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Berlin and the longest excursion of my life

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

So, sitting here is Visby, Sweden typing on Thursday, June 29th and this is the official catch-up post. Again, being phoneless for about 48 hours put a definite damper on both work, as well as photo editing, blog posts and just general communication and being in-the-know around the ship.

Unplugged doesn't work for me.

I got back onboard the Celebrity Apex on Sunday, June 25th and was quick to make some new connections. Connections have largely come from the daily LGBTQ mixer onboard and has evolved into some bar-meetups, invitations to join others at dinner, chatting poolside or in the ships Thermal Suite. (Think spa when I say thermal suite. Heated tile loungers, steamroom, rainfall experience showers, etc).

Thermal suite access was included on the 2nd half of the cruise holiday as I moved from an oceanview stateroom into an Aqua Class Balcony room. Also included is a dedicated restaurant to Aqua Class passengers called Blu.

Monday was a Sea Day.

Tuesday we arrived in Warnemunde, Germany.

Wednesday was another Sea Day

Thursday, today we are in Visby, Sweden.

The definite and unequivocal highlight of Monday was the 10:30o Silent Disco in the ships Grand Plaza. We danced until 12:30a. It's my absolute favorite shipboard activity. It's gets me every time.

Most of the rest of Monday was spent dealing with the phone issue. It overheated when I was editing photos on Sunday and got into this CONSTANT cycle of turning off, rebooting, Home Screen appearing, then cycling off and starting all over. It then gave me a warning that the phone was too hot, and wouldn't accept commands to reboot. Finally, after about 6 hours of on again/off again chat with Apple support, the phone finally turned off and stayed off. That allowed me to download a iOS update from my computer to the phone. I thought that was going to solve my problems, as did the IT person, but after a long download and reboot of the phone, the cycle of death started again. Frustrated and nervous about being phoneless (and largely unable to work remotely) I made plans to visit an Apple Store in Berlin during a "shopping break" on the ship excursion.

About 2 hours into the 2.5 hour train ride from Warnemunde to Berlin, the phone stopped overheating and stayed on. No apparent reason for the phone to now work, so I remained cautiously cynical, there was NO optimism left. 6 hours into the Berlin shore excursion, and now at the shopping time, I walked into Apple and explained what had happened. A quick review of the phone and they said it looks ok to us. I walked out still nervous, but sitting here 48 hours post the 48 hour cycle of phone death, and all remainsapparently good with the phone.

That allows be to get talk about Berlin and the longest shore excursion of my life. It was billed as a 12.5 hour excursion. By the time all wa said and done, it was 15 hour days. 1.5 hours of waiting before we departed. 2 hour train ride. Lunch at a Sheraton Hotel arranged by the excursion. Hopping on/off the coach tour bus sightseeing around Berlin, shopping and then a coach ride back to a different train station and another 2+hour train ride back to Warnemunde, it was a long and exhausting day.

Zero regrets. I wouldn't chose to do that again if/when I stop in Warnemunde on the next Scandanivian cruise, but it was a great day seeing Berlin and being in Germany for my first time.

The train ride was relatively tranquil. The German countryside between costal Warnemunde and Berlin reminds me of Pennsylvania. Gentle rolling green hills, farmland, small villages dotted alongside the train tracks.

Berlin on the other hand, is a bustling metropolis tat you would expect. I learned a lot about the history of Berlin and a Germany in general. I felt like an ignorant American on many occasions, oblivious to the most simple historical knowledge, such as that the Berlin Wall had no start and stopping point. It circled the city. East Germany completely surrounded West Germany, with West Germany being the traditional city center, and East being everything else.

Other stops included, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin Cathedral, Victory Column among many others.

Graffiti abound, the street art is well done and a proud addition to the locals. It gives Berlin part of its grit and has been unique among the cities I've visited. I appreciate talents different than my own, which are many, and art of all, visual, performance are all things I wished I possessed greater talent in.

The Bears of Berlin are also everywhere. Numbered around 500 and scattered throughout the metro, they have become the unofficial ambassadors to the city.

Back on the ship around 11p, I skipped dinner and met up with Daniel, fellow LGBTQ traveler from Quebec with his Aunt, and threw back a few cocktails to insure I passed out and got a good nights sleep. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday was largely spent working and a bit of afternoon pool time, and ended again in the Grand Plaza listening to Scott from Indiana introduce a piano bar concept to Celebrity Cruises. A brief chat in the Eden venue on Monday led to the introduction and learning more about his new contract with Celebrity. It was a great addition to the normal ship activities and hope the concept makes the cut.

~Cole from Colorado

Caught up, and relieved 📱



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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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