Hamburg is getting ready for the 823rd anniversary of its world famous port. That is announced by the poster for the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY 2012, with its “Cast off” slogan, setting the scene for Hamburg’s maritime mega-event in May. The new campaign motif combines a ship’s prow with Hamburg’s well-known landmarks; the design is based on the historic ship posters of the international shipping lines.
Majestic tall ships, imposing cruise vessels, modern naval units and magnificent heritage ships will be lining up for the parade to offer anniversary congratulations from 11 to 13 May 2012, celebrating the star of the world’s greatest port festival.
One of the vessels coming to the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY, paying her first visit to the Port of Hamburg, is the three-masted barque Alexander von Humboldt II, the successor since last autumn to the famous “Green Lady”, the first Alexander von Humboldt. The luxury clipper Star Flyer will also be making her first visit to the Port of Hamburg, following a history of Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising and before taking up North Sea and Baltic routes from May onwards. This 115 metre, four-masted tall ship will take part in the Grand Arrival and Departure Parades, and will be moored at the Überseebrücke landing stage on the three days of the event.
Alongside Alex II and Star Flyer, another three impressive tall ships will be heading for Hamburg for the 823rd HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY. The 114 metre Russian four-master Kruzenshtern is still regarded as one of the most glamorous of the sailing ships, at the proud age of 85 years. And the sight of the Polish sail training ship Dar Młodzieży with her 26 sails is a delight to all tall ship enthusiasts. This 109 metre ship has been serving as a training unit for young officers of the merchant navy at the Maritime University of Gdynia since 1982. The 108 metre Mir from Russia is a regular guest at the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY and never fails to thrill the spectators in Hamburg.
Altogether there are more than 300 vessels involved in the show at the 823rd HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY, including tall ships and museum ships, sports boats and naval vessels, and service vessels of the authorities and institutions such as customs, Federal police, river police, fisheries protection service, THW (Technical Relief Agency) and the Institute of Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht. Most of the vessels will not only be visible close-up, but will also welcome visitors on board with Open Ship opportunities, showing what life is like on deck and below deck, with the crew on hand to give first-hand information.
A special highlight of this year’s programme will be the spectacular christening of the AIDAmar on the Elbe during the anniversary celebrations – the Rostock based cruise company AIDA Cruises welcomes the ninth member of its fleet on the evening of 12 May, with the greatest club ship parade ever – with AIDAluna, AIDAblu and AIDAsol. For the first time in the history of cruising, three identical twin sister ships will escort their next fleet member as patrons for the christening. And then the festivities will be crowned by a brilliant firework display over the port.
India, this year’s partner country, brings truly exotic flair to the 823rd HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY. The Indian subcontinent presents itself with a wide range of cultural activities, dance and music presentation, characteristic cuisine and traditional crafts, at the colourful INDIA FESTIVAL right next to the Fish Auction Hall. The partner country presentations will not be at their usual location at Kehrwiederspitze this year, because of the flood protection building activities, but instead will occupy a part of the Fish Market site. Visitors can find out there about a wide range of travel offers to India, about traditional Indian healing methods such as Ayurveda and Yoga, and can taste Indian cuisine from three different regions.
On shore, as in the water, the world’s greatest port festival will feature a maritime programme that appeals to the whole family. From Kehrwiederspitze to the Fish Auction Hall, there will be live music and cultural presentations, arts and crafts and culinary pleasures for the enjoyment of adults and children. Those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle will find plenty to interest them in the HafenCity, at the Oevelgönne Museum Harbour, at the Heritage Harbour, and in the Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) on all three days, with festivities, hands-on activities and entertainment.
Source: Hamburg-Messe, March 2, 2012; Image: AIDA