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Everything posted by Psoque

  1. It all depends on several factors including mobility issue (or lack thereof) as well as just personal preference, but when we visited Budapest for our river cruise a couple of years ago, we enjoyed a spectacular view of the Pest side of the city, including that of the Hungarian Parliament Buldiing, when we had a dinner at the Halászbástya Étterem restaurant on the Buda side of the city. I believe there are many great vantage points from the Buda side. If we knew this beforehand, we would have stayed on the Buda side on on one of the hillside hotels. Also, I think a leisurely walk along the river bank on the Pest side of the building was totally worth our time. We walked from the Sheraton to the Parliament area multiple times during our brief stay. I guess we could have done a short evening cruise of the Danube while we were in Budapest before the cruise, but we did not think we needed to do that to enjoy the scenery on our own. Also, I am not sure about all itineraries, but our cruise departed from/arrived at Budapest in the evening, allowing us to enjoy an evening cruise of the city twice.
  2. Now that the "new" mandatory quarantine order in the Netherlands has expired as of September 22, I suggest that we close this particular thread to new comments. I suggest that people start a new thread with their own topics. I think keeping this thread open with the current title would only invite confusion.
  3. I'm not exactly sure how I ask the moderators to do this, but I wonder if it would be a good idea to close this thread for more comments when the short-lived quarantine mandate in the Netherlands ends on September 22? Having this thread open beyond that date would make it confusing.
  4. I also did some reading about the proctored do-it-yourself antigen test that is available for purchase. My understanding that it can be used to re-enter US, so that might be a convenient option for that purpose, for your final test before flying home.
  5. Yes, it would be a bummer, and I am assuming that by November, things would be different, either for better or worse. I am just saying that the paper vaccination certificate I have is not as robust and verifiable as what citizens of most industrialized nations are currently receiving. However, if a quick and simple testing alone could potentially overcome this unchangeable limitation, I am all for that.
  6. The Dutch website is being updated every now and then, and there is a mixture of updated and old information at any given moment, but last time I looked (just now), I think people entering the Netherlands (on and after September 22) from "very high risk" countries such as the US would need both a proof of COVID-19 vaccination (paper certificate would suffice for those coming from outside EU/Schengen countries, according to the same website) and a negative PCR test within 48 hours or departure OR a negative antigen test within 24 hours of departure from your home country. I am surprised there is no place to get tested in Nashville, but perhaps our current surge in the disease and travel is outstripping the testing availability?? I will not take a river cruise in Europe until later this year, so I am not sure how it works, but I think the testing for boarding, depending on the line, is arranged by the line. I would ask Tauck about how that happens. I also read a section about the CoronaCheck app, which is an app for people who were vaccinated in the Netherlands. I read that some private businesses in Netherlands are only accepting that as the proof of vaccination, since that's a very secure and verifiable proof compared to what is available to those from other countries, especially outside EU, and especially from most US states where an essentially unverifiable paper certificate is the only proof available. I believe this sort of thing (only accepting the French/EU digital certificate in France, etc.) in other EU countries for the same reason. I am already assuming that, if and when we take our Rhine cruise in November, it is very likely that we may not be able to access some museums, etc. because our proof of vaccination (paper certificate) is not robust enough for some establishments. We also have the Clear Health Pass, but I doubt most places would accept it as a robust digital certificate because that's still a digital representation of a non-robust paper certificate. That's just the price many US citizens (from most states) would have to pay for rolling out our vaccination program without a plan for a robust and verifiable proof of proper vaccination. In regard to getting your negative test before flying home, if the flight is soon after the end of the cruise, I have read that the the final test result while you are on the ship could suffice, but if you are doing a post-cruise stay, you may need to get tested again. I would go to the airlines website to confirm the locations of acceptable testing sites and the exact required timing of acceptable test result. My understanding that some of the large European airports are offering the tests, though I guess you may have to make a separate trip to the airport to obtain a negative result, instead of doing this while checking in to your flight home. I guess it takes a lot of reading from various sources to put it all together, and since both the actual outbreak as well as the responses of various organizations are constantly changing, we just have to keep re-checking the information. It is a pain, but I'm personally not finding this that big of a problem, since we are (planning to) taking this cruise because we want to. Also, I stopped looking at the details of all of the requirements all that closely for now, since I am convinced that the requirements will change, most likely multiple times, before late November when we take our cruise.
  7. That's because that's the most reasonable and non-draconian requirement for everyone involved to get tested somehow. I don't think the requirements are confusing/contradictory based on my understanding of the words confusing/contradictory. And obviously, exact wording of the requirements might and most likely will change based on how different organizations announce them. Furthermore, there's nothing "confusing" about how the airlines, cruise lines, and governments have slightly different levels of restrictiveness. We just have to comply with all.
  8. Maybe I'm not reading this correctly, but to me, this is not that confusing or contradictory. It appears Viking is asking all passengers on cruise departing Sept 23 thorugh Oct 31 to have had a negative coronavirus PCR test to be performed within 72 hours of departure from their respective home countries.
  9. Does this mean you can only “look” at Amsterdam from your ship? Sorry about that.
  10. Good to hear that the Dutch government has decided to rethink its strategy instead of trying to enforce a quarantine mandate which is very difficult and expensive to maintain. I am not against well thought-out public health measures, but this was, in my humble opinion, was not one of them.
  11. I am just guessing, since I am not been to Switzerland to experience this new set of rules and how they are enforced there yet, but I would think that you might be asked to show proof of vaccination at various indoor venues in Switzerland. From what I can tell (unless things change again) I don't see any additional testing requirement when entering Switzerland from another EU country. I agree that this patchwork of regulations that we have to comply while taking a multi-country river cruise would be very challenging. We are scheduled to take our Base-to-Amsterdam river cruise in November. I'm hoping that, by then, all the relevant EU countries would ironed out the differences in how they enforce their rules so that things will be more predictable. But that's just our wishful thinking at best.
  12. Looking at the entire section of the website, the Swiss government is in the process of thinking about somehow issuing the vaccine certificate to those visiting Switzerland from abroad or those who has received the vaccine abroad and mulling over (calling it "began a consultation") how it can be done. From what I can gather, Switzerland currently cannot issue a vaccine certificate to those who weren't vaccinated there. Basically, they don't know how they are going to do this yet, and they won't make a decision until after September 14 (.The Federal Council's proposal will now go out to consultation until 14 September.") What is not made clear here is how "From Monday, 13 September, a COVID certificate will be required to access indoor areas of restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities, and events held indoors. The certificate may also be used by employers as part of a company’s protection plan." will be enforced to those visiting from non-EU countries starting yesterday until they figure out a way to issue a Swiss vaccine certificate to those vaccinated elsewhere. It appears that the need for additional restriction is outpacing the abilities of many governments (in this case, Switzerland) to have a way to enforce it properly.
  13. Is your cruise arriving in Amsterdam on the last day, or is it arriving the day before disembarkation? I’m interested in knowing how the Dutch authorities are enforcing their new quarantine rules to river cruise passengers from “very high risk” countries. We are schedule to take a 7 night cruise on Crystal Debussy in November (things might be very different, for better or worse, by then) of this year, and Crystal is insisting that no passengers will be required to undergo quarantine or additional testing if the passenger enters the Netherlands from Germany. I am not sure if that’s consistent with the rules I read from the Dutch website, but perhaps there is a loophole in enforcement of the new rules. I would be very curious to know what passengers on your cruise who are/were planning to stay a few days in Amsterdam is doing in light of the new quarantine rules.
  14. I agree with you, and that’s why I’m so puzzled why Crystal is telling their customers that they are not planning to make any changes to their Basel-to-Amsterdam cruises. Crystal is saying that, since the ship enters Netherlands from Germany, all is OK…not sure that’s really the case. I have this terrible feeling that cruise lines are too desperate to think clearly regarding matters like this.
  15. That’s exactly what I was thinking. We also have a Basel to Amsterdam cruise that includes an overnight in Amsterdam. For us to spend 10 full days in a country that is not designated “very high risk” by the Dutch, we would need to stay in Basel for 4 nights before boarding the ship. Our cruise is not until November, so we might adjust our flights to arrive in Basel 4 days before the cruise. But again this might be a moot point for us since I’m assuming that the rules will change again before that.
  16. Oops. Correction, the surprising statements from Crystal Cruises were never mentioned in the Cruise Critic article. But other trade news websites have included these statements from Crystal that came out last night.
  17. You may not have noticed this, but this information on Cruise Critic has been edited overnight. Initially, it contained a few specific information about how individual cruise lines are complying with the Dutch regulations, including a statement from Crystal saying that US passengers entering Netherlands from Germany do not need to quarantine. Now, some of the statements, including those from Crystal have been removed entirely. I think more changes and announcements are pending.
  18. This is the new announcement from Crystal Cruises regarding their Rhine River cruises: https://www.crystalcruises.com/advisory-alerts/crystal-debussy-2021-voyages-changes-to-netherlands-entry-requirements Here's what I understood from the announcement -For Amsterdam-to-Basel cruises, Crystal will no longer overnight in Amsterdam, but will leave Amsterdam at 6 PM of the embarkation date, and add Dusseldorf as an additional port of call. Crystal is asking those passengers who wish to have a pre-cruise stay to either do that in another country (or not to do any pre-cruise stay anywhere) and enter Netherlands on the day of embarkation. -For Basel-to-Amsterdam cruises, Crystal is saying that there's no quarantine requirement since the ship is entering Netherlands from Germany. I am very surprised to read this. I thought that one must spend at least 10 days outside of "very high risk" countries to escape the mandatory quarantine in Netherlands. Perhaps the rules have changed again??? Pasted below is the actual text of the announcement, as of now. Crystal Debussy Itineraries & Changes To Dutch Entry Requirements Issued Wednesday, September 8, 2021 9pm EST Crystal River Cruises continues to monitor the Netherlands’ updated entry requirements for residents of select countries, including the United States, which began September 4 and, as such, we have the following update for our guests. Please see the below update when Crystal Debussy sails Amsterdam-Basel: As the requirements currently stand, travelers from high-risk areas who are staying in the Netherlands for a short stay (12 hours or less) are exempt from the self-quarantine rule. Therefore, if guests are traveling from a very high-risk country directly into the Netherlands and are planning a pre-cruise hotel/land stay, we recommend they change their hotel arrangements to some other country within the EU and/or plan to fly into Amsterdam on embarkation day arriving no later than 2 p.m. So that all of our guests can enjoy their vacation, we are making a slight modification to Crystal Debussy’s itinerary by sailing at 6 p.m. on embarkation day, rather than remaining in Amsterdam overnight. On Day 2 of the itinerary, we have added Düsseldorf, Germany with a 2 p.m. arrival and the ship remaining overnight. The balance of the itinerary will remain as scheduled. Our website will be updated within the next week with this information and new tickets will be issued to reflect this change. Please note: should the Dutch government later drop the quarantine requirement we will revert back to our originally-planned itinerary and notify our guests of that change. As a reminder, travelers from very high-risk areas will now need to show a negative COVID test (PCR or Antigen) to the carrier (air, bus or rail) that is transporting them into the Netherlands. Travelers who take a PCR test must do so no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in the Netherlands and travelers who take an antigen test must do so no more than 24 hours before arrival. Please see the below update when Crystal Debussy sails Basel-Amsterdam: While the new entry rules currently list Germany as a high-risk area, travelers who enter the Netherlands from Germany are currently not subject to self-quarantine or testing. Therefore, we believe Crystal Debussy’s itinerary that starts in Basel and sails to Amsterdam, which includes 1-night aboard Crystal Debussy in Amsterdam at the end of the cruise, will be able to operate as planned. Guests may find details of the entry rules, including a definition of very high-risk areas, on this site maintained by the Dutch government. We strongly encourage our guests to check the website for further updates as they get closer to travel. We are contacting all affected guests, and their travel advisers, with details of these updates. As our call volume is high at present, we kindly ask for your patience and check back here for further updates. We thank you for your understanding. Crystal River Cruises has developed strict health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19 and was the first River cruise line to require 100 percent mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for all guests and crew. The line and its guests will always be in full compliance with all local and global requirements, and we will continue to update our protocols as appropriate.
  19. It seems the Dutch website is giving us conflicting information about whether people from "very high risk" country can in fact change planes/transfer from a flight to another form of transport (or variation theof) in Netherlands. In the section titled "Checklist for transit or short stay in the Netherlands" or "Checklist transfer/transit in the Netherlands (changing planes)," it says that "A European entry ban is in effect for some people, barring them from travelling from a high-risk area to the European Union or the Schengen area. You may only transit in the Netherlands if: You are travelling from a safe country/region where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low. You will find the lists of safe areas/countries within and outside the EU/Schengen area in the checklists for entering or returning to the Netherlands from abroad. You have been fully vaccinated. The purpose of your trip falls under one of the exemption categories: You are travelling through the Netherlands to a non-EU/Schengen country. You must prove that you have a connecting flight to a country outside the Schengen area. The connecting flight must depart within 48 hours of your arrival in the Netherlands. You must not leave the airport’s international transit zone in this period. Please note: the United Kingdom (UK) is not part of the EU/Schengen area. You are travelling to an EU country/Schengen area country via the Netherlands. You must be able to show you have permission to enter the EU country/Schengen country in question. You can do this with a note verbale from that country’s embassy, for example, or another type of document that proves you can travel there. If you do not have such a document, the Dutch border authorities will determine whether you may travel via the Netherlands. Without a document showing you have permission to enter the EU country/Schengen country in question, you are advised to fly there directly and not via the Netherlands. If you will be making a short stop at a Dutch airport you may need an airport transit visa. Please note: the United Kingdom (UK) is not part of the EU/Schengen area. Read more about the EU entry ban and the exemption categories" In this section above, it is not clear if one must be from safe country/region AND vaccinated or from safe country/region OR vaccinated. In another section regarding exceptions to the mandatory quarantine titled "EU entry ban exemption categories," it says "Transit, transfer" is a valid exception, defined as: " You are travelling through the Netherlands to a non-EU/Schengen area country. You must prove that you have a connecting flight to a country outside the Schengen area. The connecting flight must depart within 48 hours of your arrival at the airport. You must not leave the airport’s international transit zone in this period. Please note: the United Kingdom (UK) is not part of the EU/Schengen area. You are travelling to an EU country/Schengen area country via the Netherlands. You must be able to show you have permission to enter the EU country/Schengen country in question. You can do this with a note verbale from that country’s embassy, for example, or another type of document that proves you can travel there. If you do not have such a document, the Dutch border authorities will determine whether you may travel via the Netherlands. Without a document showing you have permission to enter the EU country/Schengen country in question, you are advised to fly there directly and not via the Netherlands. If you will be making a short stop at a Dutch airport you may need an airport transit visa. This depends partly on your nationality. The Visa Advisor tool helps you determine whether you need an airport transit visa. Please note: the United Kingdom (UK) is not part of the EU/Schengen area. So depending on which part of the website we read, and how we interpret the passages, it could mean two different things. I'm sure the contents of the website was complied in a big hurry, and it really shows. And I also see yet another section that defines exemptions to quarantine requirement that says something slightly different. What a mess!!
  20. Could you tell me where you found this? I went though the official Dutch website about the new quarantine requirements and found that those who transfer in Netherlands are exempt from the mandatory quarantine, as long as they do not leave the airport/train station, etc. Also, the 12 hour rule should also apply so we should be exempt from mandatory quarantine. But the rules listed in the website are not very well presented.
  21. If I am reading what's on the Dutch website correctly, I think the answer is no. It says that the 10 day quarantine starts when someone enters Netherlands, and a negative test during the quarantine could shorten it to 5 days. I guess if the cruise enters Netherlands more than 5 days before arriving in Amsterdam, it is possible that you can "quarantine" on the ship, if that's even considered quarantine by the Dutch authorities, then this approach may work, but based on what I read, it is unclear if taking a river cruise in Netherlands can count as quarantine.
  22. I would actually contact Viking or have your travel agent contact Viking to confirm this. Not everything posted here are always accurate, unfortunately.
  23. I just looked up the current position of Crystal Debussy. As of 2:40 AM, September 7, the ship is about to cross into Germany. So it did leave in the evening of September 6, instead of waiting until 1 PM on September 7. I have no idea what happened to some passengers who were already in Amsterdam before September 6.
  24. I'm assuming that everything is still in great flux, and there will be more changes ahead, both in terms of the public health rules as well as how the cruise lines adapt to the rules. However, the most recent (and the only) official announcement regarding the September 6 (today!) Amsterdam-to-Basel cruise on Crystal Debussy says that the ship will sail out of Amsterdam with passengers, but to comply with the new Dutch rules, it is planning to depart Amsterdam sooner than scheduled (presumably, to shorten the time in Netherlands to less than 12 hours). The original schedule of this cruise included an overnight in Amsterdam in the beginning of the cruise. I am not exactly sure if the ship is now going to (or already?) leaving/left Amsterdam without an overnight stay or it is leaving very early in the morning after an overnight stay. Crystal has not made any public announcement about the September 13 Basel-to-Amsterdam itinerary. This cruise was supposed to overnight in Amsterdam at the end, which I think would now be a problem for some of the passengers onboard.
  25. The rules and how it is going to be enforced will also be very interesting when a river cruise enters Netherlands from Germany, if the cruise is less than 10 days in duration. I have no idea how this is dealt with, but I would think that there will be a mixture of passengers, some who “cleared” the 10 days, some who are yet to do so, some from “very high risk” countries and some from elsewhere. I would think that that someone on the cruise ship has to keep track of all passengers to decide who will be allowed to take an excursion, and who will be allowed to stick around in Amsterdam (vs. immediately leaving Netherlands) at the end of the cruise. The whole process should obviously go smoothly….NOT.
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