Both lay claim to being the cruise hub of Asia. Both have bustling new cruise terminals, gorgeous harbours and proximity to enticing destinations. Both have incredible air facilities and great tourist attractions.
Now Hong Kong is putting new energy into enticing cruise passengers and their lines to homeport and visit the city that claims to be the Gateway to China.
Can Hong Kong put a dent in the dominance of Singapore, which has a strong hold on cruise in Asia, with homported lines like Princess, Royal Caribbean, Costa Dream Cruises and a host of luxury lines using its second terminal.
The Singapore advantage
Singapore’s cruise terminals are currently busier than Hong Kong’s with 294 cruises set to depart on 56 different ships through 2021, compared to Hong Kong’s 101 cruises on 38 ships.
Singapore holds the advantage as an air-hub, which brings in international travellers and makes it an attractive fly-cruise destination.
Next year, Changi is even opening a special luxury lounge for cruise ship passengers where they can send their luggage to their ship while they eat, drink, shower or shop.
Singapore’s location also makes it ideal to sail the South East Asian waters and to the shores of her close neighbours like Malaysia and Indonesia for short breaks and itineraries to India and Sri Lanka further out west.
These itineraries contribute to the large number of sailings leaving Singapore, which is almost triple to that of Hong Kong.
Sailings from Singapore
Itinerary highlights include a Ponant 9-night sailing that makes six stops in Indonesia for a rich look around the region.
P&O’s 13-night cruise continues further out to Darwin, Airlie Beach and Brisbane in Australia after making stops at Bali and Komodo Island, Indonesia.
The ‘Best of India and Sri Lanka’ 15-night cruise with Celebrity Cruises bring cruisers to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India before heading on to Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Longer itineraries to the African Isles are also offered with Seabourn Cruise Line. The 36-night sailing visits South East Asian destinations such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, continuing to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Seychelles before arriving in Africa for 11 stops.
Hong Kong’s high spots
But Hong Kong also has a geographic advantage that she can maximise. Hong Kong’s location is perfect for a detailed exploration of East Asia and she is catching up to Singapore with their expanding range of itineraries coming 2019 and 2020.
Hong Kong has two cruise terminals, Ocean Terminal and the newer Kai Tak Cruise Terminal which can accommodate up to two mega cruise ships at a time.
Small ship lines like Viking can moor up in Kowloon and allow guests to view the city’s night light show from upper decks.
Dream Cruises is currently the only brand to homeport year-round in Hong Kong, but the 101 cruises set to sail Hong Kong’s shores, includes a wide range of lines: Seabourn, Silversea, Holland America Line, Celebrity, Cunard, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Viking, Princess Cruises, Ponant and Windstar Cruises.
A few highlight itineraries sailing from Hong Kong include 4 to 5-night short breaks to Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam with Royal Caribbean Cruises in 2019.
East Asia Sailings
The different itineraries to East Asia from Hong Kong also allow cruisers to select a customised experience. The two-week ‘Far Eastern Horizons’ cruise, sailing April 21, 2019 with Viking Cruises allows cruisers to explore six Japanese cities but also get a taste of Taiwan and South Korea.
Windstar Cruises also offer a 11-night sailing in March 2019 to the major Chinese cities such as Taipei, Qingdao, Shanghai and Beijing.
The longer itineraries are where Hong Kong really shines, with some of the 2020 sailings already sold out. For example, the 26-night ‘Blossoming Skylines Cruise’ by Oceania Cruises which brings cruisers to nine Japanese cities, three Chinese cities, three South Korean destinations and Taipei.
The Voyage with Silversea, departing in January 2020, first sails to Taiwan then takes cruisers through nearly half of South East Asia such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and The Philippines in just two weeks.
The epic journeys can even go up to 56-nights while exploring the ‘Empires of the East’, starting from South East Asia all the way to United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Greece with Seabourn Cruise line and 63-nights while sailing with Oceania Cruises across the North Pacific Ocean, all the way to New York.
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