Hamburg Cruise Center (HCC) will open its new 30 million euro mega-ship berth in Altona this summer, accommodating ships up to 300 meters, said the Center's Managing Director Gerd Drossel. And next April (2010), a new, modem terminal with an integrated automated gateway will open at the site, replacing the former ferry facility.

In 2009, Hamburg expects 140,000 passengers on 90 calls, compared to 89 ,791 passengers on 79 calls in 2008. Hamburg will also homeport a second AIDA Cruises ship, Drossel said.

There will be five maiden calls, a christening for TUI's Mein Schiff, and the first round-trip OM2 sailing.

Drossel said that 90 percent of the calls are turnarounds, and that the Hamburg city center is only minutes away from the cruise facilities. And Berlin is only 90 minutes away by fast-train. "There is a market of more than 6 million people within a two-hour drive from the port," he added.

Christmas cruises will also be back in 2009, with five calls in December by ships from Cunard Line, P&O Cruises And Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. Hamburg's next Cruise Days are scheduled for July 29 - 31, 2010. Nearly one million visitors were said to attend the first Cruise Days last year, watching a parade of tall ships and cruise ships among other activities. Also, according to Drossel, nearly one million people turned out to watch the QM2 on her maiden arrival.