The AIDAsol arrived in Hamburg Saturday (April 7, 2018) navigated by Germany’s very first female cruise ship captain, Nicole Langosch, and marking the first of many cruise highlights in 2018. Aida Cruises appointed Langosch, 34, as cruise ship captain in March. The AIDAsol’s arrival signals the start of what is likely to be an exciting port season, with an expected 220 arrivals by 50 ships operated by 26 shipping companies and more than 880,000 cruise passengers – an increase of 10 per cent over 2017.
Several other highlights confirm Hamburg’s reputation as the world’s most event-packed city port. Next month, for instance, the popular Port Anniversary Celebrations will serve as the backdrop for the launching ceremony of TUI’s Mein Schiff 1 and will honour the first arrivals of nine cruise ship giants in Hamburg. The expected vessels include the AIDAnova “mega liner” with more than 5,000 passengers and the MSC Meravig with some 4,500 passengers. Cunard Line’s much-loved MS Queen Mary 2 will call at the Port of Hamburg as many as five times in 2018. AIDA’s vessels will be the most frequent visitors this year with eight vessels from the “Kussmund” fleet arriving 88 times in the Port of Hamburg.
Port Anniversary celebrations
Cruise enthusiasts can look forward to ocean liners during Hamburg’s three-day Port Anniversary celebrations when the world’s biggest port festival, and one of northern Germany’s largest, gets underway from May 10-13, 2018. This year’s cruise highlights include the arrival of Cunard Line’s MS Queen Elizabeth, the AIDAsol, the AIDAvita and the AIDAperla among others. And the number of cruise fans continues to rise. Every year, more 1 million visitors flock to the banks of the River Elbe to watch these impressive ocean giants against the amazing backdrop of Hamburg’s port. A special highlight will be the ship launching ceremony of Mein Schiff 1 by the Hamburg-based shipping company TUI Cruises on May 11, 2018. The ship will then embark on a two-day maiden voyage to southern Norway with stopovers in Bergen and Stavanger as well as in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The impressive number of scheduled first-time arrivals this summer confirm Hamburg’s rise to one of Europe’s most popular cruise ports. In 2018 alone, ten cruise liners will be calling to the Port of Hamburg for the first time. The AIDAperla (3,286 passengers), the AIDAnova (5,200 passengers), the MSC Meraviglia (4,500 passengers) and the Navigator of the Seas (3,138 passengers) indicate the growing size of arriving cruise ships.
Next Cruise Days in 2019
The boom in Hamburg’s cruise industry is most evident during the Hamburg Cruise Days, which will next be held in September 13-15, 2019 after a break this year. Last held in 2017, the event reflects Hanseatic maritime spirit like no other and will see Hamburg become the unrivalled centre of the global cruise scene with countless seafaring vessels, spectacular ship parades and a diverse programme on land. Two travel-themed trade fairs as well as the B2B event Seatrade Europe Hamburg will also be held in (September 11-13, 2019).