Bremerhaven, Germany cruises
Your guide to Bremerhaven.
Located on Germany’s northern coast, where the River Geeste meets the Weser, Bremerhaven has shifted and been shaped with the passage of time to become one of Germany’s most important harbor cities. Badly damaged in World War II, regeneration has transformed the city, while cutting-edge museums - like the Climate House - are putting Bremerhaven on the cultural map. Take a tour of a decommissioned U-boat, browse the variety of shops along the "Bürger" or sample smoked fish at Bremerhaven’s harbor. Alternatively, take a train to historic Bremen, where a UNESCO-listed town hall, ancient timber houses and a cathedral are among the attractions to explore.
Many of Bremerhaven’s attractions revolve around the city’s relationship to the sea. The German Maritime Museum offers an enlightening look at ships through the ages, with a chance to enter a decommissioned U-boat. If you have got a head for heights, the Atlantic Hotel Sail City provides spectacular views of Bremerhaven from its 86 and 95-meter observation decks. The German Emigration Center explores the role Bremerhaven played in providing German migrants safe passage to America, while Klimahaus Bremerhaven (climate house) takes visitors on a unique sensory journey. The interactive exhibits replicate weather patterns across five continents, offering a chance to experience everything from arid deserts to abundant reefs.
Eating and drinking.
If you are seeking a civilized spot to take in a coffee or a bite to eat, head to Schaufenster Fischereihafen – Bremerhaven’s revitalized fishing harbor. Centuries old, the boardwalk here now plays host to a slick assortment of bars, cafés and restaurants, and the dock is a great vantage point from which to admire the passing ships while enjoying a chilled pilsner. A converted fish-packing warehouse now houses the cream of the crop of the harbor’s best seafood restaurants, with home-smoked halibut being among the popular dishes on offer here. For more traditional German fare, the Harbor’s nautically-themed inns serve up hearty, generously portioned comfort food.
Bremerhaven has much to offer in the way of shops – from undercover malls offering a blend of fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores to a high street lined with brand names and popular labels. In the center of the city you will find the "Bürger" a pedestrianized shopping district almost a kilometer in length. A handful of gift shops selling local crafts and wares can be found here, while the city’s two largest shopping centers - Mediterraneo and Columbus - are also in the area. The former is an outlet center offering around 40 boutiques and attractively designed in an Italian architectural style.
The medieval city of Bremen is easily reached from Bremerhaven and well worth a visit. The city is larger than Bremerhaven and steeped in history. Market Square is where you will find attractions such as the cathedral and the UNESCO-listed Town Hall, while the riverfront promenade, along the Schlachte Embankment, is flanked by bars and restaurants and a great place to pause for a drink. Of course, no visit to Bremen would be complete without exploring the Schnoor district. This is Bremen’s oldest quarter, where 15th and 16th-century timber houses, tiny artists’ workshops and boutique shops come together in a sprawling labyrinth of pedestrianized streets.
Anyone who has ever visited Ellis Island will understand the significant role Bremerhaven played in providing German migrants safe passage to America. Of the millions who made it across the Atlantic, many started their journey in Bremerhaven’s harbor. It is a historical link the city has never forgotten, and one that’s celebrated in Bremerhaven’s German Emigration Center museum. The museum contains the names of each German national who emigrated Germany via Bremerhaven, and as such has become a popular pilgrimage for Americans looking to trace their German ancestors.
Unsurprisingly, for a city with Bremerhaven’s maritime history, many of its cultural attractions revolve around life at sea. For anyone curious about Germany’s seafaring past, the German Maritime Museum offers an enlightening look at ten German ships through the ages. The catalog of exhibitions includes the wreckage of a 14th-century merchant vessel and a 1919 whaling steamer. If naval history holds more appeal, the museum’s decommissioned U-boat offers an illuminating insight into the inner workings of the last remaining of these wartime submarines.
If you’re seeking a civilized spot to take in a coffee or a bite to eat, head to Schaufenster Fischereihafen – Bremerhaven’s revitalized fishing harbor. Centuries old, the boardwalk here now plays host to a slick assortment of bars, cafes and restaurants, and the dock is a great vantage point from which to admire the passing ships while enjoying a chilled pilsner. A converted fish-packing warehouse now houses the cream of the crop of the harbor’s best seafood restaurants, with home-smoked halibut being among the popular dishes on offer here. For more traditional German fare, the Harbor’s nautically-themed inns serve up hearty, generously portioned comfort food.
If you’ve got a head for heights, don’t miss the opportunity to take in the spectacular views of Bremerhaven from the 140-meter-tall Atlantic Hotel Sail City. Two observation decks are accessible for a small entrance fee, offering a chance to see the city from heights of 86 and 95 meters, respectively. While the lower platform is ensconced in glass, its taller counterpart is open-air, and it’s not unusual to feel a stiff breeze at this height even if the weather at ground level is agreeable.
Once you’ve descended, make a beeline for Klimahaus Bremerhaven, one of the city’s newest additions and among its most celebrated cultural highlights. Cutting edge in its execution, the museum (which translates to “climate house”) takes visitors on a unique sensory journey through several of the earth’s regions. The interactive exhibits, spanning five continents, replicate weather patterns around the globe, with everything from arid deserts to abundant reefs.
Truly unique the world over, Klimahaus is a must-see attraction on a Bremerhaven port call. A rare chance to glimpse a world within a world – and an experience that is certain to remain with you long after you return to your Cunard Queen.