Willkommen in Deutschland!
Welcome to Germany!
Driving in Germany is easy.
It's not like driving in Boston, MA or New York City, NY.
On the interstates it's more like driving in Maine. You stay right until you want to pass.
Here are some impressions from the German "Autobahn"s (= Interstate) in Rostock - Schwerin - Wismar - Lübeck area:
That's A 24 South of Schwerin.
A 14 around Schwerin
Generally you can drive as fast as you want - but not everywhere: the number in the red circle show you the speed limit. I would recommend to have 10% more on your displays to avoid major problems. If there is no sign (or "100" behind strokes) then 130 km/h is recommended and insurance will not make too much trouble in a case of accident.
That's A 20 around Lübeck.
Check first these websites from Europcar (European part of National-Alamo):
Few additional things you should know when you are driving in Germany:
On an "Autobahn" (German version of Interstate) - blue signage -
you NEVER pass from the right!!!
You always stay on the right lane unless you want to pass.
The fines are extreme.
Our signposts do not "speak" with you with a lot of words.
We do not have 4-Way Stop intersections. The one side which has a "Stop" has to stop, to check if there is traffic and go. But if there is no signpost always the car coming from the right side can go first... even you stay there for hours!!!
Start with excersing your neck muscles: German traffic signal are not opposite your road they are above the stop marking before crossing. And you do not turn right if it is red subject there is a special signal for right turns or a green arrow showing right on black square: Then you can stop and see the traffic and can go.
The best is to check your US-Ambassodor's website who can describe it better than I can do:
And for the worst case:
112 is the emergency call from all cellphones in Germany.
ADAC is the corresponding partner of AAA: Check this website for their cooperation:
In Warnemünde the best would be to hire with HERTZ!
You will be awaited somewhere around this key-return-box (available in both terminals - Ask if your ship arrives in Rostock Seaport or Pier 1-4 (smaller cruise ships) - but Pier 1-4 is only used when Pier 7 and 8 are occupied. There is no parking in front of Pier 1-4 and you have to walk to Pier 7 anyway.)
Guests need to present their booking confirmation to get access to Pier 7 (= Terminal 1) as this is normally only for passengers of the ship which berth at Pier 7 and who are transiting the Terminal 1.
If you have trouble to make a booking because the call center tells you that the location is closed on Sunday:
they will provide the same service: cars are available in Warnemünde on days when ship are in port.
BUT THERE WILL BE A NOMININAL CHARGE OF 15.00 EUR (excl. tax).
Return can be done in a drop-off box like you find on airport locations.
So for final details or confirmation:
011 49 381 683065
(for your cell phone within Germany 0381683065 -
from other international places +49381683065)
to talk about details or mail
to Mr Pischke
Make a turn to the left:
Behind the brown building you find a parking - on the right side alongside the fence to the street you find cars with DN-registration plates...
That's normally cars from Hertz in Germany.
Here the view from the parking to the ship. Now you should not have the problem to find the right place.
Their office is Röverhäger Chaussee (by mistake Rövershagener Chaussee) in Rostock (Warnemünde is part of Rostock - like Manhattan is part of New York City):
So do not discuss with any agent in an US-HERTZ-Location or with a Call-Center-Agent in the US:
They have no clue where Warnemünde is and how it works locally.
Just book a car via the Call Center or via Internet - Indicate "I am arriving with a Ship".
Do not forget:
GPS (HERTZ Never Lost) - makes your life much more easier if the instructions come in English
Your final destination of the day (= Cruise Terminal) should be: Place: Rostock - Street: Am Passagierkai
AUTOMATIC transmission - we do it most manually
In small cars A/C is not standard.
You need children seats for smaller children.
Once you get your booking confirmation, you forward your confirmation to
and ask for Reconfirmation that they will have your car in Warnemünde at the Cruise Terminal.
You are still in East Germany - and even so many years after the wall turned down: add following remark in German:
Ich komme am DD.MM.YYYY mit der XXX an. Bitte bestätigen Sie durch Antwortmail, dass der Wagen in Warnemünde am Cruise Terminal bereitgestellt wird.
DD = Day (2-digit numeric)
MM = Month (2-digit numeric)
YYYY = Year (4-digit numeric)
XXX = Ship's name
Well - you are in
Northern Part of Germany: bullish - Fish heads!!!
Eastern Part of Germany: sometimes left over of Communist Style service
If you scroll down I tell you a German joke and you'll unterstand how it works in Northern Germany: We call them Fishheads...
Then it would be easier: send me your HERTZ-confirmation and I will call them and ask for verbal confirmation.
Just click to my German profile to see my e-mail-address.
Cruisers have reported that they get better rates than from the internet or from the call-center by direct requests by e-mail!!!
Subject you prefer EUROPCAR because you have agreements with NATIONAL-ALAMO:
They have an outlet in the train station. But the car must be booked via their Rostock office:
Check the pictures for HERTZ. You go on to find the promenade:
Find the way to the station:
Turn to the left and go through the tunnel:
And then you see the signpost to the right for EUROPCAR:
The good to book with EUROPCAR:
their location in Rostock is always open until midnight
The bad to book with EUROPCAR:
1. they only accept rentals during the opening hours of the store in the Warnemünde Station building
2. they ask you for 20 EUR for delivery and pick-up (each way) - when you want your car in Warnemünde
3. you take a cab for the same price to get from/to Rostock to their rental location after office...
But sometimes you need them due to special car requests...
The third option is Sixt, a German branded car rental company and once upon a time the Budget licensee in Germany...
Their location is opposite of the Rostock Central Station:
How you get to Rostock see here:
They are good if you like
special cars (Porsche etc. - but they have also "normal" cars)
like to return after office
if your ship does not call Warnemünde but Rostock Seaport what happens occassionally if there are more than two large ships in town.
Warnemünde and Rostock Seaport are well connected by commuter train to Rostock Central Station and they are just opposite:
There might be more car rental companies. But these are those which I like to work with so if you want others you must make your own investigations.
GPS in Germany is called "Navi" (= Navigationsgerät).
TMC can feed information from the radio stations and can influence the choice of the routing in case of severe incidents.
TMCpro is an advanced system of TMC and includes information from detectors along the roads and in case that a traffic congestion becomes longer - it react earlier and sooner than based on messages of the radio.
As you might have problems to understand the fast announcements and to sort if it apply to you you better should ask for a GPS incl. TMC as the messages will be translated to English.
Our movable GPS has a speed control warner (for those which are fixed installed). The possession is legal in Germany. The operation is illegal.
Subject you do not have a GPS:
Popular route planning tools in the internet for Germany:
There is only one way to get out of the Cruise Terminal area because on one side there is the river Warnow and on the other side the railtracks.
Subject you do not want to use the ferry to get over to Hohe Düne (Hotel and Yacht Club) there is only one way to get out:
your ship is left
the railtracks are right
Turn right for all major traffics.
Then turn left here for all major traffics.
For ROSTOCK City Center and "Autobahn" (Interstate) towards LÜBECK, WISMAR, SCHWERIN, HAMBURG, POTSDAM, BERLIN go straight ahead
For BAD DOBERAN (Molli-Train and Kühlungsborn), WISMAR, SCHWERIN and LÜBECK by scenic road turn right.
"Zentrum" means City Center. Other words on signposts: "Stadtmitte" or "Innenstadt".
For those who are planning to combine Lübeck, Wismar, Schwerin and Bad Doberan: go first to Lübeck to kill the time until the sights are open and do Bad Doberan on the way back. You will deeply regret if you spend to much time to Lübeck on other sights and get into time pressure once you are in Lübeck!!!
Although A 19 (Autobahn 19) is the route to Berlin and Potsdam. DO NOT GO HERE!!!
You must pay toll! Stay to A 20 to Stralsund and then change after Rostock to A 19 towards Berlin and Potsdam.
Do not turn right to WISMAR subject you want to do countryroads. Stay until you are on A 20 to Lübeck.
As already described:
if you stayed on the connector to Rostock you will be taken now right for
Lübeck - Wismar - Schwerin - Hamburg
and straight ahead for
Stralsund - Berlin - Potsdam
That's the "confirmation" that you are now on Autobahn.
The only reason why there is no figure for Schwerin: a small section has not been opened yet.
Once you arrived in Lübeck - just follow "Lübeck-Zentrum"
Once you want leave in Lübeck: follow first the signposts for Hamburg on A1 before you find signposts for Rostock - if you follow the yellow signposts in Lübeck for Rostock you will go all coastal roads.
No leave for A 20 towards Rostock (Wismar - Schwerin)
Currently (May 2009) there is a small construction site close to Lübeck where you have to slow down (for about 2 minutes!!!). The sign under the the "40" means: only if it is wet (rain or snow).
Your return destination will be City of Rostock, Am Passagierkai
If you do Lübeck first before you go to Schwerin:
Get out here on B 104 for Schwerin. It's a short-cut.
On the top you see the Logo of Schwerin's BUGA 2009.
If you want to see Wismar you need to get out here. "Mitte" means also "Centre".
The max. speed on country roads (yellow signposts) are 100 km/h unless is limited by signposts.
This rotary has a "short-cut" for those who wants to make a turn to Schwerin.
Because I was asked how it looks like on B104 between Lübeck and Schwerin some impressions from the route from Schwerin to Lübeck:
If you cannot find your destination on your signpost:
"Fernverkehr" means "Long distance traffic"
"Durchgangsverkehr" means "Thru traffic"
"alle Ziele" or "alle Richtungen" means "All destinations"
You need to pass... sometimes but trucks and "Sunday drivers" are slower than the 100 km/h. But only at this interrupted centre lines.
As it is hilly the line is closed for passing manoeuvres.
I think it was a nice ride from Schwerin to Lübeck on the shortcut on B 104.
Before you are back to return the car:
Fill up the car. Fuel options are not so popular in Germany and totally overpriced!!!
Diesel is normally cheaper than Super/Benzin (you can fill up Super = Premium, because it's mostly same price like Benzin = Regular). All others are overpriced special fuel for racing cars and for drivers who cannot afford a racing car but want to feel like sitting in a racing car.
You just fill up and go in and pay by telling the number. Just show with your fingers the number if they do not understand you.
This ARAL fuel station is just at the entry of Warnemünde and it's the last occassion to fill up.
ARAL accept all major credit cards.
Follow the ferry signpost, "Hohe Düne" (= Hotel and Yacht Club opposite of Cruise Terminal) or "Passagierkai" for Cruise Terminal to find your way back to the Cruise Terminal.
Do not forget to return the keys in the key-drop-box in the cruise terminal.
Good Luck and have a great time in Germany!!!
To understand North Germans... the joke:
A foreigner lost his way and need to ask for assistance.
On a bench on the banks of the seaside two local North Germans are sitting there and watch the people around.
The foreigner stops and goes to the two locals and ask in German:
"Excuse me, can you tell me the way to this-and-this"
Silence - no reaction...
As in North Germany some only understand the local dialect... one more time in dialect:
"Excuse me, can you tell me the way to this-and-this"
Still silence - no reaction...
There is also a Danish minority... so one more time in Danish...
"Excuse me, can you tell me the way to this-and-this"
Last trial in English.
The foreigner gives up and takes his car to find someone else who might help.
After the foreigner disappeared one said to the other:
"Very impressive how many languages the guy could speak"...
The other: "But he still does not know the way..."
That's North Germany and that's why you always book an GPS with your car...