The new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal + Mariner of the Seas!

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Kai Tak
Royal Caribbean's cruise liner: The Mariner of the Seas

We head on board the Mariner of the Seas to check out Kai Tak's maiden berthing. On Wednesday 12th June, amidst much fanfare, Royal Caribbean's cruise liner Mariner of the Seas became the first vessel to dock at the new $8.2 billion Kai Tak cruise terminal. It heralds a new era in cruising for Hong Kong (yeah not that kind of cruising), with the largest ships in the world now able to dock in the harbour – something that was never possible at the smaller Ocean Terminal dock in TST.

Kai Tak
The arrivals hall looking shiny and new

The new terminal is set to transform Kowloon, boasting an immigration hall that can clear 3,000 passengers within an hour, one of the largest landscaped gardens in Hong Kong, (23,000 sq. metres) as well as a gigantic car park and transport terminus. It is capable of berthing the largest cruise ships in the world, which weigh in at well over 200,000 tonnes.

The vessel which docked in Hong Kong for two nights this week, Mariner of the Seas, is 310 metres long, holds over 3,000 passengers and is 15 stories high – yet is not even close to the size of the largest ships, which accommodate closer to 6,000 guests plus 3,000 staff. Wowzer.

Time Out went on board the Mariner this Thursday, to have a sneak peek around the new arrivals hall and the vessel itself, before its departure later that day. We grabbed a few photos for you to check out as well...

Kai Tak
The swimming pool on the cruise liner Mariner of the Seas

Many of the airport-style scanning machines in the new departures hall were still encased in their bubble wrap, indicating just how new this building is. We also proceeded to nosy around the ship itself - it's often commented that there's nothing you can't do on a cruise ship and Royal Caribbean seem to be taking that mantra very seriously, with activities ranging from ice skating to bumper cars, via theatre productions and hairdressing. Perhaps the only thing you can't do on a cruise ship is get married. Oh, wait – you can.

Kai Tak
Passenger gangway at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Whilst environmental issues concerning the pollution of Victoria Harbour abound, cruise operators are well aware of the concerns and seem to be at least trying to reduce the impact they'll have on the harbour, using marine gas with a low sulphur content whilst in port. The future of our city as a tourism hub to rival Singapore and Shanghai is important and, despite a couple of teething troubles so far, this terminal really is set to rival the best. Anna Cummins

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