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Hamburg: Ocean Liners Galore at ‘Cruise Days’

Hamburg is in for a salient event. Literally. At the Cruise Days, a sensational ocean liner parade will mesmerize half a million visitors. As many as twelve mostly gigantic cruise ships will take part, while the Port of Hamburg turns blue.

Hamburg may have lost its ‘Alstervergnügen’, a traditional festival around the ‘Binnenalster’ lake in the city center. But the stunningly beautiful city in northern Germany offers other great events, many of which have to do with water as well. This applies to the Hamburg Cruise Days, a happening right at the port.

Cruise Ship Parade

Twelve cruise ships, among them nine gigantic ocean liners, two river cruise ships and one special ship built for Polar exploration are scheduled to take part in the biggest cruise ship parade ever. The latter will be 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long.

Both the ‘Frederic Chopin’ and the ‘Sans Souci’ are 272-footers. They were not built for the open water. Instead of crossing this planet’s oceans they invade rivers such as the Danube. On these river liners, passengers will be taken from the Bavarian city of Passau all the way to Rousse in Bulgaria. And they will travel in style.

Blue Port Art and Blue Port Event will change the appearance of the port. Photo: BCS Media

The Polar exploration cruise ship ‘World Explorer’ will be there too. This luxury liner’s size is 126 meters (413 feet). Therefore it is about half as long as the ‘Titanic’ was. It accommodates 176 passengers in 5-star cabins, all of which have ocean view balconies. This impressive ship was completed and put to sea this year.

No Schettino in Sight

Among the nine giants which are expected to join the parade is the ‘MSC Preziosa’, a full-size ocean liner registered in Panama, which has enough room for 3,500 passengers. It is propelled by a Diesel-electric system with more than 59,000 horse powers. When this piece was written, the ‘Preziosa’ was located close to Ostend (Belgium).

The ‘MS Europa’, which will also be part of the Hamburg Cruise Days parade, is a relatively small floating palace for 500 passengers. The same applies to its sister vessel ‘Europa’, with room for 408 passengers.

Even on regular days, the Port of Hamburg is a great place. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The ‘Costa Mediterranea’ will be on the Elbe river too. Luckily, it will not be commanded by Captain Francesco Schettino, who was convicted to 16 years in prison after he wrecked its sister ship ‘Costa Concordia’ in 2012. Instead of helping his passengers after the cruise liner struck rocks at the Isola del Giglio, Schettino was one of the first to leave the sinking ship. As many as 33 passengers died.

Great Photo Op

Many more cruise ships will line up for the big parade, including the ‘Amadea’, the ‘AIDAvita’, the ‘AIDAsol’, the ‘AIDAperla’ and ‘Mein Schiff 4’. The latter ocean cruise liner owned by TUI Cruises has room for exactly 2504 passengers. With a length of 293 meters (961 feet), it does have enough room for 1253 cabins, nine restaurants, eight bars, a huge swimming pool on deck (as if there wasn’t enough water already) and many other attractions.

Even before all those cruise ships hit Hamburg, the project Blue Port Art will turn the port into blue. The artist in charge, Michael Batz, has been organizing cultural projects for 30 years. In 2008, the first edition of Blue Port Art took place. This year’s edition will start as soon as tomorrow, on September 6th, 2019, while the Hamburg Cruise Days take place from September 13th to 15th.

During the Cruise Days, the blue light will not disappear, but rather convert into something called Blue Port Event, meaning spectators will be able to watch those ships in blue light. This sounds like they will have excellent photo opportunities.

Flip Side of Coin

Of course the coin has a flip side. As impressive as all of those ships will look from the Port of Hamburg or the Elbe beach, they are not exactly green. In fact, regular cruise ships pollute the air quite badly, according to environmentalist organizations. This applies while they are in port too, because their on-board electricity is being generated by their giant Diesel engines most of the time. And those spread smoke and particles.

All details, including the program for the event, can be found on the official Hamburg Cruise Days website.