It's about a three minute walk to the rail station. If you book the ship's tour charter train to Berlin it's even closer because they pull that one up on a siding that's literally just across from the gangway.
But even if you just want to take the interurban train to Rostock, the station is a quick and easy walk.
Wernemunde and Rostock are both delightful places.
You do have to change in Rostock if you go on your own. If you take the ship's tour, it's a charter train which is an express from the siding next to the gangway to Berlin. Those who took the tour on our Celebrity cruise said the train was fine, except it ran slowly in some places because of lots of commuter train traffic.
We watched the train leave Wernemunde from our balcony and I was surprised at how long it was. Seemed like half the ship was on it. We had spent a week in Berlin just a couple years before the cruise, or I suspect we'd have been on it too. I'm not usually a big advocate of ship's tours, but this is one of those situations where it's probably the best way to "do" Berlin in the time available, because it combines reasonably civilized express transportation with the sightseeing package once you get there. Plus, this is one of those situations where knowing that the ship won't leave until the train gets back becomes a valuable feature. If you do it on your own, you're betting on the railroad schedule and your ability to pull off the train change correctly. Plus, of course, you're on your own in Berlin.
After breakfast we took the train to Rostock, where as luv2cruise says, you can change for regularly scheduled trains to Berlin if you want to.
Yes, the situation with our port call in Warnemunde was similar to the details in AR's post. I strongly recommend against seeing Berlin as a port stop using a shore excursion because most of the passengers from our sailing complained that they spent about 9 hours in a bus with their noses pressed to the windows and did a drive-by of the sites. They only got off twice briefly for photos and once for lunch--not my idea of a good time at all. That would be a good option for those who are very limited in their mobility or are in a wheelchair. My husband and I have traveled extensively in Europe and use private drivers where needed and shore excursions as a last resort because of all the delays caused by big groups (long potty breaks, 2-hours lunches, etc.). We prefer to see the sights and not the inside of a bus too.
So I think that if a passenger believes that they will not have another opportunity to see Berlin, the best option would be a private driver. If you form a small group of 6-8, the cost will be less than the ship's shore excursion, and you'll see so much more. Another option is to visit some of the small villages in the area.
I agree that cruising is no way to really "see" major cities, even if the ship pulls right up to the city center, which is rare. You can't do justice to any real metropolis in a day, period. We've sometimes used cruise stops as "special introductory offers," with the goal of seeing enough to decide whether it's a place to put on the list for a return visit "sans bateau."
In many European cities we find we can do this with day tickets on the "hop-on-hop-off" busses that are so common. Private drivers are also good, and we've used them from time to time as well. Many times even two couples make them an economical choice.
But for many people who don't travel to these kinds of places by any means other than ship, the ship's tours that combine a relatively quick way into the city plus a reasonable spin around town seem to represent a reasonable compromise. I hate hours and hours on busses too, but if it's that or nothing, I say go for it.
I honestly can't remember whether Celebrity also offers the train ride to Berlin as pure transportation without the tour. If they do, combining the ship's train with a private driver who would meet you at the station might be a winner.
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AR, I also agree that the port stops are an overview of an area and not an ideal way to see a city, but the trip into Berlin is an extreme on this scale. I also believe that seeing Florence from Livorno and Rome from Civitavecchia is just so difficult that the time might be better spent elsewhere in a lovely place like Siena from Livorno. Berlin is just too far inland and the commute too far to make that a productive day. So, as previously stated, I think it's only a good option from Warnemunde when it is the only option. And I stand by my statements about seeing it by private drive because of my own observations.
When I was in Varnemude a couple of years ago we took the german bundebahn (train) and found it very enjoyable. The train is better than what they use for the excursion and in my opinion a much better experience because you travel with the locals not a bunch of americans. You do not have to change trains and you can trust the germal train schedule coming back. They run very promptly. You can usually find someone that speaks english and will be glad to help you. I don't have the train schedule handy but I'm sure if you do a google search you can even get the train schedule to see how it works with your port times. The train ride to and from Berlin is part of the experience so even if you don't have a lot of time in Berlin the train ride in and of itself is worth while in my opinion. You will see some beautiful country. When you get to Berlin you will see lots of tour busses and other tours you can take. All of this will be about half the price of the ships excursion.
the train ride directly from the ship to downtown Berlin was about 2 1/2 hours each way. Our train held all the Berlin tours plus the "on your own transportation only" passengers. The train was filled and very few passengers remained behind.
When we returned to the ship around 10PM, there was a special dining room dinner seating for the Berlin adventurers. It was well worth both the time and the effort to visit the historic and beautiful city of Berlin.
I will tell you the "worst" travel tour we took was a 4 hour bus ride from Casablanca to Marakesh (and then a 4 hour return) with a 4 hour stay in Marakesh. I am VERY HAPPY that the cruise ship offered the r/t transportation and tours of Marakesh, but the city was just not worth the visit (in my opinion). Bring your own toilet paper when you visit!
But, I can say "been there, done that" and never have to return to Marakesh.
On the other hand, I would love the opportunity to visit Berlin again.
When we did the Celebrity Baltic cruise a three years ago, we rented a car from Avis (they brought the car to the pier). My husband, son and I drove to Berlin easily on the Autobahn in less than 2 hours and met our private guide, Nick from Berlin Walks, at the Charlottenberg Palace. Nick drove us in his air-conditioned van, and we saw everything that we wanted to see, including a nice visit to the Pergamon Museum (the Berlin highlight). We had a quick snack bar lunch, drove through CheckPoint Charlie, saw all the new architecture (including a fabulous Deutche Bank building by Frank Gehry). Nick dropped us back at the Palace where we picked up our car. Do wish we had had better instructions on finding the rental car office, but we ultimately did and made it back to the ship before the train. By the way, the train is NOT air-conditioned, and it was very, very late. You can find Nick on the internet, just search for Berlin Walks. He is British and a doll! P.S., I think my husband thinks that driving on the Autobahn was one of the best parts of the trip!
Have done Berlin 2 times from ship (once Hamburg, other Warmemude), first time we took the tour into Berlin from Hamburg on the bus, a very long but enjoyable day. The second time (last May) took the same tour but it took us via train into Berlin, a much more relaxing way to travel. I loved the trip, but am opting not to do it this summer when on the Star Princess Baltic.
Lonnie wrote: I don't have the train schedule handy but I'm sure if you do a google search you can even get the train schedule to see how it works with your port times.
Go to: www.bundesbahn.de, on the left side it says English / Français / Italiano and then follow the instructions. It's pretty easy. And it doesn't matter if you put in Warnemünde (right) or Warnemunde (wrong), both work.
My Husband and I have limited funds. We would appreciate your input into our visit.. WARENMUNDE appears to be a very interesting place. We would like to know the cost of the taxis and or shuttles to the central part of town of Warnemude I have attempted to attrevieve his information through other means but has not been succussefful. We would apprciate your response.
You're in business. Assuming you're able to walk about four blocks from the pier, you'll be in central Warnemunde without paying for any transportation at all. And it's a very pretty little town that can be very enjoyable for a day. In fact, I'm not sure there are any cabs at all there, because it is so small.