The problems at Genting Hong Kong now have much more profound consequences. Both Dream Cruises and Star Cruises booking engines have gone offline, while Crystal Cruises now have decided to divert Crystal Symphony away from the US to avoid the vessel being arrested.
Genting Hong Kong is the owner/operator of the three cruise lines and filed for bankruptcy this week after loan payments were due and could not be paid. Despite claims that Genting assured Dream Cruises would continue to operate; since Saturday morning, this claim seems to have been overly optimistic. New cruises cannot be booked at this time.
Dream Cruises Three Ships Not Bookable
At the start of the year, Dream Cruises had been operational with three vessels, Explorer Dream from Taiwan, Genting Dream from Hong Kong, and World Dream from Singapore.
So far, Genting Dream has ceased operations due to COVID restrictions from the Hong Kong Government, Explorer Dream has been at the dock in Taiwan since January 15, yet World Dream is still sailing with passengers as of Saturday, January 22.
As of today, cruises for any of the Dream Cruises ships cannot be booked. When navigating to the booking engine, a message with no results found appears. It would seem that the fact that cruises are not bookable at this time for the cruise line means the cruises on World Dream from Singapore could well be coming to an end as well soon, despite assurances to the contrary from a Dream Cruises spokesperson this week.
In a statement, the company said some business activities of Genting Hong Kong, such as cruise operations by Dream Cruises, will still go ahead: “to preserve and protect the core assets and maintain the value of the group; however it is anticipated that majority of the group’s existing operations will cease to operate.”
Last week, Dream Cruises canceled several voyages onboard Genting Dream sailing from Hong Kong due to the COVID-19 restrictions placed on the cruise ship by the local Government. The cruise line encouraged guests to rebook their cruises to a later date, something that has become all but impossible with booking engines being unavailable.
Star Cruises Also Offline, Crystal Cruises Still Available
It is not just Dream Cruises affected by the financial troubles plaguing Genting Hong Kong. At the same time as Dream Cruises, Star Cruises’ booking engine also went offline. Star Pisces started operations in Malaysia last month but is now located off the Malaysian coastline.
Superstar Aquarius, another vessel in the Star Cruises fleet, is docked in Kuala Lumpur, and SuperStar Gemini is docked in Penang, Malaysia. The cruise line is now not taking any more bookings.
As for Crystal Cruises, its booking still seems to remain open for now. The cruise line diverted its Crystal Symphony ship to Bimini in the Bahamas on Friday to let guests of the vessel. This happened after a Miami court issued an arrest warrant for the Crystal Symphony cruise ship to reclaim assets for unpaid fuel bills. It also suspended operations for all its vessels through April 2022, the cruise line said in a statement:
“Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”
It is a sad state of affairs for a company that quickly became one of the major cruise operators in Asia and the luxury market.
In recent years Genting invested hundreds of millions of US dollars into Crystal while it was busy building one of the most giant cruise ships in the world in Germany, the Global Dream. Genting Hong Kong’s stock has also been suspended since Tuesday. The company currently has a market value of $451 million, down from about $4 billion in 2013.
How the situation will progress and if we will see Dream, Star, and Crystal Cruises operate again is anyone’s guess. If the situation does become so that Genting will have to sell assets, it will become prey for companies looking to force themselves into the profitable Asian markets.