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

  • The restaurant Noma has closed; it plans to eventually reopen in a new location on the outskirts of Christiania (possibly in 2017).

For books printed before June 2015, the following may also apply:

For books printed before March 2015, the following also apply:

Stockholm

  • The Stockholm Card has been discontinued. In its place are two new options: the Stockholm Pass (covers entry to 60 Stockholm sights as well as unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus/boat tours; available in one-, two-, three, and five-day options, with an optional Travelcard add-on) and the Stockholm Prepaid Card (covers more than 30 sights; available in a 500kr version that covers public transportation for 24 hours, and a 1,000kr version that covers transportation for 72 hours). Before buying either of these cards, evaluate them carefully to see if your pass use will warrant their cost.
  • A number of the city's museums have just switched to free admissions, including these recommended sights:

For books printed before June 2015, the following may also apply:

  • The city’s tourist information office has a new website: www.visitstockholm.com.
  • The Visit Skärgården tourist office on the Strandvägen embankment is no longer operating.
  • Local guide Håkan Frändén has a new email address: hakan.franden@hotmail.com.
  • The Sweden Bookshop has closed.
  • The National Museum of Fine Arts has closed for renovation; during the closure, part of its collection will be on display at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts (Fredsgatan 12, tel. 08/232-925).
  • The daily military parade to the Royal Palace sets off two blocks from Nybroplan, in front of the Army Museum at Riddargatan 13.
  • To get a 10 discount on room rates at Queen’s Hotel when booking through the hotel's site, enter the rate code "RICKS" in all caps.
  • Hotel Oden has closed.
  • Hotel A & Be has also closed.
  • Stureparkens Gästvåning hotel has…wait for it…closed.
  • Hotel Gustav Vasa is now the Ibis Styles Stockholm Odenplan (tel. 08/343-801, fax 08/307-372, odenplan@uniquehotels.se).
  • Hotel Bema has a new email address: info@hotelbema.se.
  • Pontus by the Sea restaurant has closed.
  • The Kungsholmen food court near City Hall is now called the Trattorian, and has a more Italian-style cuisine (but keeps the same phone number).

Helsinki

For books printed before June 2015, the following may apply:

St. Petersburg

  • The cost for a Russian visa has increased significantly: Plan on at least $350 per person to cover the visa, service fee, and secure shipping.
  • The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works belonging to the Hermitage Museum are no longer displayed in the main museum building but are now installed in the General Staff Building (across the square from the Hermitage).

Tallinn

For books printed before June 2015, the following may apply:

  • The tourist information office at Viru Keskus has closed permanently.
  • The private bus #90K between the airport and the city center is no longer running.
  • The Travellers’ Tent information service has also closed.
  • Metro 24 Internet café has closed.
  • City Hotel Portus has a new website: www.tallinncityhotelportus.com.
  • Must Lammas restaurant has closed.

Across Germany

For books printed before January 2016, the following may apply:

  • The Deutsche Bahn's information line is now +49 (0)180-699-6633. This is a toll number, for which callers are charged a flat fee of 20 cents (€0.20) if calling from a landline, or 60 cents (€0.60) from a mobile phone.
  • Lately, many restaurants — especially those in well-touristed areas — have added a "Tip is not included" line, in English, to the bottom of the bill. This is misleading, as the prices on any menu in Germany do include service. We don't advise tipping any more at all at a restaurant that includes this note on the bill. (Many Germans, incensed at this trend, are rebelling by tipping far less generously at eateries using this approach.)

For books printed before July 2015, the following may also apply:

  • City2City long-distance buses are no longer in business.

Berlin

For books printed before January 2016, the following may apply:

  • Hotel Askanischer Hof has closed.
  • The tourist information office that had been in western Berlin's Neues Kranzler Eck building has moved to a spot on the ground floor of the Europa Center shopping mall (open Mon–Sat 10:00–20:00, closed Sun). A nearby "info box" kiosk on Rankestrasse, across the street from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, is open Sundays (as well as the rest of the week) 10:00–18:00.
  • The Hauptbahnhof (main train station) no longer has a left-luggage service — the Gepäckcenter under track 14 is now filled with lockers.
  • The Stasi Museum on Zimmerstrasse has closed. A second Stasi museum, in Friedrichshain, remains open.
  • The New Synagogue now closes a little earlier in the evenings. New hours: April–Oct Mon–Fri 10:00–18:00, Sun 10:00–19:00; Oct–March exhibit only (not dome) Sun–Thu 10:00–18:00, Fri 10:00–15:00; closed Sat year-round. Admission is now €5 for the main exhibit, and €3 for the dome (or €6 for a combo-ticket covering both).
  • The Berlin Story Museum has relocated from Unter den Linden to the Anhalter bunker. (The Berlin Story bookstore remains on Unter den Linden.) The Story of Berlin museum, a completely different sight, remains on Ku'damm.
  • The Berlin Wall Memorial's documentation center and visitor center now close at 18:00 year-round. The recently overhauled exhibit at the documentation center is geared to a new generation of Berliners who can hardly imagine their hometown split so brutally in two. The ground floor details the logistics of the city’s division, and its effects on Berliners. The next floor up gives the historical and political context behind the Wall’s construction and eventual destruction.
  • The Luigi Zuckerman deli, between Hachesher Markt and Rosenthaler Platz, is now called "My Smart Break," but still serves delicious and freshly made sandwiches and snacks.
  • The Erotic Museum near the Bahnhof Zoo has closed.
  • The Old Palace (Altes Schloss) section of Charlottenburg Palace is closed in 2016 for extensive renovations that are expected to last the entire year. During that time the New Wing (Neue Flügel) remains open.

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

  • At the Pergamon Museum, the Pergamon Altar, and about two thirds of the museum’s collection, is currently off-limits to viewing, and will 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.
  • Finding Berlin has ended its tour program.
  • Insider Tour Berlin no longer offers bike tours.
  • EurAide’s desk at the Hauptbahnhof has moved to the first upper floor.
  • Hotel Bogota has closed.
  • Hotel Astoria has closed.
  • Bier’s Curry und Spiesse has closed its location at the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station.
  • The new Willy Brandt Brandenburg Airport is unlikely to open before 2018.

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

  • Recommended local guide Lee Evans was inadvertently omitted from some printings; he can be reached at mobile +49 (0)177-423-5307 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 or Neues museums.

Oslo

  • The Munch Museum is now reachable by bus #20 to the Munchmuseet stop (rather that bus #60); the T-bane to Tøyen still works fine as well.
  • The Oslo tourist information office no longer offers the Oslo Package.
  • The venerable Grand Café, the haunt of many noted Norwegian artists and authors, has closed.

For books printed before July 2015, the following may also apply:

  • 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 Cat Snell, cat.snell@perseusbooks.com).
  • The tourist-information kiosk at the cruise port and its office near City Hall have closed, but a new tourist-information office is in the Østbanehallen next to the Oslo Central train station (May–Sept daily 9:00–18:00, Oct–April daily 9:00–16:00, tel. +47 81 53 05 55). The TI no longer offers a booking service for private homes, but does list B&Bs and pensions on its website.
  • The Oslo Pass no longer offers a discount for cruise passengers.
  • Oslo Budget Hotel has closed.
  • The Haraldsheim Youth Hostel has a new email address: oslo.haraldsheim@hihostels.no.

Stavanger

For books printed before July 2015, the following may apply:

Bergen

  • St. Mary's Church (Mariakirken) has reopened for services and sightseeing (50 kr) after an extensive restoration.

For books printed before July 2015, the following may also apply:

Sognefjord

For books printed before July 2015, the following may apply:

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).
  • Gekken’s Rooms are no longer available to rent above Gekken’s restaurant (but the restaurant is still open).
  • Sjøtun Camping has a new telephone number: mobile 95 06 72 61.

Lustrafjord

  • The ferry service between Kaupanger (on the Sognefjord) and Gudvangen (on the Nærøyfjord) is now run by Fjord 2. Fjord 1 is no longer running a tourist ferry on this route.
  • 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

  • Near Flåm: Otternes Farms is closed to visitors during 2016, with plans to reopen in 2017.

For books printed before July 2015, the following may apply:

  • 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.

Across the Netherlands

For books printed before March 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Dutch rail system no longer issues paper tickets for domestic trains; even single tickets are now issued on a smartcard. If the train station has electronic gates, passengers who printed tickets online or who have rail passes should look for a gate with an attendant.

Amsterdam

  • Starting May 1, the Anne Frank House requires advance reservations for any visits before 15:30 — reserve online for a particular timeslot. From 15:30 until closing, you can still visit without a reservation (but expect long lines to buy a ticket at the museum entrance).
  • Starbikes Rental has moved down the way to De Ruijterkade 143.
  • The Rijksmuseum at Schiphol Airport, currently closed during airport renovation, is now expected to reopen in the fall of 2016.
  • Hotel Filosoof is closed for a full-scale renovation; reopening is set for mid-June 2016.
  • Sunhead of 1617 Canal House Inn has closed.

For books printed before March 2015, the following may also apply:

  • Absolute Danny Shop has closed.
  • Hotel Aspen, a budget hotel on Raadhuisstraat, has closed.
  • Hotel Hestia has closed.
  • Direct night trains no longer run between Amsterdam and Warsaw or Prague.
  • Vondeltuin Rental, which had rented inline skates in Vondelpark, has closed.

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Joy Ride Bike Tours' popular "city by bike" tour is now offered only as a private tour (not a group tour). Call +31 (0)6-4361-1798 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: +31 (0)6-3499-1941).
  • 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.

Bruges

For books printed before March 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Church of Our Lady is undergoing a major, years-long renovation, during which different parts of the interior will be closed to visitors.
  • The Lace Center is now located across from the Folklore Museum, at Balstraat 16.

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 reopened under new ownership as Hamiltons B&B, with two luxury suites (D/Db-€110, 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.

Brussels

For books printed before March 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Royal Museum for Central Africa is closed for renovation until mid-2017.
  • 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.

Ghent

For books printed before March 2015, the following may apply:

  • B&B King has closed.
  • The restaurant Bij den Wijzen en den Zot has closed.

Portsmouth

For books printed before May 2016, the following may apply:

  • The Mary Rose Museum at the Historic Dockyard is closed until summer 2016.
  • Cecil Cottage B&B has closed.

For books printed before January 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The Sallyport tearoom has closed.

London

For books printed before May 2016, the following may apply:

  • The Medieval Banquet no longer offers a discount for Rick Steves readers, but it does still offer its family deal for two adults and two kids (now available Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday).

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Jurys Inn locations in Chelsea, Islington, and Heathrow Airport have been rebranded as Hilton Doubletree hotels.

For books printed before July 2015, the following may also apply:

  • Oyster Card deposits are no longer fully refundable.
  • At the Tower of London, tips are no longer expected or encouraged at the end of a Beefeater tour.
  • Expect long lines at the Sherlock Holmes Museum (up to two hours in peak season). If you’re traveling with a companion, minimize your time in line by stationing one person in the ticket-buying line while the other stands in the ticket-holders line. (The museum itself has not been updated to include any mention of the TV series, though the gift shop has a few TV-related souvenirs.)
  • Morgan House B&B has closed.
  • London Vicarage Hotel has closed.

For books printed before February 2015, the following may also apply:

  • London has phased out cash bus tickets; riders can use Travelcards or Oyster cards.
  • One-day bus passes are again available (£5, buy before boarding bus).
  • The One-Day Travelcard for central London (zones 1–2) has been discontinued; the cheapest one-day option is now the Anytime One-Day Travelcard (£12, zones 1–4).
  • Advance tickets for tours of the Houses of Parliament are available from www.parliament.uk (rather than Ticketmaster).

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The Gate Hotel, in Notting Hill, has closed.
  • Mooli’s restaurant, in Soho, has closed.
  • The Union Jacks restaurant on St. Giles Street is closed.
  • 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.

Across France

  • Baggage check may be unavailable across France (in compliance with heightened security measures).
  • The US Consulate in Nice has closed.

For books printed before April 2016, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • To buy advance train tickets with a credit card at the SNCF website, select "USA" as your ticket collection country (must use a credit-card enabled for "Verified by Visa" or "MasterCard SecureCode"). For more tips on buying French train tickets, see France Rail Passes and Train Tips.
  • The phone number for the US Consulate in Marseille is +(0)1 43 12 47 54; after business hours call their Paris office at +(0)1 43 12 22 22.

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

Paris

  • Paris taxis have new flat rates to and from the airports:
    • Between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris' Right Bank: €50
    • Between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris' Left Bank: €55
    • Between Orly Airport and Paris' Right Bank: €35
    • Between Orly Airport and Paris' Left Bank: €30
      The fixed rate for booking a cab in advance is €7; €4 for immediate booking. Supplements for luggage have been discontinued; one additional surcharge for a fifth occupant can be applied to the fare.

For books printed before April 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Carnavalet Museum is closing for renovation in late 2016.
  • The €21.25 Passe Navigo now covers all transit zones in the Paris region, which means that you can travel anywhere within the city center, out to the châteaux of Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Fontainebleau, and to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. The Navigo now covers a far greater area than carnet tickets, but cannot be shared, and is most worthwhile for visitors who use it for regional trips, stay at least a full week, and start their trip early in the week for the weekly pass and near the beginning of the month for the monthly pass. (For comparison, two 10-packs of carnets — enough for most travelers staying a week — cost €28.20, are shareable, don’t expire, but are only valid in the center of Paris.)

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Richelieu entrance at the Louvre is no longer available to Paris Museum Pass holders.
  • The EasyBus airport shuttle is a better option for getting from Charles de Gaulle Airport into the city than it is for getting out to the airport, as some readers have reported occasional problems with getting picked up.
  • Free street parking is no longer available in August (sacre bleu!).

For books printed before September 2015, the following may also apply:

  • At the Montparnasse Tower, readers who show their Rick Steves books pay a discounted admission rate of €10.50.
  • In the Marais, The Studio restaurant has closed.
  • On Ile St. Louis, Le Tastevin restaurant has closed.
  • Guided, skip-the-line tours offered by Easy Pass Tours now include Sainte-Chapelle and the Picasso Museum.
  • The Salle Pleyel is no longer hosting classical concerts; those performances are now hosted by a new venue, the Philharmonie de Paris.
  • Direct night trains no longer run between Paris and Berlin, Hamburg, or Munich.

For books printed before April 2015, the following may also apply:

  • The Picasso Museum has reopened (at last!); admission for adults is €11 and is now covered by the Paris Museum Pass. The museum is open Tue–Fri 11:30–18:00, Sat–Sun 9:30–18:00; closed Mon. Last entry is 45 minutes before closing. You can avoid ticket lines with either a Paris Museum Pass or by reserving a timed-entry ticket through the museum's site.
  • Hôtel de l’Empereur is near the corner of Rue Chevert and Boulevard de La-Tour-Maubourg; if your book’s map of Rue Cler hotels has a second “21” dot between Rue Cler and the Ecole Militaire, ignore that lower one.
  • Hôtel du Champ de Mars’ new rates are significantly higher than what’s printed in our guidebooks; single rooms are now around €150, doubles are €170.
  • The correct URL for Café des Musées is www.lecafedesmusees.fr.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Le Bistrot des Compères has closed.

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The Virgin Megastore on the Champs-Elysées has closed.
  • Hôtel Bastille has closed for renovations.
  • 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).
  • Advance tickets to the Eiffel Tower go on sale three months in advance, and can sell out within hours.
  • The Deportation Memorial (behind Notre Dame) is now closed at midday (12:00–13:30).
  • 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.