Here’s some stuff that will make your experience better:
• First and foremost, never, ever, under any circumstances, leave your ship without your passport and a credit card. You are required to have your passport at all times. We’ve never, ever lost anyone, but having both of these things would be extremely beneficial should you get separated from the group.Please wear appropriate clothing.
• The weather can be unpredictable, so make your mother happy and bring a jacket. The Germans say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choices
• Please bring a small umbrella. Your guide, who is some kind of supernatural creature, will have one, thus ensuring that it will not rain*.
• We do some amount of walking over varied historical paving surfaces, so please wear comfortable shoes.
• There is a lot to photograph, so take a lot of pictures. It is a good idea to have charged batteries and extra memory cards.
• We accept credit cards for your excursion. Most Germans shy away from paying with credit and many shops and restaurants do not take them. ATMs are plenty and close. We can help you find one along the way.
• Bring a bottle of water. We stop frequently, but it is good to have one just in case.
About your ship and our first meeting:
• Please, Please, I beg you: use the “facilities” before disembarking. We stop every two or so hours for a bathroom break, but it is best to start out on empty.
• We’ll be outside the Warnemünde Cruise Center (a.k.a. the Terminal) waiting for you as you disembark. Look for one of us in a Ship2Shore t-shirt, windbreaker or hat. We’ll be holding a sign. I will probably even be smiling. Our confirmation will tell you when to get off the boat. We know when your ship is scheduled to leave. Please reconfirm this information as you disembark. Don’t be surprised when we ask you: we know already, but like to double and triple check. There will be a quiz later.
• We’ll leave punctually, so please try to be outside about 15 minutes early.
• Regardless of whom you book with, and we hope that you’ll choose us, DON’T EVER LET THE CRUISE SHIP INTIMIDATE YOU.
• Once the gangway is down, you have every right to disembark at any time you want. We know this, but your cruise line doesn’t really want you to.
• Do not wait around for them to tell you that you can disembark. Don’t wait in your cabin or holding pens for the announcement. Be bold, you can come and go whenever you want.
• Your ship will always try to disembark people who paid thousands for their excursions first.
• Don’t let them tell you that customs or port officials want to clear large groups first. The German Police really don’t care. Your ship will usually come from another EU country, so customs and passport control will be minimal.
Above all, please bring a positive attitude. We’re all here to have a good time. It is alright to be a little grumpy at 09:00 am on vacation. Roughly halfway to Berlin, we’ll stop for coffee and ring-dings, so that would cheer-up anybody.
Occasionally things happen. Berlin is Germany’s capital and fundamentally the political and social epicenter of Central Europe. Sometimes things are closed, blocked-off, or canceled. We usually know these things well in advance and plan accordingly. Every so often, Tajikistan’s Prime Minister will want to have a currywurst and stop traffic for 18 square blocks
Everything you want to know but were afraid to ask
• Are your busses nice?:
Our transport providers are the premiere service for cruise ships Germany. All buses are modern, have A/C, are fully insured and equipped for our younger guests.
• Will you get me back to my ship on time?
In over 20 years of touring, never, ever have we been late. Every single customer of ours has made it back to the boat with enough time for a beer at the pub before embarking.
The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, we know what we’re doing. We are experts in planning your day; our guides and drivers are in constant contact with home base, monitoring the traffic situation and seeking alternative routes; we’re always thinking three steps ahead. All vehicles are equipped with state of the art GPS, navigation, and telecommunication. We know where the pitfalls are and how to avoid them. Your day is planned with enough buffer time that alternative transportation can be arranged, if need be. We have never needed to do this.
All of our vehicles are maintained to exceed German federal standards. We have never had a vehicle break down.
Secondly, German federal law severely restricts how many hours a driver can spend behind the wheel. We equate being late and missing the boat with the €35,000 fine associated with making a driver work more than 11 hours per day.
We want your day in Berlin to be fun and worry free. In the extremely remote possibility, we are fully insured by ERGO Versicherung
I can’t emphasize this enough: We always make it back to the boat with time to spare, 100% of the time. We haven’t ever even cut it close.
The reason a ship sponsored excursion is so expensive, it that if their bus is late, they have the authority to hold the ship’s departure.
• How will I find you at the pier?
Your guide will be waiting for you outside of the Warnemünde Cruise Center. We know when your ship docks and will be there early with a sign. Your guide is easily recognizable in his blue ship2shore jacket and shirt.
• How can I book?
It’s very simple. Just send us a quick email with your dates, ship name, and details on how we can make your day special. We’ll do some thinking and get back to you ASAP, usually within one day!
• How can I pay?
• When you book your tour, we’ll send you a confirmation with payment details. No deposit is required (but we do need a credit card to hold your spot—we don’t charge anything until you tell us to.) When you are ready to confirm, payment can be made:
o by credit card on the day or in advance at the pier on arrival
o by bank transfer to our US account or German account
o in cash in €uro on the day of the tour. (Other currencies accepted at ridiculously disadvantageous exchange rates…)
o Cash machines and cash withdrawals from major credit cards can be arranged during your visit
• What if I need to cancel?
Cancellation can be made up to 5 days before the tour with no penalty. If cancellation comes less than 72 hours before the tour, the tour will be charged at 50% of the total cost.
• What’s included in the price?
o driver and private vehicle all day
o the guide/s all day
o treats along the way
• Can you arrange tours covering other themes?
Yes we can! Just tell us what you’re interested in and we can open doors that are closed to others
• Can you help us with other ports and excursions?
Yes, yes a thousand times yes! We love the Baltic Coast and work together with SPB Tours, who we believe offer the best excursions to St. Petersburg....ever. They do Berlin, but we're more fun!
• What if I need accommodation?
If you are planning to stay overnight and need accommodation, hire cars, need restaurant recommendations, reservations, anything…it can be done! Just ask us!
* of course, due to the changing metaphysical nature of our relationship to the weather, there are no guarantees that it won’t rain. Plan for the worst , hope for the best, and all that….
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the fine print.
Participation is a Ship2shore excursion and/or tour is strictly voluntary. As in all human endeavors, there is a level of risk. We do our best to keep the risk at a minimum. Ship2Shore, its contractors, parent and subsidiary companies, families, friends, vague acquaintances, and employees assume no liability or responsibility for any injury, loss, damage, inconvenience, bad currywurst, or disappointing strudel sustained by any person using its services. We will not be held in any way responsible for to injuries to body, person, or property incurred during the tour or excursion. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone for any reason at any time. Thank you for understanding.
Your tour/excursion price includes transportation and guide(s). Food, beverage, incidentals, bathrooms, and anything else not specifically included in the tour price agreement is not included.
When I was 19, I thought that travel insurance was for chumps. Now, I think it is a pretty nifty idea, especially since it is included in many credit card agreements.