Genting Cruise Lines, operator of three distinct ship-based holiday brands – Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises – has confirmed to GGRAsia it is cutting salaries for its senior staff because of the negative impact on business of a novel coronavirus. Genting Cruise Lines is a division of Genting Hong Kong Ltd, an operator of casino cruise ships and an investor in Asian land-based casinos.
“Genting Cruise Lines can confirm that, due to the impact that the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has had on the economy of Hong Kong and the travel restrictions that have affected the operations of the company, Genting Cruise Lines has had to make the difficult decision to adjust salaries by 20 [percent] to 50 percent for middle managers and above,” a company spokesperson told GGRAsia in an emailed reply on Thursday. The person added the firm faced “challenging circumstances”.
But the spokesperson noted “junior staff members will not be affected” by the pay cut.
According to a document seen by GGRAsia, the firm’s assistant managers will see a reduction of 20 percent in their monthly salary. Monthly wages for the grades ranging from manager to assistant vice president will be cut by 35 percent, while a 50-percent reduction will be applied for company vice presidents and above.
The company said in the internal memo that the spread of the coronavirus had “resulted in cessation of cruises” for almost all of its ships, and it was seeking its employees’ support “to give effect to a reduction” in salaries from February to December.
In the written reply to us, Genting Cruise Lines said the company had implemented “these temporary measures in order to provide its staff with uninterrupted employment during this period”. The spokesperson stated the company would “review the situation again in June of this year”.
“Genting Cruise Lines greatly appreciates the understanding and cooperation of its staff during this time,” said the firm’s spokesperson.
The coronavirus crisis, that originated in mainland China’s Hubei province, is likely to have a long-lasting negative impact on the cruise industry, say observers, as the existence of the infection has forced several cruise lines to cancel trips and halt operations at Chinese ports. Thousands of passengers have been reported as stuck aboard cruise vessels anchored offshore at ports across Asia, including Hong Kong and Japan.
Some 3,600 passengers and crew on the World Dream ship (pictured) – one of Genting Hong Kong’s vessels – were quarantined in Hong Kong for four days amid fears some staff could have contracted the virus on a previous voyage.
The World Dream was put in quarantine last week after it emerged that three passengers who had sailed on a previous voyage were later found to have contracted the coronavirus. Passengers and crew were allowed to disembark on Monday, with 468 people ordered to be quarantined for a two-week period.
Genting Hong Kong has developed a three-brand cruise portfolio with focus on different market segments: Crystal Cruises for what it terms the ultra-luxury segment; Dream Cruises for what it describes as the premium segment; and Star Cruises for what it defines as the contemporary segment.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – which claims to represent about 90 percent of global cruise capacity, including the three Genting Cruise Lines’ brands – said earlier this month that its members had adopted – from February 7 – “enhanced protocols” for guests and crew that had “recently travelled from or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau”.
Such measures included denying boarding to any person who have travelled from, visited – or transited via – airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days of intended embarkation, said the trade body.
It added: “CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew.”
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"The casinos have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The decision [to suspend casino operations] is up to the government. As of now, we don’t have any plan to change the existing regulations"
Lei Wai Nong
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance