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Hamburg Cruise Days draws 7 ships, 600,000 visitors

Manuel Lebowsky
Ship parade - the highlight
The fourth annual Hamburg Cruise Days drew seven ships and 600,000 visitors, while 18,000 cruise passengers were handled during the Cruise Days weekend.

For three days a festive maritime flair prevailed along the four-kilometer event area, and Hamburg was blessed with fine weather. A dozen cruise-themed islands between HafenCity and Altona provided a range of sporting, artistic and cultural offerings and diverse entertainment. Taking centre stage at the event were the cruise ships: AIDAluna, AIDAstella, Deutschland, Delphin, Europa, MSC Magnifica and Gann.

The highlight was a ship parade. Accompanied by individual fireworks displays, four of the vessels sailed down the Elbe River in front of the harbour, spectacularly illuminated in blue by artist Michael Batz.

'With Hamburg Cruise Days and similar events like cruise ship christenings, we are bringing cruising home,' said Gerd Drossel, md of Hamburg Cruise Center. Such events offer 'a perfect platform for cruise lines to showcase their products and highlight the cruising theme,' he added.

Many tourists from across Germany spend a weekend in Hamburg during the event, which also provides a backdrop for images that go all around the world, Drossel said.

As the busiest month in 2014 with 43 cruise ship arrivals, August has more maritime highlights in store. On Sunday the city will welcome the Legend of the Seas, the first of the season’s five turnaround arrivals. In total, Hamburg expects 190 cruise calls this year.