We took the train from the airport to Central Station, our hotel was Hotel du Nord, close by easy walk with bags. Tivoli and lots of shopping nearby. We ate at a Hereford Beefsteak(at Tivoli)which had a lovely view of the park and nice food though expensive, about $80US for 2 without alcohol.
Hotel was fine, large room and bath with breakfast included. Shopping was good here too.
Long day started with 3 hour train ride to Sachsenhausen Camp, well worth the trip. How often do you get to see a camp and actually see crematoriums, barracks, it was an amazing experience. About 2 hours of walking and very informative. This was a highlight. Bus ride to Berlin is about half an hour then we had lunch at the Berlin Hilton, which was excellent. Well ochestrated and plated salad, buffet for main courses and dessert with beer and wine included. Quick stops at Checkpoint Charlie, which is in the middle of a busy street with actors for guards and Brandenburg Gate, wall areas. Very good. Train was late but secure knowing ship wouldn't leave without us.
Shopping opportunities with Princess are shops that are tacky in the basement of a row house. Nevsky Prospect is busy and main shopping street but buildings are really rundown everywhere. A real eye opener to see this city.
Hermitage Museum Rating: Not Rated
Wonderful overview though guide stayed too long on a couple of paintings. Very crowded. Don't bring coats or big bags off bus in any museums as you have to check them. there are employees is every room keeping watch on paintings, no flash allowed.
Better maintance than the palaces in Tsarskoe Selo
Pavlosk Palace Rating:
Saw with Alexander and Catherine Palace. Was surprised at the poor maintenance of these palaces compared to other countries.
Booked a city tour and home visit. Home visit was great, about a half hour out of city and cakes, ice cream and coffee served, house wwas in family for 100 + years by a lake. My daughter really liked this. Chance to get off bus in city to explore then caught a cab to ship.