Hamburg Bracing for Record Cruise Season

Following a record 314,500 passenger 2011 season, Hamburg Cruise Center is preparing for over 400,000 passengers in 2012, from 164 calls, up from 118 last year.

“The entire Hamburg economy ultimately benefits from cruising operations, including the shipyards, suppliers, excursion providers, catering enterprises and security companies, thereby opening up excellent prospects for Hamburg in terms of added value and new jobs. To use the potential within the sector and continuously develop Hamburg’s fortes as a cruise destination, Hamburg wants to establish a cruise initiative based at the Department for Economics, Traffic and Innovation.  Amongst other things, the initiative will focus on innovation and sustainability, marketing and tourism as well as qualifications and jobs,” said a press release issued by the port.

Record 2011

By the end of the season, Hamburg Cruise Center (HCC) had processed 314,500 passengers, an increase of 28 percent in comparison to the previous year (2010: 246,000 passengers). The Cruise Port of Hamburg was visited a total of 118 times by cruise ships, a 13.5 percent increase in the number of calls.


The number of transit visitors rose considerably in 2011 to more than 39,100 in total, a healthy five-fold increase against the previous year’s figure (2010: 7,201).

A significant change in percentage figures regarding passenger origins was also evident. While 91 percent of passengers came from Germany in 2010, this figure decreased to 73 percent in the 2011 season. Overall, the 2011 season saw passengers welcomed from 107 different countries. A broad range of nationalities also sailed on board the “Costa Magica”, including Italian (5.7 percent), French (3.6 percent) and Spanish (2 percent) passengers. The USA and Austria both provided 1.8 percent of the passenger total, followed by the Netherlands, which accounted for 1.5 percent.

Located at the heart of Europe, the Cruise Port of Hamburg is an ideal departure point for cruises. In terms of route distribution, the following percentages were recorded for 2011: 40 percent of departures headed for Norway (Oslo and Bergen regions), 21 percent of the routes led down the Atlantic along Europe’s west coast, 13.5 percent went through the Baltic, 12 percent to England, Scotland and Ireland, 9 percent headed to the North Cape and 4.5 percent headed across the Atlantic.

2012 Season

Hamburg Cruise Center is expecting 164 cruise calls during the 2012 season (150 turnarounds and 14 transit calls), an increase of 39 percent against last year’s figure.

The total number of passengers will rise to over 400,000, up 27 percent. Hamburg is marked by its broad customer portfolio, which underlines the appeal and diversity of the location for passengers. Overall, 25 cruise lines have already registered 38 cruise ships in the Hanseatic city for 2012.


In a global comparison, the German cruise market is currently growing at the fastest rate, with the number of cruise passengers totaling around 1.21 million in 2010. Experts forecast that the figure will reach two million as early as 2015. German cruise ports are benefiting from the present framework conditions and anticipated growth on the German market, with the current market penetration of just 1.5 offering a great deal of potential for the future (Great Britain stands at 2.6). Hamburg is optimally placed as an excellent turnaround port and simultaneously serves as the access point to the German source market. The Hanseatic city has a huge catchment area, with 40 million people living within a four-hour drive or three to four hour train ride, or as Mr. Drossel confidently put it, a lot of potential cruise passengers.

A passenger volume of 500,000 for the 2015 season is wholly realistic.

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