Hamburg Cruise Port Marks 500,000 Passengers
Thursday, November 14, 2013
f.l.t.r.: Nadine Palatz (Hamburg Cruise Center e.V.), Anja Tabarelli (Cunard Line), Ivar Hammerbeck (500.001st guest), Senator Frank Horch (Senator of the Ministry for Economic, Transport and Innovation Affairs) und Dr. Stefan Behn (Hamburg Cruise Center e.V.).

The Hamburg Cruise Port said it reached the 500,000 passenger mark in a single season. The port anticipates further growth forecast for 2014, with the 200th ship in sight.

“The visit by the Queen Mary 2 to Hamburg on November6, 2013 will go down in the annals of Hamburg’s cruise industry and become an unforgettable ship’s call for everyone concerned,” said Frank Horch, Senator of the Ministry for Economic, Transport and Innovation Affairs. The visit was not only the 168th call of the current season but also marked the arrival of the 500,000th cruise guest in the city. “For the first time ever Hamburg has achieved this magical mark in a single season and, moreover, done so two years earlier than planned.”

Ivar Hammerbeck from Rendsburg was Hamburg’s 500,001st cruise guest of the 2013 season and was presented with a Hamburg package by the senator to mark the occasion. In cooperation with the HCC’s members Hammerbeck will be able to visit the city again in the near future, receiving a voucher for a two-night stay for two people in a Superior Suite at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg including breakfast. To round off the short break in the city the package also included a Hamburg Card; entrance tickets for the Hamburg Dungeon, Prototyp car museum, Chocoversum by Hachez and Miniature Wonderland attractions plus a gift set and vouchers for the Hard Rock Cafe Hamburg. In addition to this Anja Tabarelli, Director Sales and Marketing Cunard Line in Germany and Austria, also gave Hammerbeck a large surprise package from Cunard.

The first cruise passenger and the 500,001st guest of Hamburg’s 2013 cruise season were both sailing on board a Cunard ship to and from Hamburg. This highlights the close connection between Hamburg and the Cunard line and, in particular, the Queen Mary 2. The latter relationship dates back to 2004 and was the trigger for the cruise boom in the city. “We are looking forward to being able to celebrate this very special relationship in the coming year, which marks our 10th anniversary,” said Dr. Stefan Behn, Chairman of the Board of Hamburg Cruise Center e.V. (abbreviated as HCC).

“This year the cruise season, which has been Hamburg’s most successful ever, will again be ending in December,” announced Dr. Behn. Two cruise liners with some 3,000 predominantly British passengers will be calling at Hamburg in the run up to Christmas. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has two ships scheduled to visit Hamburg in December – the Balmoral will be in the city on December 18; her sister ship, the Boudicca, will be tying up in the HafenCity for New Year’s Eve. In addition to this the AIDAsol, Hamburg’s most frequent visitor in 2013, will be calling at the port six times and British cruise line Saga Cruises will be offering a mystery cruise.

This year the Hamburg cruise season will, for the first time, be ending on December 31. “Initial estimates by the association forecast some 555,000 passengers by the end of the season,” said Gerd Drossel, HCC Managing Director. This represents 29% growth over the previous year (2012: 430,329). In total 177 cruise ships called at the Port of Hamburg (+ 10% over the previous year). 167 of the calls were by ships beginning or ending their cruises, including 32 calls during which there was a partial turnaround, 10 were transit calls. The percentage of turnaround guests beginning or ending their cruise in Hamburg increased to 94% (2012: 89%). “According to these figures Hamburg was Germany’s most frequented embarkation or disembarkation port in 2013, once again topping the German cruise port rankings, as was already the case in 2012,” stated Drossel.

“An increasing number of cruise lines are carrying out so-called partial turnarounds (both passenger turnarounds and also transit calls). Partial turnarounds, in Hamburg’s case primarily carried out by international cruise lines, boost the local source market while also offering passengers a greater choice of embarkation ports,” elaborated Drossel.

In the case of partial turnarounds two-thirds of the passengers boarding ships were German. The proportion of German cruise guests going on a cruise to/from Hamburg in 2013 thus totaled 80.1% (2012: 69.5%). This illustrates the increasing focus of international players on the German market. The origins of the remaining passengers were very diverse, covering a total of just under 125 countries. In second place, at 5%, were British passengers, followed by Americans (2.1%) and Austrians (2%). Swiss nationals accounted for 1.85% of passengers. 1% came from Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands respectively.

In conjunction with the HCC Hamburg Chamber of Commerce has presented a revised evaluation of the value created in Hamburg in 2013 by the cruise industry, divided into four segments. They are: ship- and call-related; passenger-related; crew-related and company-related value creation. “Overall the four segments have generated some €270 million of revenue in Hamburg,” summarized Drossel.

To date, 191 planned ship’s calls have been registered for the 2014 season (181 will be ships beginning or ending their cruises, of which 52 will be partial turnarounds, and ten will be transit calls). “The number of passengers will increase to just under 600,000 (+ 8%),” forecasted Dr. Behn. The projected volume of transit passengers will be in the region of 7%.

22 cruise lines have registered a total of 34 cruise liners to call at Hamburg in 2014. 55% of the calls will be processed at the terminals in the HafenCity; 37% at the Cruise Center Altona and the remaining 8% will be divided between the O’Swaldkai dock and the Überseebrücke pier.

For the first time May will not be the busiest month but rather August 2014. “With a total of 43 ship’s calls; the 2014 Hamburg Cruise Days and a corresponding passenger volume of approx. 125,000 August will be the absolute high point of the year,” said Dr. Behn. The 2014 Hamburg Cruise Days from August 1-3 will see a total of seven cruise liners in the city. The first ships – the Delphin and the Europa – will arrive on August 1. On Saturday, August 2, the Gann, AIDAstella, Deutschland, Europa and MSC Magnifica will be mooring in the city. The last ships to arrive will be the Deutschland and the AIDAluna on August 3.

“The Atlantic Alliance marketing project now includes 18 European ports and/or destinations,” said Drossel. Themed cruises such as, for example, major Western European cities; UNESCO world cultural heritage sites; culinary highlights or major sporting events plus the ability to offer year-round cruises in the region, which encompasses the Western European coastline plus English and Irish ports, mean that it is continuing to boom. The routes offered by the AIDAprima are a good illustration of this.

Hamburg is, in itself, the location for 46% of embarkations in countries within the Atlantic Alliance region. The short travelling distances between the ports have played a major role in the region’s success, attracting great interest on the part of the cruise lines since they make it possible to develop routes which are particularly fuel-saving. A further benefit is the large number of potential markets which, in addition to Germany, include France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, Britain and Ireland. In 2012 the total number of passengers originating from these countries was 4.5 million. This represents a 71.65% share of the total European volume, simultaneously equivalent to market penetration of only 1.5%.

The projected figures for 2014 forecast continued satisfactory growth; however the rate will be less dynamic than in previous years. 2015 will see Hamburg take its next major step forward as a cruise destination, with the scheduled completion of the third cruise terminal and the positioning of the AIDAprima, which is planned to begin and end its cruises in Hamburg every seven days over 52 weeks of the year. “The association will strive to continue to preserve both Hamburg’s diversity as a destination and also its wide-ranging client portfolio consisting of niche operators; luxury cruise lines vs. mass market; national vs. international operators and partial turnarounds vs. transit calls,” emphasized Dr. Behn. This mix, combined with extremely diverse routes from/to Hamburg; a large catchment area within three to four hours’ travelling time by train or car and the trend to cruises embarking/disembarking close to home, will, in future, continue to benefit cruise destination Hamburg as the ideal German turnaround port for the local source market.

“In global terms the German market is currently the fastest growing and, when the final figures for the 2013 cruise season have been compiled, may possibly even overtake the British market to become the most important European source market,” said Dr. Behn. Experts forecast up to 2 million German ocean cruise passengers in 2015 and 2.5 million by 2020.

The German source market is also becoming increasingly attractive to American cruise lines. This is illustrated by booking figures for 2012, with one third of the total 1.54 million ocean cruise passengers booking their trip with an international cruise line. The 2014 summer season will see a liner under the flag of international cruise brand Royal Caribbean International making regular calls to Hamburg for the first time. “From August to September the Legend of the Seas will call at the city five times,” announced Dr. Behn. In addition to passengers from local source markets the ship will also bring American passengers to Hamburg, where they will embark and disembark. As a growing major city and among the TOP 10 European destinations in terms of overnight stays by tourists Hamburg offers excellent conditions for pre- and post-cruise packages, both for German speaking and also international guests.

Dr. Behn made clear that “We are, however, focusing on a comprehensive strategy, whose objective is, in cooperation with Hamburg’s stakeholders, to create the incentives and framework conditions which make transit calls and over-nights (i.e. ships remaining in port overnight) in Hamburg more attractive to the cruise lines.”

Hamburg undoubtedly has the potential to be among the world’s TOP 20 largest home ports. The figures for 2012 show that in a comparison of the most important Northern European “home ports” Hamburg comes in third behind Southampton with 1.529 million passengers and Copenhagen with 840,000 passengers.

“Since being founded in 1998 the HCC has proven itself to be an anchor of stability for the development of Hamburg as a cruise destination,” said Dr. Behn. The original expectations have, in the meantime, actually been exceeded to a greater extent than ever envisaged. Hamburg is now a fixed item on the Northern European cruise schedule. If this status is to be further enlarged, and there is significant potential to facilitate this, a precondition will be the continued competitiveness of the framework conditions for calls by cruise liners. Assuming this is achieved the 1 million passenger mark will not be far off.

“We already have 160 calls registered for the 2015 season,” concluded Dr. Behn.

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