HAMBURG – When it comes to cruise locations, Hamburg is the world’s number one destination for maritime entertainment and cruise events. Over the past few days, the north German port city once again confirmed its position when seven cruise liners transformed the River Elbe into one big stage for the cruise world – at last weekend’s HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY festival. And only three days earlier, the cruise liner MSC Preziosa had called at the port of Hamburg for the very first time. And yet this was just the start of a spectacular cruise summer season, with many first-time arrivals, the spectacular ship launching ceremony of Mein Schiff 6 at the Elbphilharmonie as well as the Hamburg Cruise Days – the world’s largest cruise event coming up in September.
Just like in previous years, the banks of the Elbe served as the setting for a one-of-a-kind party. The port festival, which was held on the occasion of the port’s 828th anniversary, attracted more than one million visitors – making it the largest port festival in the world. The maritime party was transformed into a fully-fledged cruise event by the arrival of seven international cruise ships.
In the matter of four days, the MS Amadea, the MS Astor, the MSC Preziosa as well as four AIDA ships – AIDAprima, AIDAvita, AIDAluna and AIDAsol – arrived at the Hamburg terminals, providing both passengers and guests to Hamburg with an unparalleled cruise experience.
The AIDAprima in fact celebrated its first anniversary in Hamburg: it was only a year ago that the cruise ship was launched in Hamburg with a spectacular ceremony at the same location. Since then, it has departed from Hamburg as many as 52 times as part of its grand tour through Western Europe. As a sponsor of the port festival, AIDA used the event to present itself with a themed world in the HafenCity Hamburg and to stage a spectacular fireworks display in the heart of the port. The Rostock shipping company is one of the most prominent players in the port of Hamburg this year, with a total of 81 arrivals by six cruise liners.
Newest member of the MSC fleet arrived in Hamburg for the first time
This year’s “birthday guests” included the new MSC Preziosa, which celebrated its first-time arrival at Hamburg’s port only two days prior to the HAFENBURGSTAG HAMBURG port festival. The MSC shipping company is now positioning its latest fleet member in Hamburg. The vessel has a length of 333.30 metres and boasts 1,751 cabins. With a maximum capacity of 4,345 passengers, the MSC Preziosa has been one of the largest passenger ships to arrive at the port of Hamburg – and from here it will start its voyages to the most beautiful destinations in Northern and Western Europe between May and November.
The arrival of the MSC Preziosa, however, was just the beginning of a series of first-time arrival events this summer – which once again demonstrates that Hamburg is one of the most popular cruise ports in Europe. More and more large-scale cruise ships will be entering the port of Hamburg for the very first time, among them the Norwegian Jade (2,466 passengers) arriving on 4 June and the Independence of the Sea (3,634 passengers) arriving on 12 July. The Silver Wind of Silversea Cruises, which will be calling at Hamburg‘s port on 10 September, is adding to the list of large-scale luxury vessels to arrive in Hamburg.
For several years now, Hamburg has been promoting itself as a cruise location and maritime destination through spectacular ship-launching ceremonies. And now the Hamburg shipping company TUI Cruises is planning a very special event: the shipping company’s most recent vessel, the Mein Schiff 6, will be launched on 1 June directly at the new Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. The patroness of this ceremony will be Iveta Apkalna, head organist of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. This exceptional Latvian artist performs as a soloist in some of the world‘s most prestigious concert halls and at renowned music festivals. The launching of TUI Cruises’ newest fleet member will be staged in a truly unique setting that is centred around Hamburg‘s new architectural and cultural landmark.
2017 Hamburg Cruise Days with record attendance of 10 cruise ships
Hamburg‘s most spectacular cruise event will be kicked off at the end of the summer: taking place for the sixth time, the Hamburg Cruise Days from 8 to 10 September 2017 will once again transform the port of Hamburg into one big stage for the cruise industry and cruise fans. A record number of ten cruise liners is scheduled to take part in the 2017 Hamburg Cruise Days, the biggest public cruise festival in Europe. Participating ships will include the AIDAprima (AIDA Cruises), the MSC Preziosa (MSC Cruises), the Europa and the Europa 2 (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), the Mein Schiff 3 (TUI Cruises), the MS Albatros and the MS Amadea (Phoenix Reisen), the Silver Wind (Silversea Cruises), as well as the Norwegian Jade (Norwegian Cruise Line) and the Sans Souci (Plantours) – which will be the first appearance of a river cruise ship at the event.
This record attendance of vessels will make this year’s ship parade the biggest parade of all time. On the night of 9 September, six cruise liners will jointly leave the port of Hamburg and make their way down the River Elbe, accompanied by 24 escort ships and a large fireworks display. Overall, 1,575 metres of ship – with a total of 502,946 gross registered tonnes and 17,140 passengers – will be joining the show, making the ship parade an unforgettable maritime catwalk.
During the ship parade, the port will be illuminated as part of the BLUE PORT HAMBURG light installation, which will be launched on 1 September and create a unique atmosphere throughout the Hamburg Cruise Days festival weekend. More than one hundred objects in Hamburg’s port will then be lit up by light artist Michael Batz, including buildings, terminals, port vehicles, quay sections, cranes, jetties, and ships – providing an unparalleled work of art and a one-of-a-kind visual experience that can only be found in Hamburg.
Hamburg is expecting 800,000 passengers in 2017
Thanks to its wealth of maritime events, its efficient terminals and the locals’ enthusiasm for the world of cruise ships, Hamburg has turned into one of Europe‘s prime destinations for cruise liners. With more than 171 ship arrivals and 710,000 passengers in the course of 2016, Hamburg broke all previous records and confirmed its position as Germany‘s number one cruise destination. And this trend continues: for the 2017 season, Cruise Gate Hamburg is expecting some 200 ship arrivals with about 800,000 passengers – an increase of 12% compared with 2016.