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geoffieg

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Has anyone seen or heard what Seaborn intends to do about its Asia cruises in early 2020 that start or end in Hong Kong?  We are coming up on the date by which we have to pay the full balance for a cruise in February that ends in Hong Kong.  

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I suspect that Seabourn will be going ahead with their cruises as scheduled. We are on the cruise immediately prior to yours whereby we will be departing Hong Kong on Feb 1st and returning to Hong Kong on Feb 28th. We also have 3 days pre-cruise booked at a hotel in Hong Kong. So far our TA has been able to get us a number substantial price reductions due to the poor demand. I was even able to renegotiate our business class airfare with Cathay Pacific for quite a savings. I will be contacting our hotel over the next while to see what we can do there.

 

Personally, I think Hong Kong will be safe as long as we avoid mob protests.

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I was booked on a Viking Cruise leaving out of Hong Kong.  As Viking makes you pay a year in advance, I cancelled. I did not like the answers they gave me.  They had several cruises leaving out of Hong Kong in September.  Personally, I do not want to travel to an area that is consistently having violent demonstrations and whose people feel that they have been wronged.  Going to Australia with Seabourn instead. It is a big world.

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4 hours ago, BUgrad said:

I was booked on a Viking Cruise leaving out of Hong Kong

.  Going to Australia with Seabourn instead. It is a big world.     

 

 

BUgrad: Hopefully you will be much safer in the land downunder👍😀

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I have a cruise booked with Princess arriving in HK mid March - should I book my HK hotel nights or wait and see what happens -

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Fingers crossed they’re not making any changes to the itinerary.

We’ve booked our cruise ending in Hong Kong and also confirmed our flights leaving Hong Kong the same evening, after exploring the town for the day.  

Few years ago we had a last minute change from Istanbul to Athens. Whilst understandable that they had to do it, it turned out to be a hassle for most.

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Anyone passed through Hong Kong recently? Disembarking on Jan 4 from Ovation. Was planning to stay a couple of days but thinking about just heading straight home.

Thoughts or recent experiences appreciated.

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16 minutes ago, newtoit said:

Anyone passed through Hong Kong recently? Disembarking on Jan 4 from Ovation. Was planning to stay a couple of days but thinking about just heading straight home.

Thoughts or recent experiences appreciated.

Tough one. I don't think HK is dangerous, tourists are not the target of the protesters nor of the police; demonstrations are sporadic, obvious and easy to avoid or turn around and walk out of if you are unlucky enough to walk into one. However HK is somewhat less fun to visit, one of its major attractions has for us been the MTR which whisks you around the island, but the MTR stations have become flash points for demonstrations, a number of them have been vandalized along with the shops in the vicinity, the MTR gets closed at times when stations are scenes of protest and so that great transport system is something I'm not sure I'd now use or at least rely on and that would take a lot of gloss off a tourist visit to Hong Kong. 

 

If I was disembarking a cruise I'd still, myself, spend a day or two there unless things get even worse, hotels are cheaper and you can get into all the nice restaurants! Just use common sense and accept that getting around may not be as frictionless as it usually is. 

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What if you embarking end of February as final payment is due end of this month

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1 hour ago, Trend said:

What if you embarking end of February as final payment is due end of this month

It's impossible to say. End Feb is 4 1/2 months away, if you go back 4 1/2 months from today the protests hadn't even started (they began in June) and there wasn't even a suggestion Hong Kong would see anything like this; the amount things can change in days or weeks let alone months is huge. The situation could get a lot worse or it could have been long-since resolved by February, the stations fixed up and peace on the streets. There is no crystal (no pun intended) ball you can look at now and say what Hong Kong will be like next year or even next week. Same goes for any port on any trip you might take, anything can happen anywhere from politics to natural disasters right up until two minutes before your plane lands or the ship ties up. 

All I can say for absolute certain is that if Hong Kong or any other port is not safe to visit, Seabourn will skip it and will help their passengers to make changes, even if that's an embarkation or disembarkation port. In the end it's down to your comfort level whether you continue or cancel, but anyone who says they have any idea at all what will be going on in Hong Kong at the end of February .. is making it up. 

 

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Trend:  We are on the cruise disembarking in HK on February 29.  Our back up plan is to disembark at the last stop in Vietnam and spend several days in Hanoi, then fly to HK and straight out.  Hope that we don't have to do that, but you might consider a back up of joining ship at first stop in Vietnam

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21 hours ago, newtoit said:

Anyone passed through Hong Kong recently? Disembarking on Jan 4 from Ovation. Was planning to stay a couple of days but thinking about just heading straight home.

Thoughts or recent experiences appreciated.

Hi Newtoit.
Thank you for your post.  I hope that any recent visitors will share their opinions.
We are on the same itinerary.
I have been to Hong Kong many times and am just considering the Seabourn "excursion" with airport drop-off.  (I have a flight home booked that evening).
I have posted a roll-call for our cruise.... for the moment I have the whole ship to myself.  Feel free to join :)

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2708793-seabourn-ovation-december-21-2019-january-04-2020-singapore-to-hong-kong/

 

Edited by bandt

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21 hours ago, rols said:

Tough one. I don't think HK is dangerous, tourists are not the target of the protesters nor of the police; demonstrations are sporadic, obvious and easy to avoid or turn around and walk out of if you are unlucky enough to walk into one. However HK is somewhat less fun to visit, one of its major attractions has for us been the MTR which whisks you around the island, but the MTR stations have become flash points for demonstrations, a number of them have been vandalized along with the shops in the vicinity, the MTR gets closed at times when stations are scenes of protest and so that great transport system is something I'm not sure I'd now use or at least rely on and that would take a lot of gloss off a tourist visit to Hong Kong. 

 

If I was disembarking a cruise I'd still, myself, spend a day or two there unless things get even worse, hotels are cheaper and you can get into all the nice restaurants! Just use common sense and accept that getting around may not be as frictionless as it usually is. 

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Thanks for that Rols. I'm of similar thinking. Just avoid the areas of protest and rely on cabs to get around. None of the cruise lines seem terribly concerned about it. You are correct about accommodation prices. I had booked a room then decided to cancel just in case Seabourn did pull out closer to the time. The same room is currently $200AUD per night cheaper!! Worst case scenario we can held up in our hotel room looking at the view 

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If you decide to go, you can always cut short your time in HK and stay at an airport hotel, and take taxis versus MTR.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Nachosdelux said:

If you decide to go, you can always cut short your time in HK and stay at an airport hotel, and take taxis versus MTR.

 

 

 

Cabs may no longer be a viable alternative, as the protests have escalated greatly in the past few days.

 

I just finished a stay in HK from 6-12 Nov, and the first few days were relatively uneventful.  In fact, upon landing, getting through HKG was a breeze - there was hardly anybody airside or landside, and public transportation was not a problem.  During the first few days, I was able to easily avoid trouble hot spots and to go wherever I wanted to go on the MTR, buses and trams.  Protests were mostly on weekdays and pre-announced.  I was able to dine at my favorite restaurants and see my friends, although it was eerie to travel in nearly empty MTR trains and stations.

 

However, things got much worse after a university student died during the protests last week, and now protests have been a daily affair, and many more neighborhoods are affected.  I had a close call while having lunch in Central a couple of blocks from tear gas, and on my day of departure, I had to leave earlier than usual for HKG due to the scheduled widespread traffic blockage starting at 06:30.

 

Since then, it's been a total mess every day, with protesters blocking main roads, cross harbour tunnels, the eastern corridor, on HK Island, Kowloon and New Territories.

 

A few more deaths have occurred in the past few days.  A poor guy kept arguing with the protesters, one of whom proceeded to douse him with kerosene and then lit him on fire; he is still in critical condition.  An elderly man, not involved with the protesters but taking photos in one of the protest sites, was hit by a brick and has died.

 

I think that the situation will worsen quickly, and who knows how long it'll take before things will calm down.  There is no easy way out, no easy solution.  Neither sides are backing down.

 

I am returning to HK for another week in April, ahead of a SB cruise departing from SIN.  I am not concerned about that trip.  Nobody knows what will transpire between now and then, and unless HK falls into total and utter chaos over a prolonged period, there should be ways around the disruptions, which would require more time, patience, and flexibility.

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Just to add:  if you are going to HK soon and are concerned about getting to the cruise terminal, be aware that there are two:  Ocean Terminal (right by Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui) or the newer, huge Kai Tak Cruise terminal in Kowloon East.

 

If you're embarking at the former, there are some good hotels directly connected to Ocean Terminal, e.g. Marco Polo Hotel, so that you can get on or off the ship without having to step outside into the streets.

 

There are also quite a few hotels near the Kai Tak cruise terminal, but all of them would require a quick cab (or shuttle bus?) ride.  Worse come to worse, you can walk if the roads will be blocked by protesters.  However, I haven't heard about blockades in that neighborhood.  But anything can happen, so again, be flexible and have a contingency plan.

 

Regarding HKG, a few months ago protesters targeted the airport, but not since extra security measures were put in place, i.e. ID and boarding pass checks are required for everyone entering the airport terminal.  This extra step was fast and efficient for me on Nov 12 and set me back maybe 5 minutes, although passengers are advised to arrive at HKG earlier in case of a long extra queue.

 

The problem is if protesters block the main roads and tunnels in town and to/from HKG.  Most of the time these blockades are announced a day prior, so you can always make last minute plan changes.

 

Edited by sfvoyage

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 sfvoyage thank you kindly for your Hong Kong update. I have been watching and waiting for your post, There is nothing like news from some one who has been on the ground. We will watch and wait until the New Year to assess the situation before our next visit. 

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Thanks sfvoyage some great info. Will just monitor day by day. We are very flexible so can even make a decision on the day we disembark to stay or go.  Very interesting times ahead !! 

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Hi we are on the seabourne cruise on the 15th Feb from Singapore to HK. Typically it’s my husband’s  and I 35th wedding anniversary, we have never been to Asia. We fly back from Hong Kong On the night of the 3rd March as we  have planned 3 nights there after the cruise. I haven’t booked a hotel yet as I’m Also very worried about the situation. I have heard very mixed reports from people I know living in Hong  Kong. They both say a lot is shut and you can’t get around very easily. I really don’t know what to do? I honestly think the situation is going to get worse not better looking at the news.

 

its Such a shame it was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime!!! 

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3 hours ago, Susie n said:

Hi we are on the seabourn cruise on the 15th Feb from Singapore to HK. Typically it’s my husband’s  and I 35th wedding anniversary, we have never been to Asia. We fly back from Hong Kong On the night of the 3rd March as we  have planned 3 nights there after the cruise. I haven’t booked a hotel yet as I’m Also very worried about the situation. I have heard very mixed reports from people I know living in Hong  Kong. They both say a lot is shut and you can’t get around very easily. I really don’t know what to do? I honestly think the situation is going to get worse not better looking at the news.

 

its Such a shame it was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime!!! 

There's no reason this cannot still be a trip of a lifetime. You have whatever time you're spending before the cruise, the cruise itself heading up, I believe, through the Philippines and via Xiamen and all those are going to be wonderful. Please read sfvoyage's posts above based on a very recent visit during the worst trouble they've had yet and my post which is from a short trip a few weeks ago. The TV and newspapers might have everyone believing that the entirety of the territory is burning to the ground but the reality is far from that. There are protests and there is disruption and they do make travelling around Hong Kong harder than it usually is; there have been a few dreadful acts of violence but Hong Kong still remains a very safe city, if a little less convenient than it usually is. I still felt more at ease in HK on my last visit than I do in London, and I was born in London!

 

I think you're doing the right thing waiting until closer to the time to choose a hotel. Whatever HK looks like in 4 months time it's going to be very different from now. If you're not comfortable closer to the time, don't stay in HK, get off the ship and go to Macau, or fly to Ho Chi Minh or Bangkok, two places which I believe your cruise is not visiting and would be an awesome addition for a first trip to asia. You can even check your heavy bags at Hong Kong airport and travel light for the  approx 3 hours it takes to get to either of those cities. 

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25 minutes ago, rols said:

If you're not comfortable closer to the time, don't stay in HK, get off the ship and go to Macau, or fly to Ho Chi Minh or Bangkok, two places which I believe your cruise is not visiting...

 

Good advice. In fact my brother and sister-in-law are doing just that. They're traveling to Hong Kong next week prior to their SB cruise departing from Bali. They are shortening their Hong Kong stay and will instead spend most of the time in Macau, which is a charming place if you spend more time in the old historic enclaves and avoid the new glitzy casino hotels. There is even direct bus or hydrofoil service from HKG airport to/from Macau.

Edited by sfvoyage

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