This post is the third installment in a journal of my cruise through Scandinavia and the Baltic states in 2012 on Norwegian Cruise Line. Throughout the cruise, I’m highlighting each port, with photos and some tips on what to see and how. Today, the port of Warnemunde, Germany.
This Baltic cruise visits some iconic cities, like St. Petersburg and Stockholm, so it seemed a little odd when, after cruising right around the Danish island of Zealand overnight, I woke up to find myself in the anonymous port of Warnemunde, Germany.
In fact, Warnemunde is the stop-off port for excursions to Berlin, and many of the passengers trooped off to view the German capital. I gave it a pass: the trip to Berlin was three hours each way, leaving only a few hours to tour the city.
People told me they were happy with their excursions, and that’s just as well, since they’re expensive: Norwegian’s current offerings start at $1,750! That’s a lot of money, especially for such a short glimpse. There are other ways of getting there, but it can get a bit dicey if you miss your connections. I’d rather give Berlin a proper visit another time.
That left me in beautiful downtown Warnemunde. Not such a bad thing, a day to spend relaxing in a charming little seaside resort. Better yet, the town is only a few minutes by train from Rostock, an interesting city with a wonderful medieval city centre, and the train station is right next to the cruise dock. I split my time between the two, and had a good day.
What to do in Warnemunde
Go to the beach: Warnemunde has long, sandy beach, so if the weather’s nice, you can while away the day under the sun. Walk a little farther down and you can even swim without a suit at the nudist beach.
Do some shopping: Warnemunde’s waterfront actually runs along a little channel, called the Alter Strom, lined on either side with shops and restaurants. If shopping’s your thing, you could spend a few pleasant hours browsing the clothes and souvenirs on offer.
Take a boat tour: These leave frequently from the Alter Strom, so if you fancy an hour or so on the water, hop on. Some tours go right into Rostock.
Have a meal: The Alter Strom strip also features lots of eateries, from takeaway fish shacks to bars and fancy sit-down restaurants. Some offer good specials, especially early in the evening. I ended my day there with a tasty steak, served with potato salad — and of course, a stein of local beer.
What to do in Rostock
Check out the city walls: The city still retains some of its original medieval town wall, completed in 1350, including a number of gatehouses. One of the gatehouses stands right on your way into town, and another, the Kropeliner Tor (left), has exhibitions and guided tours.
See the city hall: This ornate building, with its Gothic facade and seven turrets, commands the main street as you walk into town. A great photo op, as is the square across the street, with its flower shops and patio restaurants. The city hall also has a medieval Rathskeller restaurant.
Visit the Marienkirche: Located close to the city hall, this is Rostock’s iconic church, built around 1230 A.D. It’s pretty impressive, and features furnishings from a number of periods, including an astronomical clock from 1472.
Stroll the pedestrian mall: Like most European cities, Rostock has a brilliant pedestrian mall, Kropeliner Strasse, that runs through the centre of the old medieval city. It’s filled with restaurants and shops, and features a square called Universitatsplatz, with fountains and fanciful statues that make great climbing trees for local kids.
Have an ice cream: Rostock features some of the most decadent ice cream shops I’ve ever seen, filled with Germans tucking into giant bowls of multicoloured ice cream, piled high with whipped cream. If you need to put on a couple of pounds in a hurry, this is the place.
Enjoy a meal: The city centre features a lot of patio restaurants offering food at reasonable prices. So relax and enjoy your port day in a classic setting: there’s a long way to go before we get back to Copenhagen.
The “all aboard” call wasn’t till 9:30 on Day Two, so there was lots of time for a leisurely meal and a stroll along the Warnemunde waterfront. Later, a choice between a German folkloric show or Andy Bunger and his Power of Music in the Stardust lounge; for late nighters, a dance party in the Dazzles disco. And before bed, we turn the clocks forward one hour for the first time on this trip.
Day Three is a sea day, so I’ll have a good chance to look around the Norwegian Sun, and point out some of its interesting features. It’ll be home for the next seven days, so time to get acquainted.