Guests eagerly anticipating their Easter cruise from Singapore onboard the Genting Dream, a cruise ship operated by Resorts World Cruises, were left disappointed and stranded after they were unable to embark on their weekend getaway. The cruise line had overbooked the cruise, leaving almost 50 guests stranded.

While overbooking is a practice not unheard of in the cruise industry, the likelihood of guests ever noticing is slim, and is a procedure aimed at maximizing occupancy. However, in this case, the approach led to a significant number of guests being left disappointed. 

With cruise lines aiming their marketing at attracting guests on shorter voyages, short cruises have emerged as the perfect solution for families and groups of friends looking to enjoy quality time together aboard a cruise ship over an extended weekend. While many believe booking a cruise and getting confirmation is all you need, the reality appears to be slightly different. 

Around 50 guests who booked the 3-night cruise from Singapore, arrived at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore on Good Friday, March 29. As they prepared to board the 150,695 gross tons Genting Dream, and despite completing the mandatory online check-in and receiving an email confirmation, they were informed that the cruise was fully booked and no rooms were available.

After being told to wait in the terminal to see if spaces would open up, guests were later informed that they would not be sailing. Resorts World Cruises offered their apologies to those booked onboard and gave them a free upgrade to either a balcony room or a palace suite for their next cruise.

However, it also became clear that the policy of overbooking cruises is standard practice with Resorts World Cruises, while it remains unclear why guests were not informed before traveling to the cruise terminal to board the vessel.

Genting Dream Cruise Ship Docked in Singapore (Photo Credit: Jacobus Djokosetio)

Resorts World Cruises stated the following to “First and foremost, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to the affected guest that was unable to sail on Mar. 29, 2024. In the event of an overbooking situation or any matters affecting guests’ bookings, our standard operating procedure is to identify and inform the affected guest in advance prior to arriving at the terminal.”

“The matter was resolved at the terminal with the affected guest accepting the alternative options.”

The 3,348-guest Genting Dream, built in Papenburg, Germany, for Dream Cruises, operates cruises of two to five days in length out of Singapore and Port Klang Malaysia to Phuket, Thailand; Surabaya and Bali, Indonesia; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This incident is not an isolated occurrence for the Genting Dream. A similar situation happened on September 7, 2022, leaving over a hundred guests stranded due to the vessel being overbooked. 

The repeated issues highlight a broader practice within the cruise industry, where, like airlines, cruises are oversold in anticipation of last-minute cancellations or no-shows. The strategy relies on historical data to estimate the likelihood of cancellations, aiming to maximize occupancy.

Photo Credit: Chere / Shutterstock

However, when these predictions prove incorrect, such as can be anticipated for a popular weekend like Easter, the practice is likely to lead to frustration and disappointment.

While Resorts World Cruises might believe that providing compensation is more than enough to alleviate the disappointment that guests experience, the inconvenience and disruption to plans make a lasting impact on guests. 

Given that Resorts World Cruises is essentially picking up where the now-defunct Dream Cruises left off, one would expect a higher level of service, especially those guests willing to give the brand a second chance.

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