AIDA Cruises, the Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Hamburg Port Authority signed a long-term agreement (LTA) on 1st September, 2023, whereby the cruise ship operator guarantees ship and passenger volumes for another five years.
The LTA was signed by Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs, Dr Melanie Leonhard, Hamburg Port Authority CEO, Jens Meier, and the President of AIDA Cruises, Felix Eichhorn.
For over 20 years, AIDA has been a regular caller on the River Elbe and has also 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 Hamburg’s largest cruise customer and an important economic driver for the metropolitan region.
In addition, 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 Centre Altona.
Eichhorn explained: “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,” he said.
Dr Leonhard added: “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,” she said.
Meier commented: “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 looking at the use of shore power in the planning and construction of its ships since 2004. On the shore side, another 10 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 UK, and Denmark last year and this.
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 berthed.
As part of Carnival Corp, AIDA Cruises aims to reduce carbon intensity by 20% by 2026, compared to 2019 and aspires to achieve net carbon-neutral ship operations by 2050.