Another record year for Hamburg

FEBRUARY 25, 2013

2012: Cruise Port Hamburg continued to grow. 2013: Hamburg Cruise Center is anticipating record results with 500,000 passengers and a total of 177 cruise calls.

Season record 2012

Ship naming ceremonies, port anniversaries, Cruise Days and international trade fairs: The fact that Hamburg is the platform for the cruising industry was a major reason the city was declared ‘Cruise Port of the Year 2012’ at the GERMAN CRUISING AWARDS.

HCC had processed 430,329 passengers by the end of the 2012 season, which equates to an increase of 37 percent compared to the previous year’s figure (2011: 314,500 passengers). As such, the 2011 growth rate was again surpassed. All in all, cruise ships visited the Port of Hamburg 160 times (a 36 percent rise compared to the previous year), which involved 151 cruise starts and terminations and nine transit visits. The proportion of turnaround passengers that started or ended their journey in Hamburg rose to 89 percent (2011: 87.5 percent).
Although a low percentage figure in terms of the overall volume, the absolute number of transit passengers increased in comparison to the previous year, with a total of 45,330 transit passengers welcomed in the Hanseatic city. This figure equates to an increase of 16 percent against 2011. The rise is a result of the partial turnarounds* made by Costa Cruises during the 2012 season.
These figures confirm Hamburg’s position as the most popular German embarkation and disembarkation port in 2012, with the city consequently topping the German cruising port rankings.
The repeated significant change in the percentage distribution of passenger origins is not only a result of the partial turnarounds, but also the prevalent increase in arrivals and departures of other international providers such as MSC Cruises and the Cunard Line. The 73 percent proportion of German passengers registered in 2011 dropped to 69.5 percent in the 2012 season; however, this still reflects the overall majority of passengers. The second largest group were British passengers at 8 percent, followed by the French at 4 percent (2011: 3.6 percent), while 3.6 percent of passengers came from Italy (2011: 5.7 percent).

2.8 percent from the Netherlands (2011: 1.5 percent), 2.4 percent from Austria (2011: 1.8 percent) and 2 percent from the USA (2011: 1.8 percent). Spanish and Swiss passengers each accounted for 1.5 percent. Overall, passengers from 120 different countries were welcomed in Hamburg in the 2012 season (2011: 107 countries).

Cruising boom set to continue in 2013 with half a million passengers anticipated

The trend of dynamic growth witnessed over previous years is set to continue. The total number of passengers will exceed 500,000 (up 16 percent).
We are expecting 177 calls from ships (154 cruise starts and terminations, 14 partial turnarounds and nine transit visits) over the 2013 cruising season, an increase of 10 percent against the previous year. Accordingly, Hamburg will once again be the most frequented change-over port in Germany. The volume of transit passengers is expected to reach around five percent.

22 shipping lines have registered a total of 35 cruise liners in the Hanseatic city for the 2013 season. Shipping lines introducing new cruise liners and lines making their maiden visit to Hamburg, along with ‘old’ favourites and, of course, a whole host of maritime highlights, will once again make the 2013 season a record-breaking year.

Framework conditions favour current growth

Despite the on-going financial crisis in Europe and associated cost reduction measures, particularly in terms of travel activities, the number of holidaymakers interested in taking a cruise is rising. Be it for a long weekend break or an annual vacation, a cruise offers exceptional value for money when compared to other forms of holiday: for example, a cruise can be perfectly combined with one- or two-day city breaks in the embarkation and disembarkation ports. Whereas around five million Europeans took a cruise in 2010, that figure had already increased to over six million by 2011. Experts are forecasting 10 million European passengers for 2020. In combination with the home-to-home cruise trend (75 percent of the around six million European cruise passengers preferred a cruise in home waters), this not only offers further excellent prospects for European cruise destinations such as Europe’s Atlantic coast and the Baltic region, but also for cruises around the UK, Ireland and Iceland, as well as to Norway.

As superb arrival and departure destinations, German ports in particular could benefit from this development. In a global comparison, the German cruising market is currently growing at the fastest rate. Recording almost 1.4 million German high-sea passengers in 2011 (2010: 1.2 million) and a corresponding market penetration of just 1.7 percent of the entire travel market, this is a high-potential source market. Due to its geographical location, Hamburg is both optimally positioned and a ‘door opener’ for the German source market.

Hamburg: an all-year-round destination offering a whole host of attractive routes

Located in the heart of Europe, the cruising port of Hamburg is an ideal starting point for a variety of different cruising routes and the upcoming season is again marked by an extremely diverse route structure. 35 percent of departures head out to what is consequently the most popular region cruised from Hamburg, Europe’s Atlantic coast, which also takes in the British ports along the English Channel, such as Dover. This area reflects the Atlantic Alliance region, which encompasses interesting source markets and offers a versatile portfolio of geographic and cultural cruise content due to the multifaceted character and diversity of its destinations. In addition, the Atlantic Alliance region also offers short cruise distances between one port and the next, a fact that strikes a chord with the cruise lines as it enables the creation of fuel-saving itineraries. In comparison to the Mediterranean ports, this region also offers an extremely interesting travel itinerary throughout the colder time of year.

Accounting for 31 percent of departures, Norway (Oslo, Bergen) is the second most-frequented region. 8 percent of routes set out from Hamburg to cruise around England, Scotland and Iceland, while 5 percent respectively head towards the Baltic and Nordkapp. 3 percent of cruises journey across the Atlantic. The remaining 7 percent are divided between voyages to the Mediterranean, stopovers in shipyards and short cruises.

This attractive route diversity favours the cruising port of Hamburg in terms of sustainably developing and establishing itself as an all-year-round destination in future.
Hamburg’s cruising season now regularly extends into December. Whereas in the past the cruising season for northern European ports only included the summer months to the total neglect of the cold time of year, it is the winter months in particular that have now developed into an independent ‘Christmas market cruising season’ for the industry. This is an important step for Hamburg towards becoming an all-year-round destination. Another milestone will be the fact that, from the beginning of May through to December of the coming 2013 season, a cruise ship will be regularly sailing on cruises from and to Hamburg for the first time. Hamburg will only speak of an all-year-round destination when a ship has been stationed in the port for at least ten months. This could be the case as early as 2014.

An anniversary that will pay off

This October, as Hamburg Cruise Center celebrates its 15th anniversary it will be able to look back on an extremely successful history. Around 20 founding members established the association in 1998 with the aim of reviving cruising business in Hamburg. Together with the members, including shipping lines, agents, port companies, ship chandlers, catering enterprises and hotels, the association has turned Hamburg into one of the most popular cruising destinations in Europe.
The structure of the association and the corresponding functions are regarded as Best Practice in the international cruising industry – a prime example of successful destination marketing. Currently consolidating the interests of more than 90 members from all along the cruising supply chain, the association consequently provides these members with a mutual and meaningful platform.
HCC is looking optimistically towards the future. The half-million passenger volume forecast for 2015 will be achieved as early as 2013. There are already over 170 registrations for the 2014 season; a passenger volume of one million for the 2020 season is certainly realistic.