Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I go on a Hong Kong cruise?
Cruises that visit or depart Hong Kong visit destinations like Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East. Many around-the-world cruises call on Hong Kong as part of their grand itineraries
How long does it take to get there?
Hong Kong is a 15- to 16-hour flight from New York City.
When is the best time to take a Hong Kong cruise?
The main cruise season runs from October to April. The best weather is in the fall, and many cruises to Hong Kong depart in the fall months.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors.
Is English spoken?
English and Chinese are Hong Kong's two official languages, while the Cantonese dialect is the most commonly spoken language in the territory. Most resorts, shops and restaurants connected to the tourist trade will have some English-speaking staff .
What is the time difference?
The time in Hong Kong is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and 12-13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Taxi drivers: the driver will usually round up to the nearest dollar amount as a tip to himself. Bellhops: $5-$10 per piece of luggage carried for you. Restaurants: a 10% service charge is usually already included in most restaurants, unless no service charge is specified. One usually leaves the coins (if paid in cash) or if by credit card, then you would round up to the dollar amount you wish to leave as tip. Leave more if you are happy with the service.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
What should I pack?
Most excursions offered in Hong Kong take tourists on sightseeing tours of the city’s highlights and some walking may be required. Protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of Europe and Asia uses the 220-volt outlet.
How do I make a telephone call from Hong Kong?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Most hotels in Hong Kong have air-conditioning. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
Hong Kong is known for its excellent shopping opportunities. There is no sales tax in Hong Kong, and visitors can find great deals on designer clothing, electronics, cameras and jewelry. Clothing is probably one of the best buys in Hong Kong due to the wide variety of options. Hong Kong is also a great place to shop for other Chinese products, including porcelain, tableware, jade, silk, handicrafts, embroidery, Chinese herbs, chopsticks, Chinese traditional dresses and jackets, exotic teas, snuff bottles, antiques and artwork. Hong Kong prices might be higher than what you'd pay in mainland China, but the quality is quite good. Shopping around to find the best price on an item is advisable, though some shopkeepers are willing to bargain with you.
How do I get around?
Hong Kong has excellent public transit systems. The subway, known as the MTR, is a clean, safe way to explore the city. Visitors can also get around on double-decker buses, taxis, ferries or on foot. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
Can I rent a car?
Rental rules vary, but most companies require renters to be at least 21 years old. However, the proliferation of public transportation makes car rentals largely unnecessary in this city.
What can I do there?
Hong Kong is a city of full of energy and life. Visit the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and stroll through its courtyards to the lilting strains of prized Chinese songbirds. The more active travelers can try hiking or golfing, both of which are very popular in Hong Kong. Be sure to try yum cha, which combines the ancient custom of tea drinking with another Chinese tradition: dim sum. Visit the houseboat district of Aberdeen to see the parts of the city that are actually afloat.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers?
There's plenty of amazing things to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards. If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.