Would you book a bankrupt cruise to nowhere? Genting is still selling tickets after appointing a liquidator
By K. Oanh Ha (Bloomberg) Genting Hong Kong Ltd., the world’s largest cruise operator to seek court assistance to protect its assets during the pandemic, is still selling tickets for its ‘cruises to nowhere’ “.
Reservations are available on Genting’s website for two- and three-night voyages on its Dream Cruises from Hong Kong and Singapore through April and September, respectively. Ships go to international waters and back, with the cheapest tickets costing HKD$1,188 ($153) or S$153 ($114) per night per person. Dream Cruises sailings that have already been scheduled will continue, according to a company representative.
“Certain business activities of Genting Hong Kong, including but not limited to the cruise operations of Dream Cruises, will continue in order to preserve and protect key assets and maintain the value of the group,” the statement said. company in a statement Wednesday.
Cruises from Hong Kong are currently on hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Genting is expected to resume with sailing on February 4, provided government restrictions are lifted as planned. The company confirmed that travel from Hong Kong would continue until April if pandemic restrictions were eased. Excursions for the summer season have not been planned, the company representative said.
Crystal Cruises, another brand operated by Genting, has suspended Ocean and Expedition voyages until April and river cruises until the end of May, according to a statement. It offers refunds. The ships in operation will complete their current voyages, with one ending in Miami on Saturday, another on January 30 in Aruba and a third in Ushuaia, Argentina on February 4.
“This was an extremely difficult but prudent decision given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company,” said Crystal Cruises President Jack Anderson.
Genting said Wednesday he filed with the Supreme Court of Bermuda to appoint interim liquidators after exhausting “all reasonable efforts” to negotiate with creditors and stakeholders. The company reported a record loss of $1.7 billion in May as the pandemic ravaged the industry. Its German shipbuilding subsidiary MV Werften went bankrupt last week.
Cruise operators around the world were among the first and hardest hit by Covid, which wiped out travel demand and halted sailings soon after it emerged in early 2020. Genting Hong Kong, which is majority owned by the Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, warned that cross defaults could follow the collapse of MV Werften.
The company, which had about $453 million in cash and cash equivalents in June last year, has warned it will run out of money towards the end of that month. It has already halted payments to creditors totaling $3.4 billion in August 2020 and was in default of that amount at the end of this year.
The biggest cruise operators, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, have raised enough cash to weather the worst of the pandemic, although some need additional funding. A handful of smaller ones have collapsed, including Spanish cruise line Pullmantur Cruises SL and Jalesh Cruises in Asia. Genting has the largest fleet and mooring capacity among those who have stumbled financially.
By K. Oanh Ha and Kyunghee Park © 2022 Bloomberg LP