The world’s first cruise ship to resume operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic is to start island-hopping tours around Taiwan’s three main outlying islands in August, Lion Travel Co (雄獅旅遊) said yesterday.
The agency, which is organizing the tours, made the announcement at a news conference yesterday afternoon in Taipei, attended by Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) and other officials.
The cruise tours are in line with the ministry’s 10-year “Blue Highway” policy, Lin Chia-lung said, adding that the government has already set 2023 to be the Year of the Island-Hopping Tours.
The island-hopping tours show that the nation has turned a crisis into a turning point, he said.
“Four months ago, the tourism industry worldwide faced perhaps the greatest challenge since the end of World War II. Today, we have some hope thanks to the collective efforts of the people,” he said.
Taiwan’s success in containing the spread of COVID-19 domestically has made it a brand in terms of disease prevention, but now it needs to go further to become a tourism nation, he said.
Lin Chia-lung said he has invited Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) to join the first cruise.
Lin Yu-chang said that the Explorer Dream, which would be used for the tours, is scheduled to dock at the Port of Keelung at 8am today, and 538 of 588 crew members would be asked to undergo a 14-day quarantine in hotels in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung.
The ship’s resumption of service out of Taiwan is expected to elevate the nation’s cruise tour industry to the next level, the mayor said.
The four-day tours, which are a partnership between Lion Travel and Genting Hong Kong Ltd (雲頂香港), the ship’s owner, are scheduled to depart on Aug. 2, Aug. 9, Aug. 16, Aug. 23 and Aug. 30.
Two itineraries are planned: a Penghu-Lienchiang County (Matsu) route or a Penghu-Kinmen route.
Passengers would be able to view the Penghu International Fireworks Festival and Marvel-themed light shows, and visit historic battlefields in Kinmen, it said.
The Explorer Dream would carry no more than 1,815 people on the tours, 50 percent of its capacity, with passengers all in sea-view rooms, the agency said.
Other safety measures include guests being assigned set dining areas and times, instead of a buffet service, and all food and beverages would be served by crew members wearing masks and gloves, it said.
The ship has been equipped with 22 negative-pressure isolation rooms, and passengers’ temperatures would be checked daily by the crew, who would also enforce social distancing measures, it added.
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012