Day or night, the Hong Kong skyline is one of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world. The most photographed views of the city are often those taken from the Victoria Harbour. The natural harbour separates Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Peninsula and is now dotted with iconic buildings and skyscrapers. The best way to experience this view is by going on a Hong Kong cruise, and there is no doubt that it is one of the top things to do in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong cruises will take you on a route that showcases the best of the city, from the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui area to the looming skyscrapers of Central Hong Kong and onwards the quaint fishing villages in Aberdeen. Enjoy unique experiences like watching the world’s biggest light and sound show ‘Symphony of Lights’, sailing on a traditional Chinese junk boat and savor a scrumptious meal onboard. Here is a guide on how to pick the most suitable Hong Kong cruise for you!
Choosing the Right Hong Kong Cruise
Experiences on offer
The main highlight of a Hong Kong cruise is the scenery of the Hong Kong city, but what distinguishes each of the cruises is the experiences they offer. The Aqua Luna cruises are traditional Chinese junk boats with sails and offer a charming old-school experience of sailing. One of the cruises offers a variety of dim sum onboard and cocktails! The Bauhinia cruises offer a wider variety of cruises including simple round-trip cruises, but they also have variants which offer live-music and international cuisine buffet onboard.
The major difference between the Aqua Luna and Bauhinia cruises is the pricing of the cruises. Aqua Luna offers a more exclusive and luxury experience and their Dim Sum cruise starts at HKD 422 with around 80 passengers onboard, while a Bauhinia Symphony of Lights Cruise along with a lavish dinner costs HKD 420 but you have more than 350 people onboard. The cheapest Aqua Lune is a hop-on hop-off Discovery cruise that allows you to stop at four piers in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and starts at HKD 160.
Time of Day
The jury is still out on whether the Hong Kong skyline is more spectacular during the day or not! However, depending on when you have time in your itinerary you can choose day cruises or night cruises. The best time of the day is of course the Symphony of Light cruises when you can watch the sound & light show. The day cruises of Aqua Luna are great because you can spot all the buildings and catch the bustling economy of Hong Kong in action. The day-time hop-on hop-off runs from 12:00 PM to 4:40 PM which gives you enough time to explore the neighbourhoods on foot.
Sightseeing & Route
All the Hong Kong cruises cover a circular route which offers views of Central Hong Kong, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, North Point, Shau Kei Wan, Kai Tak, Hung Hom, and Tsim Sha Tsui. The difference is where the ferry starts from and you can choose a cruise depending on where you are sightseeing on the particular day. Aqua Luna cruises start from Central Pier and Tsim Sha Tsui, and the hop-on hop-off has two additional stops at Hung Hom and Wan Chai. Bauhinia Cruises start from North Point Pier and Hung Hom.
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Hong Kong Cruises Deals & Discounts
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Aqua Luna and Bauhinia are visitor’s top choices for Hong Kong cruises and are rated highly for their exceptional services. The Aqua Luna offers an exclusive and luxury experience while Bauhinia offers a fun and pocket-friendly experience.
Aqua Luna is a premium cruise company that has two junk boats – Aqua Luna which is a beautiful traditional red-sail boat and Aqua Luna II which is a Chinese junk boat with white and blue patterns. The company is a part of the Aqua Restaurant Group which has fine dining restaurants across Hong Kong, Beijing and London. There are many types of cruises you can choose – Harbor Cruise, Dinner Cruise, Symphony of Light Cruise and Day Cruises that head to Stanley and back.
Boarding was quick and easy with comfortable seats to satisfy the tired feed from the days walk. Served with a drink and some snacks available to order, the cruise was so relaxing. Highlighted by the birds eye view of the spectacular show from the ebst vantage point., the Victoria Harbor, the scene was amazing. Plenty of time to appreciate and take some lovely souvenir pictures for keeps. This one cruise is very memorable and unique. A must try.
Tripadvisor User, 2019
Bauhinia Harbour Cruise
Bauhinia Harbour Cruise is one of the oldest cruise ship companies in Hong Kong and has built a solid reputation in customer service. They have a fleet of big cruise ships that can be easily identified with the white and pink paint and the imagery of Bauhinia flowers. The dinner cruises are budget-friendly and seat around 400 passengers each. The ships have a dance floor, microphones and music system.
It was a long day of air and land travel and a lot of sightseeing. I was ready to call it a day but our tour itinerary included this Bauhinia Harbour Cruise. And was I glad it did! There was a wide range of food selection, and there was entertainment too. But just to feel.the cool breeze when I stepped outside the deck swept all my tiredness away. Really, a must try!
Tripadvisor User, 2019
Hong Kong Cruise Tickets
Bauhinia Harbor Cruises
- Enjoy the glittering sunset and night views of the Hong Kong skyline from the waters of the Victoria Harbour
- Marvel at the spectacular display of ‘Symphony of Lights’ – the world’s largest light & sound show
- Taste the world in an elaborate international buffet dinner with a live band serenading you.
AquaLuna Dim Sum Cruise
- Sail the waters of Victoria Harbor and soak in the sights of the iconic Hong Kong skyline
- Feast on sumptuous Dim Sums, a local dumpling speciality that locals savor
- Enjoy two blissful hours on cruise and watch the world go by, from the fishing villages of Aberdeen to the soaring heights of Central Hong Kong
Aquluna Harbour Discovery Tours
- The only hop-on hop-off Hong Kong cruise stops at four popular ferry terminals.
- The cruise stops at Tsim Sha Tsui & Hung Hom in Kowloon and Central Pier & Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island.
- Stop at any point and explore the area like a local, and jump on the next cruise that comes every hour.
What to Expect on a Hong Kong Cruise
All the Hong Kong Cruises, except for the day trips which stretch out to Stanley, cruise around Victoria Harbour. Depending on your cruise schedule you will report to board the ship at least 30 minutes prior to departure. The highlight of the cruise is the scenic skyline of the city, you have Hong Kong Island on one side and Kowloon on the opposite. You can spot iconic landmarks like ICC, Bank of China Tower, Two International Finance Centre, Central Plaza and the HSBC Tower.
If you are on a Symphony of Lights cruise, the cruise ship will anchor itself in the centre of the harbor for witnessing the sound and light show on 42 buildings on both sides of the harbor. The show starts at 8 PM and lasts for about ten minutes. After the show you will continue to enjoy the night views of the city and depending on the cruise enjoy a buffet dinner, dim sums or cocktails.
Hong Kong cruises can be leisurely or a quick tour around the Victoria Harbour depending on your time and choice of cruise. You can hop-on hop-off an Aqua Luna cruise as you explore the local areas on foot, getting the best of both worlds.
Hong Kong Cruise Terminals
The search for Hong Kong cruise terminal will lead you to the most popular terminals – Ocean Terminal and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Both of them are located in Kowloon, the Ocean Terminal is situated in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui while Kai Tak is located in Kowloon Bay.
Many big cruise ships anchor at these terminals but the unique Hong Kong Harbour cruise ships dock at the smaller piers around Victoria Harbour.
The Aqualuna Hong Kong Cruise starts from –
- Tsim Sha Tsui Public Pier 1, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (Kowloon)
- Central Pier No.9, Central, Hong Kong (Hong Kong Island)
- Wan Chai Ferry Pier (Hong Kong Island)
- Hung Hom Ferry Pier (Kowloon)
The Bauhinia Hong Kong Cruise starts from -
- North Point (East) Passenger Ferry Pier (Hong Kong Island)
- Hung Hom Ferry Pier (Kowloon)
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Tips to enjoy your Hong Kong Cruise
- The best time to experience the ‘Symphony of Lights’ is around sunset and the 5:45 PM Bauhinia Cruise is a perfect option to partake in it. In this cruise you can watch the city lights come up across the skyline making for a spectacular show by itself.
- For the best seats on the cruise make sure you board at the starting point of the cruise. Otherwise you will end up with lower deck seating on the next stops along the cruise route.
- Both the cruise ships have washrooms/toilets that are clean and hygienic. Don’t be late to board in order to find a toilet before boarding the cruise ship!
- Also, the Hong Kong cruise ship will not wait for you. You will need to be at least 20 minutes prior to departure. This will also ensure you get good seats as there is no reservation of seats on board the ship.
- Fireworks in Victoria Harbour are spectacular events that happens thrice in a year – National China Day (10th October 2019), International New Year’s Eve (31st December 2019) and Chinese New Year (25th January 2020). If you are traveling on these days you can book a cruise, but be sure to book them at least a month or two in advance as they run out soon!
- All the cruise boarding terminals are located near easy public transportation access. You can use the MTR to get around easily, avoid bringing your own car as it is difficult to find parking spots in the busy tourist area. Also, if you are traveling by taxi account for road traffic depending on the time you are traveling.
- If you suffer from seasickness you should come equipped on board. The Bauhinia cruises are quite large and you might not feel the waves, however the Aqua Luna is a more compact ship and if the sea is rough on a particular day you might feel the wave motion.
- The Aqua Luna Hong Kong cruise offers a more luxury experience and you might find that visitors can be dressy, especially for the dinner cruise. You might even find yourself in the middle of a marriage proposal; it is one of the top rated proposal spots in Hong Kong! The Bauhinia cruise has a vibrant atmosphere with tourists from around the world and there is no dress code.