Gdansk Cruise Port Guide

With a distinguished history as a major Baltic trading port since medieval times, Gdansk has been shaped by Teutonic traders, Polish nobles, and wealthy Dutch merchants. In fact, the city sees itself as Poland’s answer to Amsterdam. Together with neighboring Gdynia, an industrial port, and the chic seaside resort town of Sopot, modern Gdansk forms a metropolitan area called Trójmiasto, which means “Tri-city”.

On a European cruise to Gdansk, you’ll find streets lined with elegant gabled mansions in bright colors, thought-provoking museums, a lively bar and café culture, busy beer gardens, and excellent seafood restaurants. Many of the most important things to see are within the reconstructed Old Town and along the riverbank. For summer days, there are nearby beaches, slow cruises on the Motlawa River, and forays into the rolling countryside to the colossal Malbork Castle. Embark on a cruise to Poland with Celebrity to experience this fascinating city in style.

Cruises to Gdansk, Poland

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Top Sights & Attractions in Gdansk

Museum of the Second World War

An important visit on Poland cruises, this starkly modern and powerful museum tells the story of World War II. The building itself is extraordinary, a leaning tower with a facade of glass.


You’ll see thousands of portraits of the Polish Jews lost in the Holocaust, shocking film footage, and a recreation of a bombed-out courtyard, complete with a Russian tank. Military uniforms, guns, maps, and quirky propaganda objects help to paint the picture. Prepare to be deeply affected by what you see.

St. Mary’s Church

The vast St. Mary’s Basilica, in the heart of the Old Town, is believed to be the largest brick church in the world. Explore the features inside, which include the elaborate altar, more than 300 tombs, 31 intricate side chapels, and an astronomical clock dating back to the 15th century.


The clock is a work of art, displaying the phases of the moon, signs of the zodiac, and saint’s days. Arrive before noon to see a procession of wooden figures of the apostles, before the hour is struck by Adam and Eve.

The European Solidarity Centre

This fascinating museum tells the story of the Solidarity movement, from the first shipyard strikes of the 1970s to the beginning of the end of communism in the 1980s.


The European Solidarity Centre, built from slabs of rusting steel, tells the whole story of Poland’s fight for freedom through smart audio-visual displays, mesmerizing footage, and recreations of anything from a communist interrogation room to a grim prison cell.

Malbork Castle

when it was constructed by the Order of Teutonic Knights on the banks of the Nogat River. The knights made this their base and expanded the castle with turrets, dungeons, fortifying walls, and banquet halls.


Although Poland sustained heavy damage during World War II, the castle has been astonishingly well preserved and offers a snapshot of life in the Middle Ages. There’s a fascinating Amber Museum, too.

Top Things to Do in Gdansk

Wander Along Dlugi Targ

Dlugi Targ is the most beautiful section of the city, lined with ornate gabled houses in bright colors were once inhabited by the city’s elite. These are mainly restorations, as Gdansk suffered severe damage in World War II, but there’s a real sense of stepping back in time here.


This lovely spot is lined with al fresco cafés, hanging baskets of cascading scarlet geraniums adding even more splashes of color. The focal point of the “square” is the elaborate Neptune Fountain, a symbol of the city constructed in 1617.

See the City From the Motlawa River

Admire the historic buildings of Gdansk from the water on a leisurely boat cruise, taking in the restored 16th-century facades, blending Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles in jaunty colors. You won’t be able to miss the mighty Gdansk Crane, a replica built after the destruction of the city in 1945.


If you’re feeling active, make the same journey in a kayak, navigating along the river banks and stopping to admire the architecture or sip a brew at one of the many beer gardens.

Head for the Beach in Sopot

The chic beach resort of Sopot is spread along a vast sweep of golden sand backed by grassy dunes and woodlands of oak and chestnut. Sopot was originally a spa town and retains a quaint, old-world feel, not least thanks to Europe’s longest wooden pier.


Stroll the coastal path, bask on the beach, while away the time in a Polish beer garden, or wash your Aperol spritz down with fresh-made pierogi. In town, explore galleries and amber shops, and marvel at the bizarre Crooked House.

Top Food & Drink in Gdansk

Typical food of northern Poland is flavorful and meaty, using a lot of pork, duck, boar, and beef. Try bigos, a slow-cooked hunter’s stew of smoked meat, cabbage, and mushrooms. You’ll see pierogi (bite-sized dumplings) on every menu, filled with meat, potatoes, and cheese, or mushrooms and sauerkraut.

Popular desserts include cheesecakes and donuts. And of course, there’s the famous Polish craft beer to try; locals love whiling away afternoons in sunny beer gardens, listening to live music, and sampling their favorite brews.

Culture & History of Gdansk

What’s now Gdansk was inhabited as far back as the Stone Age, thanks to its abundance of fish. The town itself was founded in 975 AD as a wooden fortress on the banks of the Motlawa River, named Gyddanyzc.

From 1308 for more than a century, Gdansk was ruled by the Order of Teutonic Knights. It became part of Poland in the 15th century and enjoyed status as one of the most important ports on the Baltic Sea. In the 18th century, various powers divided Poland, and Gdansk became part of Prussia, then Germany in 1871, when it was named Danzig. Poland became independent again after the First World War.

But on September 1, 1939, at Westerplatte on the Baltic coastline, the first shots of World War II were fired when a German warship took aim at a Polish army base north of Gdansk. The city was occupied by the Nazis for five years, some 80 percent of the buildings destroyed in the battle for its liberation. After 1945, the city became part of Poland again, under communist rule.

Uprisings against the state by shipyard workers took place in 1970 and again in 1980, as the Solidarity movement gained momentum. Solidarity was the first free trade union to be recognized in a Soviet bloc country. By 1989, it had become a fully fledged political party, winning 99 percent of the vote in a free national election.

Gdansk has since reinvented itself as a tourist destination, with a vibrant culture of food, drink, and shopping, as well as world-class museums.

Gdansk Cruise Port Facilities & Location

You’ll dock at Gdynia, the industrial port, some 14 miles north of Gdansk, and a drive of about 40 minutes. You’re unlikely to spend much time in Gdynia itself as the architectural beauty of Gdansk and the sandy beaches of Sopot beckon, so it’s best to book an excursion or take advantage of any shuttle bus services. Taxis and train service are available from downtown Gdynia, too. There are no facilities to speak of at the dock itself.

Transportation in Gdansk

Getting around on public transport is easy. The local yellow-and-blue commuter trains are the quickest and most efficient way of getting between the three cities of Gdansk, Sopot, and Gdynia. If you take a taxi, make sure it has a functioning meter. Be aware that each of the three cities has its own taxi service, and if you ask a driver to cross the boundary into another city, the fare per kilometer will be slightly higher once you’re outside the city limit. There are also ridesharing services available.

Shopping Near Gdansk Cruise Port

Gdansk is a world leader in the amber trade and the best place to buy this “Baltic gold”. Amber is made into jewelry, and you’ll see it all over the city in an almost perplexing number of galleries. Some of the best are along ul. Mariacka. There’s an Amber Museum, too, with a gift shop where you can be sure you’ve acquired an original piece.

If you like folk art, look out for the colorful handicrafts made by the Kashubian, an ethnic minority in Poland with its own culture and language. Anything from tablecloths to napkins is embroidered in just five colors—green, black, red, yellow, and blue—creating pretty flower designs. You’ll also see Kashubian wood carvings for sale.

A great gift to take home is a bottle of Goldwasser, a herbal liqueur with flakes of 22-carat gold floating in the liquid. Or for vodka-drinking friends, a bottle of flavored vodka is always welcome. There’s a vast choice, but Zubrowka, or bison grass vodka, is authentically Polish.

Local Currency & Tipping Options

The currency in Poland is the zloty, divided into 100 grosz. Some places in tourist areas may accept Euros, but you’ll be given change in zloty at an exchange rate that’s not to your advantage, so it’s advisable to know roughly what the rate of the day is. Credit cards are widely accepted and many places offer contactless payment.

Poland doesn’t have a big tipping culture but a gratuity for good service in a restaurant is always appreciated. Around 10 percent of the bill is fine, ideally left in cash.

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