Ask Harriet: Visiting Hamburg’s mini-train museum

Hamburg’s nautical past, its beautiful architecture, and easy navigation as a walking city make it an ideal port for Grand Circle Cruise Line travelers. Yet despite its harborside history, Germany’s second-largest city is also home to quite a few railway enthusiasts. Many of our travelers enjoy a visit to the Miniatur Wundlerand museum, featuring the world’s largest model railway, on our Essence of the Elbe: Hamburg to Prague trip—and it’s the subject of this month’s question.

Q: How do you get tickets to the miniature train museum before you arrive in Hamburg?

—Gai Corley, 19-time traveler from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

A:  Hi, Gai. Great question! A lot of Hamburg travelers can eliminate what can possibly be a long line at the Miniatur Wundlerand entrance by booking tickets in advance. The museum is quite popular, according to Regional Operations Manager Martin Kratkoczky, who says many travelers reach out to their Program Directors about their interest about two weeks prior to departure. Martin suggests buying tickets—which cost 12 euros, or about $14.50—online at the museum’s English language website by clicking the “To the Ticket Reservation” link here. Though the museum is open daily from 9:30am to 6pm, with later hours Tuesday nights and weekends, Martin recommends visiting in the afternoon, during your free time after the included tour of Hamburg. Martin also suggested taking the subway to the Baumwall stop, as public transportation is "clean and safe."

For 2013 departures of Essence of the Elbe, travelers can enjoy the train museum and all the other delights this historic seaport has to offer as part of our pre-trip extension to Hamburg. The new itinerary cruises from Berlin to Prague and features two nights in Germany’s capital before setting sail on our scenic Elbe River CruiseTour.

Letters to Harriet

We’ve got plenty going on at Grand Circle Cruise Line, which means more fun for our travelers—including new trips for 2013. This month’s letter comes to us from a traveler who enjoyed our Russia Revealed: Moscow to St. Petersburg vacation so much, she would like another opportunity to return to Eastern Europe.

We just received the questionnaire about several possible new offerings from Grand Circle and are delighted that you are considering offerings of the Ukraine area. One is a river trip from Kiev to the Black Sea and we have been hoping you would make such an offer, since we enjoyed Russia Revealed so much.

—Janet Gorkes, 8-time traveler from Lilburn, Georgia

Hi Janet, I am delighted that you enjoyed your trip to Russia—and thankful that you returned our survey. Periodically, we’ll send surveys to a select group of travelers to gauge interest in potential new vacations. So if you receive one, be sure to fill it out and let us know what you’d like to see next.

I’m excited to let you know that we have a new opportunity to return to this beautiful and historic region: our The Dneiper River & the Black Sea: Ukraine to Romania River Cruise. You can discover everything from the golden onion domes, architecture, and art of the capital city of Kiev, to famed ports including Yalta and Odessa, to small riverside towns that few Americans visit. You can also visit Kiev as a pre-trip extension on Russia Revealed: Moscow to St. Petersburg. To see our other new trips and extensions for 2013, click here.

Do you have ideas for new trips or recommendations about vacations you’ve taken recently with Grand Circle Cruise Line? You don’t have to want to receive a survey. Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!

Ask Harriet a question or share your thoughts with her

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me, or comments about the stories featured in Harriet’s Corner? Please email me at—and your submission could be featured in the next Harriet’s Corner update. I look forward to sharing what you have to say!