Genting Hong Kong has revealed plans to build and manage a new line of cruise ships on behalf of international hotel brands.
Speaking at a naming ceremony for the recently completed Crystal Endeavour at the company’s MV Werften shipyards in Germany on Saturday, Genting Hong Kong President and CEO Colin Au said the Universal-class ships will be “designed like airplanes, where function is more important than form, simplifying the design and production process and reducing costs, while allowing for customization by hotel and other brands.”
According to a report by cruise industry news site Seatrade, the ships will each weigh 90,000 gross tons and carry 2,000 passengers with a range of COVID-safe features. These will include 20% more space due to fewer passengers, cabins that can be transformed into sitting or dining rooms, deeper balconies so passengers can relax in private and a no-touch design with voice and facial recognition.
Under the concept, major hotel brands such as Marriott, Accor, Hyatt and Hilton would purchase the ships to capitalize on their substantial loyalty programs with Genting Hong Kong to oversees day-to-day operations on a management basis.
Construction is planned to begin in 2023 with the first ship completed in 2025, Seatrade said.
Saturday’s naming ceremony for the luxury 20,200 gross ton Crystal Endeavour was also hailed as an important milestone for Genting Hong Kong, which last year announced that it was suspending all payments to financial creditors in order to preserve liquidity due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its businesses.
MV Werften has since been granted almost €2 billion (US$2.39 billion) in financial assistance by the German government including a €300 million grant from the Economic Stabilization Fund and a €1.6 billion loan for completion of another ship called Global Dream.
“This was done because we are convinced the shipyard has a future and because the maritime business in the north of Germany is so important, not only for the region but for Germany as a whole,” said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.
Au said Genting Hong Kong has now built 23 ships in Germany with the 208,000 gross ton Global Dream to become the largest ship ever built in the country when completed in 2022.