Dream Cruises, part of the Genting Hong Kong group which owns luxury line Crystal and Star Cruises, has announced that sailings in Singapore will continue despite the liquidation filing by its parent.
As Cruise Passenger reported yesterday, Genting Hong Kong will be winding up after its failure to secure funding to stay afloat. Its German shipbuilding subsidiary, MV Werften, filed for insolvency earlier in the week after running out of cash to build one of the world’s biggest ships, the 9,000-passenger Global Dream.
Despite the financial problems, the group has announced that sailings by Dream Cruises will carry on.
It said in a statement: “Certain business activities of the group, including but not limited to the operations of cruise lines by Dream Cruises Holding Limited, shall continue in order to preserve and protect the core assets and maintain the value of the group. However, it is anticipated that the majority of the group’s existing operations will cease to operate.”
Mr Michael Goh, President of Dream Cruises and Head of International Sales, Genting Cruise Lines, tells Cruise Passenger the line remains optimistic about its continued growth for Asia in 2022. It plans to identify new opportunities to further expand and strengthen the domestic market, as well as gradually increase the fly-cruise segment within travel guidelines.
“With all ships under Dream Cruises successfully operating safe cruises in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, our plan is to expand our share within these respective domestic markets by innovating and providing exciting offerings and thematic cruises,” Mr Goh said. “In time, we will identify opportunities for destination cruises within neighbouring regions in a safe manner.”
While the rise of the Omicron variant has temporarily impacted deployments in selected markets, Dream claims that bookings in Singapore remain healthy. January and February sailings are almost sold out, with Chinese New Year cruises completely sold out as well. New bookings from March onwards are also encouraging, with consumers making advance bookings with a longer lead time.
Mr Goh added: “With new Covid variants emerging, we remain vigilant to ensure safety and preventive measures are implemented and enhanced to adapt to the changing situations, meeting both local guidelines and international standards. This is important to ensure a successful safe cruise operation.”
With travellers from Australia and other international destinations now allowed on Singapore cruises, Mr Goh observes that demand among international travellers is gradually picking-up.
However, it is still fluctuating due to the uncertainty of international travel restrictions − which are constantly evolving because of the pandemic.
“It will require more time and effort for the fly-cruise segment to re-establish itself as a key source market, but we remain committed in re-building this important segment for the cruise industry,” said Mr Goh.
He adds that the fly-cruise market to Singapore has always been an important source of business growth for Dream Cruises, including cruisers from Australia. Pre-covid, Dream had a steadily growing number of fly-cruise travellers from neighbouring regions and Australia, with many opting to extend their stay in Singapore with a cruise vacation.
“Despite the changes in travel restrictions, we hope to continue to develop on this trend, boosting it further with attractive on-board offerings like our successful global thematic cruises that have been well-received by guests over the past years,” said Mr Goh.
Following talks between the Singapore and Malaysia authorities on a potential sea Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), the line is also hopeful that port-of-call sailings can eventually resume. At present, only cruises-to-nowhere are operating out of Singapore.
Mr Goh mentioned that port-of-call sailings are the “end game” for Dream Cruises. The line is actively in discussion with the various port authorities to pursue and create a ‘Harmonise Cruising Standards’ for the region, in the hopes of gradually re-opening international cruising in a controlled and safe manner.
He notes that the biggest challenge for this is getting regional authorities to adopt a unified standard that can be used across different ports of calls, to facilitate the commencement of regional destination cruises.
“For destination cruises to operate successfully, there must be a consensus for cruise ships and the different countries to operate under the same standards and protocols”, Goh explains.
As for cruising trends in 2022, Mr Goh predicts that the safety and well-being of travellers remains important. He also notes an upward trend of younger demographics and first-timers boarding cruises.
“These people are becoming more receptive and interested in the concept of safe cruises, as well as the benefits and convenience of a cruise vacation,” he says.