Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Dec 03, 2023

Hong Kong to welcome first overseas cruise ship since Covid-19 began

Hong Kong to welcome first overseas cruise ship since Covid-19 began

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit – setting sail from Singapore – is set to dock in Hong Kong on January 18 for one night, after stops in Thailand and Vietnam.

Hong Kong is set to welcome the first overseas cruise ship since the Covid-19 pandemic began, but an industry leader has warned most operators are still hesitant about coming to the city due to its anti-epidemic curbs.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit is expected to set sail from Singapore on January 5, with stops in Thailand and Vietnam, before arriving in Hong Kong on January 18 for one night.

A spokesman from Goldjoy Travel, a travel agency commissioned to sell the tickets, on Monday said the cruise ship company – owned by Royal Caribbean Group – was still in talks with the government about the arrangements that would apply to tourists once they arrived in the city.

Frederick Yip, executive director of Goldjoy Travel, welcomed the cruise visit, saying the Hong Kong market had great potential.

“We hope that the government will further relax travel restrictions and put Hong Kong’s measures on par with neighbouring countries to attract international cruises, accelerating the recovery of the city’s cruise industry,” he said.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit is expected to arrive on January 18.

Under the city’s current travel restrictions, arrivals need to undergo a three-day medical surveillance period, during which they are barred from entering certain premises such as restaurants and pubs.

Silver Spirit will depart the city on January 19 and head to Vietnam and Singapore with another batch of passengers, making it the first cruise ship from Hong Kong allowed to dock at overseas locations since the pandemic began in early 2020. It will also return to the city in February and then set sail for a trip to the Philippines and Vietnam.

Goldjoy Travel has already received inquiries and applications from Hong Kong residents interested in the voyage, the spokesman added.

Since the pandemic erupted, cruise ships have not visited Hong Kong, except ones operating at a reduced capacity under the government’s “cruises to nowhere” scheme since last July.

Ships under the scheme were required to halt operations if crew members or passengers were found to be infected with Covid-19, but the measure was eventually dropped in October following appeals from the industry.

According to the timetables of Ocean Terminal and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, there will be 27 cruises visiting the city next year, including ones from Silver Spirit.

Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which oversees the city’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, said the increase in the number of ships next year was a great start, but it only amounted to about 8 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

He added that passengers would not leave or join the ship for most of the cruises visiting the city next year. Before the pandemic, 90 per cent of the trips were homeport, where passengers would get off the ship.

“[It is] less risky for the cruise lines. If Hong Kong is closed, they can go somewhere else instead [such as] Kaohsiung [in Taiwan], Ha Long [in Vietnam],” he said.
Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, says cruise lines are “unsure” about Hong Kong.

“For a homeport, [it is] very hard for them to change [itineraries] if Hong Kong is closed, as guests will have air tickets and hotel reservations made already.”

Bent said that no cruises had been booked for a “cruise to nowhere” in 2023 so far.

“Cruise lines are unsure about Hong Kong’s cruise policy, so [they] have taken most of their ships off the table,” he said.

In October, debt-laden Genting Hong Kong was ordered by a Bermuda court to be wound up, marking the start of the last chapter in the history of Asia’s largest cruise operator as an independent business entity.

Travel Industry Council chairwoman Gianna Hsu Wong Mei-lun said cruise ship operators had been deterred by the city’s tough Covid-19 precautions.

“Especially during the fifth wave of the pandemic, the restrictions were stringent,” she said. “Ships were once required to suspend for 21 days if any infections were detected.”

Hsu added the ship’s arrival would be a boost for Hong Kong’s travel industry and that she hoped for a further easing of travel restrictions.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?