Hong Kong Welcomes First International Cruise in Three Years

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As Asia slowly reopens to international travel with easing pandemic restrictions, Hong Kong has welcomed its first ship with international guests since the shutdown began in 2019. On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, Silversea’s Silver Spirit docked in at the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, part of a 14-day one-way sailing from Singapore. The ship will depart on its return voyage on Thursday, January 19.

Hong Kong Welcomes International Guests

Hong Kong is a culturally rich and diverse city, and a bucket-list destination for many travelers. Arriving by cruise ship provides unparalleled views of the harbor region and convenient access to the heart of the city.

“Hong Kong is a very attractive cruise ship destination,” said Pang Yiu-kai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. “The sense of arrival when you come into Victoria Harbor is really second to none in Asia.”

The Ocean Terminal is centrally located on the north side of Victoria Harbor, just steps from the picturesque Kowloon Park and many downtown attractions, delicious eateries, and retail shopping. When approaching the terminal, guests have spectacular views of the city’s skyline and unique architecture.

“Hong Kong has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world,” said Adam Radwanski, managing director for Silversea. “Cruising in Asia without stopping or calling in Hong Kong is not complete or fully satisfactory, so Hong Kong is an extremely critical point and port in this part of the region.”

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. Photo Credit: cloud.shepherd / Flickr
Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. Photo Credit: cloud.shepherd / Flickr

The 39,519-gross-ton Silver Spirit, which was dramatically renovated in 2018, is capable of welcoming as many as 608 passengers at double occupancy or 648 guests when fully booked. On this journey, the ship is estimated to be carrying just over 300 guests as reduced capacity sailings are still mandated in the region. The diversity of the passengers, however, with more than 20 countries represented, is what really showcases the return of cruising.

“It’s a very important milestone for us along the road to recovery,” Culture Secretary Kevin Yeung said while welcoming passengers at the cruise terminal.

China has continued with strict lockdowns and limitations for international travel, only slightly easing restrictions in recent weeks. With cruise ships finally returning to the region, more travelers will be able to visit this amazing destination.

On its current sailing, Silver Spirit called on ports in Thailand and Vietnam before arriving in Hong Kong, and will return to Singapore via a 10-night sailing departing on Thursday, January 19, with three port visits in Vietnam along the way: Halong Bay, Da Nang, and Saigon.

Cruising to Hong Kong

While China is only slowly opening to international cruise travel, a variety of cruise lines are scheduled to visit Hong Kong in the coming months. Along with Silversea, cruise lines with stops in Hong Kong include Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Cunard.

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

A total of 16 ships are expected to make 82 total visits to Hong Kong in 2023.

The return of cruise travel to the region is made possible by the easing restrictions in recent weeks. In December, international guests were once again welcomed without a mandatory quarantine period, which has opened the path for cruise visits. This follows a long period where cruise lines were forced to cancel voyages in Asia due to restrictions that made cruising impractical.

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