Hong Kong Reclaims its Title as Asia’s Cruise Hub

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After a tumultuous three years marked by intermittent cruise suspensions and COVID-19 restrictions, Hong Kong is ready to reestablish itself as Asia’s premier cruise hub. The Hong Kong Tourism Board revealed that the city had secured over 160 ship calls from 16 cruise lines for 2023, signaling a full recovery. 

As the city’s tourism sector bounces back, Hong Kong is set to capitalize on its strategic location and once again attract cruise lines and tourists from across the globe.

Cruise Industry Resumes Operations in Hong Kong

Cruising has faced numerous challenges in Hong Kong over the past three years, including the temporary suspension of Spectrum of the Seas’ operations due to COVID-19 concerns. However, recent developments indicate a resurgence of the city’s cruise industry. 

The Hong Kong Tourism Board announced that the city had secured over 160 ship calls from 16 cruise lines in 2023, signifying a full recovery of Hong Kong’s cruise scene.

Spectrum of the Seas in Hong Kong
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

“With the mask mandate lifted, Hong Kong is shining anew as one of the most exciting harbor cities and desirable destinations for cruise travelers from all over the world. In 2023, we secured over 160 ship calls from 16 cruise lines.” 

“This signifies a full resumption of Hong Kong’s cruise scene.  The speedy recovery of the cruise industry in Hong Kong can be credited to the trust and relationships we have built with cruise lines,” said Hong Kong Tourism Board’s MICE & Cruise General Manager, Kenneth Wong.

Strong Relationships with Cruise Lines

Kenneth Wong credited the swift recovery to the strong relationships built with cruise lines over the years. Silversea Cruises, for instance, marked the beginning of the cruise season with Silver Spirit returning to Hong Kong in mid-January. 

Adam Radwanski, Silversea’s Managing Director – Asia Pacific, emphasized the cruise line’s long-term commitment to Hong Kong:

“Hong Kong constitutes one of the most important ports in Asia for Silversea Cruises and our discerning guests, who appreciate the enriching experiences, the welcoming people, and the spectacular cityscape that awaits them on each call to the destination.” 

“In January 2023, Silversea became the first international cruise line to return to Hong Kong’s waters in almost three years – facilitated by the invaluable collaboration of the local government, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and the port authorities.”

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship in Hong Kong
Photo Credit: LO Kin-hei / Shutterstock

Hong Kong and Asia, in general, are a vital part of Silversea’s operations. With Hong Kong opening up to cruises again, it allows the company to continue its planned itineraries and take advantage of the Chinese market.

“With four ultra-luxury ships sailing in Asia Pacific waters in 2023, Silversea is investing heavily in the region and has seen tremendous growth within this market. We look forward to building on our close collaboration with Hong Kong for years to come, as we continue to offer our guests unique experiences in this iconic destination,” Radwanski continued.

Besides Silversea, in 2023, cruise ships from various cruise lines will visit Hong Kong. They include Mein Schiff, Viking, Royal Caribbean International, Azamara, Holland America Line, and Windstar. 

Tapping into China’s Vast Cruise Market

The revival of cruise activities in Hong Kong opens doors for the cruise industry to tap into the massive market in Mainland China

Strategically located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which has a population of 86 million, Hong Kong is easily accessible through the High-Speed Rail and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest sea crossing. 

This connectivity allows cruise lines to develop new offerings and attract a diverse clientele from the extensive Mainland market. Before the pandemic, the Chinese cruise market was experiencing significant growth and was estimated to become the largest in the world. 

In 2019, China had approximately 5 million outbound cruise passengers, making it the second-largest cruise market after the United States. The potential of cruising in China is vast, given its large population, growing middle class, and increasing disposable incomes. 

As Hong Kong reemerges, the city is perfectly positioned to tap into the immense potential of the Chinese cruise market and welcome millions of international visitors. 

As the city continues to recover and revitalize, Hong Kong will once again be able to offer guests unique and unforgettable experiences, as it has done for many years before.

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