The Port of Hamburg will break cruise records again when it receives the MSC Meraviglia on Thursday, 9 August 2018. For the second time in a row, the Cruise Center Steinwerder will see the arrival of a cruise liner carrying more than 5000 passengers. Ten days ago, exactly 5085 guests boarded the ship in Hamburg to set off on a 10-day cruise. They were accompanied by over 7000 suitcases and 400 tonnes of food and beverages.
This is nothing out of the ordinary for Cruise Gate Hamburg (CGH), the operator of the cruise terminal. “Together with MSC Cruises and their representative, the port agent, we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that we can handle that many passengers. The Cruise Center Steinwerder has been designed to accommodate large, state-of-the-art cruise ships and its location on the south shore of the River Elbe outside of the city centre is perfect from a nautical and transport point of view,” explains Sacha Rougier, Managing Director of CGH. “We are very happy to see the MSC Meraviglia depart from Hamburg 14 times in this season. With MSC as a major customer for Hamburg, the city has gained in international importance as a cruise port.”
Michael Zengerle, Managing Director of MSC Cruises in Germany, says, “The MSC Meraviglia, our flagship in Hamburg in the current summer season, sails from Steinwerder on voyages to Great Britain and Ireland or Iceland and Norway’s fjords all the way to Spitsbergen. Our German guests in particular appreciate the international, elegant Mediterranean ambience and enjoy the top-class entertainment (Cirque du Soleil at Sea), culinary and family services offered aboard our ships. All this, of course, includes a relaxed start to the holiday without long queues at baggage drop-offs, check-in points and security as well as convenient parking directly at the terminal. Ground teams and onboard staff work hand in hand to ensure utmost customer satisfaction.”
However, high passenger numbers are also a challenge. Some 100 people working at the terminal do their utmost to turn around mega cruise ships like the MSC Meraviglia, which can accommodate more than 5000 passengers, smoothly and fast. Apart from Cruise Gate Hamburg’s staff, linesmen, the water police, customs, security firms and the staff of the shipping company’s port agent and handling services provider ensure efficient turnaround services. Alexander Napp, Managing Director of PWL Port Services GmbH & CO. KG - the ship broker in charge of MSC in the Port of Hamburg - describes the specific challenges calls by supersized ships present. “Managing a turnaround of passengers and baggage and stocking the ship is different from dealing with a ship stopping by for a day so that guests visit the city as part of their cruise package. A fine-tuned orchestration of all the different operations is needed for efficient turnaround services. That’s what we provide, and we have been doing so since the MSC Meraviglia first called at the Port of Hamburg in April 2018.”
“Ship sizes are increasing. Hamburg knows that turnaround processes will become even more complex and is well placed for the future. Ensuring the functionality of the terminals is as much a priority as ensuring that international guests have good transport connections from the city and all guests continue to enjoy excellent services and easy access to the terminals,” says Rougier.