The cruise ship MS Hamburg visited Tristan on the 21st January 2024.

Visit of the MS Hamburg, January 2024

Report from Kelly Green. Photos: Philip Kendall, Rachel Green, Caryn Green & Shannon Swain

The MS Hamburg arrived at Tristan at approximately 8:00hrs on Sunday 21st January 2024. As I walked to work the sun was shining on the famous "Welcome to Tristan" sign. The ladies were setting up the hall for the craft fair. Jane, our chef was busy in the kitchen preparing lots of lobster sandwiches for the 323 passengers on board.

The MS Hamburg close to Calshot Harbour

The MS Hamburg close to Calshot Harbour, from where passengers could observe the settlement.

I made my way down to the harbour to meet Harbourmaster Grant and Assistant Harbourmaster Keith. In no time one of the ships zodiacs was dropped into the water and they came in to check the depth of our harbour, as the ship wanted to use their tenders.

RIB Atlantic Dawn with Island officials is launched Atlantic Dawn heads out to the ship, with the ship's Zodiac in the background
RIB Atlantic Dawn with the Administrator, Chief Islander and Immigration team is launched and heads out to the Hamburg, while the ship's Zodiac waits next to the harbour steps in the background

Shortly after, the search and rescue RIB Atlantic Dawn was launched with Inspector Glass and his immigration team. Also joining them was Administrator Philip Kendall and his wife Louise. Philip, alongside Chief Islander James Glass presented the ship's Captain with an island plaque and in return received a lovely bottle of wine. They were also treated to breakfast by the ship's pool.

The Administrator and Chief Island exchange gifts with the Captain Administrator Philip Kendall and his wife Louise given breakfast by the pool
The Administrator and Chief Islander exchange gifts with the Hamburg's Captain Administrator Philip Kendall and his wife Louise have breakfast by the ship's pool

Everything was looking so positive, and we were all getting very anxious and excited to welcome so many passengers. This was the first cruise ship of 2024 and the first cruise ship in a long time, with over 300 passengers!

The MS Hamburg off Tristan da Cunha The MS Hamburg off Tristan da Cunha
The MS Hamburg off Tristan da Cunha

The first tender approached Calshot Harbour slowly, at this time the Hamburg had moved further away from the shore. Unfortunately, once the tender was in the harbour they made many attempts to moor it at the quayside steps, but it seemed it was hard to manoeuvre. After they finally succeeded, they made the decision to cancel operations and return to the ship. They felt the jump from the tender to the steps was too dangerous, as they had many elderly people on board. I could see the heartbreak on the passengers' and crews faces' as they were literally within touching distance of the island. At this point, the second tender was already on its way in with another 80 passengers, but they both had to return to the vessel.

Tender being launched from the MS Hamburg The MS Hamburg's tender approaches Calshot Harbour
The first tender is launched and approaches the harbour. The ship was now a fair way out from the land.

Onboard Activities

I offered the next best thing that we could do, which was to send people on board with souvenirs, postcards and stamps. They were very pleased with this option and by 11:30hrs the three sales teams were on board: the Post Office and Tourism Team, Chief Islander James and his daughter from the Rockhopper Gift shop, and three ladies from the Island Store. Atlantic Dawn took us out and by this time the ship was very far away (as you can see in the picture taken by Caryn Green). Once on board we were taken to the lounge, where we set up our displays and selling stalls. The passengers were all so eager to buy and excited to be able to talk to us.

The Post Office and Tourism team on their way out to the ship The expedition team introduce Conrad Glass (right), among the stalls piled high with souvenirs.
The Post Office and Tourism team on their way out to the ship. The expedition team introduce Conrad Glass (right), among the stalls piled high with souvenirs.

Before the sales commenced, Inspector Conrad Glass did a presentation about Tristan. Once he was finished, we were busy selling at the stalls until 15:30hrs! Passengers went crazy for knitted penguins, toy penguins, postcards and coins. We had to radio back to the island to send a refill of stock.

Passengers listening to Conrad Glass's presentation about Tristan da Cunha

Passengers listening to Connie's presentation about Tristan

The day went so fast and the girls worked so hard without any breaks. At 16:00hrs the Atlantic Dawn came to pick us up, and we returned with a lot less then we went with, which was fantastic. Administrator Philip and his wife Louise were at the harbour to welcome us ashore and to say "well done" for our hard work, which is always such a lovely gesture.

Today the girls are busy counting the sales and checking the stock left over. It was such a shame the Captain deemed it unsafe for landing, but at the end of the day the passengers were much happier than they thought they would be in that situation. Both passengers and crew expressed how pleased they were to have been able to meet some people from the island and of course send a postcard from Tristan!.

Departing Visitors

In addition to her tourist activities, the MS Hamburg embarked the three members of the Hugofilm crew, who had been filming on the island since late November. They were Loran Bonnardot, Tobias Nolle and Linus Rieser. We wish our departing visitors and the ship's passengers and crew a fair onward voyage.

If you were on the MS Hamburg, we'd appreciate your feedback using our Visitors' Feedback Form.