Sailing into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour is one of the cruise world’s great experiences. This natural deep-water harbour which separates the Kowloon Peninsula from Hong Kong Island is home to two major cruise terminals which cater for vessels large and small. Passengers arriving at the Ocean Terminal are within a stone’s throw of many of the city’s main attractions whilst those arriving at the Kai Tak Terminal can get around by means of the excellent public transport network. As well as enjoying the sights around the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade visitors can also hop on ferries across the bay and to outlying islands or head off to Macau to discover the Las Vegas of the East.
Port of Hong Kong
There are two main cruise ports in Hong Kong which accommodate ships of different sizes:
Ocean Terminal overlooks Victoria Harbour near the western side of the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Kowloon. It caters for mainly smaller vessels and is ideally located within walking distance of many tourist attractions and the famous Star Ferry which crosses the harbour to Hong Kong Island. The terminal itself is part of the vibrant Harbour City complex which is filled with shops, restaurants, cinemas and some of the city’s best known hotels.
Kai Tak Terminal is a more modern dock located in Kowloon Bay to the east of Ocean Terminal. It was constructed at the former site of the old Hong Kong Airport. The majority of cruise ships visiting Hong Kong now arrive at this terminal which has the capacity to accommodate two vessels up to 360-metre-long. Whilst Kai Tak isn’t as conveniently located as Ocean it is one of the world’s most advanced cruise terminals with an impressive selection of amenities available to passengers within its three floor building. Views across the harbour from its rooftop garden are quite spectacular.
From Ocean Terminal: Standing on the edge of the Kowloon Peninsula within walking distance of the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Avenue of Stars, Star Ferry and major museums, this terminal could hardly be better located. Passengers wanting to travel further afield can walk to the Tsim Sha Tsui Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station.
From Kai Tak Terminal: There are no immediate attractions within the vicinity of the terminal itself so passengers will need to make their way to Kowloon Bay MTR station. There are usually long queues for the shuttle bus to this station so the 10-minute walk is recommended. Check with your ship’s transport information desk as other shuttles may be available to other MTR stations which provide easy access around the city. Free shuttle buses are often available to major shopping malls such as Telford Plaza, Plaza Hollywood and APM Mall all of which are next to MTR stations. There’s also a ferry from the Kai Tak Pier which goes to Central Pier on Hong Kong Island so there’s no need to travel to the Star Ferry Pier at Kowloon Point to cross the harbour.
City Transport: Whilst walking around is the preferable way to see Hong Kong you may wish to travel beyond the immediate harbour area in which case the safe and highly efficient MTR system is strongly recommended. Taking a ferry across Victoria Harbour is one of the highlights of a visit to Hong Kong as is a funicular railway ride up to Victoria Peak and an escalator journey through the Mid-Levels. Many cruise ship passengers with limited time on their hands like to take the Big Bus Tour which is a hop-on, hop-off service with three itineraries. There’s a stop close to the Ocean Terminal but not the Kai Tak Terminal.
Main Tourist Attractions
No matter which cruise terminal you arrive at you’ll be looking across Victoria Harbour towards Hong Kong Island. If you’re on your ship at 8pm be sure to go to the top deck and watch the spectacular light show which takes place across the harbour every evening. Onshore the main attraction is the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade which is home to the iconic statue of Bruce Lee and the famous Avenue of Stars. The promenade also provides easy access to other attractions such as the Star Ferry Pier, the Hong Kong Space Museum and the
former Clock Tower of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Station. It is also home to many shops and restaurants.
Across the harbour on Hong Kong Island visitors can take a ride on the world’s steepest funicular railway to Victoria Peak which is home to a major shopping complex with a panoramic observation deck and a delightful hiking trail overlooking the harbour. The world’s longest escalator which transports passengers through the steep Mid-Levels is another worthwhile experience.
Shore Excursions Beyond Hong Kong
There’s plenty to keep you entertained on both sides of Victoria Harbour during your time in port. However, if you do have some extra time available you might like to consider a shore excursion. Nearby options include a ferry ride to Lantau Island which is home to Hong Kong Disneyland and the Ngong Ping 360 gondola ride to the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. Another recommended trip is to Lamma Island where the highlight for many visitors is a seafood lunch at a restaurant on stilts. Ever popular is the bus ride to Stanley Market on the southern side of Hong Kong Island which is a daily street market selling an unfathomable quantity of clothes, bags and souvenirs.
A longer excursion is to the former Portuguese colony of Macau which lies across the South China Sea from Hong Kong. It can be reached by ferry or on the new 55km long Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge which is the world’s longest open-sea crossing.
Hong Kong Airport Arrivals
Passengers who are beginning or ending their cruise in Hong Kong will be arriving or departing through Hong Kong International Airport which lies 34km west of the Ocean Terminal by road and 42km west of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. The quickest way to and from the airport is by means of the Airport Express train service which connects with Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations in the city. Passengers returning to the airport can check in their bags at these two stations.
There are also many shuttle buses and taxis serving this route. Highly recommended for cruise ship passengers is the private transfer service from Hong Kong Airport provided by Shuttledirect. Their professional drivers will meet new arrivals at the airport and safely transfer them to either of the city’s cruise terminals. Return transfers to the airport for cruises ending in Hong Kong can also be booked on their website.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is one of the world’s most established and respected airport transfer providers. Our services are available throughout Europe as well as in North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. Our friendly local drivers will ensure your safe, economical and convenient passage to and from the airport, cruise terminal or major train station of your choice with a minimum of fuss. Book your transfer with our easy to use online booking system and leave the rest up to us!