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In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

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Washington DC
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In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

We are three couples (2 Jewish and 1 non-Jewish) taking a cruise in May 2011 and we will be docking in Warnemuende. We would all like to see East and West Berlin and a little of the Jewish sector.

Listed below are the Jewish sites that our tour company has listed in the Jewish heritage tour.

Are any of these on a not-to-be-missed list?

Walking tour of the Jewish Quarter in Berlin – Rosentrasse Memorial, Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind, Grosse Hamburger Strasse (site of old Jewish cemetery, Jewish high school, and many poignant memorials), and the New Synagogue on Oranienburgerstrasse.

We will be in Berlin on a Saturday.

I am trying to negotiate a compromise as we would also like to see East and West Berlin.

Thank you for your assistance.

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1. Re: In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

There is no longer a West and an East Berlin. Now 21 years after unification it's just one big city.

Washington DC
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2. Re: In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

Sorry yes I know but the tour company has the trip divided into seeing sites from the former East and former West Berlin.

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3. Re: In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

First of all, if you haven't been told yet, the Warnemuende Port is about 2.5 hours away from Berlin. It means that if you leave the ship for about 10 hours, you spend only five hours in Berlin. Even Szczecin is closer to Berlin, only two hours. This doesn't do Berlin any justice - it is a huge city with many sites from several periods, many world famous museums, and it takes several days to grasp it. So my first advice would be either to go to Berlin through Szczecin, stay there the night and return to Warnemuende the next day (if it possible with your cruise and its route); or to tour the area around Warnemuende.

However, if you're adamant that you'd want to go to Berlin:

(1) Be prepared NOT to see everything. I don't really understand what you're thinking of doing - it sounds pretty weird to me that a tour company does a "West Berlin" only tour, especially if you're in the city only for a few hours; or dividing the city at all. Are you planning to take one of the East (or West) tours and then try to do some of the Jewish sites on your own? I don't know if it is manageable, it all depends on your pace, on your priorities (if they leave free time, it is probably for seeing a museum), where they leave you and are going to meet your again (assuming that they are taking your to and from the ship), etc.

(2) Which brings me to the other point. It seem to me like you're locked on one tour company and I wonder why - Is it the most affordable? The one that the cruise company offers? Is it the one whose routes seem that most logical (or that mentions as many sites as possible on the itinerary)? In any case, I would shop around for more companies doing the cruise ship thing.

Colorado Springs...
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4. Re: In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

Fundamentally, I would skip Berlin from Warnemuende. As englishladyGermany says, it's a lot of train for a few hours in Berlin. The people on our cruise who took the excurisojn came back late, exhausted.

Now, if you insiste to take the trip, take whatever the cruise ship offers, although it's probably a terriblen deal. But, if anything goes wrong with another tour company, the ship won't wait for you. Some of these tour companies take you by bus from Warnemuende to Berlin and if you have ever encountered one of the famous Staus (traffic jams) on the autobahn, you realize how risky that is.

One possibility is that you take the ship's tour. In Berlin you find out where you can catch up with the city sightseeing bus again and then take taxis or public transportation to the various places you want to go. In fact, any taxi driver will probably be happy to take you to as many places as you can handle in the given time.

5. Re: In Berlin from Cruise - need help.

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