2017 EDITOR'S PICKS
Sailing on Seabourn Sojourn from Hong Kong to Singapore, Chris is on a 14-night cruise themed A Taste of Asia, the latest and third Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
Traveling to Hong Kong to begin the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, I knew it would be a long day. Flights from Orlando to Dubai then on to Hong Kong would add up to a 35-hour travel day from leaving home until arriving at the new Tai Kak cruise port. A cloudy Hong Kong sky greeted arriving passengers as fog obscured much of what we might have seen on the way to Seabourn Sojourn. Still, determined to set the tone for what the next 14 days might bring, Seabourn started the third annual event off nicely, bringing aboard local performers and taking care of business.
I think if I flew enough with Emirates, my lost faith in the airline industry might come back, chased away over the last decade or so by service cuts and fee additions. They just don’t miss a beat when it comes to taking good care of travelers, a sharp contrast to a number of airlines we formerly loved. At times it seems as though the entire airline industry has lost its way; forgetting we fell in love with them for more than the ability to move us from place to place. That’s a concept Seabourn seems to have always had a firm grip on, and what many have always considered a core element of the Seabourn culture. Today served as a good example of that focus.
Embarkation day is always a busy one for both cruise lines and passengers. Seeing existing guests off ships and on their way home, then pausing briefly before welcoming a new batch onboard takes a tremendous amount of effort to pull off successfully. That’s on any cruise line, in just about any part of the world. Complicating matters in Hong Kong, we found a heightened but appropriate level of awareness about contagious disease. Already, we had experienced increased levels of security from the time we passed through the TSA-run security checkpoint in Orlando that now includes bomb-sniffing dogs on the job. I’m ok with all of that. Keep us safe. Thank you very much.
Hong Kong authorities require a face-to-face customs and immigration inspection onboard, right at four hours before the ship is allowed to leave port. Our scheduled 10PM departure Hong Kong meant Seabourn had to squeeze in time for that inspection to happen somewhere between welcoming us on board and getting on with dinner and nighttime entertainment.
While handled well and quickly, this is part of the process passengers normally expect to be concluded before boarding. Further complicating matters, two ‘all aboard’ calls in one day.
To complete the mandatory guest emergency drill, all passengers sailing were required to be on Seabourn Sojourn by 4:15, even though the ship would not sail away until ten. Mindful that not all passengers (like me) might have come into Hong Kong days early to explore on their own, those just arriving could have disembarked just after that face-to-face immigration inspection then come back by the Final All Aboard time of 9:30. But had they done so, those passengers would have missed aWelcome Aboard gathering, complete with a variety of local entertainers.
Add it up any way you like, embarkation day on any ship can be a long one. Still, smoothed over about as much as one could hope for, Seabourn eased us into shipboard life about as conveniently as possible.
Tomorrow would bring a full day at sea with a variety of events that would include what is offered on all Seabourn sailings plus about a half dozen events exclusive to the Food and Wine cruise. Also included in the Seabourn Herald shipboard daily newsletter detailing what would be offered on that first full day , a seminar titled ‘Secrets to A Flatter Stomach’. Thanks for the warning.
About Tai Tak Cruise Terminal
In a 2013 Gadling article titled Recycled Hong Kong Airport Reopens As Cruise Terminal, Chris wrote “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.”
See more at Gadling
Follow Along With Us
- Facebook will feature each day’s post here as well as a variety of photo galleries created as we sail. Encouraged: Your questions and comments.
- Instagram lovers will see one post a day that summarizes much of what we saw and did in the last 24 hours.
- Pinterest boards for each port of call are already set up, ready to be filled with photos as time permits, subject to bandwidth limitations we may encounter along the way. Also to be created and published perhaps with a bit higher priority, food and wine photos.
- Twitter has been populated with prescheduled tweets throughout the day that will be updated with events and happenings around the ship and ashore as the occur. Follow @OrlandoChris, @SeabournCruise and the tag #SeabournFoodAndWineCruise.
- Tumblr will be all about food and wine with multiple posts throughout each day.
- Google+ posts will recap the day at its end
- Exposure Photo Storybooks will no doubt come after sailing and be more reflective of the entire experience, as usual. Different this time, multiple storybooks focusing on culinary events as well as destinations visited along the way.
- Chris Cruises In Progress– takes readers directly to a list of all Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise posts.
- 2016 Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise Journal- will be stuck to the top of the list here at ChrisCruises.com while the event is in progress, all the daily posts, in order, travel journal style
- Your Questions Answered. Have questions as we sail? Email Chris@ChrisCruises.com for answers anytime