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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Visits The Fragrant Harbour

March 25, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 199 days


I hope you are enjoying the Blogs, following both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria on their 2010 World Voyages. Queen Victoria is now heading to Phuket in Thailand before making her way across the Indian Ocean to Cochin, in South West India. Meanwhile Queen Mary 2 has been making maiden calls to South Africa and the cities of Durban and Cape Town. We hope to get you some pictures from our flagship soon, but this week we go back to Queen Victoria’s overnight call to the city, whose literal translation is the Fragrant Harbour. Intrigued? I’ll tell you more after we look at this week in Cunard’s history for the week of 27 March to 1 April.


27 March 1989

QE2 is chartered for 72 days by a consortium of Japanese companies

28 March 2008

Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to Mumbai

29 March 1950

Caronia completes her first “Great African Cruise”, arriving back in Southampton

29 March 1998

Nelson Mandela sails on QE2 from Durban to Cape Town – the first time a Head of State has travelled on board since HM The Queen in 1990.

30 March 1923

After a 130 day voyage, the Laconia returned to New York as the first ever passenger ship to complete a World Voyage.

1 April 2009

Queen Elizabeth voyages go on sale to Cunard World Club Members at 1pm (UK Time)and the maiden voyage sells out in a record 29 minutes


Fragrant Harbour isn’t the first thought you have when talking about “Hong Kong”, but believe it or not, it is an approximate phonetic sound of the spoken Cantonese pronunciation. Before 1842, the name Hong Kong originally referred to a small inlet between the island of Ap Lei Chau and the south side of Hong Kong Island. The inlet was one of the first points of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. According to some, the reference to fragrance apparently refers to the incense factories lining the coast to the north of Kowloon which was stored around Aberdeen Harbour for export, before the development of Victoria Harbour.


Talking of Victoria Harbour, a real must do in Hong Kong is to take the ferry across the harbour from Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island, which is home to the famous Stanley Market and the funicular railway to Victoria Peak at the summit of the island. The journey up is in traditional carriages from where you see there is actually some greenery amongst this bustling city.



Despite it being quite a hazy day, the views from this ultra modern Peak Tower and Peak Terrace viewing area are, as you can imagine, absolutely spectacular. This view is looking across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon.



From here you can see the iconic Bank of China Tower in the middle of the picture with its criss-cross pattern. It was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia from 1989 to 1992, and it was the first building outside the United States to break the 305m (1,000 ft) mark. At seventy floors it’s now the fourth-tallest building in the city measuring 367m (1,204 ft) high and was designed by the famed architect I.M. Pei. Mind you, this is a city of skyscrapers with 107 of them that stand over 180metres (591 ft)!


The building which was the tallest in Hong Kong, until a year ago, is the one on the left hand side of the picture. The 88 storey Two International Finance Centre, was built in 2003 and stands at 415metres (1,362 ft) high. It’s an impressive building that changes it’s colour in neon lights after dark, but close up during the day up, it’s also quite a sight:



I mentioned that it was the tallest building when we visited the city last year, but since then a new building has broken that record. That accolade goes to The International Commerce Centre or ICC Tower which is a staggering 118 floor, 484m (1,588 ft) skyscraper in West Kowloon; as part of the Union Square project built on top of Kowloon Station



The building has the third highest roof in the world, after Burj Khalifa and the Shanghai World Financial Centre, (I’ll have pictures of that for you tomorrow!), and when it opens  later this year there’ll be a 360 degree observation platform on the 100th floor which alone will be costing nearly £10 million – that’s $14 million!


Hong Kong changes every time you go there and there are always new buildings but they are not always skyscrapers. One that has opened just over a month ago is the ultra exclusive Hermitage Spa.



Hong Kong is frequently described as a city where east meets west, a meeting reflected in its economic infrastructure, education, legal system and street culture. That’s certainly true when it comes to shopping on Kowloon Peninsula’s Nathan Road, which has everything from electronics, haute couture fashion and plenty of restaurants to choose from. Although it’s an easy city to find your way around, you can get a little disoriented on the streets.



I’m not sure why I had the map, but pictured with me from left to right are members of the Entertainment Department, Chris Knowles, Production Manager, Nico Lansdell, Entertainment Staff, Ed Moffat, Assistant Entertainment Director, Lloyd Knill, Librarian and Helen Eatough, Entertainment Staff. We eventually found a Chinese restaurant; well that was until upon closer inspection of the menus, it was in fact a Japanese Restaurant. Mind you it was still great!


Some of the best photos of Hong Kong Harbour are taken as the sun sets, and just before we headed back to the ship, Nick Wilkes of the Entertainment Staff took this great picture looking across to Hong Kong Island.



As it was an overnight, some of the team stayed in the city and enjoyed the nightly laser show and the scenes as the nightlife in this incredible city begins and the neon lights the sky.



To finish the night you can hardly leave without one final picture looking across Victoria Harbour and all the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island.



Thanks to Nick, and our Spanish Host Inigo, for helping me with these great photos. I’ll have more memorable pictures from our World Voyage tomorrow; this time our call to Shanghai which is another incredible city. Cheers for now Alastair.

  1. Beryl Moss says:

    Hong Kong looked an incredible interesting city to visit and look forward to tomorrows blog with hopefully more pictures from your World adventure. Here in ther UK excitement is gaining momentum with the 2011 Cruise Preview dropping through out letterbox and have already selected our cruises on obviously Queen Elizabeth but also Queen Victoria as everytime we step on board it feels like returning home.

  2. Chris Frame says:

    Thanks for another update Alistair!

    Great to see the photos! HK at night is amazing isn’t it! Was a wonderful voyage aboard Queen Victoria, looking forward to going back aboard again soon.

    I’ve posted some images of Sydney – Hong Kong here:

    Best wishes,


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