26 March 2019

Ship ahoy! Rude welcome from cruise terminal

It was meant to be a Hong Kong landmark, a cruise industry showpiece and a tourist destination in its own right.

Instead, the HK$8 billion Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is a disappointment nearly a year after it opened, Oriental Daily reported Tuesday, citing sources from the travel industry.

Day trips by local visitors have fallen sharply thanks to insufficient support facilities, poor management and inaccessibility, the report said.

Built on the former Kai Tak airport runway, the terminal opened in June but some areas and facilities are still under construction. Shops and restaurants are scarce, gardens are poorly maintained and even the vending machines dispense frustration — it accepts only renminbi bills and coins.

Visitors feel unsafe under its expansive canopy, lost amid confusing signage and alienated by lack of internet connectivity.

Throw in a HK$250 entrance fee for shuttle buses and things only get worse. 

Drivers beat the system by waiting outside the terminal, forcing passengers to walk some distance to the pickup area, said Ngan Chun Lim, an adviser to China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Ltd.

But perhaps nothing compares to the nightmare hundreds of passengers on the Queen Mary 2 endured when the world’s largest cruise ship called at the terminal on April 2.

The terminal operator did not arrange enough taxis and shuttle buses to ferry the passengers to town, causing chaos and frayed nerves that lasted the whole day, the report said.  

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]



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