Guidebook Updates for Rick Steves Northern European Cruise Ports

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our Northern European Cruise Ports guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Copenhagen

Stockholm

Helsinki

Tallinn

Berlin

  • At the Pergamon Museum, the Pergamon Altar, and about two thirds of the museum's collection, will be off-limits to viewing on September 29, 2014, and remain so until 2020 as the museum undergoes a massive renovation. Museumpasses and Museum Island Passes no longer let you skip the ticket-buying line at the Pergamon; if you’ll be there before the altar closes, it’s smart to book an entry time online.
  • S-Bahn service is disrupted this summer between the Ostbahnhof and Bahnhof Zoo (via the Hauptbahnhof and Friedrichstrasse); the stretch between Friedrichstrasse and Bahnhof Zoo reopens August 4, at which point the section between Friedrichstrasse and the Ostbahnhof will close until August 25. Regional trains still run parallel to the closed S-Bahn lines; and bus service also makes it easy to connect stops along this route. Deutsche Bahn personnel are on hand at the station to assist travelers.
  • Hotel Bogota has closed.
  • Hotel Astoria will close its doors at the end of 2014.
For books printed before December 2013, the following may also apply:
  • Recommended local guide Lee Evans was inadvertently omitted from the 2013 edition; he can be reached at mobile 0177-423-5307 and lee.evans@berlin.de.
  • Bus #129 no longer runs between the Jewish Museum and the Kreuzberg neighborhood.
  • Advance tickets are no longer required to enter the Pergamon and Neues museums.
  • The new Brandenburg Airport won't open until 2014 at the earliest; once it does it'll be connected to the city center by frequent trains (4/hour; 2/hour to Alexanderplatz and Bahnhof Zoo, near my recommended hotels).

Oslo

  • Some copies from the second (January 2013) printing of Rick Steves' Scandinavia, 13th edition, contain a printer's error. These copies have been recalled, but if you have recently purchased this edition, check the Oslo chapter. If the heading on page 239 reads "Eating in Bratislava," return the book to your bookseller, or contact the publisher (via Bobby Dunne, bobby.dunne@perseusbooks.com).
  • Oslo Budget Hotel has closed.
  • The Haraldsheim Youth Hostel has a new email address: oslo.haraldsheim@hihostels.no.

Stavanger

Bergen

Sognefjord

Balestrand
  • The express boat between Bergen and the Sognefjord, which stops in Balestrand and Flåm, is now operated by Norled (see their website for updated prices and schedules).
  • Sjøtun Camping has a new telephone number: mobile 95 06 72 61.
Lustrafjord
  • Nes Gard Farmhouse B&B has new phone numbers: 57 68 39 43 and mobile 95 23 26 94.
  • Drivers going from the Lustrafjord to Bergen via the Nutshell route will find some changes (most notably a new one-way stretch) in the drive from Gudvangen to road E-16.

Norway in a Nutshell

  • You can now reserve the Flåmsbana train portion of the Norway in a Nutshell route, together with the connecting Oslo–Bergen train, with NSB (the Norwegian national railway). However, you can’t use a US-issued credit card to purchase an advance ticket for these trains on the NSB website. To buy an advance ticket, you’ll need to call NSB at 81 50 08 88 or 23 62 00 00 (from the US, 011-47-81-50-08-88 or 011-47-23-62-00-00). After making your reservation, you’ll be sent an email with a link to a site that accepts payment by US credit card. You then can choose whether to pick up the ticket at the train station in Norway or download a pdf and print the ticket yourself.

Amsterdam

For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:
  • Wetlands Safari prices for 2014 are €48 for adults, €29 for kids ages 7–16; claim a €3 discount by showing your Rick Steves book.
  • Joy Ride Bike Tours' popular "city by bike" tour is now offered only as a private tour (not a group tour). Call 06-4361-1798 or check their site for information.
  • The Hermitage Amsterdam is no longer open late on Wednesdays, and can no longer be easily reached with tram #14 (tram #9 from the station still works, though).
  • Boogaards B&B has moved to a new location at Pieter Jacobszstraat 21, close to Dam Square (Db-€145, 2-night minimum, same owners, same contact info plus new mobile number: 06-3499-1941).
  • Café Vertigo (in Vondelpark) has closed.
  • Boom Chicago has moved from its longtime home on Leidseplein to Rozengracht 117.
  • Most train-ticket machines in the Netherlands do not accept American-style magnetic stripe credit or debit cards; without a chip-and-pin card the only option is to pay cash at a ticket window.
For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:
Orientation
  • The main tourist information office, located across the street from Central Station, now has slightly shorter hours: July–Aug Mon–Sat 9:00–19:00, Sun 10:00–17:00; Sept–June Mon–Sat 9:00–18:00, Sun 10:00–17:00.
  • Frederic Rent-a-Bike has raised their prices for 2012: €15/24 hours, €25/48 hours, €60/week; still with a 10 percent discount off multiday rentals for Rick Steves readers. They now offer three-hour rental for €8, and one-day rental for €10 if the bike is returned by 17:30.
Sights
  • The Rijksmuseum has reopened following an extensive renovation, which has restored the great building to its original 1885 glory. The museum is open daily 9:00–17:00; admission is €15 (covered by the Museumkaart; discounted admission with an I amsterdam Card). Rijksmuseum tickets are again available online. The tourist information office no longer sells Rijksmuseum tickets (but does still sell tickets for the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums).
  • At the Anne Frank House, you cannot skip the entry line with a Museumkaart (but the card does cover entry to the museum). The only way to avoid the lines is to make an online reservation (book as soon as possible), or arrive right when it opens, or late in the day. Museumkaart holders can purchase an online reservation without buying a separate Anne Frank House ticket.
  • The Maritime Museum has reopened after four years of renovations, and is well worth a visit (€15, includes visit to VOC ship Amsterdam — now moored out back, daily 9:00–17:00).
  • The Old Church (Oude Kerk) is now closed Sunday–Wednesday (still open Thu–Sat 13:00–17:00 in summer and closed Oct–March).
  • Admission to the Tassen Museum is now covered by both the Museumkaart and I amsterdam City Card.
  • The Willet-Holthuysen Museum now has an audioguide (€3).
  • Admission to the Dutch Theater is no longer free, but requires the €12 combo-ticket that covers admission to the Jewish Historical Museum.
  • The Tropical Museum is now closed on Mondays.
  • De Hortus Botanical Garden is now open daily 10:00–17:00 year-round.

Bruges

For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:
  • We're sad to report the death of our friend and local guide Christian Scharlé. His wife Daniëlle Janssens continues to offer tours of Bruges.
  • Hotel B (also formerly Hotel Nicolas) is now called Hotel Marcel; its new email address is info@hotelmarcel.be (its phone number remains the same).
  • Royal Stewart B&B has closed, but will reopen in June 2014 under new ownership as Hamiltons B&B, with two luxury suites (Db-€130, this price valid when you book direct and mention Rick Steves, cash preferred, mobile 0479-445-134, nicola@hamiltons.be).
  • Hotel Imperial has been renamed Hotel Blabla — really (info@hotelblabla.com; phone number remains the same).
  • The Laurenzino gelato shop has been renamed "Oyya," with the same management and same lineup of deliciousness.
  • The Canal Festival (Reiefeest) isn't happening in 2014; it happens every five years, with the next festival planned for 2018.
For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:
  • The buses serving the center from the train station have changed numbers: Buses from the station to the Markt are now #1, #3, #4, #6, #11, #13, #14, and #16. On-board fares are now €2.
  • The city's Museumpas now costs €20 (still valid for any 5 museums in 3 days).
  • The Begijnhof now closes in the evening (open daily 6:30–18:30).
  • The correct email for the lovely folks at Gastenhuis Sint-Andriescruyse is luc.cloet@telenet.be (without the second U). Also, in some copies of Rick Steves' Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels, 8th edition, the map on page 392 incorrectly shows the B&B's location; the dot for it (#13) should be farther south, near the K in "Verversdijk."
  • Hotel Cavilier's triple rooms are now €90 if you book direct.
  • Bistro de Bekoring restaurant, near Minnewater, has closed.

Brussels

  • Bruegel Hostel is incorrectly placed on the map on page 511 of the ninth edition of Rick Steves' Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels. It is located directly behind the Chapelle church, at Rue du Saint-Esprit 2.

For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:

  • The city's tourist information offices no longer book rooms at a discount for individual tourists. They are happy to recommend hotels, but visitors need to book direct for their accommodations.
  • Bus #95, which connects the city center to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the European Parliament, no longer stops at the Bourse. The most convenient downtown stop is called "Plattesteen" and is located on Rue du Lombard a few blocks southwest of Grand Place.
  • USE-IT has moved to Quai à la Houille/Steenkoolkaai 9B (Metro: Ste. Catherine).
  • The Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts has closed. Much of its collection will be found in the new Fin de Siècle Museum at the same site.
  • The Royal Museum of Art and History has been renamed the Cinquantenaire Museum (same collection, hours, contact info, etc.).
  • Hotel Ibis Centre Ste. Catherine no longer offers its €50 summer rate.

Ghent

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • The Veldstraat tram stop, mentioned at the beginning of our Ghent City Walk, has changed to "Korenmarkt."

Portsmouth

For books printed before January 2014, the following may apply:
  • The Sallyport tearoom has closed.

London

  • At the Tower of London, tips are no longer expected or encouraged at the end of a Beefeater tour.
For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:
  • The Covent Garden Tube stop is exit-only through summer of 2015. Instead, board at one of the other stations nearby: Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Embankment, or Holborn.
Sights
  • The Imperial War Museum is closed while it carries out renovation of its WWI galleries and atrium; it's scheduled to reopen on July 19, 2014.
  • The public galleries of both Houses of Parliament are open for visitors only when Parliament is in session — generally October to July, Monday through Thursday (the two chambers keep different hours on those days). During the Aug–Sept recess and on Saturdays year-round, the only way to visit is on a guided tour.
  • The Cutty Sark is now open daily, including Mondays.
  • Tours of the Rose Theatre are no longer offered through Shakespeare's Globe, and its Saturday hours are now restricted to 10:00–17:00.
  • The National Army Museum in Chelsea is closed for renovation until summer of 2016.
  • Evan Evans' guided bus tours to Bath via Salisbury and Stonehenge may vary the order of its stops en route (depending on the day of the week).
Sleeping
Eating
  • Mooli's restaurant, in Soho, has closed.
  • The Union Jacks restaurant on St. Giles Street is closed, but the one in Covent Garden Market is still open.
  • The Wagamama on Norris Street, near Piccadilly, has closed.
  • The Stockpot restaurant on Patton Street, near Piccadilly, has closed.
  • Jenny Lo's Tea House, west of Victoria Station, has closed.
For books printed before February 2014, the following may also apply:
  • St. James's Palace is a half-mile northeast (not northwest) of Buckingham Palace.
  • The Westland Hotel, near Kensington Gardens, has closed.
For books printed before August 2013, the following may also apply:
Orientation
Sights
  • The Cartoon Museum is no longer closed on Monday (now open Mon–Sat 10:30–17:30, Sun 12:00–17:30).
Sleeping
  • Cartref House B&B, on Ebury Street, has closed.
  • Aster House has a new email address: asterhouse@gmail.com.
  • Barn Cottage, a B&B near Gatwick Airport, has closed its doors.
Greenwich
  • Admission to the Cutty Sark is no longer by timed ticket; advance booking is still a good idea, but not crucial.

Paris

  • Le Bistrot des Compères has closed.
For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:
  • The Museum of the Order of Liberation, within the Army Museum's Invalides complex, is closed for renovation until June 18, 2015.
  • The Virgin Megastore on the Champs-Elysées has closed.
  • The Musée de l’Homme anthropological museum is closed through 2015.
  • Hôtel Bastille has closed for renovations.
  • Le Bistrot des Compères has closed.
  • Smooth in the City has closed.
  • Comptoir des Abbayes is closing its Marais location at on Rue Flechier.
For books printed before June 2014, the following may also apply:
  • The Louvre no longer offers free admission on the first Sunday of the month in summer (first Sundays are now free only Oct–March). Also, be aware that a summer 2014 project to renovate the pyramid entry point may affect how you access the museum in as well as services inside, beneath the pyramid (including baggage check).
  • Advance tickets to the Eiffel Tower go on sale three months in advance, and can sell out within hours.
  • The Picasso Museum is now scheduled to reopen in late 2014.
  • The Deportation Memorial (behind Notre Dame) is now closed at midday (12:00–13:30).
  • Montparnasse Tower no longer offers a discount for Rick Steves readers.
  • The Hôtel Concorde-Lafayette, known for its view bar, is now the Hôtel Hyatt-Regency.
  • Paris Webservices has a new phone number and hours: tel. 01 45 56 91 67, now open 8:00–18:00.
  • Fat Tire Bike Tours has new websites for its Classic Walks walking tours and for its skip-the-line Easy Pass tours.
  • The restaurant La Maison du Jardin is incorrectly located on maps in some editions. It is indeed on Rue Vaugirard, but between Rues Madame and Cassette, a 10-minute walk west of the spot it's shown, and on the opposite side of the street.
For books printed before April 2014, the following may also apply:
  • Cook'n with Class cooking school has a new location at 6 Rue Baudelique (Métro: Jules Joffrin or Simplon).
  • Café Constant is now open daily.
For books printed before February 2014, the following may also apply:
  • Local guide Thierry Gauduchon has a new email address: tgauduchon@gmail.com.
  • St. Sulpice Church is no longer allowing visits to its massive pipe organ (because of space constraints). However, the church's superb organ recitals continue as usual.
  • Hôtel du Cadran now offers a free, big breakfast and a discounted price to Rick Steves readers who book by email or through the hotel's official website and use the code "RICK."
  • Hôtel Lindbergh has reopened, after a period of renovation, as "Hôtel Signature St. Germain."
  • The night trains from Gare d'Austerlitz to Barcelona and to Madrid are no longer running, nor is the night train from Gare de Lyon to Rome.
For books printed before September 2013, the following may also apply:
  • A few copies of the first printing of Rick Steves' Paris 2013 were printed with a defect. Before you leave, make sure you have pages 383–478. If your book is defective, please return it to your place of purchase. If that's not possible, contact Bobby Dunne at our publisher's office. Email bobby.dunne@perseusbooks.com with your mailing address, the book title, the nature of the defect, and the original place of purchase.
  • A few copies of the first printing of Rick Steves' France 2013 were printed with a defect. Before you leave, make sure you have pages 96–145 in the Paris chapter. If your book is defective, please return it to your place of purchase. If that's not possible, please contact Bobby Dunne at our publisher's office. Email bobby.dunne@perseusbooks.com with your mailing address, the book title, the nature of the defect, and the original place of purchase.
  • Bateaux Parisiens boats no longer offer a discount to rail-pass holders.
  • The last entry to the Arc de Triomphe is now 45 minutes before closing.
  • Hôtel la Bourdonnais is closed until March 2014 for major renovation.
  • Hôtel de Turenne has raised its prices quite a bit: (Sb-€130, Db-€150–200, Tb-€190–230), and changed its name to "Hôtel Eiffel Turenne" (reservation@hoteleiffelturenne.com).
  • Hôtel Duquesne Eiffel has a new website: www.hde.fr.
  • La Gourmandise is now "The Pizzeria."
  • Un Chien dans le Marais has closed.
For books printed before August 2013, the following may also apply:
  • The tourist information office at Gare de Lyon has closed.
  • Americans can now rent a Vélib bicycle with an American (magnetic strip, not chip) credit card by booking a "short-term subscription" online.
  • At Notre-Dame, there are now free English tours on Sunday at 14:30. Admission to the treasury is now €4, and its new hours are Mon–Fri 9:30–17:40, Sat–Sun 9:30–18:10. The tower climb at Notre-Dame now costs €8.50 and in June closes daily at 18:30 — there are no longer later hours on weekends.
  • The Army Museum is no longer open half an hour later on Sundays.
  • The Montmartre Museum is no longer closed on Mondays; it's now open daily 10:00–18:00.
  • At Versailles, a shuttle bus run by the local transit company now goes from the Versailles Château Rive Gauche train station to the Trianon Palaces and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The shuttle does not stop at the main entrance to the Château, but it's ideal for anyone going to the Trianon/Domaine first, or ready to return by train to Paris right from the Trianon/Domaine.
  • Hôtel Muguet and Hôtel de l'Empereur have strict cancellation policies; you must cancel seven days before your arrival or lose your deposit.
  • For Internet access in the Luxembourg area, try Cyber Cube at 5 Rue Mignon (Mon–Sat 10:00–10:00, closed Sun); Le Milk has closed.
  • Hôtel la Perle now charges extra for breakfast.
  • The correct address for Hôtel Relais Médicis is 5 Place de l'Odéon.