Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas celebrated her maiden call to Hong Kong as the new Kai Tak terminal welcomed her as its first vessel.
The ship and her 3,000 passengers were greeted at Kai Tak during a welcoming ceremony hosted by tourism officials and government dignitaries. A plaque commemorating the event was also unveiled, while souvenirs were presented to all of the cruise ship’s passengers during the colourful ceremony. As you can see in the pictures below, the ceremony featured traditional lion and dragon dances, plus thrilling drum performances.
The Hong Kong Tourism Bureau (HKTB) hope that Kai Tak will fast become Asia’s cruise hub, attracting interest from International cruise companies who might wish to feature Hong Kong on their itineraries. Cruise visits also benefit the local economy, as the HKTB can work with local travel trade to develop new onshore excursions. Further, it’s known that often, passengers tend to stay on extra nights in a city before or after their sailings, which can lead to further economic benefits. Last year in Hong Kong, cruise passengers spent an average of HK$4,833 a day, twice as much as other tourists.
Mariner of the Seas is now home-ported in Kai Tak for the season, the ship will offer round-trip sailings from its new terminal.
The Kai Tak Hong Kong Cruise Terminal is located on what was formally Kai Tak airport. Before its renovation and transformation, Mariner of the Seas could not visit Hong Kong – the ship was simply too large to visit Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Royal Caribbean’s managing director of China, Dr Liu Zinan was delighted of Mariner’s move to Hong Kong, adding:
“Hong Kong is one of the most important home ports in Asia, with Asia, including China, one of the strategic markets for Royal Caribbean.”
Mariner’s Hong Kong itinerary:
The vessel will sail on a number of short trips out of her new Hong Kong home port this autumn. She’ll embark upon a four night round-trip in October, visiting two Taiwan cities, Kaohsiung and Taipei. From November, Mariner will sail a three-night return trip to Kaohsiung. After, Mariner will leave Hong Kong and sail onto Singapore for the winter season.
About Kai Tak Cruise Terminal:
Kai Tak’s reception of Mariner of the Seas is considered a soft launch, but the terminal will be fully open to the public in the third quarter of this year.
The building can be used all year round, so when the cruise industry is out of season in Hong Kong, the interior can be used as a performance venue, or can host events and exhibitions. There are restaurants and shops inside the terminal too.