IT PROBABLY seems a little bit of a misnomer, to start a “Baltic” cruise, in Amsterdam. I think the primary reason for that is that our cruise lines (Generally Celebrity or Princess, but I expect HAL and NCL probably also) originate a lot of their cruises out of Amsterdam. Our British Isles cruise in 2019 – though it originated in Dublin, Ireland – finished in Amsterdam. This time we started and finished in Amsterdam. But, situated just north of the English Channel on The North Sea, it is a long way to the Baltic Sea. Our route took us through the “North Sea Canal” all the way west and into the North Sea, which took a couple hours. Photographically, I totally blew this one. I should have researched a little better. We left in the afternoon and the landscape was beautifully lit. There was a lot of interesting photographic potential off the ship, and I essentially missed the opportunity. But I was socializing with some of our newfound friends and really didn’t pay enough attention to this. We came back in during the nighttime hours. If we do it again, I will be ready.
ONCE IN the North Sea, it is a long trek up and around Denmark and back down into the Baltic. Consequently, our first day was “at sea.” By the time we got into scenery around Denmark, it was night again. My first photographic opportunity came in the morning, as we made our first port, Warnemunde, Germany.
IT TURNS out that that was probably the best part of Warnemunde. For sure it was the best part photographically. I have noted in prior posts that one advantage to the larger cruise ships is that they afford a nice high vantage point from the top deck, making for unique photographic opportunities that cannot be made from the ground. And often the advantage from the cruise ship is an uncluttered, clear view.
IN WARNEMUNDE this was especially good, as the lighthouses and the Ferris wheel present significant perspective challenges from ground-level. From the ship, I got some shots I liked. I especially appreciated being able to frame the church within the Ferris wheel.
THE STATELY old lighthouse in town is pretty photogenic, and now is right in the middle of a plaza near the beach promenade. Designed by Friedrich Kerner, it replaced an older “storm lamp” in 1898. I was able to get an o.k. photograph of it from the ground level with my standard “kit” zoom at about 35mm equivalent. Photoshop’s perspective correction tools work wonders on shots like this (but perspective issues are still evident to the experienced eye).
WARNEMUNDE IS essentially a very small, but busy, beach resort which is popular with Germans. The nearest city is Rostock. The cruise line touts this stop as “Warnemunde; for Berlin.” There is an express train that goes from right at the cruise port into Berlin. But it is a 3-hour or more train ride each way. To us, it didn’t make sense to spend 6 hours out of a port stop that was barely twice that duration, traveling. We didn’t feel that we would get the most out of Berlin. Someday, we will travel there – but it will be by air or land and will involve a multiple day stay.
A LOT of people also took transportation (bus or train) to nearby Rostock. There is a university there, as well as some museums. Again, we didn’t see anything about it in the literature that really excited us, and we knew before the cruise that we would probably be getting off the ship and walking around the little town and re-boarding. This didn’t figure to be a “major” stop for us.
BUT I had read about the canal coming into town, with boats, bars and restaurants. I had also read about and seen photos of the beach and the wide, nice promenade that parallels the beach. The best view of the beach, in my opinion, is shown in the very top image here, coming into the port. As you can see, this is a rather affluent beach/vacation spot which caters to tourism.
WE WALKED down the canal, over to the promenade, down to the beach, and “people-watched” for a while. I found a few photos. But I still think the best were from the cruise ship.
TOPOGRAPHICALLY, ANOTHER interesting point about this port is that it is in a wide canal that goes all the way to Rostock. There appears to be one bridge over the canal, about half-way between Warnemunde and Rostock. But there is quite a residential development directly east and across the canal from the main downtown area of Warnemunde. We saw a lot of this throughout this entire trip. The most common way to get back and forth is by ferry. I watched the small car/bike/pedestrian ferry with interest from the ship deck for quite a while.
I MADE one final image as we walked back toward the port and reboarded our ship. It gives some perspective on how small Warnemunde is. We looked forward to “more” from the upcoming stops.