I went on my very first cruise last year with my mom. It was a 5-day Japan cruise on the Quantum Of The Seas with Royal Caribbean departing from Tianjin, China. Since I was flying in from Vancouver and my mom from Hong Kong, we decided to meet at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
It would have been most straightforward if we both flew into Tianjin Airport (TSN) instead, but for me, it was a lot more expensive to fly from Vancouver to Tianjin and that only connecting flights with long layovers were available.
Where is the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port?
Tianjin International Cruise Home Port
No. 1001 Guanhai Road Dongjiang Freetrade Port Area,
Tianjin, China. 300456
Tianjin International Cruise Home Port is the largest home port in East Asia and is located a 2.5-hour drive (without traffic) from Beijing airport. Like Beijing, Tianjin is located within the Hebei province.
How to Get to Tianjin International Cruise Home Port from Beijing?
The Google search turned out to be a little more difficult than expected as many websites were in Chinese only. I could read Chinese but I still struggled to understand or find clear answers because the train system is not quite like the one I am used to in North America.
After quite a bit of searching and talking to friends, I finally narrowed down to two ways to travel from Beijing Airport to Tianjin International Cruise Home Port which I have listed below. Note, there are other cheaper ways but I have ruled them out for convenience and time concerns.
Method #1 – Taxi and Train (More Interesting)
We chose this method when we arrived as I was concerned about the difficulty with securing a taxi that can travel across cities (taxis that are allowed to operate in Beijing require a special permit to operate in other cities) at the airport and personal safety (being in a stranger’s car for hours). However, I had to purchase the train tickets online ahead of time (I used China Highlights) so it could have been problematic if one of our flights was delayed.
Even though this method requires more walking and transfers but I would consider it more interesting as you can see more on the journey.
Taxi & Train Trip Itinerary
> Beijing South Railway Station (45-min by Taxi) $20 USD
> Binhai Station (1-hr by Train) $22 USD per person
> Tianjin International Cruise Home Port (45-min by Taxi) $5 USD
We arrived the day before our cruise (common for cruisers) so instead of travelling directly from Binhai Station to the cruise port, we took the taxi to our hotel instead. There are many hotels in both the Yujiapu Financial District (where our hotel InterContinental Tianjin Yujiapu Hotel is located) and Binhai to choose from so I recommend you also arrive a day early to rest before starting your cruise journey.
Benefits of Taxi and Train
- slightly faster than a taxi all the way (especially if there is traffic)
- you are not sitting in the same car for the entire duration so you can walk and stretch (especially after a long flight)
Disadvantages of Taxi and Train
- requires 3 transfers so it could be tiring especially if you have lots of luggage’s
- missing 1 of the transfers could delay your trip and waste money (the train ticket is for that train trip only)
Method #2 – Taxi (More Convenient)
On our return trip, we took a taxi from the cruise port directly to Beijing airport and that took just over 3 hours. We were greeted by a number of taxi drivers as soon as we left the cruise terminal and negotiated a flat rate with one of them. His first offer was 900 RMB ($123 USD) and we negotiated it down to 700 RMB ($100 USD). You might be able to negotiate it down even more if you are good at it.
If you decide to take the taxi from Beijing Airport to Tianjin, you should check with the customer service representative at the taxi stand upon arrival to make sure they find you a taxi that can travel across cities.
Taxi Trip Itinerary
> Tianjin International Cruise Home Port (3+ hours by Taxi) $100 USD
Benefits of Taxi
- no need to drag your luggage up and down the train platform
- no transfers
Disadvantages of Taxi
- a 3-hour journey in a taxi is long and if you travel in the summer, the air conditioner might not be cool enough
- safety concerns as you are essentially in a stranger’s car for an extended period of time in a foreign country (but same thing with method #1)
- more expensive than the train (can be offset by travelling with more than 2 people)
Which Method Do I Recommend?
In hindsight, I probably would not travel all the way to Tianjin for just a cruise again. I say this because whichever method you go with, you will be exhausted at the end of your journey especially after a long flight.
If you do plan on travelling on a cruise that departs from the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, I recommend incorporating short trips before and after the cruise in the neighbouring cities so you won’t be rushing to catch a flight or the cruise at any time.