This cruise was initially planned for the first day of my tour to Hong Kong but then with a slight change in the schedule, I managed to do this on the day that I had been to Ngong Ping.
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Which one to avail
I had availed the Pre dinner sunset cruise Hong Kong which was organised by discover HongKong (link here). There are Star Ferry Cruises and few other private operators but as I had gone through their website, I was interested in taking this up. In my opinion, all the operators are more or less similar. It is only the onboard service and the guided tour which differentiates one from the other. Star Ferry incidentally is one of the oldest ones, with vessels named as Twinkling Star, Morning Star etc. It is believed that the Star Ferry has been there in business since 1888. There are some luxury yacht cruises as well as a symphony of lights dinner cruise also.
Where to board the Cruise.
There are two places from where you can board the cruise. One is at Central Pier 9 at Hong Kong Island and the other one is at Kowloon Public Tier 3 at Tsim Sha Shui. I availed the latter and courtsey MTR, I reached without any hassle.
Cost of the Pre Sun Set Cruise Hong Kong
There are two types of cruises which are available – one is the pre sunset with free drinks on board and the other one is with dinner. I had other dinner plans and hence I opted for the pre sunset cruise with unlimited drinks on board. It is 330 HK dollars for adults and 240 HK dollars for children.
What to see on a sunset cruise in Hong Kong
There is a reason why Sunset cruise Hong Kong is an important part of any itinerary for tourists while visiting Hong Kong. The areas which get covered are Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, North Point, Shau Kei Wan, Lei Yue Mun, the former airport at Kai Tak, Hung Hom and Tsim Sha Tsui. As we started the cruise, it was my golden hour of photography and the last rays of sun glistened on the tall landmark buildings of the city. As day light started to fade away gradually, the electrical lights of the various buildings around started to light up. Along the entire stretch, you get to see some of the buildings which are an integral part of the Hong Kong Skyline. Lets say the HSBC building which when completed in 1985 was the world’s most expensive building. This 52 story building overlooks the Victoria Harbour and you cannot miss out on the two bronze lions. This entire place is called Statue square. Adjacent to HSBC, you can see Bank of China Tower too. As we cruised slowly, the sky turned black but it was electrical. The lights across the city which comprises of buildings, office spaces, monuments and housings; was slowly illuminated and it was a sight to see.
Coming from India, this would definitely remind you of Diwali, the festival of lights. Small, medium, big, red, green, blue, some in patterns, some in motion; it was a spectacle to watch. As we cruised along and the evening had set in, I had already consumed 2 cans of beer (don’t remember the brand) and I kept staring at the lights. While the grandeur of the buildings as mentioned above was overwhelming, I also kept staring at the small window lights which seeped in through the residential houses. When looked through the tele lens, it was like light boxes arranged symmetrically but when looked from distance, it was like light dots. The reflections on the water body grew brighter and stronger and glittered on the water. We continued sailing and though I felt a long way away from home, my excursion on my first cruise in Hong Kong seemed to be an absolute joy.
Things to remember
- Managing the camera and the drinks on a sailing boat or cruise can be difficult. So as I did, there were momentary pauses/ breaks when I sipped my beer but did not try to click a pic
- Photography can be tricky for various reasons 1. Moving base on the cruise which sways is not ideal for photography 2. Manage your camera as per the light conditions which depends on the time you take the cruise
- Just like it happens while shooting at sun rise, the light changes constantly which means almost every 5 minutes, one needs to change the camera settings (unless you are shooting in Auto Mode)
- Not all your shots will make through the final cut so you will need to take as many clicks as possible
- A clear grainy picture without much details is better than a blurry picture. So as these are low light conditions, increase the ISO as much as possible and take it to the highest level.
P.S. – I travelled to HongKong with Cathay Dragon