SINGAPORE - Dream Cruises' vessel World Dream, one of two ships that began cruises to nowhere pilots here in 2020, will cease operations after it returns to Singapore shores on Wednesday (March 2), with the operator saying it no longer has the financial capacity to keep it going.
The death knell sounded on Monday has been anticipated and dreaded for more than a month, after Dream Cruises first said it would suspend ticket sales for two weeks on Jan 23 after its parent company Genting Hong Kong filed to be wound up at the Supreme Court of Bermuda.
Following Genting Hong Kong's statement on Monday, those who have paid deposits for scheduled sailings after Wednesday will have to submit their claims to the company, although whether these will be successful is as yet unknown.
"The company is currently assessing the impact of the cessation of operation of the World Dream, in particular its ability to meet potential refund claims," Genting Hong Kong said.
"Despite the continued efforts to source and introduce external funding, the group's liquidity continues to deteriorate given the absence of sustainable operational income under current challenging circumstance and in the face of mounting creditor pressure which poses an immediate threat to the operation of the vessel."
In the first year of the pandemic, the cruises to nowhere, called as such because they made round trips on the ocean with no port of call, were one of Singaporeans' first opportunities to partially satisfy their wanderlust.
Launched in November 2020, with the other cruise to nowhere vessel Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas, more than 82,000 people had set sail on these two vessels by early March last year.
Of the total cruise to nowhere passengers, Dream Cruises' World Dream accounted for about 60 per cent. But Covid-19 restrictions continued to limit capacity and passenger numbers still remained a far cry from when the ships could make port calls at nearby islands.
Genting Hong Kong owns the Star Cruises and luxury Dream Cruises lines, which ply the Asia-Pacific, and the luxury Crystal Cruises line headquartered in Miami, Florida.
Those who wish to submit their claims must attach their booking confirmation and payment records and e-mail ProjectGenting@alvarezandmarsal.com for assessment.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.