A unity of sound and light: Elbphilharmonie Hamburg launches “Mein Schiff 6” cruise liner

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg launches  Mein Schiff 6 (Photo Hamburg Marketing Christian Spahrbier)A musical genius goes maritime: last night (Jun 1st), Iveta Apkalna, head organist of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, launched the cruise liner “Mein Schiff 6” on behalf of the spectacular new concert hall.

During the ceremony, the fourth new addition to the Hamburg based TUI Cruises’ feel-good fleet was moored just beside the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s new landmark.

Joined by six cruise officers in uniform, Iveta Apkalna spoke the crucial words “I hereby give you the name of Mein Schiff 6” at last night’s launching ceremony, which could be heard not only on the ship but also on the Plaza, the Elbphilharmonie’s public viewing platform.

Using a baton, Ms Apkalna then gave the signal for the bottle of champagne to be broken against the ship’s bow. Visibly moved, she remarked: “For me as an organist, stage performances are part of everyday life. However, launching a cruise liner on behalf of the Elbphilharmonie has been a unique experience that I will surely remember for a long time. Today, I am representing the Elbphilharmonie. For me it is the world’s most important concert hall ­– a truly unique cathedral of music.”

Cruise liner as a resonating body

The Mein Schiff 6 left the cruise terminal of Hamburg-Altona at 9 pm last night and then made its way up the River Elbe to the Elbphilharmonie to prepare for the launching ceremony. In keeping with the tagline “Mein Schiff wird Musik”, the event’s music programme was kicked off, during which the ship was transformed into a resonating body.

First, the Mein Schiff 6 and the Elbphilharmonie welcomed each other with performances by two shanty choirs. This was followed by the world premiere of a music piece inspired by the fourth movement of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, which was specifically composed for the event. Drawing on the idea of a sound sculpture, the composition featured various different groups of instruments to highlight the Elbphilharmonie’s extraordinary musical diversity and its role as ambassador. The performing artists on board the ship included an opera singer, a DJ, a rock guitar player, a laser harp player as well as a string quartet.

And yet the event was not only a feast for the ears, but also for the eyes as the music programme was supported by an impressive light show visualising the unity of cruise ship and concert hall. Once the champagne bottle shattered, the Elbphilharmonie bathed the Mein Schiff 6 in blue light, and at 10:45 pm a grand fireworks display was set off in the sky above the River Elbe.

The cruise liner then departed on its maiden voyage. Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, explained: “The Elbphilharmonie provides extraordinary experiences, and at TUI Cruises we strive to do the same. For us it was important to design an event that reflects these shared values. So even with the Elbe between them, the Elbphilharmonie and the Mein Schiff 6 became one.”

This year’s launching ceremony for TUI Cruises’ fourth new vessel was mainly dedicated to the fans of TUI Cruises’ feel-good fleet. More than 1,950 passengers booked tickets for the exclusive launching event, which included the subsequent maiden voyage from Hamburg to Kiel.

Cruise capital of Hamburg, and Hamburg Cruise Days festival in September

Hamburg is the world’s number 1 destination for maritime entertainment and cruise events, and the city’s port is frequently transformed into one big stage for the cruise industry. Following the Hafengeburtstag port festival in May, the launching ceremony for the Mein Schiff 6 was in fact the second highlight of this summer’s packed calendar of events. With the Norwegian Jade (2,466 passengers) arriving on 4 June and the Independence of the Sea (3,634 passengers) arriving on 12 July, more and more large-scale cruise ships are entering the port of Hamburg for the very first time. The Silver Wind of Silversea Cruises, which will be calling at Hamburg‘s port on 10 September, is adding to the list of large-scale luxury vessels to arrive in Hamburg. Details on all ship arrivals in 2017 as well as further information on the cruise sector are available at www.hamburg-travel.com/cruises.

Hamburg’s most spectacular cruise event will be kicked off at the end of the summer: taking place for the sixth time, the Hamburg Cruise Days from 8 to 10 September 2017 will once again transform the port of Hamburg into one big stage for the cruise industry and cruise fans. A record number of ten cruise liners is scheduled to take part in the 2017 Hamburg Cruise Days, the biggest public cruise festival in Europe. Participating ships will include the AIDAprima (AIDA Cruises), the MSC Preziosa (MSC Cruises), the Europa and the Europa 2 (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), the Mein Schiff 3 (TUI Cruises), the MS Albatros and the MS Amadea (Phoenix Reisen), the Silver Wind (Silversea Cruises), as well as the Norwegian Jade (Norwegian Cruise Line) and the Sans Souci (Plantours) – which will be the first appearance of a river cruise ship at the event. This record attendance of vessels will make this year’s ship parade the biggest parade of all time. On the night of 9 September, six cruise liners will jointly leave the port of Hamburg and make their way down the River Elbe, accompanied by 24 escort ships and a large fireworks display. Overall, 1,575 metres of ship will be joining the show, with a total of 502,946 gross registered tonnes and 17,140 passengers. To learn more, visit www.hamburgcruisedays.de.

Elbphilharmonie – Hamburg´s new landmark

With the opening of the spectacular Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall in January, the Northern German music city of Hamburg has positioned itself as one of the top places to be in 2017. The building, the music programme and the quality of life in this city on the River Elbe have received abundant praise in city rankings and editorials e.g. by the New York Times, Le Monde as well as by China’s leading media titles. Over the past six months, more than 2 million people have visited the Plaza, the Elbphilharmonie’s public viewing platform, and enjoyed the impressive view over the port. With this new concert hall on the Elbe, Hamburg strives to become one of the leading cities in the world of music. With an architectural design that fuses tradition and modernity and its maritime location, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg highlights the city’s identity as a cosmopolitan trading hub on the water that boasts outstanding cultural events, a high quality of life and innovative economic strength. More about the new landmark: www.elbphilharmonie.de.

(TUI Cruises, Hamburg Tourismus GmbH)