Dream Cruises to continue operating in S'pore, even as parent company files to be wound up

Dream Cruises' World Dream has received at least 200,000 passengers and has had strong demand for its 2022 cruises since sailings resumed in 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - 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.

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.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Dream Cruises, which was launched in 2015, operated the Genting Dream vessel in Singapore. Star Cruises also operated here.

Since sailings resumed in November 2020 amid the pandemic, only Dream Cruises’ World Dream has operated in Singapore. It has since received at least 200,000 passengers and has had strong demand for its 2022 cruises.

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

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, Genting Hong Kong 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.

It is also anticipated that the majority of the group’s existing operations will cease, said the statement.

MV Werften 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 $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 has a registered office.

It also warned investors that cross defaults amounting to US$2.78 billion (S$3.75 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 with 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.

In an interim report for the six months ending June 30, 2021, the group reported a net loss of US$238.3 million. 

It added that the group’s operations continued to be affected by Covid-19, especially with outbreaks of the Delta variant.

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 a loss of billions of dollars 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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