Our last port of call was bitter sweet. Sweet because Hong Kong has been a long standing city on our bucket list and bitter, as it signified the last two days of our cruise.
We had pre-booked a birding trek for our second day in Hong Kong, but were unsure what to do for our first day in port. Usually, ALL our ports of call are pre-arranged before leaving home, but I had waited until I boarded the ship to book Day 1 of HK. I chatted to our MCC, Lucy and she had suggested the HOHO package if we had never seen HK before. We took her up on her suggestion and bought two tickets! The tickets from Celebrity included all three lines (Red / Blue / and Green) and also included vouchers for the Victoria Peak Tram, Star Ferry to Kowloon, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, and a Sampan Ride in Aberdeen Harbour.
When we exited the ship we were bused off to the Central Ferry Pier whereby you could pick up either the Red line (Stop #1) or the Green line (Stop #17) OR take the Star Ferry over to Kowloon for the Blue line. As the line for the Red Bus was quite long, we chose the “Green” line which hardly had a soul!
This turned out to be in our favour as it was the first stop after the pier (#18) for the tram up to Victoria Peak; arriving there before the crowds of the Red Line – Stop #6 (five stops after the pier).
Despite the “one track” that ventured up and down the sides of Victoria Peak, the tram was a short wait until we were able to board. Note, that when we came back down, the queue was “very” long and we guessed that was the passengers from the Red Line who followed us a few stops behind.
After taking photos from the observation deck, we stopped at the coffee shop for much needed caffeine! We then continued on via the Green Bus to our next stop, Stanley Park (#21). Although there were stops in between, including Repulse Bay where the SanPan ride was – we decided to head straight for Stanley Park – as we noticed that the line loops back to the beginning and we would stop at Repulse Bay on the way back to downtown. Stanley Park featured a lovely promenade in which you could walk alongside the bay and also featured a large plaza, if you wished to do some shopping. Additionally, there were vendors in the streets (which had better bargains than the plaza) and we were able to pick up some small souvenirs prior to heading off.
Our next stop (#20) was Repulse Bay. It was here where we could get off an enjoy a Sampan ride which explores Aberdeen harbour in a traditional boat. We cruised through the harbour, its berths for private boats, observed a few birds!, and had a “cruise by” the famed “Jumbo Floating Restaurant”.
Following our very relaxing and fun Sampan ride, we returned to the Green Line bus and stayed on it until we returned to starting point, the Central Ferry Pier. It was from here that we took the “Star Ferry” over to Kowloon to catch the Blue Line. The Star Ferry has linked Kowloon to Hong Kong since 1898 and carries approximately 70,000 passengers every day. It remains as an efficient way to travel from the Island to the Peninsula.
Kowloon Blue Line, we have to admit, was not intuitive what-so-ever to find where to catch the bus. We had a very good “foot tour” before we finally found a bus stop! however, despite getting disoriented and the lack of clear directions to find the hop on stop for the blue line – it was well worth the wee bit of frustration of walking in circles! The highlight of the blue line is the famed “Nathan Road” which has been featured in several high profile Hollywood films. Nathan Road (彌敦道) was the first road built in Kowloon. The British government built the road when they took over Kowloon in 1860. Nathan Road was extraordinary experience and I highly recommend the blue line just for the experience of driving up one of the most congested streets in the world with overhanging neon signs.
After our trip along the blue line, we returned to Hong Kong via the Star Ferry. We still had a bit of time before the next bus back to the Cruise Pier – so we opted to check out the Maritime Museum, which was complimentary entrance from our HOHO package. The Maritime museum offered a lot of information and was a great way to finish our day, while we waited for our HOHO bus.
After our visit to the Museum, it was a nice ride back to the Pier to enjoy our last evening on board the Millennium.