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Death of a Dream: how the pandemic’s biggest cruise casualty could cost passengers millions

When Genting Hong Kong commissioned  Global Dream and Global Dream II six years ago, they were expected to be among the world’s biggest liners with room for up to 9,000 passengers and 2,200 crew.

The construction of both ships – which were heralded as a new Global-class ship − excited many cruisers. After all, they were being constructed in Germany by Asia’s first home-grown luxury cruise business, already running two mid-sized vessels in Singapore and Hong Kong and backed by the region’s richest gambling company, which also bought Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded line.

Each ship cost an estimated USD 1.8 billion to build, with construction starting back in 2018. They would have the first ever theme park at sea, featuring the world’s longest roller coaster at sea.

This week, the German shipbuilder caught in the disaster that was Dream Cruises, announced one ship might have to be scrapped and the future of the other has yet to be finalised.

Dream Cruises went into administration – though its two Asian vessels are now sailing under a new Genting brand.

The Crystal ships have been bought out of liquidation, and will sail again next year.  The two Dream vessels are sailing out of Asia under a new cruise brand, Resorts World Cruises.

What happens to passengers who booked Dream and Crystal and have been waiting years to know the fate of an estimated $100 million in deposits and fares?  No one is sure of that.

According to the trade site Cruisehive earlier this year: “According to the former CEO for Crystal Cruises, Jack Anderson, the company owes more than 100 million in outstanding deposits. This should pose no problem for those who paid by credit card for upcoming cruises. Those with FCC’s, which are now worthless, and those that paid cash for a cruise, will likely never see their money. ”

In Singapore, where World Dream sailed, 36 cases were being investigated by CASE over the closure of Dream, and the body told local news outlets: “As Dream Cruise’s parent company Genting Hong Kong is currently under liquidation, consumers seeking refunds from Dream Cruises should first file a proof of debt with the liquidator. CASE empathises with consumers who are affected by the cessation of Dream Cruises’ World Dream.”

More than 30,000 creditors reportedly filed claims against the various entities of the line, including customers who are demanding money back from cancelled cruises, agents who are owed commissions and vendors such as fuel suppliers who haven’t been paid.

According to a report by German cruise industry magazine An Bord, bankruptcy administrators are unable to find a buyer for Global Dream II.

At a press conference this week, insolvency administrator Christoph Morgen announced that attempts were being made to resell some of the engines and systems. The vessel’s half-finished keel, which was only completed in the lower-hull area, will be sold for scrap.

Both ships also need to be moved out of MV Werften’s shipyard by the end of 2023, as the yard has been sold to Thyssenkrupp’s naval unit. The unit has plans to build military vessels, including submarines, at the site from 2024.

At 80% completion, sister ship Global Dream has been saved from the scrapyard as of now. According to An Bord, no proper offers have been received to complete her construction. Sweden’s Stena AB, which has global operations in shipping, was the only interested buyer. The company expressed interest in building a cruise product in Asia.

However, it bailed out after former Genting owner Lim Kok Thay announced new cruise brand Resorts World Cruises in Singapore.  At the same time, the Asia cruise market continued to present uncertainty with China still enforcing strict travel restrictions.

At present, Global Dream is ready to the point where she could be towed anywhere around the world as an attachment to a deep-sea tugboat. If no buyer is found in the coming weeks, her insolvency administrator will opt to auction her off in a bidding process. Shipbrokers with contacts to shipbreaking yards will be invited to submit their bids. Given that the vessel’s scrap value has risen as a result of a spike in scrap and metal prices globally, the ship could ultimately be bought for scrap.

German news outlet Ostsee-Zeitung also reported the possibility of Meyer Werft helping to finish building Global Dream in Wismar shipyard, after which the ship could be mothballed until a suitable buyer is found.

 

 

 

 

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