On Monday, December 3, 2018 passengers of Albatros were treated to a very special experience. Wismar was playing host to the vessel in the Hanseatic city for the fifth time since the foundation of the Columbus Cruise Centers Wismar (CCCW). And the Phoenix Reisen cruise vessel will make one further call this year – on December 17.
Based on the long-standing relationship of the tour operator, Phoenix Reisen, with this particular cruise destination, the town authorities and the CCCW management came up with the idea of putting on for the first time a Christmas concert at a breathtaking venue especially for the cruise passengers. Thanks to the wonderful collaboration of everybody involved, this could finally be realised on Monday, December 3.
The concert premiere in Wismar's St George's church, a local landmark in the Gothic tradition, was given an enthusiastic reception by an audience comprising a total of 450 eager listeners. The one-hour performance of the Christmas favourites by the brass section of the Nordwestmecklenburg "Carl Orff" music school under their conductor Hartwig Kessler, together with the chorus of the Hanseatic city of Wismar, ended with much applause and an encore. Before that, the concert had opened with a welcome address given by the president of Wismar city council. Passengers arriving with MS Albatros on her next two visits can also look forward to this special musical event.
Even the captain, Michael Kugelmann, didn't want to miss out on the town's invitation and was very impressed with the commitment shown by the performers and organisers. This also included a warm welcome for the cruise passengers at the quayside, during which sweets and city maps were handed out, as well as a show on board given by the Blänke shanty choir, and finally a noisy farewell presented by the traditional shooting club (Schützenverein) of the Hanseatic city. All these activities have been a part of the handling and processing program at CCCW since the very beginning, except for the Christmas concert, which could now very well become a part of that tradition.
This special occasion for Captain Kugelmann ended high up on the viewing platform of St. George's, with the stunning night panorama of the Wismar UNESCO cultural heritage site across the historical port to the bright lights of the Albatros. As a mark of gratitude, he has invited Wismar dignitaries to a dinner on board the Albatros during her next visit.
The other cruise passengers also returned happily to their vessel after this special concert and a stroll through the Christmas market and the old part of town – hopefully with long- lasting memories of their trip to Wismar and maybe even with plans for another visit. For after all, an afternoon is not enough to enjoy and explore fully all the historical, maritime and modern treasures the city has to offer.