The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany

When shops were closed in Oslo, Norway on the first of May for May Day, we were more than excited for the second stop on our Scandinavian cruise with Princess Cruises: Germany! Several of the shore excursions for the day included three-hour train rides—each way—to Berlin. As much as I wanted to visit Berlin, I decided to save it for another trip, because Tamara and I found a shore excursion that caught our eye immediately: The Best of Rostock, River Cruise, & Microbrewery. As soon as I read there would be soft pretzels involved, I was sold!

This dream of a port town starts with the view of Warnemünde from the Regal Princess. A church steeple, a winding river, and a smattering of picturesque cottages set in front of a sparkling sea. It doesn't get any better than that. I woke up early and caught the sunrise and was absolutely enchanted by the colors that were layered throughout the clouds. 

The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

Rostock, Germany is a picturesque 800-year-old town that makes you want to burst into the "little town, it's a quiet village" number from Beauty and the Beast. The town square looks as perfect as a film set, and as with any classic European city, it does feel a little like a step back into time. 

The Best of Rostock & Warnemunde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
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The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

As it happens, the oldest university in all of northern Europe is located in Rostock, established in 1419. Albert Einstein even had an honorary doctorate degree from the University! The main hall is a beautiful building right in the center of town that seems to anchor the city square.

After a stroll through the more modern shopping stretch, our tour set us free for about twenty to thirty minutes of wandering around the square. There were a ton of cute little shopping boutiques and patio restaurants, and the cutest boutique hotels. Rostock would be a wonderful place to stop on a road trip through Germany (which is now on my travel wishlist!). There was even an adorable coffee bike parked nearby to enjoy during our break.

The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

However, like I said, my favorite part of the tour was visiting a local brewery, because what is Germany most famous for? Beer, of course, and they’re very proud of it. Our tour guide told us plenty of his favorite drinking stories to entertain us during the drive! We arrived at Brahaus Trotzenburg to a full tray of warm soft pretzels, and sample cups of two kinds of beer—but pay no mind to the mini-size steins, you can go back for seconds! One thing I learned was that mustard, a condiment I usually enjoy with soft pretzels, is more common in southern Germany, and nearly unheard of in northern Germany. Of course, the United States differs greatly from region to region, but I didn’t think about how different two regions in a much smaller country could be.

The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

Although our tour lasted a short four hours compared to the twelve-hour day other passengers were enjoying in Berlin, Tamara and I were exhausted and headed back to the ship to regroup. There may have been a nap involved. However, there was more exploring to do in our port town of Warnemünde, which was a very short walk from the ship.

Warnemünde was just what I had in mind for a small, northern Europe port town. There were a ton of cute souvenir shops and cafes lining the river, as well as beautiful fishing boats. Tamara and I strolled the fairytale-like cottages to the end of town where we ran into a gorgeous Baltic Sea beach, which reminded me a lot of East Coast and New England beaches in the States. I imagine Warnemünde would be an amazing place to vacation in the summer!

The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane
The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

I bought a couple souvenirs in town, but make sure to stop in to the shops on the walk back to the ship, specifically the shop inside Karls Pier 7: you can smell the strawberries practically out the door! Although I didn't have any room in my suitcase for their delicious treats, I did come back with a captain's hat

The Best of Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany | truelane

Our cruise itinerary contained so many stunning big cities in northern Europe that taking a day to explore some smaller, quieter towns was a nice little break. Still, this was definitely a full day for us, but worth every step. Plus, local tour guides who know the ins and outs of everything you might want to know is just the cherry on top of a fun and food-filled excursion. Auf Wiedersehen!

Thank you to Princess Cruises for sponsoring this post. 

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life

Regal Princess, somewhere on the sea between Oslo and Berlin

4:30 A.M.

The fiery orange sunrise is peeking through the slit between your curtains, but that's not what woke you up. You're still on your hometown time zone, although you flew into Copenhagen the day before embarkation. Oh well, you intended to get up and see the sunrise at least once anyway! 

8:08 A.M.

Room service breakfast arrives! This was one of your favorite memories on your first Princess Cruises adventure, and the croissants are just as incredible as you remember. Food always tastes better on vacation.

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane
Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

8:58 A.M.

It's your first full day at sea after leaving Oslo, Norway, and you're glad you booked your massage right away. All settled in on Deck 5 at the Lotus Spa for a 90-minute Thai coconut massage! Cruising is the perfect time to take advantage of every available perk—as long as you're there, might as well be in the lap of luxury.  

10:50 A.M. 

Time to refuel at the International Café! The best thing about it is that the Café is open twenty-four hours, but their delectable treats and sweets are the main reason you keep coming back. "One cappuccino and one chai latte for here, please"—you've got people-watching to do. 

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

12:27 P.M.

You're a sweets person, but you're also a salt person, and the French fries from the Trident Grill on the Lido deck are sounding like the perfect palette cleanser. You convince yourself to take the stairs up 10 floors to earn your fries. If you're willing and able, the stairs are the only way to go on a cruise ship! Plus, gotta stay active after that muscle-loosening massage.

12:42 P.M.

Somehow your travel buddy talked you into a glass of champagne. It has to be 5 o'clock somewhere between Oslo and Warnemunde...plus, fries and champagne has always been your favorite combination. "Two glasses of Korbel, Boris!" You catch up with your favorite waiter just before he leaves on his break.

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

1:01 P.M.

After the fries are gone, you decide to take your champagne on the road and do some exploring. It's your friend's first time on the Regal Princess, after all! You head up to the Sky Deck, the highest deck on the ship, and watch a Carlos Santana concert on the big screen. It's 50 degrees and you're in a jacket and hat—while some hearty folks are laying out in their swimsuits. Now that's dedication.

Your explorations lead you to the adults-only pools at the front of the ship, which you make a mental note to hit up once the temperature increases. But your other favorite part of the ship is a few steps down back on the Lido deck—the SeaWalk! 60 feet of glass walkway, 128 feet above the waves—you get the same viewing experience as the captain does from the bridge. It's quite thrilling—you were a little afraid of it your first time around, and now it's one of your favorite parts of the ship.

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

1:53 P.M.

Since most of your day has been about eating, you decide to keep up the trend and attend Royal Afternoon Tea, so back down the stairs you go to the Piazza. Three pots of tea come your way—green, white, and red—and each pot goes along with one tier of the dessert platter! The scones are the clear winners for you, as you'll eat anything covered in Devonshire cream and jam, and then an incredible unique trifle for the finale that is unlike anything you've eaten before. 

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

2:47 P.M.

Since you're already on Deck 5, you head over to the Shore Excursions desk to finalize your plans for tomorrow's port day in Warnemunde. Most of your group is heading into Berlin and spending six hours total on the train there and back—while the city and excursions sound incredible, you'd rather hit the streets right away, so you make a plan to visit Rostock and enjoy a river cruise and microbrewery for the first half of the day. Anything that gets you a soft pretzel sounds like a solid plan. That will leave the rest of the evening to do some souvenir shopping in Warnemunde.

3:15 P.M. 

Now that you've got tomorrow all planned, you're on your way back to your Lido Deck stateroom when you notice the jacuzzi is free. It's too cold for the pool, but the jacuzzi might actually help you warm up (you try not to think about getting out afterwards). It might be 40 degrees out, but that's what your fur pom hat is for. You run and change in your stateroom and come out in bathrobes and swimsuits. No shame in Scandinavia!

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

3:28 P.M.

You realize this cold-weather jacuzzi situation is pretty ideal. You & Tamara will spend a few more evenings doing exactly this.

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

4:25 P.M.

Perfectly pruny, you head back to the stateroom and put on La La Land while you get ready for dinner...which may include lounging on the bed catching up on social media. You're on vacation after all. It's practically island time up here.

6:09 P.M.

A plate of chocolate-covered strawberries has arrived in your room. You are not at all concerned about spoiling your dinner. When in Rome...or in this case, northern Europe.

7:06 P.M. 

You're only a few minutes late for dinner after spending some time shooting photos at the back of the ship, out of the wind. It's formal night and you've got to document those smashing outfits. Finally, you're seated in the Concerto Dining Room and a bread basket is in front of you. Even Princess butter is better than what you've got at home...

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

9:48 P.M.

Everyone at dinner starts freaking out, and you can't tell why until you catch a glimpse of the view outside. Sailing silently along, you're used to seeing nothing on the horizon, but suddenly there's this:

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

The Great Belt Bridge in Germany. Everyone scrambles up to the top deck, where half of all cruisers on the Regal Princess stand with their cameras and phones pointed at the horizon. It's just a bridge, but it's inexplicably beautiful and something about seeing it in the middle of what you thought was nowhere makes things feel...peaceful. The sunset, the colors, the silhouettes every way you look...this moment will become one of the best memories from your trip.

10:04 P.M.

Everyone decides to call it an early night thanks to tomorrow's early call time. You still have so much to explore on the ship, but first, Germany calls. The view of Warnemunde from your balcony tomorrow—sun coming up between hazy, pink clouds above a picturesque little town—will be nothing short of beautiful.

Princess Cruises: A Day In The Life | truelane

Thank you to Princess Cruises for sponsoring this post.