The month of May looks set to break all records in Hamburg: 36 ship calls; 100,000 passengers; two christenings; four maiden calls; the 822nd Hamburg Port Festival with a total of seven cruise liners and 1.5 million guests and many other highlights making for a maritime “pearl necklace” of events.

The coming days will see a total of 11 cruise lines sending their ships to fly their flags in Hamburg, all within the space of one month – more than the city has ever seen before. AIDA Cruises; Costa Kreuzfahrten; Crystal Cruises; Cunard – a Carnival plc brand; Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten; Hurtigruten; Phönix Reisen; Pullmantur; Sea Cloud Cruises; SeaDream Yacht Club and TUI Cruises are among the companies represented.

The record-breaking month was kicked off on 1st May, when the “AIDAblu” docked at the Hamburg Cruise Center Altona, and will conclude with the “Costa Magica” on 31st May. The latter will also be one of a total of four liners scheduled to make their maiden calls to the city (as well as “Mein Schiff 2” on 05.05. and “Artania” and “SeaDream I” on 28.05.).

Hamburg is the ideal location for cruise liner christenings. So it is no surprise that the Port of Hamburg will be hosting in total of them three this year, two in only one month. The first took place on 14th May: TUI Cruises’ “Mein Schiff 2”, followed by Phönix Reisens’ “Artania” on 28th May. The third ceremony is organised by Celebrity Cruises’, who will christened their “Celebrity Silhouette” in July (21.07.).

The 822nd Hamburg Port Festival made cruise waves in the harbour. In total seven cruise liners joined the festival, plus “AIDAluna” berthed in the shipyard at Blohm+Voss. The 1,5 million visitors have seen the following ships in port: “Mein Schiff 2”, “AIDAcara”, “AIDAblu”, the “Sea Cloud” back in Hamburg after a break of 33 years, “Fram”, “Amadea” and the “Queen Mary 2”. The Festival fireworks were sponsored by cruise line Costa Kreuzfahrten, which this year selected Hamburg as the new home port of the “Costa Magica”.

The “Crystal Serenity”, one of the world’s most luxurious cruise liners, is docked in the Port of Hamburg in May for one of her rare visits to Germany. She will be berthed at Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss shipyard from 8th to 22nd May 2011 for a refit to bring her up to the latest and highest standard of luxury, costing a total of 25 million dollars. The 23rd May will see the “Crystal Serenity” leave Hamburg for her next cruise on the Baltic Sea.

“Hamburg has made a name for itself in the international cruise industry. Not only thanks to the above average increase in passenger volumes, which have more than doubled in just two years (2011: over 300 000 passengers), but also to the wide diversity of maritime events reflecting the uniqueness of this cruise destination,” says Gerd Drossel, Managing Director of Hamburg Cruise Center e.V.  Hence, the online portal www.cruisetricks.de selected just a few days ago the Port of Hamburg to be the one of the ten most beautiful cruise port in the world. Drossel also announced “that there is hardly any other port which can offer a similar combination. The city and the port provide a perfect showcase for the dream liners of the oceans, and both profit from this.” Hamburg Tourismus GmbH thus expects several million people to visit the maritime events in the Hanseatic city. “A win/win situation for the city and for the cruise industry,” concludes Drossel.