Dream Cruises to continue operating in Singapore, even as parent company files to be wound up


Dream Cruises' World Dream is one of two cruise lines allowed to operate cruises to nowhere in Singapore. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Cruise line Dream Cruises will continue to operate cruises here, even after its parent company Genting Hong Kong filed to be wound up on Wednesday (Jan 19).

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Dream Cruises spokesman said certain business activities of Genting Hong Kong, such as cruise operations by Dream Cruises, will continue.

This is to "preserve and protect the core assets and maintain the value" of Genting Hong Kong, added the spokesman, who declined further comment.

The Hong Kong-listed firm is winding up after it failed to secure funding to help it stay afloat after its German shipbuilding subsidiary, MV Werften, went into insolvency.

Dream Cruises' World Dream is one of two cruise lines allowed to operate cruises to nowhere in Singapore. The other is Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas.

The Dream Cruises website was running and continued to accept bookings when ST visited the site on Wednesday afternoon.

Dream Cruises was launched in 2015, and its first ship, the Genting Dream, debuted in 2016. Its sister ship, World Dream, joined in November 2017 and both cruise lines operated cruises from Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Since sailings resumed in November 2020 during the pandemic, World Dream has received at least 200,000 passengers and had been seeing strong demand for its 2022 sailings.

Genting Hong Kong also owns two other cruise brands - Star Cruises, which operates in the Asia Pacific, and luxury brand Crystal Cruises, which is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

The three cruise brands are collectively known as Genting Cruise Lines.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, the firm said it had "exhausted all reasonable efforts" to negotiate with creditors and stakeholders.

The company's available cash balances are expected to run out by around end-January, it added.

MV Weften said earlier this week that it will file for bankruptcy after failing to secure funding for the completion of its "Global One" mega-liner.

The ship, which had been designed to carry about 5,000 passengers, was due to leave the shipyard in 2021 and had been designed for the booming Asian cruise market.

The firm decided to declare bankruptcy after lengthy discussions with German officials were not fruitful. It needed about S$921 million to finance the completion of the ship.

Genting Hong Kong flagged on Tuesday that it had planned to file for provisional liquidation with courts in Bermuda, where it is registered.

It also warned investors that cross defaults amounting to US$2.78 billion (S$3.76 billion) may follow.

Genting Hong Kong reported a consolidated net loss of US$1.72 billion in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the hospitality industry, compared to US$159 million in 2019.

Its full-year revenue also fell from US$1.56 billion in 2019 to US$367 million in 2020, mainly due to the suspension of cruise operations since February 2020.

Many cruise operators were forced to halt operations especially at the start of the pandemic when countries closed their borders and prevented cruise ships from docking.

The impact of Covid-19 on cruises led to an estimated loss of about $77 billion in global economic activity and more than 500,000 jobs between mid March and September 2020, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

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