Since Dream Cruises filed for bankruptcy, interest has been building for the 9,500-passenger, 208,000 gross ton Global Dream. The vessel has been under construction at the MV Werften shipyard in Germany, which has been declared insolvent.
Surprisingly, one of the interested parties is the former CEO of Genting Hong Kong, Billionaire Lim Kok Thay, said Mr. Christoph Morgen, the German court-appointed provisional insolvency administrator for the shipbuilder. Several others have also expressed their interest in purchasing the vessel.
Former Dream Cruises CEO Expresses Interest in Global Dream
Just weeks after Billionaire Lim Kok Thay offered his resignation to the board of directors at Genting Hong Kong, the businessman is back in the cruise game. The owner of Genting Malaysia, and several other holdings worldwide, has made his interest clear to Christoph Morgen, the German court-appointed provisional insolvency administrator for MV Werften.
During a press conference at the shipyard, Mr. Morgan expressed his optimism that a deal surrounding Global Dream could come together soon, possibly already next month. Mr. Lim had contacted the insolvency administrator at the beginning of the process; however, there seems little chance the former CEO will indeed buy the vessel.
“My impression is that he would only like to buy it if nobody else would be interested in order to get it cheap and possibly to finish the ship somewhere else,” said Mr. Morgen, who added he has not heard from Mr. Lim since he first expressed interest: “I hope that we won’t depend on this, because we now have strong interest from many other possible investors.”
The future of the Worlds Largest Passenger Ship Remains Unsure
MV Werften’s provisional insolvency in early January triggered Asia’s biggest cruise operator to seek court assistance to safeguard its assets. As Genting reported a massive loss of over US$1.7 billion, the results have been devastating. Crystal Cruises has already ceased operations, and construction of Global Dream at the MV Werften shipyard has been halted, causing thousands to be out of work.
Several potential buyers have already been confirmed for Crystal Cruises, including Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the former owner of Silversea Cruises, who made an offer to buy Crystal Cruises. However, because several different vessels are involved, all under other mortgage lenders, the sale of the cruise line will not be as easy as Global Dream.
The massive cruise ship, which measures 342 meters long, or 1122 feet, was set to be the largest ship ever built by passenger capacity. Over 72% completed in December of 2021, the vessel was created specifically for the Asian market, with designs focused exclusively on cruise fans from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and surrounding areas.
An investment between €500 million and €600 million will be needed to finish the vessel. One issue is the number of workers required to complete the work, many of whom have already been employed elsewhere.
Mr. Henning Groskreutz, a union leader from the local IG Metall chapter: “We will need this money in order to be able to convince the workers to stay here. Many workers have already left and have started at other employers because there is high demand for such skills.”
China Still of Huge Importance for Cruise Companies
If a reliable investor can be found for the vessel, the German Government would likely subsidize the build. However, with cruise companies still recovering from the pandemic, it will probably only be one of the big three that would be able to pay for the vessel and fund the ship’s completion.
The vessel’s being designed with the Asian market in mind will play a massive role in decision-making. China is the largest single economy globally that, as of yet, does not have a fully operational cruise industry.
Until recently, only a few ships operated in China, where only Star Cruises and Dream Cruises were the notable local cruise lines that catered to the Asian market. With those two out of the way, there is a huge gap where many companies will want to jump in.
As a comparison, in the United States, 13.79 million passengers sailed on a cruise onboard one of the 100+ cruise ships operating in the U.S. China expects the cruise industry to build up to more than 10 million passengers sailing by 2030. The growth potential for China is massive, and Global Dream will be an opportunity that many will want to get their hands on.