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About notamermaid

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    Rhine, Germany
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  1. There is a blue sky over the Rhine valley. We have beautiful warm weather, today it is up to 27 degrees Celsius in my area, tomorrow could see the temperature rise even further in the warmest parts of the valley. And the sky is of a splendid blue with those lovely clouds that one sees in church ceiling paintings. Now, some scientists in Mainz decided to check how exceptionally blue the sky is due to the Coronavirus lock down we had and the air traffic having been much reduced. Two specially equipped small planes will take a couple of scientists to the skies to examine them. And while they are at it they are taking some great aerial photos. Here is the study: https://www.mpic.de/4670371/bluesky-examines-the-atmosphere-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown In an international study it was found that premature deaths from asthma in children are reduced due to the lock down and reduced pollutants in the air, you can also read this on the institute's website: https://www.mpic.de/4655104/corona-lockdowns-cleaner-air-saves-lives We have got cleaner air, now how to tackle the drought. That will be very difficult indeed. The hydrology experts have uttered the notion that this year could be another difficult year. May has been too dry all over Germany, but it varies from region to region. The Danube area has suffered a little more than the Rhine, the Elbe is turning into a small brook again. But the Rhine is also showing signs of drought. With no rain before Friday and not that much forecast at the weekend as of now, if the situation continues next week, we could see a fall to unpleasant levels for some river cruise ships. If they were sailing. So far, only the nickovision is scheduled to do an itinerary of note on the Rhine. For the record, here are the figures: Maxau 405cm, Kaub 111cm, Koblenz 109cm. I saw on television that the Koblenz cable car connection to Ehrenbreitstein fortress is running again. With masks and social distancing, i.e. reduced capacity, tourists can now enjoy the splendid view from above the river over the valley and Deutsches Eck again. notamermaid
  2. In Passau I loved Café am Stephansdom, but the Diwan belongs to the same family: https://www.greindl-passau.de/cafe-stephans-dom/ If you have got a sweet tooth make sure to visit the chocolate pralines workshop next to the café. notamermaid
  3. @KathyK13 Thanks for the illustrations. Says it all - stay at home and you will be fine. What s strange world when being the most socially nice is to be a recluse (or computer afficionado with a worldwide audience)... @steamboats For the fact that Bavaria was hardest hit from more or less the beginning, I think you are also doing relatively well now. Herr Söder's stricter course of measures seems to have paid off. I can understand why he is nervous about Thuringia. I am so glad everyone in the end accepted to extend the basic social distancing measures. It was a good day for Rhineland-Palatinate yesterday: we had just 21 new infections and no reported deaths. The weather is lovely, perfect for Whitsuntide festivities and short holidays. Who knows what will happen to my state after that. The coastal areas in the East are doing extremely well, but the North Sea area that is East Frisia not so much. That restaurant in Leer is turning into a real problem. There are 38 cases now which has led to now 281 people being in quarantine. Partying or something close to that and church congregations are pushing the state of Lower Saxony to the top of the list of states with the most new infections in 24 hours. Not a good thing. But overall the town of Regensburg is close to the 50/100,000/7* rule which necessitates intervention with increased measures by the authorities. I think I shall avoid Regensburg for a while. * 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Why do I keep mentioning the Leer restaurant? It shows as the officials have quite rightly pointed out what can happen in an environment where social distancing is not adhered to. Now I have to point out that the owner still claims they acted according to the rules. But this looks increasingly unlikely. The lesson to learn from this is either: if the rules are ignored and social distancing is not done we can get problems from any small indoor gathering. That would be a huge problem for confined spaces like river cruise ship lounges and excursion coaches and all those measures taken by the companies make perfect sense. Or, if all the rules are adhered to we still are in no position to have any kind of indoor gathering without a significant risk. I do hope they broke the rules in that restaurant, otherwise it would mean the latter lesson and we would be up a certain creek without a properly functioning paddle. No barbecue for me this weekend, no long trips, but perhaps a local museum and café. Have a good weekend everyone. notamermaid
  4. Scylla is ready to welcome passengers onboard: https://scylla.ch/en/news/scylla-resumes-sailings-with-34-exciting-cruises-on-europes-most-famous-rivers The Nickovision sailling for Nicko cruises looks to be the first one. She starts on 1 June, was due to sail upstream on the Danube from Passau but looks to be starting in Regensburg now due to low water. notamermaid
  5. Thank you. Oddly, I saw that quite some weeks ago. I tell you why: I checked them on marinetraffic at the end of January to get just more than an idea of how many ships there are on the Danube. They change of course, sailing to the Main and Rhine while the Rhine ones come to the Danube. But it served to give me some help in determining the scale of things for a post I was preparing. In response to a post by G.M.T. I was going to comment on the feeling of overcrowding on the Danube, the criticism of the locals and so on. Well, by the time I got round to posting Coronavirus struck. I decided it would not be diplomatic to touch that subject of the increasing popularity and its negative impact. It is on the far back back burner... Here on the Rhine Cologne Niehl looks to be the biggest hub, Viking (I stopped counting at twenty) but also some others and the splendid old Goethe in between. But Düsseldorf, Neuss and Duisburg are also ports used, as well as several Dutch ones. CroisiEurope is in Strasbourg with several ships, of course. notamermaid
  6. Scylla in enthusiastic wording announced the relaunch of their fleet a few days ago. So, it sounds as if the Nickovision is going to start in Regensburg with the planned itinerary, passengers will just miss the lovely Passau. Thank you for spotting this. She has arrived in Regensburg. From Regensburg she will have no problems reaching Düsseldorf as the Rhine is low but still navigable in the Rhine gorge for the large ships. A large number of ships are in Linz and Vienna, those would struggle to complete an upstream itinerary, but the ships that are currently in the docks on the Rhine - lots of them - could run an amended itinerary or if scheduled to run short trips on the Main, Moselle and Rhine will have no problems with that in July. Well, provided the Rhine level at Kaub does not fall below the 0.78m figure. I hope the "experiment" with the new rules is a successful one and the Nickovision passengers and the crew have a great time. notamermaid
  7. AnhaltER1960, so that means ze Germans and the Austrians will be alone on the West and Central European (and the Douro?) rivers for most of June. A sad thought. But what about the Dutch? I decided to check the major cruise operator in Arnhem for interest's sake: https://feenstrarijnlijn.nl/corona-virus-covid-19/ No, they will not join us before 26 June. Is there any British group out there willing to come and endure the quarantine afterwards? Please? I miss ship spotting! notamermaid
  8. Return of river cruising on the Danube a non starter for the large ships? The Nickovision is looking to be the first ship on the Upper Danube sailing upstream and in absence of info for the countries downstream from Austria the one that for me opens the season. Well, I have had a look at the river levels this morning and nearly fell off my chair when I read Pfelling: 264cm! For those who have familiarised themselves over the last two seasons with the infamous Pfelling gauge will know: that is low. What is striking is, is that it is only May. So, for the record, let me say that the Federal Institute of Hydrology is already on its fourth update on the low water situation in Germany. I know you are not sailing but for those nevertheless following this thread and for the record: the Danube in Bavaria is low and the Pfelling level below 290cm means that the 135cm ships have their sailing impacted. How much depends on each individual ship and I cannot give details on that. In Germany, decision to sail or not sail depends on the captain. I was among other info going to tell travelingman that the most severe flooding in the Upper and Middle Danube for the most part happens in May and June. Errh, hhmm, the Danube is not reading the statistics... notamermaid
  9. Thank you for posting that. The problem is: how fast can you put the mask onto your face before that bout of sneezing due to allergies hits you?? 😉 In all earnest, I am still inclined to stick to my country's rules, especially after it is been more than suggested that the outbreak in a church was down to singing and not wearing masks. Added: the question of the air-conditioning on river cruise ships was raised a few weeks ago. I read a couple of days ago that A-Rosa has completely separate air refreshing systems for every cabin. I assume that restaurant and cabins are always separate on the ships, but I think it is reasonable to think that the North-American company ships being mostly very modern could have similar systems to A-Rosa. It might not be known to everyone: A-Rosa and Viking ships are built by the same shipyard. notamermaid
  10. Visa - That complicates matters. Had not thought of that. I do hope it works out for you. notamermaid
  11. Not to worry. I just assumed the splendid Cruise Critic people talked to A-Rosa directly. notamermaid
  12. A-ROSA: that is interesting, hopes crushed for a return around Whitsuntide. I can only find a notice on their website including sailings up to 4 June being cancelled, though. This by the way is what nicko cruises say: "due to the travel bans existing, nicko cruises cancels all trips on the Danube as well as in Portugal, France, Croatia, Russia and Asia with departure up to and including June 14, 2020. Cruises within Germany, e.g. Cruises between Potsdam and Stralsund or from / to Cologne are still planned from the beginning of June - provided that the political decisions and official instructions permit this at this time." See: https://www.nicko-cruises.de/en/ notamermaid
  13. Today has been a big day in my state Rhineland-Palatinate. From today outdoor swimming-pools, gyms, cinemas, theatres and some other establishments can reopen. There are limitations and social distancing remains in place. Outdoor events of up to 100 people with traceable contacts are also allowed. Town was full today. It almost feels normal. And we are doing well with the figures: in our population of over four million there are only 11 new confirmed cases and 1 death in the last 24 hours. With all the new freedom of movement and mingling, will this change? And the holidays that can soon be taken in other regions and countries, what will happen? I am not too happy about it and doctors have already warned of a second wave. Next week I will be given a "tutorial" of how to organize my workplace and contacts with the public safely. Will be okay I should think. I will start worrying more as Summer progresses and turns into Autumn. The outbreak in Frankfurt due to a church service was down to not wearing masks and singing in service, they think. Social distancing was done. The parish is rather unhappy and has with immediate effect returned to online services only. Now, that restaurant in Leer is another matter and it shall keep the regional news busy for a few days. Latest figures there: 27 cases, taking those quarantined to 154 individuals. notamermaid
  14. travelingman, This is a fair question. The situation could still result in your cruise being cancelled and with the restrictions in place, I would think that postponing to next year will result in a more enjoyable experience. I will get back to you about the data for high and low water. For now, I would like to clarify your itinerary, if you choose to go in 2021. You say it is the one that ends in Regensburg instead of Nuremberg. Coming from Budapest travelling upstream, past Austria you hit Bavaria in Germany at Passau. From there you sail past Vilshofen, Straubing, then reaching Regensburg. Shortly after Regensburg, ships leave the Danube and enter the Main Danube Canal (which is actually part river, part canal) and sail to Nuremberg (or further). So on the new itinerary Viking in effect only cuts out the Canal section completely, which is a controlled waterway with no low water problems and no flooding problems of note as far as I know. The section of the Danube that is not sailed is of little concern for low water and not much concern for flooding. The new itinerary does not get rid of the most "vulnerable" section on an itinerary to and from Budapest that sails in Germany. This is because the section most prone to low water is between Vilshofen and Straubing - see above. In the shoulder season low water is the more likely risk, flooding tends to be an incident for a shorter period of time. Again, there is a particular problem in Bavaria, which is a bridge at Passau. Depending on severity of flooding it might just be the bridge headroom that keeps ships from sailing for a day or an entire river section is too high for several days. Having said that, while the new itinerary does not get rid of the most likely problems, the logistics of taking passengers past the low water area on coaches is easier to accomplish if the itinerary is designed to only go as far as Regensburg rather than Nuremberg. I hope this has been helpful so far. notamermaid
  15. A thought on coaches. There are too many of those at busy ports already and locals quite rightly have complained about noise and pollution. Even more coaches could be a logistical problem, also as most regional coaches will be tied up otherwise. It could result in more vehicles on the relevant roads rather than a redistribution of already existing coaches. Not a good thought, especially with more ships this year and next. There could be longer walking distances when coaches are relegated to coach parks further away. A row of coaches lined up along the river bank is just not possible in some places (and not a nice thing to look at either).Quick loading and unloading with stressed out guides from slow walkers? Hmm... Even more coaches going up the hill towards Marksburg castle? Hopefully not. notamermaid
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