Owner of embattled Dream Cruises starts new firm hiring laid-off staff, offers 'goodwill' vouchers to affected customers
- The owner of an embattled cruise operator and its parent company has started a new cruise company here
- Resorts World Cruises will set sail in June
- The firm has hired about 70 per cent of the employees laid off by Dream Cruises
- The Genting Dream ship will initially do "cruises to nowhere", though regional destinations are planned for later in the year
- The new firm distanced itself from Dream Cruises but is offering "goodwill" vouchers to customers whose cruises did not proceed
SINGAPORE — Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, who previously ran embattled Dream Cruises, has launched a new Singapore-based cruise firm, Resorts World Cruises, which will set sail next month.
The firm's ship Genting Dream will initially offer the popular "cruises to nowhere" from June 15, with the aim of adding regional destinations such as Phuket and Bali from September this year.
Announcing the launch on Wednesday (May 18), the firm distanced the new operation from Dream Cruises, and its parent firm Genting Hong Kong, which is undergoing liquidation.
However, Resorts World Cruises is hiring employees previously laid off by the former operator and is offering vouchers to customers who had bookings when Dream Cruises announced that it would cease operations in March.
At a media conference, Mr Michael Goh, president and head of international sales of the new firm, said that Resorts World Cruises has hired about 1,700 workers laid off by Genting Hong Kong, which makes up about 70 per cent of the Genting Dream's crew as well as on-shore staff in the Singapore office.
During the winding-up process for Genting Hong Kong, some creditors have reportedly claimed that they have not been paid various expenses. These matters will be dealt with by their former companies, and not by Resorts World Cruises, Mr Goh said.
Mr Goh was the former president of Dream Cruises.
Customers of Dream Cruises who had made bookings for trips that did not proceed will also be able to get "goodwill" complimentary cruise credits for the new cruise liner.
Resorts World Cruises will launch its first voyage on June 15 via cruise ship Genting Dream, which was previously owned by Genting Hong Kong.
Cruise ship World Dream, which was owned by Dream Cruises, ceased operations after its final sailing returned to Singapore on March 2.
The cruise liner first said on Jan 23 that it would be suspending bookings for its cruises here, after its beleaguered parent company, Genting Hong Kong, applied to be wound up.
Genting Hong Kong, which is part of Malaysia's Genting Group, reported a net loss of US$238 million (around S$320 million) in the first half of last year, as operations continued to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It reported a net loss of US$1.7 billion in 2020.
Mr Lim resigned as the company's chairman and chief executive officer in January, after the company filed for provisional liquidation.
The Straits Times reported in March that since Genting Hong Kong ran into financial troubles, at least 60 of its staff members were terminated.
It also reported that 57 staff members from companies related to Genting Hong Kong were seeking unpaid notice pay and encashment of unconsumed annual leave, among other expenses, and that it had raised the issue with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).
Asked if any of these issues would be resolved by the new company, Mr Goh said: "The dispute that they have is with another cruise brand."
He added that the dispute "is being managed" by the liquidator and TADM.
TODAY has reached out to TADM to enquire about the progress of the dispute resolution.
Mr Goh also confirmed that Resorts World Cruises will be under shareholder Two Trees Family Holdings, which lists Mr Lim and his son Lim Keong Hui among its directors, and is a separate entity to Genting Hong Kong.
World Dream customers who have not received refunds for bookings on the defunct cruise will be offered complimentary cruise credits.
"As a gesture of goodwill, passengers who are affected by World Dream, we will give them cruise credits that will allow them to come onboard from June 15 to March next year," Mr Goh said.
Affected customers may write in to Resorts World Cruises at email@example.com.
There will also be a new payment process where payments are kept in a separate account, and will only be drawn during the day of the cruise.
"The amount that (customers) pay will only be drawn during the actual dates that they are cruising, so that's definitely a very good assurance to our cruisers," Mr Goh added.
TRIPS TO REGIONAL DESTINATIONS
While the mode of the initial cruise voyages will be the default "cruise to nowhere" that has become popular over the course of the pandemic, Resorts World Cruises will be looking to restart destination cruises in September.
The cruise liner plans to expand its itineraries to nearby destinations such as Langkawi and Penang in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand, and Bintan and Bali in Indonesia.
"We have been very actively engaging the Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia authorities, to work out the arrangement to have the restart of destination cruises as early as possible," Mr Goh added.
Ong, J. (2022, May 18). Owner of embattled Dream Cruises starts new firm hiring laid-off staff, offers “goodwill” vouchers to affected customers. TODAY. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/owner-embattled-dream-cruises-starts-new-firm-hiring-laid-staff-offers-goodwill-vouchers-affected-customers-1900741