The Kai Tak Airport, better known as Hong Kong International, dutifully served the island city for nearly three quarters of a century before shutting down in 1998. But rather than let that prime civic real estate fallow, the Hong Kong government has transformed it into a dazzling new cruise ship port.
After a billion-dollar (US) renovation and conversion, the new Kai Tak cruise terminal opened to passengers yesterday. In total, the 19 acre facility can simultaneously accommodate a pair of 50,000 ton ships — such as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels — as well as their 5,400 passengers and 1,200 crew members.
Construction on the terminal began in earnest in 2009 — a 1.1 mile road was built from the former runways, and other infrastructure elements were either adapted or installed for the new facility. London-based Foster and Partners designed the terminal itself and built the 230 foot wide interior into a flexible multi-function space equally adept at hosting events and expositions as it is thousands of adventure-seeking tourists. What’s more, the terminal is designed with sustainability in mind — that includes sustainable power generation and rainwater recycling technology.
Image: Kai Tak Cruise Terminal