I am considering a future cruise where the ship will be in port at Warnemunde from 6 am to 12 midnight, 18 hours rather than the customary 14. As a result, I would like to find a way to go to Berlin, visit for 8 or 9 hours, and then return to the ship. The average cruise excursion from Warnemunde to Berlin seems to be 12 hours, leaving only 6 hours at most for seeing Berlin. But a reason seems to be a German regulation that limits driving time for commercial drivers to 12 hours. The rail connections between the port and Berlin seem cumbersome, and I would think renting a taxi in Warnemunde and then a second taxi in Berlin for the return trip would be cost prohibitive. Any suggestions?
Get off the cruise after it docks and rent a car. http://www.europcar.de/autovermietung-ROSTOCK_CRUISE_TERMINAL_WARNEMUENDE.html Berlin is a little over 2 hours away. Park someplace central and pay for the full days rate. Stay as long as you would like and then drive back up to Rostock to turn in the car and jump back on the boat.
Renting a car is good advice, that way you have more control over how early you have to leave Berlin to get back before the ship leaves you. I'd advise against going to Berlin at all unless you have one specific thing you would like to see during your available time. Berlin is great but way too big to be seen as a day trip, especially from a port that subtracts a minimum of four hours travel from you're already limited time. I'd spend the time in Lubeck, a great medieval town up north, or other place smaller and closer to your port.
Berlin is definitely an amazing city that warrants several days of exploration. I looked at the rain connections between Rostock and Berlin and I see your problem. There are no direct ICE trains after the one that leaves at 6:02, and then the journey climbs to 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours both ways. If there's something specific that you would like to see I would still encourage you to try renting a car. If the Europacar on the harbor won't work, the Hertz in Rostock is only a 10 minute taxi ride away. Otherwise, consider adding Berlin before or after the cruise. You won't regret it.
Christopher and Brad, thanks for the responses. This is more difficult than I thought it would be. At first, the obvious answer seemed to be to simply extend by three hours or so the typical 12 hour cruise excursion from Warnemuende to Berlin. However, this apparently is not possible because of a 12 hour or so time restriction on commercial drivers in Germany. Then I looked at rail connections, but train travel takes as long as, if not longer than, travel by car or van, and direct train travel from Warnemuende to Berlin is not possible. I saw somewhere only one direct train to Berlin in the morning, and it left minutes after 6 am, with only one direct train from Berlin to Warnemuende in the evening. There are trains from nearby Rostock, though this means travel from Warnemuende to Rostock and then the return trip back. And renting a car for one day also poses problems. It seems that the rental car terminals are in Rostock. I did not see a car terminal that is open in Warnemuendewith one exceptionand the terminal hours are not as long as I need for the extended one day trip I am talking about. The exception is that I read that Hertz has an employee and some cars actually in Warnemuende, but it seems that finding the employee has been a problem. The options are making a separate trip to Berlin before or after the cruise, or organizing a cruise excursion from Warnemuende to Berlin. I understand totally the limitations with a six hour tour of Berlin. But something is better than nothing. And one never knows whether there will be a chance to return. Indeed, I know of people on cruises who have made the excursion to Berlin, and liked the city so much that they made it a point to travel there at a later time.
Another thought, check out Cruisecritic.com to see what people did at Warnemunde. Most on the site take cruise sponsored excursions but, if you wade through those, you may find some options. If you find an option that needs participation, you can use the roll call section of the site where others from your cruise can chime in. You can ask for takers there to join you on a privately arranged tour. When we went to St. Petersburg, a lady on roll call put together several full tours with a local guide. We didn't join her group because we wanted a tour that was smaller and moved more quickly.
Brad, thanks again. I do know about Cruise Critic, which contains a great deal of information. Two things that I have learned that may be of help to others. It appears that the 12 hour or so driving limit for commercial drivers applies only if there are more than six passengers. For a smaller cruise group looking for a Berlin excursion, you may wish to at least check with Lee Evans at email@example.com.
Regarding renting a car in Warnemuende, Hertz has cars there but apparently does not open until 8 am, though the cars can be dropped off after hours. For further information, try the Rostock station manager Thomas Pischke at firstname.lastname@example.org.