What’s the Macau TurboJet like in economy class?

We’ve reviewed the Cotai Water Jet service between Hong Kong and Macau before. The other ferry service between Sheung Wan and Macau is the longer standing Turbo Jet service.

Departure and arrival points

Like the Cotai Water Jet, Turbo Jet offers service from Hong Kong’s Macau ferry terminal, at the ugly Shun Tak building in Sheung Wan. In addition it has services to Macau from Kowloon, Tuen Mun and the airport.

The main Macau terminal is the Outer Harbour terminal, from where you can easily pick up transportation into the main parts of Macau. There is also occasional service from Hong Kong to Taipa.

Timings

The service is frequent, and from Sheung Wan it basically runs every fifteen minutes between seven a.m. and midnight, with a much reduced overnight service. The timetable is here. The journey takes around an hour to an hour and a quarter – you can gauge your progress by charting the changing colour of the sea outside.

The terminals at either end are fairly compact so you can typically arrive quite close to departure time, twenty minutes or so is enough on a good day. You can get on an earlier ferry than the one you are booked on when it has available seats, as a general rule.

Vessels

Turbo Jet is associated with the jetfoils built by Boeing, which you see skim over the water in Victoria Harbour and beyond. At least one is still active on the route, but most of the services are provided by other vessels. Jetfoil does not operate any economy class services. The company magazine has a helpful breakdown of its fleet, with which it operates not only the Macau route but all of its Pearl River Delta services.

The ferries I was on recently were typical, with 14-abreast seating in economy class in a 3-4-4-3 configuration. Seating is allocated at the gate prior to departure. Drinks and snacks can be purchased onboard. The ferries are fully enclosed so there is no chance to take the air on deck, or smoke. The seats are fine – not especially comfortable but adequate for the short journey.

Cost

The published fare table is here; typically of Hong Kong’s ferries apart from the Star Ferry, fares are not cheap for a short journey on a shuttle service. For a walk up return I recently paid $280 on a weekday at one of the travel agents at the Sheung Wan terminal. The outbound ticket was for the next ferry about twenty minutes later in the afternoon and the return was an open ticket which I exchanged at the Macau terminal for the next available ferry. Evening and weekend sailings tend to be more expensive.

The face value of the tickets I ended up with was just over $300. There are a couple of things to note here. First, the price of the ferry ticket depends on the timing. Secondly, I saved some money by buying from a travel agent at the terminal rather than the Turbo Jet ticket counter there. These agents often don’t look very reassuring, with drawers of tickets literally under the counter, but I haven’t had a problem with them to date.

If you have time to look around, you may find much better deals on tickets on this route. Travel agents often sell them, Klook has them though actually for more than I paid at the terminal.

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