Royal Caribbean switches from PCR to pre-departure ART test in Singapore

Oct 23, 2021

From November 8, the current pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be replaced with an antigen rapid test (ART) for all the guests on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. The test will be taken at the cruise terminal on the departure day. Currently, only two cruise ships are sailing from Singapore - Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Dream Cruises’ World Dream. 

The new testing requirement for Royal Caribbean will last till the end of November, according to a post on the cruise operator's website. Guests were informed about the changes by e-mail on Friday, October 22. The e-mail said that the test will be taken in the terminal on boarding day during their selected arrival window, which they would have selected during their online check-in process.

"This testing cost continues to be included in your cruise fare," the e-mail said. However, those departing on sailings from Dec 2 will have to take an ART on the day of sailing at Raffles City Convention Centre before heading to the terminal for the cruise. According to Royal Caribbean's website, guests will have to register for a test appointment that should take place at least one hour prior to their arrival time at the terminal.

"In the event the guest does not successfully complete the Antigen test before arrival at the terminal, the guest will be ineligible to board the ship," said Royal Caribbean on its website.

The PCR testing will be reserved for symptomatic cases, and for the cruises, considered as events will be used ART as a primary method.

On the other hand, the decision to move the venue for antigen testing to Raffles City “was to improve the overall guest experience, as waiting times at Marina Bay Cruise Centre can vary, particularly when sailings are busy”. 

“At Raffles City, guests will have a choice of timings for the ART, and may head there earlier in the day, and then return home to relax or finish packing. In addition, guests need not wait around for the result, as they will receive this via SMS, usually within 45 minutes,” said the spokesman. 

“When they get to the cruise center at their selected arrival times, they will be able to breeze through check-in and board quickly.”

Dream Cruise guests currently have to do a pre-departure ART at the terminal, administered by Genting Cruise Lines' appointed medical team. Any Covid-19 test that is not taken at the cruise terminal on the day of departure is not recognized. The cost of the test is also waived by the cruise operator.

The customers consider this switch to ART as a big relief, a faster and less stressed way to travel safe.  Last month, Royal Caribbean announced that all Singapore passengers aged 12 years and above who book a cruise from this month will need to be fully vaccinated.