Cruisin’ together: Hong Kong to resume “cruise-to-nowhere” by end-July
Cruises may operate with at 50% maximum capacity.
Cruise lines are expected to resume “cruise-to-nowhere” (CTN) itineraries for Hong Kong residents by the end of July, the government said as the outbreak in the City continues to stabilise.
“With the stabilising COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong since mid-February this year, the public, the cruise trade and the tourism industry have strong aspirations for the gradual resumption of cruise travel which has been suspended for more than 15 months since February last year,” Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said.
“CTN itineraries underpinned by health control safeguards will offer an additional safe vacation option for the community as from the coming summer.”
The itineraries will not involve ports outside of Hong Kong. Cruise lines may operate up to a 50% maximum passenger capacity.
Health precautionary measures that will be in place during the resumption of cruise operations include requiring all incoming crew members to comply with existing quarantine and testing protocols upon entry to Hong Kong.
They will also be required to be fully vaccinated, unless medically proven that the crew member is not suitable to get vaccinated. Vaccination is also a requirement for passengers unless they are medically not suitable or aged below 16.
Passengers will be required to take COVID-19 tests within 48 hours before boarding. They will also be asked to use the “LeaveHome Safe” application.
“Given the nature of a cruise operation, considerable lead time is required for cruise lines to prepare for resumption of CTN itineraries. The announcement today enables the tourism industry, in particular cruise lines, to make preparations for the resumption immediately by arranging their cruise ships and crew members to come to Hong Kong,” Yau said.
Yau noted that a contingency management mechanism is in place in anticipation of a rise in local COVID-19 cases. Should there be a suspected case on board in a cruise journey, the journey will be suspended at once and the cruise ship will return to the cruise terminal in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) supported the gradual resumption of cruise operations, which Chairman YK Pang considered an integral part of the City’s tourism.
For its part, the HKTB will promote “Staycation at Sea” in Hong Kong under the “Holiday at Home” platform.
“When cross-border travel resumes, the HKTB will then gradually market our cruise experience to Mainland and international visitor sources,” Pang said.