The Tripsle Team tried and tested both the AquaLuna and DukLing to judge which traditional junk cruise on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour you should choose
Strolling along the TST waterfront and admiring the spectacular evening lights of the Hong Kong skyline, the glowing red sails of a traditional junk boat glide into view, perfectly complementing your postcard-perfect Hong Kong photo – you’d better Instagram that sharpish! But were you aware that you could actually hop aboard the boat yourself? And were you also aware that there are in fact two traditional-style Chinese junk boats that you can board? Enter the AquaLuna and Dukling. Two beautifully crafted vessels but which is the best choice for a Hong Kong harbour cruise?
AquaLuna markets herself as “one of the last-remaining red sail Chinese junk boats” and she certainly is a special sight in Victoria Harbour. The beautiful varnished wood exterior combined with an exquisitely designed interior, not to mention those glowing red sails, all make for a very pleasant cruise.
Particular attention is paid to your comfort throughout the 45 minute round trip. The upper covered deck is lined with pillowy lounge seats on either side whilst the lower open air deck gives you a choice of numerous comfy perches. Soon after boarding a member of staff will personally come to ask for your drinks order with a wide range of wines, beers and select cocktails. Soft lighting throughout the boat make for a very relaxing atmosphere.
|Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 2||Central Pier 9|
*Symphony of Lights Cruise
#Sailing finishes at Tsim Sha Tsui at 19:30
^Friday, Saturday and Sunday only
Main selling point: The Aqua Luna’s interior has been designed with guests completely in mind, with a super comfortable top deck, cool music, ample lounging space and great views all around.
You can book the Evening Sail here and the Symphony of Lights Cruise here.
Dukling describes herself as “the only inheritant sailing junk in Hong Kong” and she’s certainly a beautiful example of a traditional fishing vessel. Built in Macau 50 years ago, Duk Ling has had a busy upbringing. Formerly active as a working fishing boat, in more recent years Dukling sadly sank in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter but was refloated and restored not long after. The boat still retains trinkets of her time beneath the sea, for example a weathered bell now enclosed in a special case is displayed on deck. There’s certainly an antique vibe to the whole experience.
In terms of comfort, Dukling didn’t quite come up to AquaLuna’s standards. The staff do provide some cushions to sit on but there are no designated seating areas and none of the areas are particularly comfortable. That being said, there is an argument to say that this preserves the vessel’s appearance as it was. Upon boarding, passengers should make a beeline for the aft deck where the seating and viewing position is the best on the boat. The seats in the middle are mildly obstructed by the overhead canopy. A complimentary drink is also provided on this cruise with a selection of red wine, soft drinks and beer. The lighting on the Dukling was a little too harsh for my liking. A dimmer, more orange-coloured light would create a far more soothing experience.
One of the very nice touches the Dukling cruise had were the friendly staff, who were eager to tell the story of the traditional vessel and also point out interesting points of interest throughout the journey. They even had some traditional hats which made for great photos!
|Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 3||Central Pier 9|
*Symphony of Lights Cruise
Main selling point: Duk Ling is an authentic Chinese fishing junk that actually sailed these waters many years ago. As a result, comfort might be sacrificed but ultimately the incredible Hong Kong skyline view is the same.
AquaLuna vs DukLing Pricing Chart
|Adult||$185 ($271)||$230 ($280)|
|Child||$147 ($209)||$160 ($209)|
* Prices in brackets shows the amount for the daily 7:30pm Symphony of Lights Cruise