowhere, fine dining in the sky, and over-the-top staycation experiences galore.

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If you’re sick of land-bound staycations, why not explore a change of scenery with a weekend away at sea? Following the government bulletin that now allows "cruises to nowhere,” the home-grown Dream Cruises is announcing the restart of cruises in Hong Kong, offering an approach to travel that allows you to venture off to sea without worrying about the various rules and regulations. Other cruise lines, such as the Explorer Dream in Taiwan, and the World Dream in Singapore, are also due to resume services in Asia.

Set to sail by late July, Genting Dream will be offering two- to three-night Super Summer seacations that allow for a mini-getaway. Weekenders can choose the two-night Super Weekend seacation that departs on Fridays, or the two-night Super Weekday seacation that jets off on Wednesdays. For a full three-night experience, their Super Summer seacation journey sends guests to sea on Sundays. The cruises will operate from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, departing at 8 pm and arriving back at port at 9 am. 

There are plenty of activities abroad—catch a show, wine and dine your loved ones to live music performances, go rock climbing, or take a nosedive down a waterslide. The early-bird rate of $1,188 per person for a two-night weekday twin occupancy in their balcony stateroom is available until 10 June, 2021.

As excited as the tourism sector may be to get the ball rolling again, there remains concerns of health and safety measures. Working closely with the cruise trade, local authorities have fine-tuned a series of precautions to be strictly complied with. It is mandatory for crew members to be fully vaccinated with Covid-19 vaccines recognised by authorities, as well as undergo a saliva test onshore and obtain a negative result every 14 days.

Staff unable to get vaccinated as a result of health complications must provide a negative result when tested, at the frequency of every seven days shoreside, and every three days aboard. In the meantime, crew members travelling from elsewhere must also prove to be fully vaccinated, and undergo the standard quarantine and testing requirements that come with entering Hong Kong.

All passengers have to show the same status of full vaccination—aside from passengers with health complications or who are under the age of 16—in addition to obtaining a negative test result within 48 hours of boarding the cruise. Everyone must also record their entry on the Leave Home Safe app, and continue to practice contact tracing and social distancing rules whilst on the ship. Each trip is allowed to include up to half the ship capacity’s worth of guests, doubling the amount of space and attention privy to the lucky passengers!

This new form of excursion is a testament to the ingenuity of the travel trade when faced with such dastardly and limiting circumstances. After a year-and-a-half stint in seafaring, will these “cruises to nowhere” be successful in filling the ocean-sized void burned into our summer holidays? The waters may be still for now, but who knows what rushing surges and thrilling waves may lie ahead.

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Alisa Chau

Junior editor

Always down for an adventure, Alisa’s general approach to life (and anything, really) is to “just go with the flow.” She believes that the most unforgettable moments are the most spontaneous ones. One thing she will always be certain of, however, is her love for the band My Chemical Romance and potato-based food.

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