ASIA’S NEW CRUISE HUBS

There was a colourful Chinese welcome for Mariner of the Sea when she berthed at Hong Kong's new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.
There was a colourful Chinese welcome for Mariner of the Seas when she berthed at Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.

Hard on the heels of Singapore opening its flash new cruise terminal on Marina Bay, Hong Kong has followed with its state of the art facility. Interestingly, both ports are claiming to be Asia’s cruise hub.

For cruise passengers it means there are now two world class facilities in Asia, where some ports are still rather down at heel.

Interestingly, the new Hong Kong cruise terminal is located at the end of the landing runway of the old Kai Tak airport.  Like so many other travellers. australiancruisingnews.com can still remember that hairy flight path into Hong Kong which swooped low through a corridor of high rise buildings where washing on apartment clothes lines was almost within touching distance. These days international flights land off Lantau Island, about 40km from the city.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, carrying over 3000 passengers, was the first mega cruise ship to berth at Kowloon’s new Kai Tak terminal. She was given a warm welcome with a colourful Chinese ceremony that included dragon and lion dances and celebratory drumming.

Other mega ships from Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity cruise lines will also berth in Kai Tak this year, with more to follow next year. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will overnight there in April after circumnavigating Australia on her annual world cruise.

Smaller ships will continue to use Kowloon’s Ocean Terminal which has wonderful views across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island.

Singapore and Hong Kong’s new cruise terminals are timely as Asia has become the latest hot destination for international cruise lines intent on meeting the demand of passengers for new ports of call.

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