Always wanted to own a giant cruise ship? Here's your chance
Call it the ultimate holiday gift for the cruising fanatic, whether that be you, your spouse or a good friend.
In a relatively unusual occurrence, one of the world's newest and largest cruise ships, the 150,695-ton World Dream, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at a sheriff's sale on Dec. 21 — and anyone can bid.
That means that — with a high-enough bid — you could be in possession of one of the world's most state-of-the-art cruise vessels in time to visit it for the holiday week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
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Not that you could do much with it — at least not initially. The 18-deck-high ship, currently anchored off Singapore, is designed to operate with a crew of nearly 2,000 people, none of which would come with the purchase.
Originally built at a cost of nearly $1 billion for the now-defunct, Asia-based line Dream Cruises, the five-year-old vessel is being sold "as is, where is," according to the office of the sheriff of Singapore, which is conducting the auction. That means that it won't come with crew or formal instructions on how to operate it.
Plus, you better be ready to pick it up.
World Dream has been under arrest in Singapore since Dream Cruises and its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, went out of business earlier this year.
The vessel auction is being conducted by the sheriff of Singapore by court order to raise money to pay off the company's debts.
According to a notice of the sale on a Singapore government website, anyone who puts down a $50,000 deposit can bid on the vessel. If you don't win the bidding, you get the $50,000 back.
Before you put in a bid for just a few dollars, hoping for a bargain, know that there's a caveat to what you'll end up paying: In addition to the winning bid, whoever buys the vessel will also have to pay for the unconsumed fuel remaining in the ship's fuel tanks, which is worth $1,175,887, according to the sheriff's office.
If history is any guide, an existing cruise line or ferry company looking to add to its fleet, or a company planning to get into the cruise or ferry business, will likely buy the vessel.
Just two weeks ago, Disney Cruise Line purchased another cruise vessel that was under construction for Dream Cruises when the latter line went out of business — the 208,000-ton Global Dream. In that case, the ship was being sold by a liquidator for the shipyard building it. The shipyard, Germany's MV Werften, also was owned by Genting Hong Kong and went out of business at the same time as its parent company and Dream Cruises.
Disney plans to overhaul Global Dream, which is three-quarters finished, to give it Disney-themed features before putting it into operation in 2025.
Related: Disney soon will own one of the world's biggest cruise ships
An auction for one of the world's newest and biggest cruise ships is relatively rare. Constructed by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany — known for its work on vessels operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and several other major lines — World Dream was one of the most advanced cruise ships in the world when it debuted in 2017.
Built specifically to cater to the Asian market, the ship features 35 restaurants and bars, showrooms, a decktop water park with six water slides, multiple pools, a ropes course, a rock-climbing wall and a miniature golf course.
Designed to hold up to 5,000 passengers, World Dream is now the 36th biggest cruise ship in the world, though it ranked higher when it was initially unveiled. It's roughly the same size as Norwegian's Breakaway-class vessels (Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway), which also were built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.
For anyone serious about making a go of it, bids for the vessel are due by 3 p.m. Singapore time on Dec. 21; bids must be in a sealed envelope marked "Tender for WORLD DREAM" and sent to the sheriff's office in Singapore. A local banker's draft for the $50,000 deposit made out to The Sheriff Of Singapore must be included in the envelope.
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