Good news, cruise goers, Genting Dream will be setting sail again from 15 June under a new company called Resorts World Cruises.
Readers: Oh, it changed hands to a new owner?
Uh, yes, but not really.
From Genting Hong Kong to Resorts World Cruises
If you’re not aware yet, Genting Dream used to operate under Genting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises, which filed a wind-up petition four months ago due to its crippling debts, and was subsequently forced into compulsory liquidation.
It was truly a string of unfortunate bankruptcies, starting with MV Werften, its main shipbuilding subsidiary in Germany that couldn’t be allowed to fail, but did anyway.
Genting Hong Kong followed soon after, since it was encumbered by both the insolvency of MV Werften and the revenue losses that stacked up over the two-year tourism drought that the COVID-19 pandemic caused.
Since Dream Cruises was under Genting Hong Kong’s command, it filed a wind-up petition in early February as well; an eventuality as it was merely the last piece of domino in the entire corporate structure.
Resorts World Cruises became the answer to salvage the cruising business.
The company was set up by Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay, the chairman and board executive of Genting Group, the resort company that is the parent of Genting Hong Kong.
It was officially registered on 9 March, less than two months after Genting Hong Kong was wound up as it failed to secure funding to pay off its debts.
Needless to say, it appears that Genting Hong Kong is deemed a lost cause, and its old captain has decided to abandon ship rather than sink with it.
The Public Statement Issued by Resorts World Cruises
Dream Cruises helms three ships in total – Genting Dream, Explorer Dream, and World Dream.
Resort World Cruises has taken over Genting Dream, and is currently negotiating with banks and other interested parties to acquire the other two vessels.
It must be an odd situation, to have to technically re-buy your own property.
World Dream, which had cruises to nowhere from Singapore, stopped taking new bookings after its parent company caved in from its financial woes.
The ships stopped operating on 2 March, left mooring aimlessly at its docks.
Of course, this means that there were unsettled problems that the ‘new’ company couldn’t just ignore.
On Wednesday (18 May), Resorts World Cruises announced at a news conference that it would offer complimentary cruise credits of “equivalent value” for the affected paid passengers, who had their cruise packages cancelled by World Dream between 2 March and 31 August this year as a “gesture of goodwill”.
The credits will be valid from 15 June to the end of March 2023.
This goodwill payout will only be applicable for affected World Dream customers who have yet to receive their refunds from their original booking source.
There’s a long list too.
From their records, there were 13,000 affected customers, though the majority of them did receive their refund eventually through their credit card companies.
However, Mr Michael Goh, president and head of international sales for Resorts World Cruises, admits that the new company doesn’t have the records of the individuals who have claimed their refunds, and more importantly, those who haven’t.
New Company has “Nothing to Do” with Genting Hong Kong
Resort Worlds Cruises asserts that it is a completely separate entity from Genting Hong Kong.
During the news conference, Resorts World Cruises’ CEO and executive director Colin Au, who was formerly deputy CEO of Genting Hong Kong, revealed that the provisional liquidator couldn’t salvage or revive Dream Cruises.
Thus, the upper echelons worked with Chinese lessors who are the owners of the ship to restart the cruise business under a new brand.
Mr Lim and Mr Au had both resigned as CEO and deputy CEO of Genting Hong Kong respectively in January this year, right after the cruise operator filed for bankruptcy.
Given the close ties that the upper management of Resorts World Cruises had with Genting Hong Kong, it was pertinent that they reiterated the differences—one is a subsidiary resorts company while the other is solely a new cruise brand.
When Mr Au was asked about Mr Lim’s role in the new company, he emphasised that the Malaysian tycoon is not part of any of the companies under provisional liquidation.
Mr Lim will serve as the executive chairman of Resorts World Cruises and hold shares in the new company.
Since Genting Hong Kong is still under provisional liquidation, the trading of its shares has been suspended since 18 January, and this status will remain unchanged till further notice.
As a parting note, Mr Au said that there are many parties whom they are negotiating with and are interested in joining the company, and it will take a few more weeks to finalise everything.
Returning the Cruise Business to Normalcy
The sudden collapse of Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises affected many people, not just its passengers.
Mr Au affirmed that the new company’s first and foremost objective is to “go back to normal… as fast as possible”.
Thus, the launch of the new ship will be set in June.
With regards to the employees that were previously laid off without any retrenchment benefits, a company spokesperson stated that it has re-employed roughly 1,700 of its former employees that were based in Singapore.
This consists of 1,600 former crew members from Genting Dream and roughly 70 former employees from its Singapore office.
Back in March, it was reported that at least 60 employees from Genting Hong Kong’s Singapore branch were sacked without any retrenchment benefits, in phases and without much prior notice.
Given the unfairness of the situation, one of the reporters asked if the re-employed staff members would be offered remuneration packages.
In response, Mr Goh stated that it would depend on the employee’s experience and didn’t go into further details.
Besides this, Mr Au said confidently that the launch of the new cruise will bring in more revenue for Singapore Cruise Centre, especially since there is a strong appetite for cruises in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Thailand, Malaysia and India.
Mr Goh believes that Resorts World Cruises will be able to meet the demand.
Genting Dream will be launching several cruises to nowhere, which will depart on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
It has plans to re-establish destination cruises to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia by 30 September.
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