An 823rd birthday might not really be that much of a special occasion, but in the case of Hamburg it was. Over the weekend of 11-13 May the celebrations in the port attracted more than 1.4 million people and many ships from around the world. Hamburg’s birthday is always a big occasion, but it is likely that 2012 was the biggest yet. A major attraction was the naming of AIDAmar (see Cruise news), although for the three days the harbour sides were lined with thousands of spectators for the many events taking place on the water.
The official celebrations began on Friday afternoon, with the opening parade of ships slowly making their way into the city centre from the west. Among the ships in this impressive display were all of the local museum ships capable of powered movement, including the Elbe 3 lightship, the Icebreaker Stettin and the 1962-built passenger and cargo ship Cap San Diego, together with numerous visiting tall ships such as Mir, Kruzenshtern, and Alexander von Humboldt II, and warships including HMS St Albans and the new Indian Talwar class frigate Teg.
On Saturday every available vessel was pressed, including normally static restaurant ships, cranes and preserved tugs. An emergency evacuation of a harbour ferry was demonstrated, and many of the visiting ships were open to the public. The event ended on Sunday afternoon with the final parade.