Busy May in Hamburg

Hamburg is having a busy May, according to Nadine Palatz, managing director of the Hamburg Cruise Center, including several maiden calls, the 826th anniversary of the port with six cruise ships in town, and a total of 40 calls for the month and more than 100,000 passengers.

In a prepared statement, Palatz summarized the month, starting on May 1 with a call by the
MSC Splendida, the largest passenger ship that will sail from the Hanseatic city this summer. The call was celebrated with the traditional exchange of plaques between the ship’s captain and the port captain.

Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, Frank Horch, and MSC’s Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago were present. The HafenCity Cruise Center also hosted a family-friendly event for visitors and ship enthusiasts with live music and entertainment.

On the following weekend from May 8 to 10, the festivities were focused on the 826th anniversary of the port. The AIDAbella, AIDAsol, Amadea, Artania, Europa 2 and Queen Elizabeth were in town. The highlight was Saturday night, when AIDA fireworks lit up the night sky over Hamburg. According to Palatz, hundreds of thousands of spectators watched the events.

Other maiden calls during the month were the Ocean Diamond on May 12, Poseidon Expeditions’ Sea Spirit on May 16, to be followed by Mein Schiff 4 on May 22.

One maiden call was also celebrated with a sea shanty: On April 30, for the passengers of the Regal Princess, a Hamburg Chamber of Commerce shanty choir performed.

Palatz said that the chamber of commerce offers cruise companies a range of services, such as support for PR activities or welcomes with a fire boat.

“It is important to us that a ship’s maiden call to our Hanseatic city is a special experience,” said Palatz.


STX Finland shipyard to be sold

By Jerry Limone

German shipbuilder Meyer Werft and the Finnish government have agreed to acquire STX Finland from South Korea-based STX Corp.

Meyer Werft will buy a 70% stake, the Finnish government 30%. The acquisition is subject to clearance by antitrust authorities and banks.

STX Finland has a shipyard in Turku; a shipyard in Rauma was sold to the Finnish town earlier this year. The plan is to rename the company Meyer Turku Shipyard.

The Turku yard built the Mein Schiff 3, a TUI Cruises ship that entered service in June. STX Finland is currently constructing the Mein Schiff 4, and TUI Cruises this week reached a deal for two more ships of the same class to be constructed at the Turku yard.

STX also has built many ships for the North American market, including Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

Meyer Werft’s Papenburg yard built Celebrity’s Solstice-class and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-class ships. The yard is constructing Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus and Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class vessels.