Traffic is up 12 percent year-over-year for the port of Hamburg, with 800,000 passengers expected this year.
The widening of the harbor basin adjacent to the Altona terminal has been among the items driving the good news, with additional berth assignment options now available for large ships according to Sacha Rougier, managing director, Cruise Gate Hamburg.
First time callers include the MSC Preziosa, the Norwegian Jade and Independence of the Seas.
“This year’s Hamburg Cruise Days and Blue Port are expected to see record participation of ten cruise ships calling over the weekend. Participating ships will include AIDAprima, MSC Preziosa, Hapag Lloyds’ Europa and the Europa 2, the Mein Schiff 3 from TUI Cruises, Albatros and Amadea of Phoenix Reisen, Silver Wind, as well as Norwegian Jade and Plantours’ Sans Souci – which will be the first appearance of a river vessel at the event,” said Rougier.
The parade takes place on September 9, with six cruise ships leaving the port jointly.
The port has also been able to drive winter business, with the AIDAprima homeporting year-round, but set to take a break this coming winter.
There are also regular calls, as 2017 started with the Queen Elizabeth docking on Jan. 5 and is going to close with the Aurora, which calls on Dec. 31.
December has also been a hit with Hamburg’s Christmas markets and calls from British cruise lines, said Rougier.
“There is a good potential for new partners for regular calls during the weekdays as we have proven with this year's debut of Norwegian Cruise Line that there is much more to come out of the world’s second largest source market,” noted Rougier. “With the proof that the winter season is able to attract large numbers of passengers we are optimistic that this concept will develop further. Prime locations will with regard to the number of ships on order have to extend its seasons.”
A new cruise terminal is set to open in 2021, and will be integrated into a real estate complex including shopping, hotel, and entertainment options.