The Genting group will be “pushing for a more lifestyle product” with its new casino cruise line brand, Dream Cruises, said the group’s chairman Lim Kok Thay, in an interview with Singapore newspaper the Straits Times.
The first of the new brand’s vessels – the Genting Dream (pictured) – under the management of Genting Hong Kong Ltd is due to make its maiden voyage on November 13 from its home port of Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province. It will mark the beginning of a bet on China’s leisure market.
Genting Hong Kong is a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Bhd. The group is best known for its land-based global casino business that includes Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, operated by Genting Singapore Plc.
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.
In March last year, Genting Hong Kong announced it was acquiring U.S.-based Crystal Cruises and its subsidiaries for a total consideration of US$550 million.
The Hong Kong-based company announced in July it would invest more than EUR100 million (US$110 million) to upgrade the three shipyards in Germany that it acquired in April. The move follows the company’s earlier purchase of the Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven shipyard in Germany last year. Genting Hong Kong plans to use its own shipyards to build new cruise ships to expand its fleet.
A second ship of the Dream Cruises fleet – World Dream – is scheduled to start operations in November 2017.
The existing Star Cruises brand will also expand its China footprint by adding at least two ships, planned for delivery in 2019, according to company information.
“Nobody can operate a business… [without the] ability to command the supply side of the equation. MV Werften will have only one customer and that’s the Genting cruise group,” Mr Lim told the Straits Times.
The Genting group chairman expressed confidence in its cruise industry expansion, noting there were good opportunities for growth in the Chinese market. “It’s practically a virgin market. Our competitors are seeing a five-million [passenger] market just out of China,” Mr Lim reportedly said.
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Akash Gupta, Shiv Kapoor and Hasira De Silva
Analysts at Fitch Ratings