What is everyone's experience going into Berlin? Is it worth the effort? We found a tour operator that appears much more reasonable and better all around than the cruise excurision.
Anyone interested in sharing a van with us (looking for four people) on 7/10/04 and includes a four hour tour? (We're on the HAL Westerdam.) The cost would be €109 per person.
According to the tour operator's highlights: Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag Parlament Building and new governmental quarters, The Federal Chancellery, Berlin TV Tower, Olympic Stadium, East Side Gallery - 1,3 km of original Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Unter den Linden Avenue, Charlottenburg Palace, Bellevue Palace, Statue of King Friedrich II., Diplomatic Quarters, new business center Potsdamer Platz, building site of Holocaust Memorial, Gendarmenmarkt square with German & French Cathedral and Concert House, The State Opera House, Kurfuerstendamm Avenue, Memoral Church, House of International Cultures, Berlin Radio Tower, Berlin Exhibition Grounds, Spree River, Humboldt University, New Guard House, Arsenal Building, the Victory Column, Tiergarten Central Park, the Red City Hall, Alexander Square, ... and many more
Stops and small walks at major sights included and possible anytime.
We promise a most enjoyable and complete Berlin sightseeing tour, a personal tour guide with individual service!
Your four hours starts after your transfer to Berlin, right? Because even at that, to see all those places in four hours is more than a bit snug, and despite what the tour operator might say, you wouldn't be able to stop at more than a few of them and still make your time frame. Of course, at some places--like the gate--it's just driving through that is the seminal experience to anyone who remembers the bad old days.
If memory serves there's a nice restaurant at the top of the TV tower where you can get a great ice cream treat to go with your great view of the city.
I'd have to agree with AR on this one. Having done Berlin in the past, I'd have to say that your guide is somewhat delusional to think the entire city can be done in four hours. It's just too big, and too congested (particularly by car). I spent 3 days taking guided tours....on foot, by coach, and by car, and still don't think I really scratched the surface of such a wonderful, bustling city. Don't sure that I'd feel comfortable telling you NOT to go, as it certainly IS worth seeing, but mainly want you to understand the limitations ahead of time. It'll be a long day, but certainly a rewarding one.....
P.S. My wife and I have opted not to do the Berlin excursion when our ship ("Constellation") pulls into Rostock this May. I'd like her to see the city, but figure it'll be too long for one day. Instead, we'll probably take it a bit easier and wander around Rostock's Old Town, saving Berlin for a separate trip to Germany.
Thanks for the responses. I've been to Berlin before ('94) and agree that there is a lot to see, but my DH has not. Your advice is really making me consider opting just to check out Rostock and wait to go back to Berlin on an occassion when we'll have more time for him to see it.
btw This was more of our logic with not going to Moscow and intstead enjoying two days in St. Petersburg. While neither of us have been to Moscow, we think we're young enough that we will be back sometime to really check it out.
Anyway, this about the tour in Berlin that I found from one of the boards (can't recall if here or cruisecritics)
It looks like a tour of Berlin is out of the question on the day we are docked. We just received this email from the tour operator:
Thank you for your mail and your interest in a guided Berlin sightseeing tour on July 10th 2004.
Actually this is the day to be in Berlin, at least for younger people who like to party - the 2nd Saturday in July each year one of the largest events on this planet takes place in Berlin. More than 1 Million people are expected this year. Most of streets in the center West and East will be closed. Therefore unfortunately a sightseeing tour is simply not possible on that day. We are sorry!
Ouch!!! Sorry to hear that Carin. Yup, they tend to do festivals/gatherings on a GRAND scale, so you're better off passing and waiting until things are less crowded anyway. That just gives you more reason to go back, spend a few days, and explore Berlin in a leisurely manner (as it should be).
Have done Berlin from Hamburg (Pacific Princess 1999) and doing it again in May (Royal Princess 5/19/2004), and it is a fantastic city to see, however, I would not do anything not under the cruise line control. It is a rather hefty trip from Hamburg to Berlin (3 hours if I recall).
If something happened, you would be out of luck, but with the cruise line, they are responsible for you.
We rented a car and drove the Autobahn. We saw a lot on that whirlwind of a day. Our ship stopped in Waramunde and we rented the car in Rostock. It was a BMW 330 D.
WE enjoyed the little sample of Germany and the fun but fast driving experience.
We went to Berlin two years ago for four days and then took a land tour of the Alps. You really need that much time to see most of Berlin. Take the time to see Berlin when you take a tour of Germany or the Alps. It is really worth seeing.