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The start of the Hamburg Cruise Days pur 2022

Hamburg, 19 August 2022 – Finally, the long wait is over: after the pandemic put a halt to the event for several years, the 8th Hamburg Cruise Days was officially opened on Friday afternoon. The thrilling event, which this year is intentionally being held as a smaller boutique version – hence the “pur” suffix – attracted thousands of cruise fans to the harbour. In a suitably spectacular style, the event kicked off with a double bill of legends: the light-up of the Blue Port Hamburg illuminations and the visit of the Queen Mary 2.  

A wonderfully relaxed start to a whole weekend dedicated to celebrating cruises and a very first highlight: Day 1 of the Hamburg Cruise Days pur got off to a brilliant and joyous start. With magnificent weather and throngs of cheerful visitors from Hamburg and all over Germany, after the coronavirus pandemic the world’s most spellbinding cruise event finally took off again on 19 August with an extensive, high-quality programme of events on land – plus the first of the breath-taking highlights that make the Hamburg Cruise Days so unique: the light-up of Blue Port Hamburg, which this year was attended by a royal guest of honour, the Queen Mary 2.

The highlight on Friday evening: royal blue and the queen of the ocean
Early in the morning, the Queen Mary 2 majestically pulled into the port and was greeted by crowds of admirers who had flocked to the riverside and the port to welcome this iconic cruise liner. It was the 75th time the Queen Mary 2 had come to Hamburg with passengers on board, in addition to her six shipyard calls here. The grand monarch of the ocean has attracted well in excess of three million spectators since July 2004, the first time she called in on Hamburg, and more than 140,000 passengers have boarded or ended their voyage on this icon in Hamburg since.

Around 20:00, the Queen Mary 2 departed from her berth at the Steinwerder Terminal, heading  towards the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where she was brought into position in a nautically highly complex manoeuvre. At 21:15 she sounded a typhoon blast from her horn, signalling the start of the legendary light-up of the Blue Port Hamburg illuminations. First, the cruise liner was illuminated in royal blue, followed by the Elbphilharmonie. Accompanied by music, dozens of other buildings, bridges, ships and landmarks along the riverside were gradually lit up to create the Blue Port Hamburg artwork, including the Cap San Diego, Rickmer Rickmers, the Stage Theater, the tower of St Michael’s Church, the Hadag ferries and the Chilehaus.  

The Hamburg-based actor Marek Erhardt and the lighting artist and creator of the artwork Michael Batz provided a highly illuminating and expert commentary. After the light-up, the monarch of the ocean left Hamburg on her way to New York, as thousands of spectators waved her a fond farewell from the port to the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s legendary “New York, New York”.

Michael Batz was highly satisfied with the start of his illuminated artwork: “The eighth Blue Port Hamburg was a very special one for me personally: at the premiere in July 2008, the Queen Mary 2 officially opened the very first Blue Port Hamburg; this evening we have come full circle again. Hamburg, the monarch of the ocean and Blue Port Hamburg are, quite simply, a very special love story.”

Energy: Blue Port Hamburg responds to the current situation
The Blue Port Hamburg will be illuminated until 28 August and will continue to provide a spectacular view of the port and its landmarks for the next nine days. This year, in response to the current drive to save energy, some changes have been made to the illuminated artwork: the installation area is around 30 per cent smaller and there are 4,000 fewer luminaires than in 2019. By adding coloured filters to existing lights (e.g. along the promenades, landing bridges, terminals), no additional electricity is required, and the number of additional lights needed has been significantly reduced. The operating time has also been shortened: Blue Port Hamburg will light up in the evening from 20:00, and at 01:00, 80 per cent of the blue lights are automatically switched off, meaning that they are not illuminated for 19 out of 24 hours.

The event is powered using green electricity, which the organisers source from Hamburg Energie. This means that the entire light show on Saturday evening will run entirely on green electricity from renewable sources.

Different conditions, a smaller scale
Due to the pandemic, which for a long time prevented the organisers from making concrete plans, some adjustments have been made to this year’s version of the event: the Hamburg Cruise Days are taking place under slightly different conditions and on a slightly smaller scale than usual – which is why this year’s event is called Hamburg Cruise Days pur, essentially a boutique version of the event. “Pure” expresses the essence of the event: the fascination of cruises, dreams of travelling to far-away places, peaceful shared enjoyment and carefree moments of pleasure.

This objective was more than achieved on the first day of the event. Katja Derow, co-organiser and managing director of redroses communications GmbH: “We are absolutely delighted and grateful to be able to celebrate our cruise festival again after several years in which the pandemic stopped everything. Today, we have seen that people’s joy and pleasure in cruises and the Hamburg Cruise Days remains as alive and exuberant as ever. I truly believe that we are satisfying a great, deep-seated longing that only seems to have grown over the past couple of years.”

Uwe Bergmann, co-organiser and managing director of uba gmbh, adds: “Due to the pandemic, planning required immense flexibility –­ and there was always a certain degree of uncertainty hanging over us. Against this background, we are incredibly proud to have pulled together this event in a highly professional manner in such a short period of time – and we are very pleased to see so many delighted visitors.”

Two more days of pure cruise fascination in the port
After the Queen Mary 2 on Friday evening, visitors will be able to admire four very different cruise ships in the port: AIDAprima and AIDAsol (both AIDA Cruises), MSC Magnifica (MSC Cruises) and MS Otto Sverdrup (Hurtigruten). The next highlight of the event takes place on Saturday, when the two stately cruise ships AIDAprima and MSC Magnifica come together in a “pas de deux” on the water. This stunning  multimedia spectacle between the Elbphilharmonie and Landungsbrücken with illuminations, drones and music promises to be an unforgettable sight. The creative mind behind this unique show is lighting artist Michael Batz.

As always, as well as the highlights on the water, there is also a varied and highly appealing programme along the waterfront, with a great choice of food and drink, music and entertainment at the heart of the port between Landungsbrücken and Kehrwiederspitze. The event’s partners will also be showcasing their services and cruises: AIDA Cruises as set up the AIDA Urlaubswelt at Kehrwiederspitze and MSC Cruises, nicko cruises and Cunard Line can be found along the Neue  Flutschutzmauer flood protection wall.

The first day of the Hamburg Cruise Days was a peaceful, joyous celebration. To avoid traffic chaos, the organisers strongly advise all visitors to come to the event on public transport on Saturday and Sunday.