Hamburg’s cruise year 2018: from first female captain to the largest ocean giants

Hamburg panorama with Elbphilharmonie and Queen Mary 2 (Photo mediaserver.hamburg.de / Jörg Modrow)The first highlight of Hamburg’s upcoming cruise season was commanded by a woman: on 7 April 2018 the AIDAsol arrived in Hamburg under the navigation of Germany’s very first female cruise ship captain.

The arrival of the AIDAsol will also mark the beginning of the 2018 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 percent compared with 2017. This year’s programme includes various other highlights that confirm the port’s reputation as the world’s most event-packed city port. In May, for instance, the popular Hafengeburtstag port festival will serve as the backdrop for the ship launching ceremony of TUI’s Mein Schiff 1.

In the course of the year, there will be another nine first-time arrivals of cruise giants in Hamburg’s port – among them the AIDAnova “mega liner” with more than 5,000 passengers and the MSC Meraviglia with some 4,500 passengers on board. What is more, Cunard Line’s much-loved MS Queen Mary 2 will be calling at the port of Hamburg as many as five times in 2018.

Germany’s first female cruise ship captain, Nicole Langosch (34), was appointed only recently by AIDA Cruises and has been in command of the AIDAsol since March 2018. She is responsible for some 2,200 passengers and 630 crew members aboard the ship and spends three months at sea and three months on land on a rotating basis.

Again in 2018, AIDA will be the shipping company with the largest number of vessels calling to the port of Hamburg. In the course of 2018, as many as eight vessels from the “Kussmund” fleet will be arriving 88 times at the port of Hamburg. These include the AIDAcara, the AIDAsol, the AIDAaura, the AIDAluna, the AIDAmar, the AIDAnova, the AIDAperla, and the AIDAvita. With a total of 36 arrivals in 2018, shipping company MSC Cruises is in second place. Departing from Hamburg, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Magnifica will be heading towards the UK, Iceland, as well as Norway (including Spitsbergen).

Hafengeburtstag port festival and first-time arrivals

Cruise enthusiasts won’t have to wait for long as some of these ocean liners are already lined up for this spring’s Hafengeburtstag – the world’s biggest port festival, and one of Northern Germany’s largest public festivals (10 to 13 May 2018). Some of this year’s cruise highlights will include the arrival of Cunard Line’s MS Queen Elizabeth as well as the arrival of the AIDAsol, the AIDAvita, and the AIDAperla. And the number of cruise fans continues to grow further: each year, more than one million visitors make it to the banks of the River Elbe to take in these impressive ocean giants against the amazing backdrop of Hamburg’s port. To learn more about the Hafengeburtstag festival, visit www.hamburg.com/port-anniversary.

A special highlight will be the ship launching ceremony of Mein Schiff 1 by Hamburg-based shipping company TUI Cruises. Following its official launch on 11 May as part of the Hafengeburtstag, passengers will be taken on a two-day maiden voyage to Southern Norway, with stop-overs in Bergen and Stavanger as well as in Copenhagen (Denmark). Up until August, the Mein Schiff 1 will then be touring the Baltic Sea and Southern Norway and will also go on short trips to Gothenburg and Copenhagen. And later this year, as temperatures begin to drop in Northern Europe, the ship will depart for warmer climes.

The fact that Hamburg has become one of the most popular cruise ports in Europe is also confirmed by this summer’s impressive number of scheduled first-time arrivals: in 2018 alone, ten cruise liners will be calling to the port of Hamburg for the very first time. With 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), the size of arriving cruise ships continues to increase further. For an overview of all 2018 arrivals in Hamburg as well as further cruise-related information, visit http://www.hamburg-travel.com/attractions/shipping-and-cruises

There’s something about Mary

Throughout 2018, the graceful ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will be calling at the port of Hamburg as many as five times, making Hamburg something like the secret home port of the Queen Mary 2. It all began almost 14 years ago, when the ship first arrived in the port of Hamburg and was warmly welcomed by hundreds of thousands of locals. The event marked the beginning of the cruise boom in Hamburg and was the beginning of the ongoing love story between the Hamburg’s locals and the Queen Mary 2.

Coming up in 2019: the Hamburg Cruise Days

The boom in Hamburg’s cruise industry is perhaps most evident during the Hamburg Cruise Days – the cruise-themed festival (13 to 15 September 2019) that represents Hamburg’s maritime spirit like no other event. During the festival, Hamburg will be the undisputed centre of the global cruise scene ­– with countless ocean-going vessels, spectacular ship parades, and a diverse programme on land. September 2019 will also see two travel-themed trade fairs as well as the B2B event Seatrade Europe Hamburg (11 to 13 September 2019). Guests to these events will be able to gain unique insights into the cruise industry and immerse themselves in a maritime world of experience. Once again in 2019, light artist Michael Batz will be transforming Hamburg’s port and the Elbe into a Blue Port with his fantastic installations.

Ships viewings and other maritime events – with Hamburg Tourismus

Hamburg Tourismus has compiled a special offer for all those who have been entertaining the idea of cruise holidays for quite a while but haven’t decided yet: interested individuals now have the opportunity to go on board selected ships in the port of Hamburg as part of a special guided tour. All tour dates as well as further information is available at www.hamburg-travel.com/attractions/shipping-and-cruises/taster-tour-on-board-and-cruise-flair

And all those looking to experience the Hafengeburtstag festival or the 2019 Hamburg Cruise Days in person should make sure to get in touch with our Hamburg experts who have put together a couple of maritime package deals: starting from only €265 per person, you will be able to experience these festivals comfortably from the water as the package includes not only two overnight stays, but also a boat trip on the River Elbe.

(Hamburg Tourismus GmbH)

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