Hamburg Cruise Centers

Hamburg Cruise Centers | Hafencity, Altona & More

The Hamburg Cruise Center is the maritime center for all cruise ships. It is the place where the idea of cruise ships originated and today serves as the largest terminal for handling cruise ships. Hafenrundfahrt handles hundreds of ships and thousands of passengers annually.

What is the Port of Hamburg?

Hamburg Cruise Centers

Located on river Elbe in Hamburg, the Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest seaport, by volume. Also known as Germany’s “Gateway to the World”, the Port of Hamburg is the third-busiest port in all of Europe. Being the center point of the cruise world, Hamburg has three giant terminals namely Cruise Center Altona, Cruise Center Steinwerder, and Cruise Center Hafencity. The Port of Hamburg is always a part of every cruise ship’s route and a one-day stopover here is a must! 

History of the Port of Hamburg

Hamburg Cruise Centers

The port in the city is almost as old as the city of Hamburg itself. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa founded the port at a strategic location near the mouth of River Elbe on 7th May, 1189. Being Central Europe’s main port for many centuries, it allowed the city of Hamburg to develop as the leading city of trade at the time. After 1871, the Port of Hamburg became Germany’s main port of trade. 

Hamburg Cruise Centers in Hamburg Harbor

Hamburg Cruise Centers


While it may have been erected as a temporary solution, Hamburg Cruise Center Hafencity is still a chic terminal. It stands across the Elbphilharmonie and is in a very happening area of the city. Today, in attempts to address both local and global needs, Hafencity is Europe’s largest inner-city urban development project for a European city on the waterfront.

Hamburg Cruise Centers


Among the many Hamburg Harbor Cruise centers is the Cruise Center Altona, a center that is equipped with a shore-based power system. It started operations in 2011 and can accommodate cruise ships of lengths up to 300 m. It is also adjacent to the local fish market and various bars, giving you an authentic experience of Hamburg.

Hamburg Cruise Centers


A swank and highly modern terminal, Hamburg Cruise Center Steinwerder is one of the largest terminals for cruise ships in the world and began operations in June 2015. It has two separate terminal buildings that can accommodate more than 8000 passengers per ship visit. It can also accommodate cruise ships with lengths of up to 405 m.

Hamburg Cruise Centers


Hafencity is quite a busy cruise terminal and a new cruise terminal is yet to be constructed here by the end of 2022. Until then, Baakenhoft is a temporary alternative and is located in Eastern Hafencity. This terminal consists of a total space of 1000 sq. m on a single floor and is designed as a steel construction hall. 

Hamburg Cruise Centers Today

Hamburg is the place for all who love cruise ships. No matter where your cruise is coming from, it will make a halt at Hamburg. Here you can disembark at one of the three cruise center terminals and explore the rich city of Hamburg. You will catch a glimpse of some of the largest cruise ships during your time in Hamburg as it is the place where all cruise ships come together. 

Cruise Center Hafencity is the ideal place for those that want to look at the big ships up close. A lot of the city’s most important landmarks are within walking distance from the Hafencity port. 

Cruise Center Steinwerder is the most modern terminal and can accommodate large ships. You will find various restaurants nearby that serve the catch of the day. 

Cruise Center Altona and its glass facade will greet you as you wait to catch your cruise. You can also enjoy panoramic views of the city from the rooftop. You can even catch a harbor tour when you are waiting for your cruise from the Altona terminal. 

Visitor Tips

  • It is mandatory for you to carry your passport or other photo identification.
  • Please note that all harbor cruises aboard little barges are subject to the tide.
  • During low tides, the canals of the Speicherstadt district can not be used during the harbor tour.
  • If in case the tour takes place only from the outside, you will still be able to enter the plaza free of charge after the end of the official tour. 
  • Outside food will not be allowed onboard. 
  • The boats will have an open or closed glass roof depending on the weather conditions.
  • Transportation of wheelchairs is only possible on a large passenger ship. Make sure you inform in advance in case of any requirement.