Recycled Hong Kong Airport Opens As Cruise Terminal

Hong Kong‘s $1 billion Kai Tak cruise terminal is open and processing cruise travelers as anticipated. Located at the site of the former Kai Tak International airport runway, the terminal will eventually source passengers from a pool of 50 million potential middle-class passengers in China. This week though, it’s all about the Americans.

Passengers disembarking Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas this week found a bit of a different experience than that of other cruise ports around the world. Showcasing some of what China has to offer cruise travelers, Mariner of the Seas offered passengers a kung fu demonstration, a lion dance at Mikiki mall in San Po Kong, shopping, dining and more on planned tours.

Adventure cruise travelers with a desire to go it on their own had a bit different experience, finding transportation options limited. “The terminal is fine, the building is fine but there is no good connection to the city,” passenger Fred Lutjens said in a Standard report that notes a queue of 100 people waiting for a taxi.Kai Tak airport, which closed in 1998 after 70 years of service, was replaced by the current Chek Lap Kok International Airport. Using that valuable and available land efficiently, the $1 billion Kai Tak cruise terminal has the ability to handle passenger vessels as large as two of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships, the largest in the world.

Another cruise ship redeployed, US West coast loses again

Continuing an cruise industry trend to deploy ship to more profitable waters, Carnival Cruise Line is moving Carnival Spirit from the U.S. West coast to Australia in 2012.

Currently sailing 3 to 5-day Mexican Riviera, Alaska and Hawaii sailings from San Diego, Vancouver and Seattle ports, 2667-passenger Carnival Spirit will based full-time in Australia starting October 2012.

“Carnival Spirit adds another dimension to cruising in Australia” Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry told Travel Blackboard. Carnival plans to customize the ship to the Australia market with Aussie beers and changes in lingo, entertainment style and kids activities.

This makes one more ship previously serving US passengers to move away. Last month Norwegian Cruise Line announced that they were sending 4 ships to Europe in 2012 and 2013, their largest deployment ever.

The common fear with these moves is that less supply of ships in North America will force higher prices as cruise vacations continue to be in high demand. This move of the Carnival Spirit takes yet another ship from the U.S. West coast who recently lost Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas to Europe.

On the bright side, Carnival fans have a friend in the land down under now and you can bet past-guest special pricing will be available. The line brings it’s own brand of fun wherever it goes too along with special pricing aimed at including guests world-wide.

Just yesterday AOL Travel’s cruise expert Fran Golden reported Carnival was “sweetening the pot on Europe cruises this summer with free upgrades and on-board credits of up to $300 per cabin, for reservations made by Jan. 30.”

Which ship will be next to be redeployed? We know the UK would sure like to see Oasis of the Seas.

Flickr photo by AC/BC