Cruises to Berlin

231 Reviews
Berlin (Photo:William Perugini/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Berlin

A visit to Berlin is simply not to be missed for travelers planning a cruise to Germany. 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.

  • More about Berlin

  • Why Cruise to Berlin?

  • Berlin Cruise Port Facilities?

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Sirena
Sirena

10 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

286 Reviews
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2,102 Reviews
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Seven Seas Mariner
Seven Seas Mariner (Photo: Regent)

83 Night
World Cruise

392 Reviews
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Celebrity Eclipse
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Best Of Scandinavia Cruise

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Virgin Voyages

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13 Night
Best Of Scandinavia

2,102 Reviews
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12 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

2,773 Reviews
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13 Night
Europe Cruise

304 Reviews
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12 Night
Best Of Scandinavia

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10 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

286 Reviews
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10 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

89 Reviews
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24 Night
World Cruise

89 Reviews
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7 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

286 Reviews
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12 Night
Europe - Northern Cruise

231 Reviews
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27 Night
World Cruise

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9 Night
Christmas Along The Elbe

115 Reviews
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More about Berlin

Why Cruise 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 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
Berlin was a great entry for this trip. You are immediately immersed in the post-WWII history, and through the fall of the wall to the present. We scheduled a trip to the Reichstag, that magnificent living metaphor fRead More
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Intlxpatr
Berlin is a vibrant city with a fascinating past. We dined at the rooftop restaurant at the Reichstag (this was booked on our own and advance reservations are absolutely essential) where the views were wonderful. We Read More
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MostlyLegal
Stayed local in Warnemunde and enjoyed the nice small local seaside town, rather than do the very long commute to Berlin. I can understand if your from the US or further afield but for a European could be done easilyRead More
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Sheeno
Again, we opted for an excursion. Let's take the train, a 2h30 journey to Berlin. We visit the city by ourselves. Great opportunity to take several photos and also to immerse yourself in history… We really enjoyed thRead More
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Roxane1

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