When Ben and I are in the United States, we live on the road (traveling in a bus/motorcoach). When we’re abroad, we live on the sea. We spend a couple of months every year teaching the Digital Filmmaking course to guests on board a beautiful Crystal Cruise Ship. This year, we will be spending two months on board the Crystal Symphony, traveling from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, with loads of ports of call in between. Our complete travel map is shown below.

What’s pretty funny about this itinerary is that we’re picking up right where we left off last year. Last year, we traveled through Australia and Southeast Asia, ending in Hong Kong. This year, we begin in Hong Kong and continue north.

It was nice to land in a city that we’re familiar with, as we were able to hit the ground running. Wr arrived in Hong Kong after about 40 hours of travel. At the cruise terminal, we crossed paths with the lovely Erin Manning, who was just disembarking the ship after teaching the Digital Filmmaking class on board. Basically, she was passing the baton on to us!


The Crystal Symphony

Hong Kong is kind of split into two sections: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and between them is Victoria Harbor. The ship was docked on the Kowloon side, but it’s really easy to get between the two. There are lots of easy ways to get around in Hong Kong using public transportation. You’ve got the metro, the iconic Star Ferry (which goes between Kowloon and Hong Kong), the historic cable cars, the public busses, etc. We never had to take a taxi because the public transportation was so convenient and cheap. The local people are also very happy to help you out and point you in the right direction.

So what did we do in Hong Kong? Well, we explored a lot of the major sites last year (Read about that HERE), so we felt a little more relaxed about our sightseeing and took the time to mosey a bit. We did take a bus to Aberdeen, which is located on the south side of Hong Kong Island. We had heard about the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant and decided to check it out. It’s pretty wild-looking, as it’s a huge, colorful, ornate “building” that is floating amidst an otherwise average-looking marina and waterway. There are free shuttle ferries that take you out to the restaurant, and they are running constantly. The restaurant is at least three stories, with the main eating area on the top floor and different VIP/specialty rooms on the other floors. It was kind of an experience for us because we were the only westerners there, and we had no idea what we were doing. For example, it took us a long time to realize that the menu was this little card inside of a leather folio, where you check off the items you want. Much of it looked pretty foreign to us, but we were told that about 4 selections would be good for two people (at least we think that’s what they said! There were not many English-speakers). Being the seasoned travelers that we are, we were a little adventurous with our selections, which included a “1000-year egg” (which looked like it was 1000 years old and tasted like a bad jello experiment) and cuttlefish curry, which looked as if it was going to squirm off the plate and back into the ocean. We also ordered some dim-sum-style dumplings and spring rolls, which were much more familiar to us and tasted quite nice.


Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant

After making it back into the downtown area of Hong Kong, we headed back to the Mid-Levels, which was one of our favorite areas to explore and dine during our previous visit. The interesting thing about the Mid-Levels area is the long escalator that runs up several city blocks. (the hill is that steep). It’s the longest escalator in the world and you can get on and off at each cross street. All of the streets that cross the escalator are interesting to walk down. They’re full of unique restaurants, bars and shops. It’s a good place to spend an evening to have dinner and drinks after doing some shopping.

On the Kowloon side, right along the water, there is a walkway called Avenue of the Stars, and it contains the stars, signatures and hand-prints of famous Hong Kong actors and actresses. The crowd taking pictures of the Bruce Lee statue was huge!

We were also told that the Hong Kong Flower Show was going on, so we decided to check that out. It was pretty huge, but the crowds were so bad that I didn’t take a single photo. In fact, all I wanted to do was get out of there. It turns out that the crowds here would be a good precursor to what we would find in Shanghai.

If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong, definitely check out my LAST POST on the city because it includes most of the major sites, such as The Peak, the Big Buddha and more. For now, I’ll leave you with some more images.

Next stop: Xiamen, China!


Ready to get on the free ferry/shuttle to the floating restaurant


The entrance to Jumbo Kingdom



Lunch at Jumbo Kingdom



At the lower part of the Mid Levels, there are several elevated walkways, from which you can get some interesting street shots.



The Star Ferry



A traditional junk boat


The Palm Court on Crystal Symphony. It feels like we never left!


The ship literally had the perfect view to see the Hong Kong skyline. Since we were on board last, new fitness equipment has been installed on deck. This is supposed to be used for pull-ups, but I found a better use :-)




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