City planning authorities hope to have findings in three or four months, said Falk Ohlig, director of business development for the Port of Lübeck.
'The boom in the Baltic with bigger ships with more passengers will continue,' Ohlig said, explaining the need for Lübeck to expand.
If the city decides to move forward and is able to secure funding, larger ships could be berthing as soon as 2010 or 2011, Ohlig told Seatrade Insider.
Lübeck and the seaside resort of Travemünde host small- to medium-sized ships at four berthing locations. City planning officials are looking at lengthening Travemünde's Ostpreußenkai to 300 meters.
If the city decides to expand, Ohlig sees 100 cruise calls a year as feasible.
In his promotional efforts, Ohlig sells the city of Lübeck itself as the main attraction, not as a gateway to Berlin or nearby Hamburg. With centuries of history and a skyline dotted by Gothic steeples, Lübeck was known as the Queen of the Hanseatic League. The Old Town is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are museums devoted to three Nobel laureates - Thomas Mann, Günter Grass and Willy Brandt. The Niederegger Café is famous for its marzipan.
'Lübeck is one of the hidden secrets of the Baltic,' said Alex Napp of port agency Sartori & Berger. 'We see a big future if they start this [pier expansion] investment.'
'The city is one of the most attractive in Germany,' said Simon Douwes, director of deployment and itinerary planning for Holland America Line, who noted the Prinsendam 'made a very succesful port call last summer' but added that only smaller ships can dock downtown.
'If larger ships can dock downtown as well, we can expect to see a large increase in the number of ships visiting Lübeck,' Douwes told Seatrade Insider.