A cruise liner carrying 1200 passengers departed from Port Keelung (Taipei City, Taiwan) on Sunday, July 26, on the first commercial sea tour since the country imposed travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, Dream Cruises' ship MS Explorer Dream will visit only domestic ports - namely Penghu and Matsu islands, before sailing back to Keelung (northern Taiwan) on July 29. Dream Cruises will offer 30 similar itineraries over the next 3 months, taking passengers to Hualien (eastern Taiwan) and Kinmen Island on 4- to 5-day roundtrips from Keelung.
The 3630-passenger ship Explorer Dream will be used for all sailings but will carry no more than 1815 guests (half-capacity) on each voyage to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Furthermore, Dream Cruises said the passengers would all be assigned to cabins with portholes, for better ventilation.
Explorer Dream is the first cruise vessel to be allowed into a Taiwan seaport since February when the country imposed a ban on international cruise ships. On June 9, as Taiwan's pandemic began to slow down, the Maritime and Port Bureau said that MS Explorer Dream, SuperStar Aquarius and 6 other Genting Hong Kong-owned cruise ships (from the fleets of the GHK's sisterbrands Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) could again apply to visit Taiwan.
The ban on international cruises in Taiwan, however, has been extended at least until the end of August.