Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs, Dr. Melanie Leonhard, the CEO of the Hamburg Port Authority, Jens Meier, and the President of AIDA Cruises, Felix Eichhorn, have signed a long-term agreement (LTA) to strengthen Hamburg as a cruise location.

AIDA Cruises and the Hanseatic City of Hamburg set course for further growth in the future together. To this end, the cruise company signed a long-term agreement (LTA) with the Hamburg Port Authority on September 1, 2023. With this agreement, AIDA underscores its commitment to the Hanseatic city and guarantees ship and passenger volumes for another five years. For more than 20 years, AIDA, the German market leader in the cruise sector, has been a regular guest on the river Elbe with its ships, and has attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city with five ship inaugurations. In addition, the company has been a sponsoring partner of major maritime events, such as the Hamburg Harbour Birthday and the Hamburg Cruise Days, for about a decade. With 124 calls in 2023, AIDA is the Port of Hamburg’s largest cruise customer and an important economic factor for the metropolitan region.

The cruise company and the city laid the foundation for sustainable development in Hamburg seven years ago, when Europe’s first shore-side power plant went into operation at the Cruise Center Altona.

Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises, explains: “We were the first cruise line to start using shore power in Europe. Since 2017 until today, AIDAsol has been regularly purchasing shore power year after year during her calls at Altona. As a long-standing partner of the Port of Hamburg, we are happy to support the Hamburg Port Authority with our experience and expertise in both the shore- and ship-side integration tests and for the opening of the new facility at the Steinwerder cruise terminal.

Senator for Economic Affairs Dr. Melanie Leonhard: “When a cruise ship enters or leaves the Port of Hamburg, it is an impressive and often unforgettable moment. This is true not only for the passengers on board, but also for the many spectators watching from the shore. The cruise industry makes an important contribution to adding value and employment in and around our port. Hamburg is one of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe and a pioneer in sustainability issues such as the expansion of shore power. Together with AIDA Cruises, we want to further develop our partnership and thus also Hamburg as a cruise location in a sustainable manner.”

Jens Meier, CEO HPA: “AIDA Cruises has made a significant contribution to the fact that we will probably reach the magic number of one million passengers this year. We don’t want to rest on our laurels, but rather continue to work on it together – also with regard to our joint commitment in the area of sustainability.”

AIDA Cruises has been considering the use of shore power in the planning and construction of its ships since 2004. On the shore side, another ten years passed before Europe’s first shore power facility was opened in Hamburg Altona in 2017 and AIDA was able to start regular operations. Since 2021, AIDA ships have also been able to use shore power from renewable energies in Kiel and Rostock-Warnemünde. Thanks to the opening of additional facilities in Europe, the company expanded its use of shore power to ports in Norway, the United Kingdom, and Denmark last year and this year. In many of the ports, AIDA was a key partner in the pilot phase and commissioning process. By using shore power, AIDA ships can reduce their engine emissions to almost zero while at berth.

As part of its Green Cruising Strategy, AIDA Cruises has been investing in a sustainable cruise market for many years and actively supports the European Union’s goal of establishing a shore power infrastructure in all major EU ports by 2030. In addition to the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an important bridging technology, AIDA Cruises is expanding the use of alternative energy sources such as shore power or batteries to operate its cruise ships. Together with various partners, the cruise company is working intensively on further solutions for using fuel cells or regenerative and synthetic fuels in the future and is putting them into practice. As part of Carnival Corporation & plc, AIDA Cruises aims to reduce carbon intensity by 20% by 2026 compared to 2019 and aspires to achieve net carbon-neutral ship operation of its fleet by 2050.