Big Weekend in Hamburg

Queen Elizabeth maiden callEvery single hotel bed was sold out last weekend in Hamburg

350,000 people celebrated the famous “Schlagermove”, a so-called music parade; another 50,000 watched the boxing match of the year when Vladimir Klitschko outgunned David Haye; almost 15,000 people visited the German horse derby and 6,000 runners participated at the half marathon, taking place annually through the city centre of Hamburg. Last but not least, two cruise ships have been in port on 3 July, AIDAluna and a first-time royal visit by the Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth called on July 3 at the Port of Hamburg for the first time. All of the Queen Mary 2’s calls, as well as the first visit of the Queen Elizabeth, will be accompanied by a Queen Mary 2 Village at the Hamburg Cruise Center in the HafenCity district.

The Queen Mary 2 will celebrate what is already its twentieth arrival in Hamburg on August 13, while the Queen Victoria is a regular visitor to the Hanseatic city in the Christmas season. Now on July 3 the third queen in the trio, the Queen Elizabeth, was received in Hamburg on its maiden season with fittingly royal honours.

As is traditional, the plaque and key ceremony took place on board the ship. Hamburg’s Economics Senator Frank Horch made a short speech to welcome Captain Julian Burgess and his crew, wishing many happy returns.

The first arrival of the Queen Mary 2 in 2004 will remain an unforgettable experience for many of the local population. Nearly half a million people observed the event from the shore, and since then every royal visit to the Port of Hamburg has had a more and less equally massive audience.

In the early evening, at 5.00 pm, the Queen Elizabeth left the berth, accompanied by the spouting jets of the floating fire brigade, for a ten-day cruise to Scandinavia and Russia before returning to Hamburg again on July 13.

The ships next visit will not be till 2012 – when it leaves Hamburg on 8 January to circumnavigate the globe. After a voyage lasting just 111 days, the Queen Elizabeth returns to the Hanseatic metropolis on 29 April 2012. It will be the first time that a British ship has set out on an exclusive world tour from a German port.

Cunard knows it can count on a loyal public coming from all parts of Germany, and is planning another major maritime event for 2012. On July 15 the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth will visit the Hanseatic city together. This is the first time in the history of the Cunard Line that two Queens will call the Port of Hamburg simultaneously. The big moment will undoubtedly be the departure in convoy of the two Queens.  

The Queen Victoria will also be visiting the Hanseatic city in 2012. On December 18 she will be leaving Hamburg for a Christmas and New Year’s cruise.

Meanwhile the Queen Mary 2 will be making as many as six visits to the Port of Hamburg, and the “Queen Elizabeth five”. So Cunard is boosting its presence at the port, from eight arrivals this year to twelve in 2012.

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