Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, TUI Cruises, Silversea.
Cruisers like: The port city only has a few historical buildings and the city centre was built almost entirely post-war. The main tourist attractions include the German Shipping Museum which has a cog (single mast wooden ship) dating from 1380 as well as a number of museum ships. The Bremerhaven Zoo is another high point, particularly for its Arctic wildlife. Every five years, the town hosts a festival called Sail Bremerhaven, a sailing convention that attracts tall ships from all over the world.
Best for: Maritime enthusiasts.
Getting around: The cruise centre is about two kilometres from the city centre. The Bremerhaven Bus offers direct transfers between the cruise terminal and railway station. It takes 25 minutes to get to the Nordholz international airport and 45 minutes to the Bremen international airport.
Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Phoenix Reisen, Silversea, TUI Cruises.
Cruisers like: Hamburg, a seaport on the River Elbe, is the second largest city in Germany and has a rich history, stretching back to medieval times. Modern Hamburg is a cultural hub with more than 40 theatres, 100 music venues and clubs and 60 museums. For modern art lovers, visit the Kunsthalle Hamburg or the Museum for Art and Industry. The Hamburg State Opera is a beautiful venue where visitors can watch the Philharmoniker Hamburg. For the foodies, try local specialties such as Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (green beans cooked with pears and bacon) or Pannfisch (pan-fried fish with mustard sauce).
Best for: Everyone.
Getting around: Hamburg has three modern ports. The Hafen City terminal is within walking distance of the centre of Hamburg. The newest terminal, Kronprinzkai can accommodate larger cruise ships and there is bus stop is about 500 metres away, plus a taxi rank. There is also a water bus that runs on weekdays. Other larger cruise ships use the Altona terminal, which is serviced by regular water buses.
Who goes there: AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, MSC Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, TUI Cruises.
Cruisers like: Kiel is one of the traditional homes of the Germans Navy’s Baltic fleet and an area for ship building. Some of the best tourist attractions include the oldest building in the city, Nikolaikirche or St Nicholas Church. Kiel is a major shopping destination and the town’s Holstenstraße is one of Germany’s longest shopping streets. There are also a number of lakes and parks for the outdoor lover, as well as two botanical gardens. For boat enthusiasts, the Kiel Regatta is held during the last week of June and is the largest sailing event in the world.
Best for: Families and maritime lovers.
Getting around: Kiel has four cruise terminals with the Norwegenkai, Schwedenkai and Ostseekai terminals close to the city centre. The newest terminal, Ostuferhafen, which is used for larger cruise ships, is further from the city centre. The train network is fast and reliable. Taxi are expensive.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, Phoenix Risen, Seabourn.
Cruisers like: Travemunde is a seaside resort which many Germans flock to during the summer months. It is also the country’s largest ferry port on the Baltic Sea. The main beach is famous for its colourful, roofed wicker beach chairs. The Travemunde lighthouse is the oldest on the German Baltic coast, dating back to 1539. Other tourist attractions include Vorderreihe, the shopping street, and the old casino building, which is now the Columbia Hotel.
Best for: Families.
Getting around: It’s about a 10-minute bus ride from the cruise terminal to the centre of town. Smaller cruise ships will be berthed at Ostpreussenkai which is near the bus station and within walking distance of the town and beach.