GHK-Genting Dream Cruises Coronavirus update
Genting Cruise Lines (shipowner) didn't suspend its fleet's passenger shipping operations. Instead, the company (parent of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) expanded its cancellation policy with "Cruise As You Wish". It allows all existing and new bookings made before or on October 30, 2020 (initially July 31), to be cancelled penalty-free up to 48 hours (prior departure). These bookings are fully refunded (100%) via FCC (future cruise credit). With rebooking, the amount of the fare paid is automatically transferred to any Star Cruises or Dream Cruises itinerary starting before or on March 31, 2021 (initially December 31 2020).
On March 25, Dream Cruises announced the cancellation of the company's entire Australia-New Zealand schedule for 2020-2021. The Explorer Dream ship had voyages in the region with planned departures between October 8, 2020, and February 21, 2021. All affected bookings received penalty-free cancellations with a full refund (100%) transferred as FCC (future cruise credit) plus of AUD 250 per cabin in OBC (onboard credit) with rebooking. The refund includes fares paid, port fees, gratuities, pre-purchased (if any) shore excursions. For rebooking were opened all Dream Cruises itineraries through December 31, 2021. Cancellations without rebooking received a full monetary refund (fare paid, port fees, gratuities, shore excursions).
Dream Cruises is currently planned to restart operations with voyages from Singapore on November 6, 2020. The 2- and 3-night cruises to nowhere (marketed as "Super Seacation") are for Singaporean residents only and scheduled for the ship MS World Dream.
Dream Cruises fleet
Review of Dream Cruises
IMPORTANT: Despite the global Coronavirus pandemic, Genting Cruise Lines (shipowner) didn't suspend its fleet's passenger shipping operations. Instead, the company (parent of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) expanded its cancellation policy with "Cruise As You Wish". It allows all existing and new bookings made before or on October 30, 2020 (initially July 31), to be cancelled penalty-free up to 48 hours (prior departure). These bookings are fully refunded (100%) via FCC (future cruise credit). With rebooking, the amount of the fare paid is automatically transferred to any Star Cruises or Dream Cruises itinerary starting before or on March 31, 2021 (initially December 31 2020).
On March 25, Dream Cruises announced the cancellation of the company's entire Australia-New Zealand schedule for 2020-2021. The ship Explorer Dream had voyages in the region with planned departures between October 8, 2020, and February 21, 2021. All affected bookings received penalty-free cancellations with a full refund (100%) transferred as FCC (future cruise credit) plus of AUD 250 per cabin in OBC (onboard credit) with rebooking. The refund includes fares paid, port fees, gratuities, pre-purchased (if any) shore excursions. For rebooking were opened all Dream Cruises itineraries through December 31, 2021. Cancellations without rebooking received a full monetary refund (fare paid, port fees, gratuities, shore excursions).
Dream Cruises is currently planned to restart operations with voyages from Singapore on November 6, 2020. The 2- and 3-night cruises to nowhere (marketed as "Super Seacation") are for Singaporean residents only and scheduled for the ship World Dream.
Dream Cruises (website) is the newest cruise line brand of Genting Hong Kong (GHK) - a global entertainment, hospitality, and leisure company based in Hong Kong China. GHK ordered 2 vessels to be custom-built to serve the Asian market, and specifically China. With the new Dream Cruises brand, the GHK corporation concluded its mission to offer a separate brand for each of its cruise market segments. The other two subsidiaries on this market are Crystal Cruises (top-luxury, all-inclusive segment, since 1988) and Star Cruises (contemporary/mass-market segment, introduced in 1993).
Another large Chinese cruise brand is the new company (2015-founded) CSSC Carnival China Cruise Shipping. At the following link can be found listed all CruiseMapper's news related to Dream Cruises owner Genting Hong Kong.
Genting Hong Kong is a member of the Malaysian Genting Group. It is 17,8% owned by Genting Berhad. In addition to the 3 brand lines (Crystal Cruises, Dream Cruises, Star Cruises), GHK also owns Resorts World Manila, Lloyd Werft shipyards (in Bremerhaven Germany) and has 28% share of NCL Norwegian Cruise Line. Via the brands Dream and Star, Genting Cruises has the largest number of annually booked berths in Port Singapore. Dream Cruises company's President was Thatcher Brown, replaced in 2019 by Michael Goh, who is currently also Genting Cruise Lines' Head of International Sales. Genting Cruise Lines' President is Kent Zhu.
Dream Cruises is the first-ever premium cruise brand based in Asia. With a heritage of regional and international cruise expertise, it is also the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line that caters specifically to the rapidly growing high-end cruise market in China and Asia. The new brand was inaugurated on November 14, 2016, when Mrs. Puan Sri Cecilia Lim (wife of GHK's Chairman and CEO) christened company's first liner - Genting Dream.
The successful product breakthroughs achieved by Genting Dream set the pace for the emergence of brand's second liner (sistership) World Dream, inaugurated in November 2017 in Singapore. The vision of the new brand is to be international in spirit and distinctively Asian at heart. The new company aims to redefine vacation travel with transformational voyages. The new brand features Asia's finest dining, international gourmet dining options, world-class onboard entertainment, and exceptional service. Both cruise ships provide a top-luxury product, comfort, authentic Asian hospitality.
In May 2018, Genting Cruise Lines signed a partnership deal with Wirecard (digital payments / online shop development company) for implementing a fleetwide onboard payment system. The system ("Quick Pay") was first installed on World Dream and Genting Dream, then launched on SuperStar Virgo (Explorer Dream). "Quick Pay" allows passengers to be in full control of their onboard money spending - including pre-authorized limits, account management, monitoring, paying the total bill at disembarkation. The technology is based on scanning individual QR codes (during check-in, in staterooms or via the ship's intranet network, then selecting the "Quick Pay" option. Payments can be made via Alipay (Chinese online payment platform) and the credit cards Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB, UnionPay. The mobile app allows passengers to set up pre-authorized amounts for themselves, as well as for friends and family members.
On October 19, 2018, Dream Cruises celebrated company's 1 millionth passenger with an official ceremony held at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Terminal.
Dream Cruises is currently industry's only brand that offers life-size Monopoly board-gaming at sea. During a promo period in 2019 (January through March), all passengers on all voyages have the privilege to enroll in company's tournament that features a customized game board with properties named after ship's signature venues.
- Along with final's Grand Prize ("Ultimate MONOPOLY Family Game Challenge"), every game offers instant prizes (onboard credits, discounts, special deals, Chance Cards, Community Chest cards).
- Mr Monopoly (dedicated crew dressed in a captain uniform) greets passengers during tea time and also plays as God of Fortune (on Monopoly-themed cruises). Mr Monopoly also distributes chocolate coins and makes appearances at onboard stage production shows.
- MONOPOLY-themed Dream Cruises were scheduled for all voyages on World Dream (January 4 through March 1) and on Genting Dream (January 4 through March 24).
On May 15, 2019, Dream Cruises announced its partnership with SES Networks (US company based in Manassas VA). By this program, SES will install fleetwide its Signature Maritime Solution system providing seamless, ultra-fast Internet (fiber-like broadband) low-latency connectivity at sea. SES' system is based on O3b MEO satellites (positioned on medium earth orbits) backed up by geostationary (GEO) stations.
GHK's FY2018 (fiscal year) reported earnings featured a revenue of USD 1,6 billion (34% increase over 2017).
To finance corporation's cruise shipbuilding program, in August 2019, GHK sold 35% of Dream Cruises to TPG Darting Ltd - Canadian subsidiary of TPG Capital (US-based global investment company, ranked among world's largest private equity firms). The announced price was USD 488,646 million (~EUR 440,5 million). In 2019-Q4 were sold and bareboat chartered (via sale-and-leaseback deals) two GHK-owned vessels - Genting Dream (September) and Crystal Endeavor (December).
(new) Genting Global-Class cruise ships
Global Class GHK cruise ships have GT tonnage 208,000 tons, LOA length 342 m (1122 ft), passenger capacity 5000 (lower berths / max 9500). Global Class ships feature artificial intelligence technologies (including facial and voice recognition for expedited passenger services - boarding, disembarkation, payments), robots (performing mundane tasks), Cineplex (theme park), Asian spa complex, multiple Asian dining venues (including fast food), both affordable and premium retail shopping facilities, roller coaster, water park (with 5 slides), surf simulator. Staterooms are designed for Asian families and can sleep between 2-4 persons. Most cabins are with two (split) bathrooms. Each liner has 8 sets of escalators and 28 elevators.
Vessels' waste and water management system was provided by Evac (world's leading company building integrated waste-wastewater-water management systems). Company's Complete Cleantech Solution package includes a vacuum collection system, wastewater treatment plant, dry and wet waste treatment plant, freshwater desalination plants (based on reverse osmosis). The freshwater generation plants have the capacity to produce over 3000 m3 of freshwater per day. The contract with Evac was signed on January 3, 2017.
On January 9, 2017, was signed a contract with ABB for delivery of Azipods (power-propulsion units), automation systems and the marine software for all 5 new Genting cruise ships ordered for both brands - Crystal and Star. The 3 Crystal vessels are from the Crystal Endeavor series expedition yachts (Polar Class 6).
These are the first purpose-built ships for the contemporary Chinese market regarding onboard amenities and services (food, cultural events, shows, enrichment programs, shopping, tours/excursions. Cruise ticket prices will be affordable. In May 2019 were unveiled more Global-Class vessel details. The ships have the industry's first theme park at sea, largest cinema at sea, world's longest roller coaster at sea, self-guided robotic assistants, industry's largest standard staterooms (sized 20 m2), Bluetooth cabin door locks, touch-screen control panel, smartphone-control of different en-suite functions (mood lighting, air-conditioning, etc).
Global Dream (2022-Q1) will be homeported in China (during summer) and in Australia or USA (during winter). The liner will be also seasonally deployed in Europe (Mediterranean and Baltic itineraries). A second sistership will be launched in 2021.
The financing package for both GHK Global-Class units (EUR 2,6 billion / ~EUR 1,3 billion per vessel) was structured by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH as part of a consortium which also included BNP Paribas (France), Citibank (USA), Credit Agricole Group (France), DescriptionCredit Suisse Group AG (Switzerland) and DescriptionDNB ASA (Norway). The newbuilds were planned for assembly at 3 different MV Werften-owned shipyards. GHK's total investment in this shipbuilding project was ~EUR 3,1 billion (~USD 3,44 billion). The package was backed/guaranteed by Finnvera (Finland).
Each of the Global-Class GHK ships has a huge duty-free shopping mall (DFS-T Gallery at Sea) operated via partnership between Genting Cruise Lines, DFS and Starboard Cruise Services. DFS Group (1960-founded, Hong Kong-based travel retailer) and Starboard Cruise Services (1958-founded premier cruiseship retailer) are both subsidiaries of LVMH (1987-founded, Paris-headquartered French multinational). Global-Class liner's retail shops cover an area of ~18,000 ft2 (1680 m2) and sell ultra-premium merchandise in the categories Food-Gifts, Beauty-Fragrance, Fashion-Accessories, Watches-Jewelry, with product introductions, brand-firsts and unique promotions.
Dream Cruises' ships are among the most spacious in the Asia Pacific region. The new GHK cruise brand aims to be a pacesetter in the Asian cruise industry, meeting the needs of affluent and independently-minded Asian travelers.
An interesting fact is that Genting Cruises also offer world-class spa and wellness services and also uses ancient Chinese massage techniques.
Onboard entertainment features comprehensive Dreamscape educational and enrichment program, Crystal Life (health and wellness facilities), over 1100 m2 duty-free shopping arcade, 6-slide waterpark, ropes course, zip-line, world's first Johnnie Walker House at sea, world's first Penfolds Flagship Wine Vault at sea, private boardrooms, real-time language translation capability (up to 4 languages) in the Zodiac theatre for 400 guests.
Daily onboard activities range from outdoor games and wine tasting to inspirational speakers and world-class entertainment to enrich passengers' shipboard time. Each vessel has Genting Club - a boutique "cruise hotel" complex with a total of 142 suites offering special privileges, including European butler service and priority access.
Each Dream Cruises ship offers unique underwater excursions via 2 mini-submarines (underwater craft). They are able to carry cruise passengers deep under the sea while the ship operates in select Asian destinations. Each minisub carries 1 pilot and up to 4 passengers at a time.
In December 2017, Dream Cruises introduced on MS World Dream Asia's first "Tiffany" retail shop at sea. The fleet's new amenity also offers to purchase the exclusive "Tiffany High Tea Set". The exclusive Tiffany Afternoon Tea service is complemented with premium treats and served at the "Seafood Grill" on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
In 2017, Dream Cruises also debuted on World Dream Asia's (and the world's) first at sea "Dior Jewelry and Watches" retail shop. The World Dream ship also features the interactive "Scents and Spirits" (perfumes sampling and potables tasting), as well as the Make-Up Bar where passengers can experiment with the beauty industry's latest products and techniques.
In 2018, Genting Cruise Lines signed an agreement with Okinawa Agricultural Cooperatives Association and Leospo Inc. Following the partnership, on select GHK-owned cruise liners is offered Okinawa-sourced food and local produce.
The new onboard dining options include the famous Okinawa Wagyu beef and Okinawa Agu pork. The offer is available on select ships and during summer when they cruise to Okinawa. In 2018 (April through November), these premium food specialties were available on World Dream, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Virgo. The exclusive gourmet dishes are served via specially designed theme menus. They also include the traditional Japanese dishes Shabu Shabu (with ingredients stirred in a cooking pot) and Teppanyaki (iron griddle cooked food), as well as BBQ Okinawa Agu Pork and the wok-fried Okinawa beef (with bitter gourd garlic) and Okinawa beef rib eye (with sweet plum sauce).
In July 2020, Dream Cruises debuted (on MS Explorer Dream) the "Flexi-Feast" - a completely customized shipboard dining concept that allows passengers to choose from more venues. Upon boarding the ship, cruisers receive a set of complimentary dining vouchers which can be used at designated restaurants, as well as OBC (onboard credits) for ordering meals at specialty restaurants, beverages at bars and also for room-service orders.
Genting fly-cruise deals
In June 2017, "Genting Cruise Lines" (consisting of the companies Star Cruises and Dream Cruises) and Asia's largest airline "China Southern Airlines" signed a Memorandum of Understanding on an exclusive "flight and cruise" partnership in China.
- The deal is for discounted fly-cruise deals on cruises leaving from port Nansha-Guangzhou - a premium travel hub and cruise homeport in Asia.
- By this strategic agreement, both China Southern Airlines and Genting combined their resources in sales, marketing, promotions, and product development, creating a competitive travel product by the new "Air + Cruise + Travel" program. The program targets both individual and group travelers.
Genting Hong Kong rail-cruise deals
In 2018, Hong Kong City introduced a high-speed train service (4-hour ride) that allows faster travel for around 300 million people from mainland China annually. With the opening of Hong Kong's MTR (High-Speed Rail / HSR) section in August 2018, the city became connected to world's largest ever high-speed train network. In November 2018, Genting Cruise Lines - the only company with year-round Hong Kong homeport deployment - launched a "rail cruise" campaign. The 2-week campaign was based on the World Dream ship (2-day weekend mini-cruise specials) and included numerous roadshows held in key MTR locations.
GHK's rail-cruise promo was via a partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Commission. The first 1000 Dream Cruises train-and-cruise bookings on World Dream received an instant MTR train fare rebate (up to RMB 400 / USD 58 per cabin).
Guangshengang XRL (Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link) is a high-speed railway connecting Beijing with Hong Kong (Kowloon Station) via Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The largest cities connected to Hong Kong via HSR (without interchange) also include Changsha, Guiyang, Wuhan, and Nanning.
Genting Cruises Private Island Resort
In early November 2017, GHK corporation signed an agreement with the Macleod Island's owner "Tint Tint Myanmar Group" (headquartered in Yangon Burma) to jointly built new cruise ship facilities on this private island.
Cruise line private Islands are among the best-known assets of the world's largest cruise shipping companies (Carnival Corporation, RCCL Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC). However, most such private island resorts are located in the Caribbean.
GHK's partnering with Tint Tint Myanmar Group makes Macleod Island the first Asian private cruise resort destination. It is opened exclusively for Genting cruise ship tourists visiting the island on liners operated by the GHK-owned Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. Among GHK's other Asian projects are Guangzhou Nansha Port development (in China) and Port Danang (in Vietnam).
Itinerary of Dream Cruises
Dream Cruises' first newbuild vessel Genting Dream is homeported in Singapore. Starting December 3, 2016, the ship became the first large-sized (151,300 GT tons) liner based there for year-round operations. Genting Dream's itinerary visits more than 10 Asian ports (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam).
- Dream Cruises offers a range of 2-night weekend itineraries and alternating 5-night (Sunday departure) cruises from Singapore to destinations in the Straits of Malacca and Java Seas.
- The 2-night Weekend Cruise departs every Friday.
- The 5-night "Straits of Malacca Cruise" itinerary features the popular Kuala Lumpur-Penang-Phuket route. Departures are every Sunday on odd weeks.
- The new 5-night Indonesian cruise itinerary in the Java Sea to Surabaya (Java) and North Bali is capable only with the ship's high-speed design (over 26 mph / 43 kph). Departures are every Sunday on even weeks. Surabaya's Port Tanjung Perak allows max draft 14 m and has a cruise terminal.
- Passengers can combine the above mentioned "Straits of Malacca" and "Java Sea" itineraries into a 12-night B2B cruise, with the option of spending the weekend either onboard or in a Singapore hotel.
- New itineraries visit port destinations in the South China Sea and the Java Sea.
Dream Cruises offers even more options for travelers embarking from Singapore via updating its 2-night Weekend Getaway itinerary onboard Genting Dream with optional Bintan Island shore trips. The enhanced summer itinerary provides a new alternative for exploring this nearby island resort as part of the world-class cruise experience featured aboard Dream Cruises award-winning ship.
Passengers can now experience a more comfortable alternative to visit Bintan during the weekend when hotel room rates are higher and, with 12 h of port time between 08:00 a.m. (07:00 a.m. local time) to 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. local time), there will be much time to enjoy the island.
Located ~1 hour off Singapore's southern coast, Bintan Island is a tropical getaway highlighted by white-sanded beaches, an impressive list of hotels, quaint seaside villages, and resorts offering various watersport activities. Bintan is the largest of a total of 3,200 islands making up the Riau Archipelago of Indonesia and possesses an eclectic mix of cultures and ethnicities, such as Malay, Chinese, Bugis, and native tribes.
Bintan Island water and land activities include wakeboarding, snorkelling, kayaking, and off-road ATV tours. For golf enthusiasts, it offers world-class courses designed by the most famous stars of the game. Shore trips range between SGD 50-70 per person, golf packages range between SGD 150-190 per adult (prices also include ferry ticket from the cruise ship to Bintan Island). Passengers who prefer to explore Bintan on their own can arrange a Free & Easy Expedition (SGD 30 per guest) with inclusive ferry service and coach transfers to/from Plaza Lagoi Bay in the Resorts area.
- World Dream ship's itinerary program is based on China roundtrips from homeports Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Nansha Port), also operated with fly-cruise deals to Vietnam and the Philippines.
- Ship's 5-night / 6-day itineraries visit the Philippines (Manila and Boracay Island). The other set offers 5-night / 6-day itineraries to Vietnam (Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang).
- The ship offers Dream Cruises' 5-night cruise to Japan (Sundays departures from both Nansha and Hong Kong). The itinerary visits Naha and Miyakojima Island (with 2 sea days) and returns to Nansha and Hong Kong on Fridays. This China to Japan cruise ends with "Dream Night" - the company's traditional for every 5-night voyage laser and fireworks show at sea.
Starting operations for Dream Cruises in April 2019, the Star Cruises liner SuperStar Virgo was renamed MS Explorer Dream and homeported in Shanghai (China). For the winter 2020 season, Explorer Dream was planned for deployment in Australia New Zealand. Following the Coronavirus pandemic peak in Asia, Dream Cruises became the first major company to resume voyages - with Explorer Dream on July 26, 2020. The Taiwan island-hopping itineraries were scheduled from homeport Keelung and to visit the islands Penghu, Matsu, Kinmen, Hualien. In late-September 2020, the company launched the new "Discover Taiwan" itinerary program on Explorer Dream with short-breaks (1-5-night roundtrips out of Keelung) to Anping Tainan, Penghu, Kaohsiung, Hualien, plus scenic cruising around Guishan Island (Yilan) and Keelung Islet.
Shorter cruises (3-4-night roundtrips) visit Penghu, Kaohsiung, Hualien. The 2-night roundtrips visit only Anping (Tainan). Explorer Dream's "Discover Taiwan" also offers 1-night cruises (around Keelung Islet and Guishan Island) and 2-night scenic voyage to Ishigaki Island.
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