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About Balian65

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  1. Although the number of infected people rising everywhere all over Europe the situation in the single countries is quite different. Spain, France and UK are heavily struck once again and reacted with restrictions. Italy and Germany yet have much lower figures but have imposed similar restrictions. No idea why you regard Greece with 10 millions people as one of the Big Six countries in Europe (all the others are in the range between 45 and 80 millions) but for some strange reasons they are one of the few spots in Europe which at the moment are still more or less corona-free. Comparing the situation to the one in March/April there is one big difference all over Europe, the percentage of people hospitalized and fatalities is way lower. Nevertheless it is going to be a hard and long winter......
  2. Very true words. Even though I come from a country ( Germany) which has never been affected that hard you can feel the fear everywhere. It is completely paralyzing the whole society in a way that there is no more space for reasonable discussions. No matter if you talk about traveling or returning to the schools you will be immediately accused of endangering others. No idea how long this will last but even when the virus might disappear It still will be a long way back to normalcy. And an even longer way to cruising like it used to be....
  3. Italy, Germany, and France have basically stopped testing; I wonder if their numbers are really as good as reported. At least for Germany that is not true. Last week more than 494.000 people have been tested resulting in the highest number ever. There were less than 3.000 positive tests. https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1107749/umfrage/labortest-fuer-das-coronavirus-covid-19-in-deutschland/ And from all I heard the situation in France and Italy is quite similar..
  4. We will be on the same cruise and from all what I know about the weather conditions your assumptions are pretty correct. It might be a little bit better but there is only slight hope. The Faroer Islands are known for having rain on more than 300 days a year. Temperatures should be in the 50‘s. I come from Northern Germany so I do know that climate fairly well. Anyway no one chooses this itenary because of the good weather. For dinner I usually wear a sports coat with some colored slacks which generally works fine on any Silversea cruise. If I have to wear a tie on formal nights it‘s ok but the days of tuxedos and dark suits are over - even on Silversea. See you onboard and for trivia.
  5. I will be on that cruise well and I am happy not be in that situation this time. But knowing that situation quite good from past experiences I would recommend thinking about package rates from your provider and not to rely on the ship’s WiFi connection. You will need an EU Package for all countries except for Russia and a second one for Russia. That should work most of the time except for the time at sea. When you are more than 10 miles away from land it will be getting difficult. I am from Germany and I do use Vodafone as provider which works pretty well in that region. To be on the safe side I use cell phone and laptop independently. Otherwise it can be a hassle dealing with markups. What did not really work to my experience was participating in all hands phone calls or large group calls. Too many connection problems and background noises. Good luck and see you then.....
  6. In Germany you will find quite a few stores and restaurants not accepting credit cards. Three out of four payments are still done in cash and that means Euro only. US dollars are generally not accepted. If you use debit cards maestro is the most used card in Germany. Visa and Mastercard are quite common, but don’t be surprised if American Express or other credit cards are not accepted. Apple Pay is yet not a common option except for online purchases. Any ticket machines will work only with PIN or cash.
  7. To my experience the dress code was only enforced in the four dinner locations on 4th floor (Atlantide, Indochine, La Dame, Kaiseki) and only during dinner times. If you go to the bars on upper level after dinner you might feel out of place in casual attire but no one really cares. On a formal night there were lots of men not wearing ties all over the ship after dinner.
  8. Not really correct. Anybody who has a valid residence and working permit for the country the ship is registered can work on such a ship. But the employer has to guarantee that minimum wages and agreed tariffs of the country affected must be paid to avoid any kind of wage dumping. And then there are certain rivers like the Duoro in Portugal where only ships operated by local companies are allowed to cruise there. That means international river cruise companies like Uniworld or Viking have to engage a local service company and do not have much influence on the people.
  9. As we are on holidays in Madeira we will take look at the Explorer today in the harbour of Funchal. Really curious about how it looks from the outside. We will board in July for a Baltic trip. I wish kjbacon and tucruiser a fine day on the island as you probably will take the cable car to Monte.
  10. Monaco is an integral part of the EU customs territory and VAT area, and therefore applies most measures on excise duties and VAT. (from Wikipedia). To my knowledge all EU countries could act like Spain and Italy. Each of them in their own boundaries and with their own VAT tax rate. I know Germany (from where I come) does not act this way because the administration costs are significantly higher than the tax income. I suppose the same applies for France and other countries. Concerning your trip route in European legal terms you do not leave the EU customs territory at all. So I am not sure if you will not be charged VAT all of the time of your cruise. VAT rates all over Europe differ from 18% to 25% and are included in the shop prices offshore (but not on the ship). There are reduced rates (7-12%) mainly for food but definitely not for alcohol for which there maybe extra tax rates in some countries.
  11. Yes we are looking forward to our Baltic trip as well. For Warnemünde (which is a suburb of Rostock) excursions without Berlin I saw three options. One is a technical museum about an hour away, then you can take several tours to the city of Rostock which I would only recommend if you feel lost in a non English-speaking environment and the last option is the tour to the railway in Bad Doberan which is a nice historical seaside resort. Depending on the weather we personally will take either a beach break directly in Warnemünde or take a cab to the historical seaside resort (20 miles distance). Guided excursions in our own country in English language would be a very strange idea to us.
  12. We will be on the same cruise. But being Regent first timers as well I can't tell you much about the ship or the cruise line. We have already booked excursions and at least at two occasions (Klaipeda/Tallinn) you have the opportunity for biking or kayaking. In Petersburg it is definitely the best option to join a group. We have been there as independent travellers some years ago and it will take you a long time to pass the long lines before the big places like the hermitage. And without speaking Russian you can easily get lost in that city, no comparison to any other big European town. For Berlin it depends on what you want to see. Just to have a fast look at all the famous places or if you have a specific interest on the very special history and atmosphere of that place. Feel free to ask I am German. Copenhagen and Stockholm are very interesting places. It is worth to spend one, two or three days before and after your cruise. Wish you all the best in preparation for that event.
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