Swift Response to ‘COVID-19’ Onboard Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

The Dec. 9 announcement of a positive COVID-19 case onboard the Quantum of the Seas came as a shock to Singapore, where the Royal Caribbean International ship was sailing, and the world. The 1,680 guests onboard, along with 1,148 crew, made a beeline back to port and arrived in Singapore within six hours after the guest tested positive.

The Singapore Cruise Society breaks down what happened and how the situation was handled:


The Quantum of the Seas set sail on her third cruise back in service on Dec. 6. The sailing was a four-day itinerary from Singapore's Marina Bay terminal to nowhere, with no port calls, for Singapore residents only. The ship, which can normally carry 4,100 passengers, was capped at 50 percent capacity and had 1,608 guests onboard.

Social Distancing Onboard

Royal Caribbean has put in place many new measures to limit the risk of COVID-19 onboard its ships, such as obligatory mask wearing, restrictions on gatherings of more than five, online check-ins, regular disinfection, the use of updated HVAC systems and tracing technology, and the functioning of an upgraded onboard medical center.

Additionally, all guests underwent PCR tests before embarkation and Antigen Rapid Tests after the sailing (before leaving the terminal).

What Happened?

An 82-yead-old male passenger was reported to the onboard medical center. He underwent a PCR test, which came back positive on the third day of the sailing.

The passengers onboard the Quantum of the Seas were immediately notified of the incident and asked to stay inside their staterooms. For that purpose, meals were brought directly to cabins, and guests were allowed to smoke in their en-suites.


A swift return (taking less than six hours) of the vessel was organized, and the guest was evacuated to a local hospital, where his three subsequent swab tests came back negative.

The Singapore Cruise Society believes that this incident might have been a case of what the health professionals call ‘false-positive.’

However, the situation showed that the system implemented by the Royal Caribbean Group and the Singapore Tourism Board works well.

As much as the Quantum of the Seas guests were disappointed to have their holidays cut short, none that were interviewed by the media mentioned any mishandling of the situation, and said they had “no regrets,” and “will come back again.”

Refunds for a day that the guests missed at sea will be processed accordingly.

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