Festivities in Keelung on Sunday marked Dream Cruises' return to service with short sailings from Taiwan for the local market.

These island-hopping getaways include Peng Hu, Matsu Island and Kinmen as well as Hualien.

Hope for the global cruise industry

‘It is a great honor for Genting Cruise Lines to continue its long and fruitful partnership with Taiwan which began over 20 years ago, as we begin on the road to recovery together due to the COVID-19 pandemic and which will bring hope to the global cruise industry as well,’ said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Lines.

He acknowledged support from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Health & Welfare, the Ministry of the Interior, the city of Keelung’s advocacy and that of travel partners.

Potential for cruise ‘bubbles’ with other places where virus under control 

‘The restarting of the cruise industry is a remarkable achievement which was made possible by the Taiwan authorities’ swift and effective handling of the COVID-19 crisis and their foresight in resuming the tourism industry to benefit all the ports, the economy and the lifestyle of the people of Taiwan,’ Zhu added.

‘Looking forward, we believe the development of cruise “bubbles” between Taiwan and neighboring regions that also have their pandemic situation under control, such as the outlying islands of Japan, can further initiate the next phase in the re-establishment of international tourism and spur the economic recovery for a post COVID-19 world.’

Sunday’s festivities were attended by Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung, Minister of Health & Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang, Director General of Maritime and Port Bureau Kuo Tien Kuei, Deputy Director General of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Chuang Jen-Hsiang, business partners and media.

Taiwanese food and drink

Explorer Dream’s cruises will feature Taiwanese specialties thanks to collaboration with the Council of Agriculture to provide local produce and a new order-to-home service for their ‘2020 Top 100 Premium Agricultural Products’ on the ship. Additionally, local brands available on board include Sharetea, Taihu Beer, Tien Hsia San Chueh Noodle Cuisine, Formosa Chang, SunnyHills and Mark’s Teppanyaki from Marriott Taipei, for everything from bubble tea to local craft beer and popular Taiwanese dishes.

Flexi-Feast dining allows people to spread out

The new Flexi-Feast dining concept allows a customized dining experience by giving a wider choice of venues and the opportunity to dine at leisure. As well, Flexi-Feast will ease bottlenecks at certain venues to provide better social distancing by seating guests across all restaurants instead of concentrating on a few outlets where dining is included in the fare.

Dream Ambassadors

Local travel experts have been recruited as Dream Ambassadors to offer assistance and guidance to travelers in their native language.

Preparations to resume sailing included outbreak simulation drill

Over the past months, Genting Cruise Lines examined and enhanced its health, hygiene and operating protocols. Actions included working with DNV GL to become the first cruise operator to achieve the classification society’s Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine Industry.

In accordance with Taiwan’s regulations, Explorer Dream crew completed a total of 21 days of isolation and tested negative for COVID-19. The ship also underwent a deep cleaning following EU standards. The crew participated in an outbreak simulation drill under the guidance of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and with consultation by medical experts from the Taiwan Public Health Association.