CruiseRed letter day for Hong Kong cruise tourism as Silver Spirit heads the first of a line-up of international cruise ships to call in the city again.

Hong Kong ushers in the year of cruise revival

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HKTB has confirmed at least 82 more ship calls from 16 cruise lines in 2023.
HKTB has confirmed at least 82 more ship calls from 16 cruise lines in 2023.

Hong Kong’s cruise sector effectively restarted on 18 January with the arrival of Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit, the first international cruise ship to sail from the city in three years.

Authorities in Hong Kong marked the momentous occasion with a water salute in Victoria Harbour, and a dragon and lion dance performance at the Ocean Terminal, presenting gifts to welcome arriving passengers on January 18.

The Silver Spirit had sailed from Singapore on 5 January, stopping in Thailand and Vietnam before heading over to Hong Kong on 18 January for one night.

Describing the return of Hong Kong’s cruising as “a milestone in Hong Kong’s tourism revival”, Pang Yiu-kai, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Chairman said that the Silver Spirit’s arrival “not only marks the resumption of Hong Kong’s cruise tourism development and its return to the international cruise tourism market, but also enables the industry to develop a wide range of tourism products to enrich the visitor experience, further stimulating them to visit Hong Kong.”

The resumption of Hong Kong’s cruise sector is a definite cause for celebration among local cruise and travel industry players, observed Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which oversees Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in the city.

"We are delighted that Hong Kong is again hosting cruise ships for the first time in a year, and international cruises for the first time in three years," he said. “We eagerly anticipate more regular interactions with our industry partners, and seeing cruise visitors return to our shores.”

The ships are calling again

On 18 January, Silver Silver became the first international cruise ship to call at Hong Kong in three years.
On 18 January, Silver Silver became the first international cruise ship to call at Hong Kong in three years.

Following Hong Kong's successful cruise restart, Bent is anticipating "a pick-up in future berth bookings by international lines over the coming months”.

Among the cruise calls, German operator TUI Cruises' luxury cruise liner Mein Schiff 5 will berth at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in early March, making it the first ship call at the terminal in 2023. Mein Schiff 5, which will call in Hong Kong four times, is expected bring more than 5,000 travellers to the city in total.

The HKTB already plans to receive more than 82 ship calls from at least 16 cruise lines in 2023, including Resorts World Cruises which from 10 March will be sailing from Hong Kong on its new Resorts World One ship.

The other 15 cruise lines sailing to Hong Kong in 2023 thus far are AIDA Cruises; Azmara Club Cruises; Celebrity Cruises; Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines; Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Holland America Line; MSC Cruises’ Oceania Cruises; Princess Cruises; Royal Caribbean International; Silver Cruises; TUI Cruises’ Vantage Cruises’ Viking Ocean Cruises’ and Windstar Cruises.

The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, the Tourism Commission and HKTB handed out souvenir goodie bags to arriving passengers at a welcoming ceremony held at Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui.
The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, the Tourism Commission and HKTB handed out souvenir goodie bags to arriving passengers at a welcoming ceremony held at Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Cruise infrastructure revamped

Hong Kong has greatly enhanced its transport and tourism infrastructure in the past three years. Passengers disembarking at Hong Kong can discover the new West Kowloon Cultural District, a seventh boundary crossing to Shenzhen, and a new rail connection between Hong Kong and China.

Bent also reveals that passengers will be able to access different parts of Hong Kong from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal more easily this year with the new Kai Tak MTR station on the Tuen Ma line, a new road connection, and the launch of several new bus services.

“We believe our guests will make full use of these and help to build traffic on some newer transport links that had opened shortly before the pandemic, such as the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge and the high-speed rail terminus,” said Bent.

“The three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport, scheduled for completion in 2024, will also add a boost to Hong Kong’s international connectivity.”

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