PHOTO: Hamburg again revealed its most beautiful side: at the Grand Hamburg Cruise Days Parade. Five gigantic cruise liners – AIDAprima, Norwegian Jade, EUROPA 2, EUROPA and MSC Preziosa – sailed down the Elbe against the backdrop of the illuminated Blue Port Hamburg. (photo: CHL PhotoDesign/Christian Lietzmann)
This past weekend, Germany’s Port of Hamburg was celebrated by Hamburg Cruise Days 2017 and a whopping 500,000 visitors or so in total.
Yet, this is not the destination’s only impressive statistic.
Emphasizing the kind of pull Hamburg has internationally, the port’s biggest-ever Grand Hamburg Cruise Days Parade lined up the AIDAprima, Norwegian Jade, EUROPA 2, EUROPA and MSC Preziosa along the Elbe—all escorted by barges, sailing vessels, other passenger ships and a grand backdrop of fireworks.
Last year saw a healthy cruise season thanks to American cruise brands Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Residences at Sea each calling once with a single ship. One of Oceania Cruises’ vessels also arrived twice, and Cunard’s entire fleet of three made a total of 10 visits.
2017 will be even better with Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Silversea Cruises joining the fold. Azamara and Royal Caribbean have one ship and one call each scheduled while Silversea has two ships and two visits on the calendar. Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line has a vessel set to arrive seven times.
Plus, returning brands Holland America, Princess and Oceania are all coming twice while Cunard is bringing back two ships across seven visits.
Since 2016, the numbers show an increase from 1,866 passengers ending their cruise and disembarking in Hamburg to 3,559. Norwegian Cruise Line’s regular sailings to and from Hamburg since June 2017 are largely attributed.
And even though Crystal Cruises is not scheduled this year, the luxury line has expressed interest to participate in Cruise Days 2020.
Hamburg’s convenient flight connections include United Airlines’ nonstop to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey as well as The Fontenay hotel for pre- and post-cruise stays. The Fontenay is a new five-star property named for American shipbroker John Fontenay from Pennsylvania. Its 131 guest rooms are positioned on Alster lake, only a ten-minute stroll from the heart of the city.
The New York Times considers Hamburg a highly-prized destination for 2017 because of the new hotel as well as the recent opening of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
Other points of interest include the now-museum of Ballinstadt—Hamburg’s counterpart to Ellis Island—and the city also has a strong Cunard connection with New York and the States. In fact, cruising is considered to have origins in the German port following its transatlantic shipping trade.
Today, Hamburg is an ideal location to cruise to Northern European, Great Britain and Norway.
Besides Hamburg Cruise Days, the maritime city hosts Harbor Birthday in May and Elbe Festival in September. It is also where many ship naming ceremonies take place and first-calls are celebrated.
Naturally, it is a hub for all German cruise lines, but American cruise lines are adding to the list as well.
The cruising future of Hamburg is a bright one.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.