Originally Posted by You
I'm looking at a cruise in Sept. and one of the ports is Hamburg, Germany for two days (arrive:9am on Saturday Depart: Sunday at Midnight). Would it be easy to get into town and explore without taking a cruise excursion? What type of things are there to see and would it be worth taking a train ride over to Berlin? I'm really looking for things to do in Hamburg and wondering if there are breweries to see right in town? Thanks for any input.
You certainly can explore the Hanseatic Free State of Hamburg on your own, as the cruise ships dock right downtown. Nonetheless, the cruise lines do offer a very worthwhile tour of the city so I recommend doing the ship's tour on the first day to get your bearings.
I have not investigated breweries in the city-state, but you probably will find several without trying very hard. In fact, there's a beer named for the city's infamous "red light" district -- Saint Pauli Girl -- though I'm not sure where it's brewed.
Berlin is about three hours from Hamburg, so it's very ambitious to go there on a day trip. When I called there aboard MV Royal Princess
(the original, christened by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1984), the tour to Berlin left the ship very early (I'm thinking around 6:30 AM) and did not return until 9:30 PM. Also, the reaction of the people who took that tour was a very interesting blend of intrigue and disappointment. Apparently Berlin was so devastated by bombing during World War II that they ended up levelling most of the city and rebuilding it from scratch. They designed the new city with wide boulevards and the most modern infrastructure of any city in Europe, but most of the architecture is bland reinforced concrete of the postwar era.