Sale of river cruise ships one more step to resolution of Genting Hong Kong collapse

The river ships of Crystal Cruises are being sold to a German start-up, thus resolving the fate of one more part of the former Genting Hong Kong fleet.

The river cruise ships have been laid up for a year after Genting Hong Kong collapsed following the refusal of Germany to bail it out with any more cash. Crystal Cruises and its parent company Genting Hong Kong both went out of business. The river ships were not included in the previous sale of the Crystal Cruises brand and its two large, ocean-going cruise ships.

Four 140-metre vessels built by MV Werften for Crystal in 2017 and 2018 were reported in Germany as to be sold to a newly formed brand – Riverside Luxury Cruises. The new company is an offshoot of the Seaside Collection, a German company that owns and manages boutique hotels in Europe and the Maldives and which want to expand with a luxury river cruise brand.

The plans for Riverside Luxury Cruises were announced in October 2022 when the company purchased the Crystal Mozart, the first of Crystal’s river cruise ships. The Mozart was joined at Crystal Cruises by four newly built-ships, the Bach, Ravel, Mahler, and Debussy, to build out Crystal’s river programme. Reports indicated that Riverside had acquired the four newer ships, which will again run alongside the Mozart. Riverside had previously announced that they would start operations in April sailing the Danube with the Mozart.

The four smaller vessels cost about $18m apiece to build. They each carry 110 passengers.

The “Riverside Ravel” will operate on the Rhône and Saône from Burgundy to Provence, while the “Riverside Debussy” will sail the Rhine between Amsterdam and Basel. The remaining two vessels will return to service in 2024.

With the completion of the sale of the Crystal fleet, the fate of only two larger cruise ships previously operated by Dream Cruises remain to be resolved. Genting Hong Kong’s World Dream cruise ship was recently offered for sale in an auction run by the court in Singapore, but it was reported that the ship failed to attract bids. The older Explorer Dream cruise ship remains laid up at Port Klang anchorage, Malaysia.