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Genting Dream is redeploying to Singapore

(Photo: Jacintha Stephens)
Thatcher Brown shakes hands with Lionel Yeo of STB. At right is Colin Au and at far right, Michael Goh
Dream Cruises' Genting Dream will be redeployed to Singapore year-round starting Dec. 3. The ship has been sailing from China's Guangzhou Nansha Port, Hong Kong and Sanya since it debuted late last year, with a focus on sourcing passengers from China's Pearl River Delta and Hainan Island.

Until late March the ship will sail two-night weekend cruises on Fridays, five-night Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Penang-Phuket voyages every Sunday on odd weeks, eight-night Singapore-Surabaya-North Bali cruises every Sunday on even weeks and 12-night cruises that combine the three itineraries with the option of a hotel stay instead of the weekend jaunt.

Dream Cruises president Thatcher Brown announced the change during a news conference at the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore.

'We will have the biggest, the longest and the newest [ship deployed] here,' Brown said. 'Singapore is a logical hub, given its airlift and support.' He cited the city-state's enthusiasm and warmth, the tremendous support of the Singapore authorities and Singapore Tourism Board and the fact that passengers can conveniently visit ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Dream Cruises' parent company Genting Hong Kong has a long history in Singapore that began with Star Aquarius homeporting 23 years ago.

'We have now come full circle,' Brown said.

Michael Goh, svp sales, Dream Cruises, estimated Genting Dream's deployment could generate US$30m in commission, US$60m worth of air tickets and US$80m by way of hotel reservations across the region.

Singapore Tourism Board, which leads ASEAN’s efforts to promote cruising in the region, expressed delight with the deployment.

'Genting has been a key partner in growing and developing the cruise industry and this marks a new chapter,' STB ceo Lionel Yeo said.

Yeo expects more than half of Genting Dream’s passengers to be affluent, international visitors. He estimated its sailings will attract some 200,000 foreign passengers and generate an impact of S$80m in tourism dollars.

Colin Au, adviser, founding president and chief executive, Genting Hong Kong, said Genting Dream offers a great product with a great itinerary and will call at destinations such as Celukan Bawang in North Bali, Surabaya and Semarang in Indonesia, along with destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines—essentially 'sailing in five seas' within Southeast Asia.

Au predicted 'ASEAN eclipsing the Caribbean as a cruise destination' said stakeholders need to support and work together to develop the business. The entire ASEAN region will benefit, he added, and with Genting Dream's deployment destinations will be rewarded with summer business that would otherwise go to China.

Referring to the Genting group’s newbuild plans, Au said: 'We will have the biggest lower berth capacity in Asia.'

Goh said China remains an important source market and the country is working with stakeholders such as Singapore's Changi Airport, STB and other destinations with regard to fly-cruise passengers from China.

A second newbuild, Dream World, is scheduled for completion in October and should be in Asia by the end of the year. Its homeport will be announced at a later date.