Royal Caribbean International is to extend its 'cruise to nowhere' programme out of Singapore on the back of what it described as "overwhelming demand".

The US-listed cruise giant said its 169,000-dwt Quantum of the Seas (built 2014) will continue sailing from the city-state to the end of October 2021.

Royal Caribbean, which launched the initiative in December 2020, said more than 50,000 people have sailed on the ship since then.

"Following a successful run…Royal Caribbean first extended the season for three months, through June 2021, and is doing it again for an additional four months thanks to the partnership with the Singapore government," the cruise line said.

"We have continued to see an overwhelming demand in Singapore to sail on board Quantum of the Seas," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

The cruise line’s 30-plus sailings have provided Singapore residents one of the few options for travel outside of their small island state.

The cruises operate at reduced capacity, while passengers must wear masks outside staterooms and comply with other social distancing measures.

Royal Caribbean said these new sailings will be available to Singapore residents and open to book on 13 April 2021.

"When we started pilot cruises in Singapore, our aim was to regain the confidence of guests by endorsing cruise operators with rigorous hygiene measures," said Annie Chang, director, cruise, Singapore Tourism Board.

"Thus far, we have completed more than 90 sailings with over 120,000 passengers and no reported cases of Covid-19 spreading on board," she added.

In early February, Qatar became the latest country to try to breathe life into its local cruise market with the launch of a series of cruises to nowhere.

The Middle East Gulf nation has teamed up with French luxury expedition cruise line Ponant to run six consecutive departures aboard the 184-passenger Le Champlain (built 2018).