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Cruises to Berlin

Berlin (Photo:William Perugini/Shutterstock)

About Berlin

A visit to Berlin is simply not to be missed no matter how long the trip is from a ship docked at Warnemunde (near Rostock). Since the wall was pulled down in 1989, the city has a new lease on life. It's no longer isolated in the middle of Communist East Germany. Now, it's the capital city of a new Germany. What had been such a contrast -- West Berlin vs. East Berlin -- has now been largely erased. In fact, the former East Berlin side is where you will want to spend most of your precious time. It was, and is again, the soul of the city that follows a band running east from the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag (Parliament) along Unter den Linden, the city's handsome boulevard, to Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral and Alexanderplatz. Several intriguing neighborhoods are just a few blocks to the north and south of this line.

Few monuments, apart from a couple of churches, are truly old. Berlin itself is not an ancient city like Rome, and so much of what was historic was largely destroyed during World War II. With many churches, government buildings and landmarks rebuilt in the original 18th and 19th century styles, the city again presents itself as monumental, well laid out and, happily, with a minimum of intrusive high-rise skyscrapers.

While 3.4 million Berliners live in an area nine times the size of Paris, sites that a visitor will want to see are confined to a relatively small, mostly walkable area. The first-timer may want to join a standard city tour to take in as much as possible in the limited amount of time available. That way you will get to see the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Hauptbahnhof (the spectacular new main railway station), Holocaust Memorial, Potsdam Platz, Unter den Linden, the German and French cathedrals facing Gendarmenmarkt, Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral, Nikolai Church, Checkpoint Charlie and a piece of the wall, Kaiser Wilhelm Church, and Charlottenburg Palace. That's not all, by any means, as other sights further afield and lots of neighborhoods are also worth exploring. If you are intrigued by Berlin the first time around, come back for a longer stay.

My first visit to Berlin came as a teenager, and I returned when the wall was being constructed in August 1961. The latter trip was not altogether smooth. While touring East Berlin to see the contrast with West Berlin, I was arrested by the Stasi and interrogated for the better part of the day. Falsely accused of taking illegal photographs and spying on the German Democratic Republic, I had to sign a confession; otherwise I would not have been released. The U.S. government had no diplomatic relations with the GDR and no one even knew I was in Berlin. Once I put my signature to the document, I was escorted to the S-Bahn and sent back across the border.

It was almost 40 years before I returned, and I found the new Berlin to be a very exciting city well beyond my own previous experience.

  • Why go to Berlin?

  • Berlin Cruise Port Facilities?

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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

26 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Aug 22, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Apex
Celebrity Apex in the Bahamas (Photo: VitaminSea53/Cruise Critic member)

12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

24 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Aug 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Azamara Quest
Azamara Quest

14 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

669 Reviews
Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jun 28, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

25 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 9, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jun 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

56 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Stockholm
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jul 16, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jul 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Stockholm
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Aug 17, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Oslo
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Aug 21, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jul 9, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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26 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 9, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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24 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Aug 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Azamara
Aug 25, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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22 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Lisbon
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
May 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Aug 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jul 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BerlinDetails

Leaving:Copenhagen
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jun 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Berlin?

Pros:

This German capital is now an epicenter of arts and culture; the palaces of Potsdam are nearby

Cons:

You'll dock in Warnemunde, three hours from Berlin; some Elbe river ships dock closer in Tegel

Bottom Line:

The trip into Berlin is a trek from most cruise ships, but you won't regret the journey

Berlin Cruise Port Facilities?

Unter den Linden from the Brandenburg Gate to the Berlin Cathedral and the immediate blocks to the south provide a wonderful stroll through the heart of the elegantly reborn city. Duck into the Adlon Hotel for a coffee, or visit the pastry shop just down the same side of the street. Walk past the State Library, Humboldt University and State Opera House. Pause in the Lustgarten bordering the River Spree and gaze up at the magnificent Berlin Cathedral. It is hard to imagine that an Allied bomb long ago dropped through the dome and largely destroyed the interior. Likewise, it's amazing to think that decades after the Second World War, the German and French cathedrals were still in ruins and the lovely apartment buildings bordering the Gendarmenmarkt (main square) and the upscale shopping along Friederichstrasse did not exist as they once had before the Nazi monster arrived.

Good to Know?

Like any big city, Berlin has its dangers and the most prevalent crime is pick-pocketing. Assaults are unlikely in any of the high-traffic tourist areas. U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations all have red "SOS" buttons for summoning the stationmaster.

Getting Around?

The city has one of the most comprehensive transit systems in Europe, including buses, trams, the U-Bahn (subway and mostly underground) and S-Bahn (above ground urban/suburban trains). Some of the elevated lines have terrific views such as the S5, S7, S9, and S75 that run through the heart of the city. Double-decker public buses 100 and 200 follow routes that are geared to the sightseer and charge no more than the regular fare.

One major plus is the bridge they gap between Unter den Linden and the former heart of West Berlin. Transportation routes are interconnected by good signposting, though some transfers require long walks up and down several levels. Buy tickets (machines have English translations) in the stations and on the platforms or directly from the bus driver. A day pass at 5.80 euros is a good buy because then there is no barrier to boarding any train or bus. Up to five people can travel on a group pass which is priced at less than what three would pay for single tickets. Be sure to have the ticket machine-validated with the date and time before you travel. In addition, the Berlin Welcome Card (for those on pre- or post-cruise trips) gives you unlimited travel and discounts to museums, attractions, city tours, boat trips and theaters for 48 hours (16.50 euros) or 72 hours (21.50 euros).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Germany uses the euro (for up to date conversion rates go to www.xe.com), and ATM machines are available throughout the city. Kiosks, small stores and some transportation may not accept credit cards, so you should have a stash of euros, which of course you can use in many other European countries as well.

Language?

The language is German, and many people speak at least some English. There should be no problem at the tourist locations.

Where You're Docked?

Most cruise ships dock at Warnemunde, near Rostock, on the north German coast east of the Kiel Canal entrance and west of the Baltic Sea. It is 165 miles south to Berlin, a three-hour train ride or a slightly longer and decidedly less comfortable bus journey. While the DB (German Railway) runs regular trains every two hours, most requiring a change at Rostock, the cruise lines provide direct rail or bus transfers from the ship's side to central Berlin with either a convenient drop-off and pick-up point for independent sightseers or a connecting city tour.

If you are taking an Elbe River cruise that embarks here, be sure to stay in Berlin for at least three nights before or after the cruise.


Berlin Cruise Reviews
Didn’t go to berlin. Stayed in Warnemunde and it was a lovely quaint seaside town. Water was freezing through! Lovely walk on the beach and through the town.... Read More
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Kikcruising
We took a tour that we booked through a private tour company. We rode a nice bus into the city of Berlin and spent the day seeing all the sights of a modern city with a jaded past. A must see for all World War... Read More
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debbeck
This was not Berlin but Warnemunde which is 3 hours from Berlin. We felt it was too long a journey so we stayed in the port and we are so glad we did as it was a lovely place. The people who went to Berlin were... Read More
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BigLil
Just stayed in Warnemunde since Berlin so far, about 6 hours round trip by train. Just walked into Warnemunde and did a little shopping and hung out at beach bar right on beach close to water. There is a walk way... Read More
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paulayers

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