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Major protests still going on and just read the airport has been shut down.  Do we get off the ship?   A wonderful city  that we all need to see.  What do we do? 

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Yes the airport has now been shut down:  https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/hong-kong-protests-airport-intl-hnk/index.html

 

I read the police shot teargas into the subways, the place is close to total paralysis and it will be interesting to see if and when China steps in.  They've been pretty clear they don't think HK has done enough and it is clear that HK hasn't been able to control things and the protesters now feel empowered to do whatever they like which only cause the risk of extreme response to increase.

 

I'd say high risk to get off the boat.

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Whether it is safe or not, depends on when, and who you ask - and the news source(s) that you followed ... I commented on this about 2 weeks ago, as the civil unrest has been brewing & seemed to escalate.   Long post below, feel free to skip the details and go to last paragraph instead. 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2683489-hong-kong/?tab=comments#comment-58009345

 

DW has been following the news, sometimes live streaming feeds since we have access to satellite feeds - it certainly has NOT been stablized and contained by law enforcement.  Our analysis: HK Police force has shown plenty of restrains and limited their use to non-lethal force and tear gas, and mostly in efforts to disperse threatening crowds and very limited arrests .  Use of rocks, homemade fire/gasoline bombs, slingshots (some oversized ones) and disrupting road traffic and blocking subway trains, defacing public properties - in the name of peaceful protest & civil disobedience, IMHO, anywhere else in the world would've been harshly dealt with by local police - including non-defensive weapons & tactics, and not just targeted use of (sometimes) rubber bullets & beanbags fired from shotguns - after warning flags are raised (3 different colors used) and orders using PA bullhorns are issued to cease & leave the area.  Police has begun to deploy different tactics to go after riot (I cannot call them "peaceful protestors" anymore, sorry ...) leaders on the front, wearing masks, hard hats, paddings, and gloves to lead the destruction of daily lives. 

 

Rumors have been brewing via news channel and social media that mainland China's PLA (army) and latest, the armed "military police" have been training, exercising and stationed nearby across HK-SAR's border, in case of orders to mobilize, namely - per HK's "Basic Laws" to assist local police to restore & maintain order, and do what's considered necessary to put an end to civil unrest.  This has been the fear all along but the wildcat protests, demonstration and acts of violence by the crowds have not been helping to de-escalate the possibility of being called in, by HK's senior SAR leadership (fully backed by Beijing, mainland's government). 

 

HK Police has other means and tactics that they have not used, but should be already on their table for the command to choose, if they need to, including use of water cannon, option to dispense tear gear and/or pepper spray mixed in, and, I believe - the declaration of nighttime curfew (not necessary "martial law" per see ... like the 1967 HK riots) to try to bring matters under control - without calling in help from the PLA or mainland law enforcement support or backup.  Imagine for a moment, how would police in London, Paris, Sydney, Seattle or Toronto deal with similar protests and violent demonstration - these locals should really be thankful and consider themselves lucky without seeing true deadly force used (at least, not yet.) 

 

Matters has gotten worst on weekends, starting on Fridays and somewhat less disruptive on weekdays.  We will learn what's next in the days ahead.  

 

For most tourists & visitors, my feeling is that it is still a relatively safe city to visit and see, and stay - get to know the hot/trouble spots and do not go near them (the subways & transits are a problem with random acts of blockage) ... I am sure that if it is just a port stop, the cruiseline reps at the pier/cruise terminal, which is in the industrial/residential part of the city, away from most of the troublestop, is secured and safe to say on the ship, if matters get worst.  Nobody knows and can predict now.  

 

If your cruise is weeks & months away, I would seriously check & add a good travel/trip interruption insurance, one that cover riots & civil unrest, if you don't have one and can obtain one, review the exclusions carefully.  

 

On the "plus" side, with hotel occupancy dropping & fewer visitors, re-priced those hotel rates for specials & savings, and those upgrades can now become affordable.  

 

HKIA has been one of the focal point for peaceful but noisy, disruptive sit-in protests for 3 consecutive days, and there is a call to repeat that on Tuesday afternoon again - late Monday afternoon/evening, airport authorities decided to cancel all in-bound & out-bound flights.  Airlines have apparently waived change fees and helping stranded travelers to rebook flights to get out/in ... I haven't check to see what they are doing to help them find places to stay until things get back to somewhat normal again.  The next "major" public event/assemble is being called for this Sunday, August 18th - details, TBA - alongside other daily "acts" being organized.  

 

While I understood some of the root causes of the civil unrest and concerns, the means to voice their objections and differences are not helping at all and this is just going to lead this city of 8 million residents to a path of self destruction instead of staying as the shining stars once known as the Pearl of the Orient.  To put matters into historical perspective, HK has always been a part of China, once upon a time an outpost & fishing village, and leased to/given to the British b/c of the Opium War (look it up on Google) - and, certainly, continued to enjoy its unique status, including freedom of the press & speech, etc.  To me/us, it is simply sad that an entire generation plus of youth & young adults are at risk of losing it all, violence isn't the mean to constructive social change ... and, in all fairness, the policies & practice of HK government for the past century - especially land use & reforms, has not been helping.  OK, going to drift further off-topic with a quasi rant.  

 

I know we have a # of locals/ex-pats that live/work there and sometimes post here ... would be interesting to hear/read their thoughts on it, and have a constructive dialogue on their impressions.  

 

If you are committed past the point of no return (beyond final payment & cancellation) - go see it, exercise common sense, and, this is one of those times, where I would look into using cruiseline tours & take their chartered buses or motorcoaches to sightsee and get around.  It will be "safer" and definitely more convenient. 

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We have a cruise that disembarks in Hong Kong  several months from now in January and we have been monitoring the situation as well. Hopefully things will calm down by then as we are supposed to extend our stay several days. 

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We’re not going.  We were supposed to also go to China last year but  because of the detainment of two Canadians  still to this day,  we switched our cruise to Japan and had a most wonderful time.   I don’t want to be worried more than necessary and want to enjoy myself.  

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6 hours ago, mking8288 said:

.  

If you are committed past the point of no return (beyond final payment & cancellation) - go see it, exercise common sense, and, this is one of those times, where I would look into using cruiseline tours & take their chartered buses or motorcoaches to sightsee and get around.  It will be "safer" and definitely more convenient. 

No good for those that might have to fly into Hong Kong this week to start a cruise( or fly out)

Australia has cancelled all flights to HK from today so too bad if you were planning on arriving there this week to start your cruise

The ships will still depart....  you just can’t get there to board it!

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The situation is fluid, as a local, I do not want to speculate what will happen the next minute. So if your cruise is sometime in October and later, there is nothing to do but watch. But if you are committed to come, at the present time, there is really no major risk to personal safety, but there will be inconvenience because of the wild cat demonstrations and non-cooperation movements.

 

I actually returned Wednesday last week from Europe (Oceania Marina disembarked in England). But in all these days since, I lived my days normally, work and home, nothing adnormal. Of course, I stayed away from the demonstrations.

 

FWIW, the majority opinion supports the demonstrators, even though we all will advise less violence. There are signs today that restraints are exercised, following harder tactics used by the police.

 

The next big event will be a demonstration this coming Sunday, in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. A huge turnout exceeding one million people is expected. What / how this one goes, whether there will be serious violence tagging at the end towards midnight, will go a long way to tell us what will happen next.

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9 hours ago, Sky shield said:

The situation is fluid, as a local, I do not want to speculate what will happen the next minute. So if your cruise is sometime in October and later, there is nothing to do but watch. But if you are committed to come, at the present time, there is really no major risk to personal safety, but there will be inconvenience because of the wild cat demonstrations and non-cooperation movements.  The next big event will be a demonstration this coming Sunday, in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. A huge turnout exceeding one million people is expected. What / how this one goes, whether there will be serious violence tagging at the end towards midnight, will go a long way to tell us what will happen next.

 

Appreciate these details and important background from someone who is there in Hong Kong now.   We flew into, stayed four nights in Hong Kong, returned by air from this location early last year.  From being in Hong Kong, we learned that this is a serious, long-term "power and control" battles between two very different views as to what was promised to the people for the future in this former British Colony.   

 

From ABC TV news today, they had this headline: “Riot police storm Hong Kong airport as protesters force second day of flight cancellations” with these highlights: Riot police stormed the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as protests by thousands of anti-government demonstrators forced flights to be canceled for the second straight day.  Travelers at one of the world's busiest airports were advised that check-in had been suspended and hundreds flights were cancelled, and that they should leave the terminals as quickly as possible and contact airlines for more information.  The clashes appeared to represent an escalation 10 weeks after the protest's massive, peaceful beginnings in early June.”

 

Good luck to all with future Hong Kong plans.

 

Full story at:

https://abcnews.go.com/International/riot-police-storm-hong-kong-airport-day-cancellations/story?id=64941993

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.!  Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 48,885 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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I have been checking on flights because we leave in a couple of months (just monitoring) and yesterday's Cathay Pacific Boston direct to HK was canceled, but today's is schedule for taking off on time at 1:50 AM EST.   

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At this very hour, the Airport Authority has obtained a court injunction forbiddening any act of wilful disruption to flight operations. My bet is that the demonstrators will pay heed. They will move on to something else.

 

I expect that normal flight operations will be restored within a day or two.

 

 

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It would absolutely in no way benefit protesters for innocent bystanders like tourists who contribute the economy and an already depressed financial situation (hence the protests, aside from the extradition bill) in HK. They'd have no viable negotiation position whatsoever. It's only because they've been peaceful that it's not been uh, like 1989 or the police would have been acted quicker and tougher than they have thus far had long term disruptions occurred or anyone unrelated to the action injured. 

 

There are airline hassles (systems down, airline/airport glitches) often, all over the globe and so the very limited time that HK airport was affected/closed off isn't anything different. Yet. 

 

Big cities have things happening all the time. When Occupy Wall Street was happening in Lower Manhattan, it got to be pretty big after awhile. Recently the West Side highway was shutdown just by some people who had joined hands across the road to protest ICE. Eventually they were arrested and removed but the effects of that shutdown on a Sunday afternoon? They knew what they were doing to make their point. The backup from that would be hours and hours to clear on a Sunday in the summer. Heck, when the President comes to town (well, not this one....he realized it wasn't a good idea to be here) but in previous admins, entire sections of the city shut down for...whatever, like the General Assembly in September at the UN. 

 

Why am I telling you this? You gotta keep your plans and do things. Hong Kong is a great place with lots of districts to be/see beyond where the protestors would be. If they are in Central, well it's mostly the business district and if they are at the airport, well, figure it's just maybe going to be a little longer getting through. It is always easy to avoid being in certain places, for the most part. 

 

If it's your first ever trip to Asia or HK, I can also see feeling unsure but I've been there and if I were booked, I'd still be going. I come from a very big city POV, so my experience is what it is. I get that it's not the same view for everyone. But I hope people will still consider going. It's a fascinating place to be.

 

And yes, it's your vacay but, if you have trip insurance, you can always reschedule, or, depending on how you feel about the situation - for/against/indifferent, you can go anyway. But as to safety, I don't think it's any different than any other time. I think it's just a matter of inconvenience. And that IS definitely something to consider. As to danger, there's always the State Department travel warnings/advisories but there are often advisories for some places and for reasons that are tough to figure. 

 

It's an individual choice, but try to let it be a choice based on individual comfort/experience more than on perception coming from possibly inconsistent media reports or even speculation.  

 

We'll see how things go but I imagine the people are aware that they can only continue to be heard by maintaining a peaceful position. Whether or not that lasts, or continues to be tolerated, remains to be seen. But as is the case in most bustling cities, everything else still carries on as usual. Because it has to...it's home for a lot of people. 

 

 

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Flyerstalk's headline - in the "news" this morning, quoting a # of frequent HK travelers on their forum (CC's counterpart) - as FYI, including link to a thread to keep up.   

https://www.flyertalk.com/articles/wait-is-now-actually-a-good-time-to-visit-hong-kong.html

 

Airfares are crazy low to/from HKG in the near term, same for hotel rates at your 4 stars+ properties - if you are/planning to go in the late Fall or 2020 for a cruise, doing a stopover and/or staying there pre- and post- cruise, rebook & reprice those prices to lock in savings and most definitely, insure your trip against unexpected changes.  

 

More non-violent protests, gathering and sit-ins planned & held this week, major ones or the larger scale starting again this Friday thru Sunday, and a "big" one next weekend ... very noisy and vocal, passionate (including some counter-ones that support the local police & calls for restoring law and order) events with crowds, that are at times appearing to be disruptive.  Foreigner visitors as in "laowei" are treated just fine, just do NOT wear anything black while there - seriously, colorful shirts with graphics or clothing in bright shades will do, except for safety orange or yellow.  While there, if you unexpectedly run into these incidents, keep walking and/or turn around & go around, head for the opposite direction for safety.  Police do not fire tear gas without ample verbal warnings and upon raising bilingual signs to disperse against the crowd.  

 

Safe travel and happy cruising !  

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Just another update from a local.

 

Last Sunday (4 days ago), 1.7 million people, in pouring rain, turned out in the streets demonstrating. There was no violence; no shop was broken into. (Actually none in the past 11 weeks of protests). The government is (finally) starting a dialogue with KOLs. The outcome is unpredictable, but it appears that reasons have prevailed, once again.

 

The planes are flying, on schedule.

 

Hotel prices are so low, unheard of. Yesterday, in busy Central, I could get a good table at lunch easily, this restaurant will usually need a reservation 3 days in advance!

 

 

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12 hours ago, Sky shield said:

Hotel prices are so low, unheard of.

 

 

Thanks for the heads up. I just rebooked my hotel in Hong Kong (2 nights post cruise) and saved almost $100 US per night.

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hmmm.  I checked my hotel and it is the same price as has been tracking all summer.  However, the exchange rate went down after the airport shut down and I saved $100 by booking then.  

 

Thanks @Sky shield for the local update.  I had contacted my hotel and they gave the same assurances.  I respect that Hong Kongers are protesting for their freedom and way of life.  I trust it will continue to be orderly.  An historic time to be in a great city.

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5 hours ago, JenZ said:

However, the exchange rate went down after the airport shut down and I saved $100 by booking then.  

Maybe that's why my rate is lower.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/22/2019 at 4:59 PM, jamieandsam said:

Maybe that's why my rate is lower.

 

It's probably a factor, but Sky shield (thank you for posting with updates!) is local and might be finding rates that simply aren't available/offered in other countries. Yes, it happens. Or, it's at hotels that are equal in quality/amenities, etc but might not market to some...markets. Who knows. Also, as with airfares, prices can and do change frequently, as in, who knows. 

 

Like me, you've probably read a lot of the How to get the get the best rate pieces by blog writers, travel writers and here, sometimes it's exhausting to read all that's required in order to maybe find the best rate. I, like many, don't have money to waste but I don't have as much time or energy as those articles sometimes suggest either. I've sometimes called directly to a hotel and found great rates, it's more personal which often works better in other cultures, it depends.

 

I also do searches on websites outside the U.S. because I did realize that some really great accommodations simply don't promote themselves to Americans. Either their budget is limited, they aren't interested or whatever. Actually, not just hotels. Intra-Europe flights too. Saved on a Paris-Berlin r/t flight when a friend in Paris booked it in Paris. I just paid them the fare when I got there. Go figure. 

 

I would still wear whatever I want now black, or otherwise, though it's unlikely western tourists that aren't Chinese, and/or non-Chinese protesting in solidarity would get mistaken for protesters. If visitors go into the active protest area, then I doubt what one is wearing will matter. It seems very well organized and to get there....well, it doesn't seem like an unintentionally wandered into it sort of scenario, even at the airport. Again, no voices are heard if any unnecessary injury or damage were to occur. 

 

Go enjoy HK and maybe save some extra money. Hopefully by continuing to visit, it is a safe, quiet way for visitors to....stand up. 😉  (As fellow former colonists, it takes a lot for it to get to the point where some feel they'd rather be governed (temporarily) by the colonizer! OK, enough propaganda!!) 

 

Edited by Host Bonjour

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It was announced yesterday that the number of visitors arrivals in HK for the previous week was down 50% year on year. (Mind you these numbers include Chinese tourists which make up the bulk of the numbers). There was also a photo showing a Cathay flight from Beijing 90% empty (China is obviously boycotting CX). The low hotel prices are offered by the wholesalers who bought blocks of rooms for the tour groups which are not coming. These are mainly the lower price hotels catering to the groups.

 

I do not discuss politics with people that I do not know, but just wanting to point to a fact. HK has been returned to China for 22 years now, most of the active demonstrators have not lived under the "colonalist" regime for one single day.

So what is it? The answer may be found that the most frequently sung song during the demonstrations is "do you hear the people sing?"

 

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On 8/23/2019 at 8:59 AM, jamieandsam said:

Maybe that's why my rate is lower.

Just checked my hotel rates and its more expensive than when I booked in March!  We leave New Zealand in just over a month, fingers crossed all will be well!

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On 8/24/2019 at 12:54 AM, Sky shield said:

It was announced yesterday that the number of visitors arrivals in HK for the previous week was down 50% year on year. (Mind you these numbers include Chinese tourists which make up the bulk of the numbers). There was also a photo showing a Cathay flight from Beijing 90% empty (China is obviously boycotting CX). The low hotel prices are offered by the wholesalers who bought blocks of rooms for the tour groups which are not coming. These are mainly the lower price hotels catering to the groups.

 

I do not discuss politics with people that I do not know, but just wanting to point to a fact. HK has been returned to China for 22 years now, most of the active demonstrators have not lived under the "colonalist" regime for one single day.

So what is it? The answer may be found that the most frequently sung song during the demonstrations is "do you hear the people sing?"

 

 

Yes, I think they are singing from Les Miserables, it's interesting, symbolic from the French Revolution.

 

I didn't intend to start a political discussion, only another sort of historical reference not unlike the Les Mis/Victor Hugo type. It can be difficult to convey one's intention in a written text when making a reference that isn't meant to be taken as a point of serious contention or debate.

 

My rules with talking politics are even stricter, I don't even discuss them with people I know. 

 

As for the hotel rates, and occupancy, it will be something to keep an eye on in weeks to come. Paris experienced a significant drop off after the November 13 attacks in 2015 and it took time before people started to feel comfortable again returning to the city but...they did of course. Not the same reasons for drop in visitors and the outcome is unknown but, there is too much to lose by letting Hong Kong cease to function as the place it is and always has been. That should include hotel rooms filled again with business and leisure travelers at regular rates. When, and how is what's unknown right now.

 

Good luck to the poster traveling from NZ, hope your room rates come around!! 

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I was in Hong Kong last weekend.

If you decide to join the protests, it will not be very comfortable.

If you just do your regular thing, Hong Kong is still safer than any big american city on their best day. 

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4 hours ago, Donald said:

I was in Hong Kong last weekend.

If you decide to join the protests, it will not be very comfortable.

If you just do your regular thing, Hong Kong is still safer than any big american city on their best day. 

I hope it continues to improve. We’ll be there in a month. 

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On 8/30/2019 at 12:22 AM, Donald said:

I was in Hong Kong last weekend.

If you decide to join the protests, it will not be very comfortable.

If you just do your regular thing, Hong Kong is still safer than any big american city on their best day. 

I agree I am in Hong Kong about every two months. 5 to 7 times a year for the last 10 years. Have notice changes and right now yes some issues but still very safe. Street crime is low in the city, I have always felt safe,  will be back in a few weeks and have no issues, just aware of the protest and stay away from them. 

 

On a positive note have talked with several suppliers in the city and all very willing to make deals now becasue business is down. One supplier I know in the Jade Market is selling at about 35 to 40% less than his normal high season prices. He has half the customers so is trying to do volume. It is a buyers market. 

 

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Messages on this topic are very reassuring (especially after watching daily news of the protests and police reactions over the past weeks/months). We hope to fly in, enjoy a pre-cruise package and embark on our cruise in mid-March, so we'll be watching closely. Thanks to those who know the city, or have just been there, and have been posting advice.

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Airport closed again and subways attacked.  Is there any chance Celebrity will change a final destination port?  We leave in November and it certainly does not look like things are calming down.  I have not purchased my departure air ticket yet and wonder how long it takes Celebrity to make decisions when there is unrest.

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