History: 1866 - 1891
Founded in 1847, the Hapag Company operates a bustling passenger service to seaside resorts. In July of 1866 an iron steamboat is employed for the first time to shuttle vacationers from Hamburg via Cuxhaven en route to the island of Helgoland. Docking at night becomes easier with the installation of a red light tower on Cuxhaven's traditional quay, the "Alte Liebe" or Long Beloved that same year. The following years see a procession of changes, such as an expansion of the existing harbor grounds and a continual modernization under the direction of the Hydraulic Engineering Inspector, Hugo Lenz (1828-1903). the Elbe become a thing of the past for the increasingly larger ships being built.
In order to accommodate the growing number of travelers, train service is offered between Hamburg and Cuxhaven via Stade. Along with the rapid development of the harbor along this deep channel on the Elbe, the rail route offers travelers an overland alternative. Time consuming and expensive estuary trading along the Elbe become a thing of the past for the increasingly larger ships being built.
Hapag's steamship express service between Cuxhaven and New York commences with the arrival of the "Hammonia" enroute from New York. The ship must drop anchor at the roadstead, before the shuttle boat "Cuxhaven" can be called in to disembark the passengers. A special train then takes the disembarked passengers on to Hamburg. The lack of a suitable harbor makes it necessary for other steamers to follow a similar procedure when leaving Cuxhaven en route for New York. The "Auguste Victoria" sets sail on its first voyage to Hamburg on May 9th. It soon becomes apparent that a larger facility is needed for the larger ships being built.
Cuxhaven becomes the birthplace of a new and exclusive tourism business. The "Auguste Victoria" sets sail for Egypt in the very first luxury cruise in history. No longer, are departures from the Steubenhoeft tear-filled dramas of separation. Cruises are becoming a sweet yearning to get away and a new tourist attraction.