The Port of Hamburg is slated to open its third cruise terminal in June 2015 just in time for the AIDAprima. The new ship will be sailing year-round from Hamburg.

The new terminal will be located across the river from Hamburg's current terminals, fewer than two kilometers away from many of the main sights in the center and a short ride by ferry, according to Managing Director Gerd Drosselt. Traveling time to the international airport will be about half an hour.

The facility will be constructed on a plot measuring approximately 20 acres and comprise two terminal buildings (for incoming and outgoing passengers), a 1,800-square-meter baggage hall, vast pier space and parking for coaches and up to 1,546 cars. A separate landing stage will be built for local passenger ferries that will link the facility to the city center. This third terminal will be able to handle 6,000 to 8,000 passengers during a full 10-hour turnaround.

For 2014, Hamburg is forecasting more than 600,000 passengers – up 8 percent from last year - and has 186 calls scheduled.

The 2013 season lasted until New Year’s Eve and this year’s season started only eight days later with the Queen Elizabeth on Jan. 8. Last year, Hamburg counted 178 calls and 552,459 passengers, up 28.5 percent from 2012, and making Hamburg the busiest cruise port in Germany.

Drosselt said the cruise industry is a significant economic factor, justifying new infrastructure projects. The Chamber of Commerce has now for the second time presented accounts for the value creation of the cruise industry in Hamburg, based on the 2013 figures. The total value creation resulting from cruise ships’ in port added up to nearly 25 million euros. This is supplemented by the value creation generated by cruise passengers and the ships’ crews. In total their spending is 21 million euros. But passengers are not the only ones to leave money behind them in the city – there are also day tourists who travel to the city for ship christenings and special events. The estimated value creation resulting from visits to the city by this category of person is around 32 million euros in the past year. The study also pointed out the value creation in what it called the industrial sectors, estimated at around 192 million euros.

With the increased traffic the City of Hamburg has passed a resolution on alternative energy supply for cruise ships. Drosselt said the goal is to realize the concept as quickly as possible. Completion of the AIDA-barge infrastructure (LNG power barge) is planned for the 3rd quarter of 2014; completion of the onshore power supply plant in Altona for the 3rd quarter of 2015.

In light of the Germany being the fastest growing market, counting 1.68 million ocean-going cruise passengers in 2013, this year, the German market is expected to overtake the British market, according to Drosselt, and may in the process make Hamburg the busiest cruise port in Northern Europe.

The forecast is for up to 2 million German ocean cruise passengers in 2015 and 2.5 million by 2020.