Resorts World to Resume Hong Kong Cruises with Former Genting HK Ship
Resorts World Cruises, started in 2022 as a successor to Genting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises announced that it will restart cruises from Hong Kong by obtaining a second cruise ship from its former company. They plan to start the Hong Kong cruises in March using the former Explorer Dream (75,338 gross tons).
News of the new cruise program is both an expansion of the Resorts World Cruises’ operation and also significant as it will be the first cruise ship homeporting in Hong Kong in 15 months. The local authorities had permitted the former Dream Cruises and later Royal Caribbean International to introduce what was called “seacations” starting at the end of July 2021. The cruises were carrying only local residents and not making any port calls, but were later restricted and then suspended during new surges in COVID-19 variants.
Resort World Cruises was started in June 2022 by Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay who had previously been the chairman of Dream Cruises and Genting Hong Kong before resigning at the beginning of 2022 after the financial collapse of his former firms. The cruise line chartered one of Dream Cruises’ former ships, the Genting Dream, and started with cruises from Singapore.
They are reporting that they have now chartered the former Explorer Dream which has been renamed Resorts World One. The ship was built by Meyer Werft and delivered in 1999 as the Superstar Virgo for Genting Hong Kong which then operated as Star Cruises. With a capacity of 1,856 passengers, she was one of the first modern cruise ships built for the Asian market. In 2019, Genting HK rebuilt the ship at a cost of $50 million and renamed her Explorer Dream as part of their plans to expand their more upscale cruise brand Dream Cruises.
After the pandemic-related pause, she was one of the first cruise ships to return to service in late July 2020 operating cruises around Taiwan. The Taiwan cruises however were suspended in May 2021 due to an increase in COVID cases. Dream Cruises was granted permission to restart the cruises in January 2022 at approximately the same time as the financial collapse of the companies. The Explorer Dream was laid up and later moved to the anchorage at Port Klang, Malaysia, where she has remained.
Reports indicate the ship was sold as part of the efforts to liquidate the predecessor firms with speculation that the cruise ship was acquired by an investment group. Resorts World says they will be operating the cruise ship under a charter.
“We are pleased that Resorts World Cruises will have the first cruise ship to homeport in Hong Kong after the resumption of normal travel with the Mainland and overseas,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Resorts World Cruises. “We hope to support the growth of Hong Kong tourism as we had done for both Singapore and Malaysia.”
The cruise ship is scheduled to resume sailing on February 17 operating from Singapore in place of the Genting Dream, which will be undergoing maintenance. After two weeks in Singapore, the cruise ship will reposition to Hong Kong. Starting March 10, she will be offering 2- and 3-night seas cruises, departing every Friday, Sunday, and Wednesday. The cruises are scheduled to run through December 2023.
The resumption of cruises is part of the Chinese government’s new policies relaxing the travel restrictions that have been in place since the start of the pandemic. Royal Caribbean Group’s Silversea Cruises is expected to be the first cruise line to return to Hong Kong with a port call aboard its cruise ship Silver Spirit scheduled for next week on January 18. She will be the first cruise ship in the port in a year and the first international cruise ship to arrive in Hong Kong with passengers since early 2020.