August 12, 2019
(12:55 p.m. EDT) -- Currently no cruise calls have been canceled in Hong Kong, but cruise lines are monitoring the political situation carefully as it evolves.
Over the weekend, police in Hong Kong fired tear gas and non-lethal ammunition at protesters at two of the city's train stations, and Hong Kong International Airport canceled all departures today as more than 5,000 protesters gathered in the airport's public areas.
These events follow nearly five months of protests in Hong Kong over the suspected revocation of freedoms of Hong Kong citizens by the Chinese government.
While the prime fall/winter Hong Kong cruise season is still months away, several vessels are scheduled to call on the city in the next few weeks, including Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas (August 14, 21 and 25); Princess Cruises' Majestic Princess (August 31); and Viking Cruises' Viking Orion (September 19 through 21).
Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas turned around in Hong Kong on Friday morning (August 9) as scheduled, and without incident.
A multi-day protest kicked off on August 9 in the airport's arrivals hall, fresh on the heels of a similar protest earlier in the week that saw more than 200 flights canceled and transportation throughout the city ground to a halt.
That same day, the Chinese government demanded that Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific immediately suspend all employees suspected of supporting the pro-democracy protests. Cathay Pacific has publicly stated it has seen a "significant fall-off" in bookings for inbound travel.
Recent protests have seen demonstrations and disruptions to service at Hong Kong International Airport, public buses, Hong Kong's MTR (Mass Transit Railway), the Airport Express and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal.
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Cruise Critic, "We are currently monitoring the situation in Hong Kong and will make sure to inform our guests of any itinerary changes if necessary."
The Hong Kong Tourism Board issued a statement, advising travelers that, "The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) continues to monitor the airport situation closely, and visitors are advised to check DiscoverHongKong.com or Hong Kong Tourism Board's Visitor Service Centre and Hotline for the latest information. Hotels and tourism operators are also monitoring the situation, and are prepared to provide necessary assistance to minimise disruption to travelers in the event that unforeseen circumstances arise"
Regarding the upcoming calls in September of Viking Orion, a Viking Cruises spokesperson said the line remained vigilant about the ship's scheduled visits. "Viking is not currently sailing to Hong Kong and is not scheduled to call there until late September. At this point we have not altered any sailings, but we are monitoring the political climate closely and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our top priority; should we deem a sailing modification needed, Viking Customer Relations will communicate directly with any impacted guests or their travel agents about the change."
Cruise Critic is still awaiting comment from Princess Cruises on its upcoming call.
The United States and Canadian governments have both recently raised their travel warnings to "exercise increased caution" for Hong Kong, joining a list of over 20 countries that have also warned citizens to exercise caution as protests have turned larger and more violent.
Both governments cautioned that demonstrations can be unplanned and have occurred on major infrastructure and transportation segments that tourists would be likely to utilize and could continue for the foreseeable future.
Cruisers booked to sail out of Hong Kong in the upcoming weeks and months should continue to monitor events and communicate with airlines, hotels and cruise lines on social media and other channels.