The AIDAblu is christened in HamburgThe 222,222nd passenger was welcomed to the terminal in the HafenCity district by Gerd Drossel, managing director of Hamburg Cruise Center. Last September, the port greeted its 100,000thguest.

Thomas Fries, described as 43 years young and from Bochum in western of Germany, was surprised by Larissa Beuleke, sales director at the Hotel InterContinental Hamburg; AIDAaura Captain Nico Berg and a shower of confetti as he passed through the check-in.

 “Hamburg is the perfect port for embarking and disembarking – it has allowed me to combine my cruise with a stop-over in the city and a visit to a musical,” said Fries.

And it won’t be long before he’ll be back in the Hanseatic city again. Fries received a voucher for two for a double room at the InterContinental Hotel Hamburg for two nights, including breakfast. The package also included a Hamburg Card, entitling the holder to free travel on public transportation in the metropolitan area and to numerous discounts to Hamburg attractions, provided by Hamburg Tourismus.

The cruise also marks the end of AIDAaura’s summer schedule in Northern Europe. Following a Mediterranean program, she will be sailing to South-East Asia for the winter.

AIDA ships made 45 calls to Hamburg during the 2010 season, bringing over 90,000 passengers. The AIDAaura turned around in Hamburg 14 times on cruises to the Norwegian fjords and the Baltic.

According to the port, AIDA is considering year-round service from Hamburg, using the new Altona terminal which will be ready for the 2011 summer season.