After handling some 250,000 passengers in the last two years, 2010 numbers at the Columbus Cruise Center in Bremerhaven are expected to be down with Managing Director Veit Huerdler citing “unfortunate circumstances.”

Port officials cited a later arrival of the Astor, due to its extensive refurbishment at Lloyd Werft, adding to the loss of the Marco Polo and Astoria, in addition to the departure of MSC Cruises, “due to road works on the Autobahn between Bremen and Hamburg.” Which means that shore excursions to Hamburg will not be offered until the end of 2012, following the completion of the construction project on the Autobahn..

However, Huerdler remains bullish on the future at Bremerhaven: “There is no reason to doubt our role in the industry. We will welcome new customers like Costa Crociere, and, with an eye on early bookings for 2011, the passenger volume will increase again.” Huerdler added that they were happy with the fact Phoenix Reisen was planning to bring a much bigger ship to the port starting in 2011.

Nonetheless, the volume of passengers in the last two years showed, “the promise of the location to handle large passenger volumes in a professional way The large incremental share of day visitors shows that the location is worth a visit.” Huerdler also said that MSC, Cunard Line and P&O Cruises have “significantly contributed to our role in the international market.”

Meanwhile, the cruise season has also been extended into October and November, with Christmas cruises in December becoming a traditional part of the Bremerhaven schedule.