Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany
Best of Berlin by Train (A Small-Group Tour)
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Approximately 12½ Hours
History unfolds for you as you set out with a small group (maximum 25 privileged guests) to explore Berlin. Your tour begins as you board a chartered train for a three-hour ride to Berlin, enjoying a breakfast snack, accompanied by tea and coffee, along the way.
In Berlin, a private mini coach whisks you into the city and to your first photo stop at one of the few surviving pieces of the Berlin Wall.
Keep your camera in hand for Checkpoint Charlie -- the point separating east and west, and for some East Germans, the Cold War gateway to freedom. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced off at this location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Continue to Gendarmenmarkt -- a 17th-century square and the site of the twin French and German cathedrals. You'll also see the Schauspielhaus Concert Hall -- a masterpiece of German classical architecture.
As you drive along Unter den Linden -- a pretty, tree-lined, east-west thoroughfare that bisect the city of Berlin, your guide will point out the State Library and Humboldt University, Berlin's oldest tertiary institution.
In Bebelplatz, you'll see the square where the burgeoning Nazi Party held its infamous book burning. And in keeping with the theme, you'll pass the World War II Memorial next to the Bebelplatz Square.
A traditional local restaurant is your lunch venue for an authentic German meal.
Next up is the spectacular Brandenburg Gate -- the only remaining city gate of Berlin and the former icon of separation between East and West Berlin. Ironically, and pleasantly, the Brandenburg Gate has now come to symbolize German unity.
Just a short stroll away is the Reichstag, originally constructed to house the parliament of the newly-founded German Empire. The glass dome designed by architect Sir Norman Foster is one of the city's major landmarks today and was a later addition.
Drive by the Victory Column -- a landmark that celebrates the military successes of Prussia over Denmark -- and pass Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the President of Germany.
Now it's time to shop 'til you drop on the Kurfürstendamm -- Germany's most famous shopping boulevard. You're free to stroll along the broad, tree-lined avenue, boasting luxury department stores, designer boutiques, shops, cafés, clubs and restaurants.
Re-board the mini-coach and pass by Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This 'broken tooth' is an anti-war monument to peace and reconciliation.
Finally, step inside the Allied Museum, commemorating the U.S., British and French presence in Berlin from 1945 to 1994, and tracing the history of Cold War Berlin. Here you'll find the original Checkpoint Charlie guardhouse, a Berlin Wall watchtower, a plane from the Berlin Airlift, and an American spy tunnel.
When it's time to call it a day, you'll travel back to the train station. On the train, your host will hand out a snack box, and drinks can be purchased from the trolley service during the train ride back to the pier.
The train ride between Warnemünde and Berlin is approximately three hours each way. The train is not air-conditioned. Restrooms are available on the train. Bring local currency, as many vendors do not accept credit cards or US dollars. WiFi is not available on the train. Tour is not available by train on all sailings. There are numerous photo stops where participants get off and on the coach; not advisable for guests using a wheelchair. Bring local currency, as many vendors do not accept credit cards or US dollars. Use of public restroom facilities costs 50 cents - €1 cash. Shops are closed on Sundays and holidays; a few souvenir shops may be open.