Cruise Ship Engineering in Hamburg
International Travel With a Side of STEM Studies
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Your trip from the airport to your hotel will give you your first glimpse of the historic grandeur and modern charm to which you will be treated in Hamburg. Situated on the Elbe river, the area where most cruise ships in Hamburg dock is known as the Hafencity.
Once you’ve had a chance to settle in, venture outside to explore your surroundings. Hamburg is very walkable, so your guide can take you for a quick jaunt around the area. If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, grab some laugenbrötchen (pretzel bread) and do a little sightseeing down by the water.
You can easily spend an entire day exploring the Speicherstadt Museum. The buildings themselves are over 100 years old, and you’ll be walking through the very halls where dockworkers once hauled all manner of cargo. The Speicherstadt Museum area was where coffee, spices and tea were once brought in and stored. There are informational posters everywhere to tell you more about the cargo that used to pass through these warehouses, where it came from, and who used to load it there. When you’re done touring the museum, stop into the cafe for a quick espresso.
There are several boat tours to enjoy in Hamburg, but one of the premier tours is an hour-long jaunt through the harbor on an old paddleboat called the Louisiana Star. You’ll cruise slowly through the harbor and can enjoy fun facts about the city in either German or English. You’ll see the area of the port where the cruise ships are docked and where the cargo ships dock. Explore the Speicherstadt from the water and learn just about everything to know there is about the Hamburg Harbor.
Once you’re finished, grab a bite at any number of the nearby cafes, or get a treat to go and walk the miles of waterfront to finish out your afternoon.
A lot of work goes into making a ship. If you want a better appreciation for exactly what makes a ship float and cruise, the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg is the perfect place to learn about the math and science that went into these big boats. The museum has blueprints, thousands of books, hundreds of ship models, and sketches of ships past. Over 3,000 years of nautical history is covered by the extensive collection. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to captain a vessel, the museum also has a ship simulator so you can try your hand at driving a massive liner. Just remember to call ahead to set up the reservation.
The predecessors to cruise ships were large wooden ones like the Rickmer Rickmers. Originally built in 1896, it served as a transport ship, making trips to places as far reaching as Hong Kong and Chile and back again to Hong Kong. Today it’s a three-story floating museum. You can tour all the floors and go all the way down to the engine room to see the massive steam and diesel engines the ship used to run on. It’s hard to miss the ship’s vast sails, which you can climb if you visit on the right day.
You’ve seen the history of ships and you’ve toured ships; now it’s time to see how the massive cruise ships that dock in Altona are built. Board a train to Papenburg, about a 3-hour journey and head to the Meyer Werft Shipyard, which sees over 300,000 visitors a year. There are exhibits to walk through so you can learn the process of making a cruise ship and there is a mock-up cabin to tour so you can see the finished product. Along the way, you’ll also get to see films that provide an even more in-depth look at the work that goes into those floating palaces. There are also plenty of models to view so you can see the difference between the various cruise ships.
On your last day in Hamburg, you should take some time to enjoy one of the places that made the city what it is today. The Speicherstadt is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest warehouse districts in the world. While it was once one of the most bustling spots for trade in the harbor, it now plays host to museums, shops, and restaurants, but the sheer magnitude of the outside is a sight that can’t be missed. Don’t forget to walk between the warehouses on the bridges, as you might get lucky enough to catch a boat floating beneath you in the canal.
Hamburg’s rich history is built around its harbor and has long been a hub of trade for Northern Germany. For centuries, visitors from around the world have traversed the Hafencity, and your international travel experience is only slightly different than theirs. You, too, visited to broaden your horizons and got to witness engineering marvels of days past and present.
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