After almost 3 years of preparatory planning and active construction Hamburg’s First Mayor, Olaf Scholz, yesterday officially inaugurated the Hamburg Cruise Center Altona. This represents an important milestone in the city’s continuing development as a major cruise hub.

In recent years the cruise industry has become increasingly important to Hamburg. “The cruise terminal in Altona is needed urgently,” says Gerd Drossel, Managing Director of Hamburg Cruise Center e.V., “because the present dynamic growth trend will continue in coming years. We expect 120 ship’s calls in the 2011 cruise season, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year.” The steadily growing size of ships will see the total number of passengers passing the 300 000 mark. “With two-figure growth also expected for 2012 we can realistically expect 400 000 passengers in that year; 2015 may even see us passing the half a million threshold,” continues Drossel.

The terminal building’s architecture is of the highest quality, fitting perfectly into Altona’s so-called ‘string of pearls’. The key task when designing the outdoor areas was to achieve a balance between the logistics and security requirements of a modern passenger processing operation with the quality demands of a public urban development project. The Hamburg Cruise Center Altona has a total floor area of 3100 m², of which 1500 m² are open hall space. In addition to this, 200 short stay parking spaces are available, as are bays for 15 coaches and a taxi stand. The total quay length is 360 m; the mooring basin is suitable for cruise ships up to 300 m long. The water at the berth is 12m/sea level deep. The Hamburg Cruise Center Altona also has an integrated state-of-the-art TEAM passenger boarding bridge which automatically compensates for the tide fluctuations the Port of Hamburg. The project came in on target, meeting the 30 million Euro budget allocated by the city parliament for construction of the terminal and the surrounding areas as well as for the quay wall and the mooring basin.

The Hamburg Cruise Center Altona, directly adjacent to the traditional timber harbour and in close proximity to Hamburg’s famous fish market, is an addition to the existing berth in the HafenCity district. The new terminal is located within a stone’s throw of all the Hanseatic City’s major sights. Passengers can reach the city centre in just 15 minutes by bus, taxi or one of the numerous harbour ferries.

The Hamburg Cruise Center Altona introduced itself to its neighbours and all other Hamburg residents with an open day. It has been an event for all the family with gastronomy, culture, commercial and information stands. In the cruise terminal itself visitors have been able to re-live the building’s development with the help of presentations and projections. Diverse cruise lines have also been exhibiting in the terminal. On top there have been guided tours to explain how efficient ship and passenger processing is carried out.

Building history:
Following granting of the official planning approval at the end of 2008, the first pile for Hamburg’s new cruise terminal was already in place in January 2009. The initial phase of construction consisted of building work to the quay wall to enable ships of up to 300 metres length to dock. The first ship subsequently docked at the newly repaired and extended Edgar Engelhard Quay in August 2009, right on schedule. The second construction phase of the project, which had a total budget of 30 million Euros, began in March 2010 with the laying of the foundation stone for the terminal building (construction began in April 2010). The topping-out ceremony took place just six months later, in October 2010. Some two months ago, on 1 April 2011, the first ship was processed at the new building, which had been completed in time for the beginning of this year’s cruise season.