German cruise operator Riverside Collection has revealed that it has bought the remaining four Genting Hong Kong inland cruise ships that were last operated on the European river network by luxury brand Crystal Cruises.
Riverside, a cruise offshoot established last October by The Seaside Collection, a German company that owns and manages boutique hotels in Europe and the Maldives, has acquired the 110-passenger vessels Crystal Bach, Crystal Ravel, Crystal Mahler, and Crystal Debussy.
The quartet was built at Genting’s in-house shipyard MV Werften and delivered in 2017 and 2018. They cost a reported $18m each.
No pricing details on the enbloc deal to acquire the quartet have been publicly disclosed.
Riverside bought Crystal’s much older but heavily refurbished 150-passenger Mozart (built 1987) when it first launched.
The company, which is marketing its cruise operation as Riverside Luxury Cruises, is wasting no time returning the ships to active service.
The renamed Riverside Mozart is set to begin sailing on the Danube in April, while the renamed Riverside Ravel and Riverside Debussy will also be returned to service in time for this year’s summer cruise season and will operate on the Rhine and several French rivers.
The remaining pair will be kept laid up until the 2024 cruise season.
Crystal’s river cruise ships were not included in the deals struck in 2022 that saw Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio’s A&K Travel Group acquire the Crystal Cruises brand name and its two ocean-going cruise ships, the 68,900-gt Crystal Serenity (built 2003) and 51,000-gt Crystal Symphony (built 1995).
The revived Crystal Cruises has announced that it will begin cruise operations this coming autumn.
In the meantime, both ships are at shipyards in Europe undergoing extensive refurbishments while the company has been recruiting executives from the luxury end of the cruise market for its new headquarters in Monaco.
Genting Hong Kong and its various cruise and shipbuilding subsidiaries went bankrupt in early 2022. Liquidators began selling off its assets shortly afterwards.
Most of the company’s once large fleet cruise ships have been sold for further trading or for recycling.
With Crystal’s river cruise ships gone, only two of the Asia-based brand Dream Cruises have yet to find a new purpose.
The 75,300-gt Explorer Dream (built 1999) is currently laid up off Port Klang in Malaysia while on 23 December the High Court of Singapore conducted a sealed tender auction of the 150,700-gt World Dream (built 2017).
The High Court has yet to announce the outcome of the auction, leading to rumours circulating in the cruise industry suggesting that either mortgage holder KfW IPEX-Bank had submitted the sole bid to protect its interest in the vessel, or that there were no bidders at all.
Officials at the Sheriff of Singapore’s office, which conducted the auction on behalf of the High Court declined to comment on the auction outcome when approached by TradeWinds.
Prior to the auction, there was widespread market speculation that the Lim family, Genting Hong Kong’s majority shareholders, would bid on the ship for their recently launched Resorts World Cruises.
The Singapore-based company currently charters the 150,700-gt Genting Dream (built 2017) from the leasing company headed by China’s Bank of Communications.