The operator of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Tuesday said Hong Kong should follow international norms and lift all restrictions on cruises – including allowing them to travel somewhere.
From Thursday, voyages will no longer be suspended over suspected Covid-19 cases on board.
But Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, said this only applies to "cruises-to-nowhere" and there is still a ban on stops at overseas ports for any ships that do come back to the territory.
"It's a positive step, but there are still many restrictions on the operation of cruises in Hong Kong," he said.
"They have not lifted the ban on cruises going to international locations, or cruises coming from other countries to Hong Kong," he told RTHK.
Bent said the scrapping of the suspension mechanism alone will not be enough to attract cruise lines back to Hong Kong, as they will send their ships to places that don't have Covid restrictions.
"The cruise lines can send ships anywhere they want to in the world, they don't have to come to Hong Kong. If the restrictions in Hong Kong are tougher and tighter, they send the ships to wherever they can operate the best," he said.
Bent called for an end to all restrictions on cruises, so that business can return to pre-pandemic levels.
"There are still restrictions for the number of people on board the ship to 75 percent... and everyone must be fully vaccinated. Everyone must take a test every single day on board the ship, they have to have a PCR before they go on board the ship and then do an RAT test every day that they're on board, which is a little bit strange because now, even people coming from overseas don't need to do a PCR test in advance, it's only an RAT test on arrival," he said.
"Just the scrapping of this suspension mechanism is not very attractive and definitely not enough to bring us to the pace or level of business in 2019. Remember in 2019, there were over 20 different cruise lines coming to Hong Kong in a year, now we're talking about maybe we can get two back?"
Bent said to encourage international visitors to return on cruises, Hong Kong would need to "conform to international norms" and said that means lifting all restrictions.