Cruises to Gdansk (Warsaw)

105 Reviews
Gdansk (Photo:Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Gdansk (Warsaw)

Think Gdansk and think home of Solidarity: the labor union that struck a shipyard and started a movement that eventually led to the fall of Communism in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Over the years, Gdansk was dominated by Prussians and Hanseatics, and was one of the most important ports in the Baltics. For a time after World War I, the city was known as Danzig. The Nazis were here for five years during World War II and battles to liberate the city in 1945 resulted in its near total destruction. Miraculously, the historic center, known as Main City, was rebuilt during the post-war Soviet era with great reverence -- literally brick by brick -- and today it is a lovely architectural venue. Entering the historical quarter is like walking back into history -- in this case, a medieval merchant settlement. Gdansk was once Europe's major center for grain trade.

Huge stone towers are located at the entrances to the city. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa's offices are in the tower known as the Green Gate (there's a plaque out front) and the main square is full of colorful, Dutch Renaissance-style mansions. St. Mary's Church in Main City is reputedly the largest brick church in the world and can hold 25,000 for services. The seven-story Great Mill on the waterfront (on Motlawa River) was once the largest mill in medieval Europe. It's amazing to stand on Long Street (ul Dluga) and imagine that what you see now was all rubble after the war. More recently, after the shipyard strikes in the 1970's and 1980, and a 1980 agreement, 10 million Poles (out of about 36 million at the time) joined Solidarity, and Walesa went on to become the first democratically elected president of modern Poland.

Although Gdansk is not the capital of Poland (that is Warsaw to the southeast), it is Poland's largest northern city -- origins dating back to the 10th century -- with a population of 465,000. Gdansk, together with Gydnia and the resort town of Sopot, is known as the Tricity. Gydnia, where the big ships dock, is a former fishing village turned major seaport. It was a Nazi stronghold during the war (a major Naval port where Hitler once planned to build 100 subs before his plans were scuttled by major bombing by Allied Forces and the end of the war). Today it's an industrial and naval town. Sopot, located between Gydnia and Gdansk, is a resort town popular with Poland's jet set.

On the drive to Gdansk you pass a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign (in Gydnia you may also pass a branch of Citibank) and a McDonald's, and after you see the big block apartments built by the Soviets (one more than a half mile long, and another where Walesa raised his eight kids), you come to a Holiday Inn with a TGI Fridays.

Poland, today and yesterday.

  • More about Gdansk (Warsaw)

  • Why Cruise to Gdansk (Warsaw)?

  • Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Port Facilities?

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More about Gdansk (Warsaw)

Why Cruise to Gdansk (Warsaw)?

Pros:

This inspiring port is where the fall of communism in Poland started

Cons:

Parts of the city are run-down, and communist buildings don't offer much charm

Bottom Line:

A visit to Gdansk, lovingly rebuilt after near demise in WWII, is like stepping back in time

Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Port Facilities?

Aside from a few shops a short shuttle ride (or 20-minute walk) from the Gydnia pier, all attractions are in Old Town Gdansk.

Good to Know?

As always, be sure to protect yourself against potential pickpockets.

Getting Around?

Taxis: available in limited supply at both piers. Make sure you negotiate a price before departing. A cab from the Gydnia port will run $25 - $30 each way.

Shuttles: At the Gydnia port, shuttles may be provided to a waterfront area of that city with cafes and shops, about 10 minutes from the pier.

Trains: There is also train service between Gydnia and Gdansk. Once in Old Town, explore on foot (most streets are for pedestrians only).

Note: According to Polish regulations, you must carry your passport with you in Poland.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Zloty ($1=3.6PLN), but some shops take euros (some even take dollars) and most take credit cards.

Language?

Polish. People tend to speak a little English or German (more at the tourist shops, less on the street).

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock in the city of Gydnia, about a 45-minute ride from Old Town Gdansk. Some small ships may dock at Oliwskie Pier in the New Port of Gdansk (about four miles from the town center).


Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Reviews
We opted for an excursion: Gdansk on your own. Bus trip there and back with a visit time of 4 hours. We saw the Neptune Fountain, the Golden Gate structure, the Prison Tower and St. Mary's Basilica. Enjoyed this excuRead More
Roxane1
Polish port of Gdansk, depending on which berth your ship is assigned, is 10-15 miles from the docking area in Gdynia, so you will need to take a shuttle or a taxi or arrange a tour. The city has a long and traumatRead More
Catlover54
Group tour with TJ Travel. Small group of 13. TJ as always did a great job. Great directions on where to meet and the tour guide was very knowledgable. We visited the Soliditary Monument and Museum and had plentyRead More
Devilaw
We took the ship's walking tour but left partway through. Learned some things from the guide, but had several other things we wanted to see. Worked great for us to return to the shuttle bus pickup on our own. Again tRead More
May B

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