Highlight of Hamburg’s annual events calendar will again be the Harbor Birthday celebration. Touted to be the world’s biggest harbor festival, the tradition goes back to 1189, when Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa granted the people of Hamburg exemption from customs duties for ships on the Elbe river. Centered on and around the landing docks, Hamburg’s 824th Harbor Birthday is expected to draw some 1.5 million visitors who for four days will enjoy 500 booths, music, performances, food, and entertainment. Complementing the activities on land, some of the world’s most impressive cruise ships, frigates and steamboats ships will be part of the program with ship parades, tug boat ballet, dragon boat races and more.
Quickly becoming a new tradition, cruise lines are using the popular harbor event to stage their ship naming ceremonies. This year, on May 10, 2013, Hapag Lloyd’s MS Europa will be “baptized” in a festive public celebration. The event will culminate in a huge firework display.
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