Santa(s?) greet passengers in Hamburg.With the arrival of Black Watch on Dec. 13, the Hamburg Cruise Center (HCC) welcomed the last cruise ship of 2010. This marks the end of the most successful season to date. The season started in February with the christening of the AIDAblu, and arrivals continued from then until now. Hamburg has the potential to develop into an all-year-round cruise port, according to Gerd Drossel, managing director of the HCC.

Hamburg reported 104 calls and 235,000 passengers this year, compared to 87 calls and 126,839 passengers in 2009. Drosselt explained that the disproportionate increase in the number of passengers is the result of larger ships.

The year was marked by two ship’s christenings and six first-time arrivals.

The biggest ship of the season was the Queen Mary 2, followed by the Celebrity Eclipse. All told, 26 different ships, representing 16 different cruise lines, called. The most frequent caller was the AIDAluna, with 17 sailings.

The outlook for 2011 is for continued growth in double digits both for passengers and ships.

The new cruise terminal in Altona is also slated to be formally opened in the coming season. And to help celebrate the Port of Hamburg’s birthday in 2011 as many as seven ships are expected. Another special event will be May 14 christening of Mein Schiff 2.