Christmas in HamburgBefore the 2013 cruising season officially gets underway with a visit by Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria on January 7, throughout the upcoming Christmas period Hamburg Cruise Center will welcome a total of 5 cruise ships scheduled to call at the Hanseatic city seven times between November 30 and December 20.

This will be the fifth time in a row that the Hamburg cruising season will run into December. Registering just one single month (February) without any ships calling for the very first time, the rapid development to an all-year-round destination is clearly evident. Whereas in the past the cruising season for northern European ports only included the summer months to the total neglect of the cold time of year, it is the winter months in particular that have now developed into an independent ‘Christmas market cruising season’ for the industry.

“Through the targeted marketing of theme cruises, perception has been sustainably altered. What was originally called off-season in the early days is now an independent product,” said Nadine Palatz, marketing manager at Hamburg Cruise Center and manager of the Atlantic Alliance.

The Atlantic Alliance, an association of 15 ports between Hamburg and Lisbon, has been marketing cruise destinations along Europe’s Atlantic coast since 2008. This has included the creation of special theme cruises, for example, ‘Bright Lights - Christmas Markets in Europe.'

 Phoenix Reisen's Amadea will open Hamburg’s ‘Christmas market cruising season’ on November 30, when the vessel heads out on a 14-day Scandinavian cruise under the motto ‘Christmas markets and winter magic’, before returning to the Hanseatic city on the December 14. Subsequently, the ship will then embark on a short ‘Nordic Christmas markets’ cruise from/to Hamburg before then setting sail from Hamburg to South America on 20 December.

December 7 will again see the return of the Saga Cruises ship Saga Ruby to Hamburg. Within the scope of its ‘Advent cruises’, the cruise ship will call for a full day at the Hanseatic city before moving on to Copenhagen via Kiel.

On December 12, the Hamburg Cruise Center Altona will ceremoniously welcome the P&O Cruises Oriana. Underway from Copenhagen/Oslo to Southampton, the ship will dock at Hamburg for the first time in the course of its ‘Christmas spirit’ theme cruise.

The early hours of December 18 will then see the Cunard Line’s ‘Queen Victoria’ entering the Port of Hamburg, shortly followed on the same evening by the Balmoral, which is operated by the Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. The Balmoral is on the ‘German Christmas markets’ tour between Copenhagen and Bremerhaven.

Hamburg has a lot to offer within the scope of these Christmas cruises. For the mostly British passengers who wish to swop tea-time for mulled wine and Spekulatius almond cookies, there are numerous thematic Christmas markets. The latest flyers from Hamburg Tourismus GmbH provide information on all of these markets. Cruise passengers will be handed an English version of the flyers at Hamburg Cruise Center’s Infopoint inside the terminal, where they will be met by a memorable and festive atmosphere with singing Santas and decorations.