Genting Dream, the first ship of Genting Kong Kong Ltd’s Dream Cruises brand, made its maiden voyage this week to Okinawa, Japan. The vessel, carrying a total of 4,000 passengers and crew, journeyed via its respective home ports of Hong Kong and Nansha in Guangzhou, arriving in Naha, Okinawa, on April 4, then Miyakojima on the following day, according a press release from Dream Cruises.
“Okinawa, Japan has always been one of the most scenic destinations,” said Thatcher Brown, president of Dream Cruises, in a statement.
Casino and casino cruise ship investor Genting Kong Kong launched Dream Cruises in November 2015, a cruise line “conceived in and built for Asia”. Genting Dream (pictured) made its maiden voyage in November last year. A second ship of the Dream Cruises fleet – World Dream – is scheduled to start operations in November 2017.
The Genting group is trying to develop “a more lifestyle product” with the Dream Cruise line brand, said the group’s chairman Lim Kok Thay, in October last year.
Genting Hong Kong has accelerated its expansion plans for its cruise business and 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.
The company swung to a US$502.3-million loss in 2016, compared to a US$2.11-billion profit in the prior year.
According to the latest press release, the group’s vessel Genting Dream will now operate regular five-night cruises to Okinawa in Japan.
Osaka, Tokyo and Okinawa have all been mentioned by investment analysts as possible locations for Japanese casino resorts. Japan took the first steps to creating a casino industry following the legalisation in December of such business.
The Genting group – via a range of units – has one of the most geographically diverse portfolios of casino rights of any participant in the industry. It has developed and operates casinos in, respectively: its home base of Malaysia; neighbouring Singapore; the Philippines; the United States; the Bahamas; and the United Kingdom
The group – via Genting Singapore Plc, the operator of the Resorts World Sentosa casino venue in Singapore – believes it is a strong suitor for a casino licence in Japan, recently stated Mr Lim.
In a separate filing in late March, Genting Hong Kong announced the appointment of Colin Au as group president. The company also said Kent Zhu would serve as president of Genting Cruise Lines, effective from May this year. Genting Cruise Lines is a newly-created division of Genting Hong Kong comprising the firm’s three cruise brands.
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"Our rolling chip business [at Tigre de Cristal casino, in the Russian Far East], targeting Asian customers, has achieved substantial growth as we continue to address the underserved Northeast Asian market"
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
Chairman of gaming investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd