German Waterways & Bremen Beer Festival

Offering chances to enjoy scenic cruising along beautiful waterways; explore four enchanting destinations; and soak up the atmosphere of one of Germany’s oldest and largest events, this short, yet rewarding adventure presents a string of unforgettable highlights. Sail along the Kiel Canal thanks to Balmoral’s smaller size; visit historic Hamburg for boat tours of the beautiful Alster Lake; and capture the excitement of the Bremen Beer Festival. All this and more is yours to experience in just over a week. 

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DESTINATION Germany
FROM Dublin
DATE 19 October 2018
DURATION 9 Nights
PRICE From €1,549 pp & Oceanview solo from €1,979

Join Balmoral and head to Germany on very special sailing featuring scenic cruising along beautiful waterways; calls into four enchanting destinations; and a chance to experience the excitement of one of the country’s oldest and largest annual events.

A string of unforgettable highlights are yours to discover on this short, yet rewarding adventure, beginning with arguably the most memorable highlight of them all – the Bremen Beer Festival. Your ship will glide into Bremen via the Weser River, so there’s no need to endure a long coach ride from Bremerhaven. Once docked, you can head ashore and sample the atmosphere of the Freimarkt extravaganza. This two week festival is one of Germany’s most historic and attracts over four million revellers every year. You have the opportunity to sample delicious local brews at the beer festival, enjoy the fun and festivity of the funfair and stop-by the traditional market stalls selling aromatic sweets and tasty pastries. An afternoon of scenic cruising along the Weser will then offer you the chance to recover and relax, taking in gorgeous countryside as you sail onwards to Hamburg. Here you can take time to discover landmarks such as the towering neo-Renaissance style Rathaus and St Michael’s Church at your leisure; or perhaps embark on a boat tour of the Alster Lake and learn of the city’s ancient seafaring traditions.

An overnight transit of the Kiel Canal – the first of two journeys through this incredible, size-restricted waterway on this itinerary – is followed by a full day stay in Kiel. Like Hamburg, this fascinating city harbours an extensive seafaring heritage; explore it in depth at the interesting Maritime Museum and the Laboe Naval Museum. Kiel is also home to Holstenstraße, one of Germany’s longest shopping streets; and gateway to the beautiful Holstein Lakes. Finally it’s on to the pretty seaside town of Warnemünde, boasting an abundance of friendly pubs and restaurants and an historic lighthouse offering fantastic views across the Baltic Sea. You’ll also be perfectly placed to embark on a boat trip along the peaceful River Warnow to Rostock, where landmarks such as the striking City Hall and St Mary’s Church await, as well as a local microbrewery expertly crafting delicious German beers. Yet another journey back through the Kiel Canal ensures an unforgettable end to your time in Germany as you head for home.

 

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Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Newcastle, United Kingdom: Depart Late PM

Following a flight from Dublin Newcastle, you will be transferred to the port to board the Fred. Olsen Balmoral where you will begin your journey.

Day 2: At Sea

Day 3-4: Bremen, GermanyArrive Early AM OVERNIGHT Depart Early PM

Timed to coincide with the Bremen Beer Festival and with an overnight stay in port this cruise is the perfect way to experience the thrills of Oktoberfest. Or you can chose to explore the fascinating city of Bremen.

The key maritime role played by the city of Bremen, which straddles the Weser River in northwest Germany, is underlined by its impressive Hanseatic buildings. Bremen’s Hanseatic Gothic architecture in the Marktplatz and narrow timber buildings in the Schnoor Quarter are the standout highlights in the oldest part of the city. The ornate Gothic Town Hall, originally built between 1405 and 1410, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has within its walls a restaurant with original Hanseatic era décor and the Bremer Ratskeller,a public house in the basement.

The Town Hall is also home to a number of large model ships in its upper hall and 12 of the oldest wines in the world. Nearby is the Roland Statue, a giant stone figure that symbolises freedom of trade.

In contrast, Überseestadt – the former docklands – offers a completely different experience and is a fine example of modern Bremen. Here, a selection of trendy bars, stylish cafes and fine restaurants can be found, as well as a beautiful harbour and yacht-filled marina.

Day 4 continued: Cruising Weser River, Germany: Arrive Early PM Depart Late Night

Cruise the picturesque Weser River on a Baltic cruise with Fred. Olsen. Be on the look-out for the pretty shores of Harriersand – one of Europe’s longest river islands.

Day 5: Hamburg, Germany: Arrive Early AM Depart Late PM

Located on the River Elbe, Hamburg is the country’s largest port and regarded as Germany’s gateway to the world.

A vibrant, historic city boasting an impressive Hanseatic League heritage that harks back over 700 years, Hamburg’s maritime soul permeates the city. From its architecture to its cuisine, water is ever present in Germany’s principal port. The city is crossed by hundreds of canals, and spanned by 1,000 bridges. Near its centre, the charming Inner Alster Lake is dotted with boats and surrounded by divine cafes.

Hamburg is awash with historic buildings and monuments typical of Hanseatic culture. The steeple of St. Nikolai – a church almost destroyed in World War II, the 17th century Zollenbrücke Bridge and Hamburg Rathaus are must-visit sites. The central Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the Neustadt (new town) with the Altstadt (old town), home to the impressive 18th century St. Michael’s Church.

In the city centre, the amazing Miniatur Wunderland museum is highly recommended, as is the ocean-liner-shaped Chilehaus, the crowning glory of the UNESCO-listed Kontorhaus District. The flourishing swathe of stylish shops, excellent restaurants and legendary nightlife – a celebration of cosmopolitan Hamburg – add more exciting dimensions to this city.

Hamburg’s waterfront district offers much to enjoy. Visit the popular Fischmarkt, discover an array of lively bars and restaurants at the harbour, watch Europe’s second largest port in action or head to Hafen City, a newly developed urban quarter.

Day 6: Kiel, Germany: Arrive Early AM Depart Late Night

Positioned at the eastern end of the Kiel Canal – the busiest man-made waterway in the world – Kiel is long-established maritime city with a busy seaport and a rich history of ship and submarine building. Beyond its dramatic port, Kiel’s university town has a vibrant, youthful feel. Almost completely destroyed in World War Two, Kiel has been extensively rebuilt since the 1950’s and now features broad boulevards and wide squares. Today’s modern structures, open-air cafes, bars and restaurants sit alongside the older monuments that survived the war such as the 13th century St. Nikolai Church and the Town Hall.

The viewing platform on top of the 107m tower of the Rathaus (City Hall) provides spectacular views, while the along the Kiel Fjord, the Maritime Museum displays model ships and nautical instruments in a former fish auction hall. The Hindenburg Embankment alongside the waterfront is another popular spot, particularly during Kiel Week, when the town hosts the internationally famous Regatta.

Day 7: Warnemünde, Germany: Arrive Early AM Depart Late Night

A delightful seaside town with excellent links to many of Germany’s gems, such as historic Rostock and vibrant Berlin, Warnemünde (Warnemunde) is a wonderfully rewarding destination.

With its wide, sandy beaches, traditional pubs and fantastic restaurants serving delicious, locally caught seafood, it is no wonder that pretty Warnemünde – situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea – is one of Germany’s most popular holiday resorts and busiest cruise ports.

While many visitors to Warnemünde choose not to stray away from the coast here, especially in summer when the beach becomes a haven for sun-worshippers, there are plenty of highlights to uncover elsewhere in the town. Those who opt to explore are rewarded with interesting attractions such as Warnemünde Church, the 19th century Lighthouse, and the quaint cottages and marina of the idyllic Alter Strom old river district, all of which are within easy reach of your ship’s docking location closer to the town centre.

And, thanks to its close proximity to a number of attraction-packed towns and cities, Warnemünde is also a gateway to some of Germany’s most famous sites. Berlin’s iconic monuments, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the remains of the Berlin Wall; the gabled houses and Brick-Gothic structures of UNESCO-listed Wismar; and the Hanseatic-era treasures of Rostock can all be uncover on tours.

Day 8: Kiel Canal Transit, Germany: Arrive Early AM Depart Late Night

Connecting the North Sea, at the mouth of the Elbe River, to the Baltic Sea at Holtenau, the Kiel Canal is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping routes. Slicing a man-made path through the German countryside, this 61-mile-long marvel of engineering allows vessels to avoid 250 nautical miles of sea sailing on average, ensuring a faster and safer passage through Europe.

As picturesque as it is important, the Kiel Canal is a popular route for ‘pleasure’ crafts and smaller-sized cruise ships such as those in the Fred. Olsen fleet. Sailing slowly along the canal presents an opportunity to take in gorgeous scenes of lush-green countryside and a collection of interesting villages and towns flanking the still waters, and marvel at several impressive bridges. Maritime enthusiasts will delight at the various shapes, sizes and sheer volume of the ships and vessels navigating this busy waterway too.

Day 9: At Sea

Day 10: Newcastle, United Kingdom: Arrive Early PM

Following breakfast at your hotel, we will have you transferred to the airport for your flight back to Ireland.

9 Nights accommodation aboard the Balmoral, operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. (See ship info tab for more information on the Balmoral)

Balmoral

Balmoral is the largest of our ocean-going cruise ships, yet is still small enough to navigate size-restricted waterways such as the Kiel Canal, providing fantastic scenic cruising opportunities, and retains the warm, intimate and friendly atmosphere that the Fred. Olsen fleet is renowned for. Balmoral is named after the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family, and the Scottish theme runs throughout the main dining venues – the Ballindalloch, Avon and Spey – where guests can enjoy tantalising menus prepared by our expert chefs.

Featuring 710 well-appointed rooms and suites and a selection of comfortable lounges, bars and inviting public areas which have been extensively refitted and improved as part of Fred. Olsen’s fleet-wide refurbishment programme, Balmoral provides guests with ample space in which to relax and share a memorable cruise experience with hundreds, not thousands, of fellow travellers. And, as our guests have come to expect, there is always an array of superb entertainment on offer throughout the day, from lectures and hobby classes to live cabaret and comedians, ensuring you can make the most of your time on board.

Coming Soon!

Dates & Prices

DATE PRICE CABIN
19 October 2018 €1,549 Inside Book Now
19 October 2018 €1,789 Oceanview Book Now
19 October 2018 €1,979 Solo Oceanview Book Now
19 October 2018 €2,159 Solo Superior Oceanview Book Now

Price Inclusions

  • Return flights from Dublin to Newcastle
  • Return Transfers between airport and port
  • 9 nights accommodation aboard the Balmoral
  • Fine dining on a full board basis
  • All onboard entertainment
  • One check-in bag of 15kgs and one 10kgs carry-on per person
  • Taxes and charges of €130

Booking remarks

  • Inclusive of taxes and service charges as indicated
  • Full Payment required at time of booking
  • Optional Insurance available (call for details)
  • Drinks packages available to prebook – only €18 per person per night
  • Gratuities from €5 per person per night payable at the end of your cruise onboard M.S. Balmoral
  • These prices are guidelines only and are subject to change and availability. Pricing will be confirmed at time of booking.

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