2023 proved to be one of the most successful years for the Port of Hamburg as it welcomed well over one million passengers. The numbers the port recorded last year mark a significant increase of more than 50% from the numbers recorded in 2022. 

Hamburg is one of the largest cities in Northern Germany and has become a popular homeport for major cruise lines like AIDA and Mein Schiff, and a regular stop for Costa, Cunard, Seabourn, Disney, MSC Cruises, and Azamara, particularly during the winter season.

Between 2022 and 2023, the Port of Hamburg realized an increase in passenger numbers exceeding 52% year over year, welcoming 1,204,089 guests in 2023, compared to 785,000 in 2022. Throughout 2023, Hamburg welcomed 51 different cruise ships, which made 278 calls at the port. The final numbers come after a strong start of the year, welcoming the one-millionth cruise passenger in November 2023.

Hamburg’s popularity has several different reasons. The port is one of only a few homeports in Germany, which is one of Europe’s biggest cruise markets. Germany is also the only country in Europe to feature two major cruise lines focused entirely on the home market, AIDA and Mein Schiff. 

The port is also close enough to the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden to offer a suitable alternative for ports such as Southampton, Rotterdam, and Copenhagen.

The popularity of cruises sailing from Hamburg and cruise ships calling to the city has proven to be a significant economic driver for the city, generating 420 million euros in revenue and supporting approximately 4,490 full-time jobs.

Photo Credit: fritschk / Shutterstock.com

The outlook for 2024 is positive, with 270 cruise ship calls scheduled. Hamburg is proving especially popular for winter voyages, with 21 calls scheduled in December, all for ships coming to the city to experience the Christmas markets. During November and December, the city boasts over 30 different Christmas markets, visited by more than 3 million people each year.

Besides the winter season, Cunard’s newest cruise ship, the 113,000 gross tons, 3000-passenger Queen Anne will be making a maiden call to the city in 2024, and in early 2025, sail a 112-night World Cruise from HamburgCosta Favelosa will continue to sail to Hamburg, and Disney Cruise Line’s 129,690 gross ton, 4,000-passenger Disney Dream will make the first-ever call to the Northern German port this year. 

Other ships sailing to Hamburg this year include Seabourn Quest, Villa Vie Odyssey, Sirena, Azamara Onward, Mein Schiff 7, and Sky Princess

To ensure the port can continue growing, Hamburg is investing heavily in its cruise infrastructure. In 2025, the 42 million euro Hafencity cruise terminal is slated to be completed, boasting two state-of-the-art berths with shore power capabilities, cutting down on the environmental impact of docked ships.

The rise of cruise ports that are willing to grow and invest in cruising, such as Hamburg, is a refreshing development in the industry. This contrasts sharply with other regions limiting or banning cruise ships due to environmental concerns and overcrowding. 

Cruise passengers are increasingly seeking new and less frequented destinations, driving demand for ports like Hamburg that are open to development and eager to attract new business. 

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