If you’ve seen an amazing Asia cruise deal – rapidly becoming one of the world’s hottest cruise destinations – then it will most likely features Hong Kong at some stage on your itinerary. The city for whom its name means “Fragrant Harbour” is already well established as one of Asia’s cruise powerhouses. As the most densely populated city in the world, it’s no surprise why cruising is quickly becoming popular with locals in the former British territory.
The steamy city and its mountainous terrain are known as much for its intriguing culture as its status as one of the world’s financial cornerstones. With long hot summers and more palatable winters, Hong Kong is a urban paradise for the brave, with bustling crowds and controlled chaos being the norm. The steel and glass jungle that is Hong Kong’s cityscape is certainly something every traveller must enchant themselves with at least once in their life.
How can I get to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is directly served many times each day from all major Australian capital cities except Darwin and Hobart, with non-stop flights by Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Passengers can also fly from the Gold Coast or Cairns with Hong Kong Airlines. The Chinese territory acts as a major air hub with most of the world’s major airlines flying to the city regularly.
Where can I cruise to from here?
Like its air travel network, Hong Kong caters to a plethora of cruise destinations accessible from its ports. Short cruises to Japan, Korea and Singapore are commonplace with durations varying from 3-7 nights, while guests can also embark on a variety of multi-week Asian adventures which are typically one-way voyages either starting or ending in Hong Kong and calling in ports in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Brunei along the way.
Hong Kong is also a popular embarkation port for many repositioning cruises to and from Australia, Europe and even Alaska, with most of the major cruise lines sailing into the city to begin a cruise on a regular basis.
Where should I stay before or after my cruise?
Relatively small in size but built high into the clouds, passengers can virtually stay anywhere and not be that far from the main attractions. Best value options however can be found on the Kowloon side of the harbour, with neighbourhoods such as Mongkok popular among locals and tourists alike.
A good piece of advice is to ensure you stay close to an MTR station – Hong Kong’s world-leading subway system. This will not only save you money in transport costs, it will also save you time as traffic in and around Hong Kong can be frustrating.
Taxi fares are cheap however they can become quite steep should you hit peak hour traffic or require a ride during periods of extended demand – such as shift changes – when fewer cabs are on the roads.
Don’t be surprised if your hotel room is a touch on the small side. The expensive price of real estate in the city ensures that every space is efficiently designed to maximise space for all.
What can I see and do before setting sail?
Hong Kong is a tourist haven with excitement every which way you look. An abundance of attractions, sights and sounds is easily able to fill your entire day.
From a dining perspective, you can start your day exploring the lively local dining scene with a traditional yum cha, traverse the shopping options in Causeway Bay or Kowloon’s Nathan Road and top it off with a drink at the world’s highest bar – Ozone – on the 118th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
If heights don’t phase you, don’t forget to also explore Hong Kong’s soaring Victoria Peak, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
Another highlight is the Tian Tan Budda at Ngong Ping, the largest bronze Buddha in the world and a scene of natural beauty. Accessed by glass bottomed cable car, the soaring statue sits atop 286 steep steps and its rise gives amazing views of the city’s surrounding mountains.
Guests can also make the hour long ferry journey to the neighbouring island of Macao, Asia’s answer to Las Vegas. There, you can take in the replica canals of Venice in The Venetian or dining atop the Eiffel Tower at The Parisian. In Macao, anything is possible!
Those with kids in tow will undoubtedly spend at least a day at Hong Kong Disneyland, which while recently expanding in size, is still a significantly smaller replica of the entertainment giant’s Californian parks in the United States. A good way to cut the cost of seeing this is to purchase your tickets prior to your departure from Australia to enjoy significant savings.
What should I expect in the cruise terminal itself?
In Hong Kong, passengers can embark from one of two terminals – The Ocean Terminal at Tsim Sha Tsui and The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.
Whilst now only really used by Star Cruises and occasionally by luxury small ship lines such as Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, Tsim Sha Tsui’s Ocean Terminal is the more convenient of the two terminals. The basic facility dates back to the 1980s and sits pride of place in one of the largest shopping centres in Hong Kong, giving guests the ability to shop and dine at their leisure while waiting for their boarding group to be called.
Taxis are plentiful while nearby sites include The Hong Kong Museum of Art and Kowloon’s Canton Road shopping strip.
For guests embarking on larger ships such as those from Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises, you’ll use the much newer and larger Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. From the start, the terminal was built to be able to one day handle ships the size of the world’s largest including Oasis of the Seas. Today, this terminal often has two ships docked at once, with enough space to process 3,000 passengers an hour!
The almost new facility sits on the site of the old Hong Kong International Airport and provides great views back towards Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Free and fast wi-fi is available throughout the terminal as is the opportunity to discover the largest rooftop garden in Hong Kong!
Both terminals lack any luggage storage facilities, however Hong Kong’s Airport Express subway system allows guests to check in for their flight downtown, meaning you can leave your luggage here in the knowledge it will be transferred directly to the airport and onto your flight. You can then simply take the train without the hassle of luggage and be at the airport in 25 minutes!