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Everything posted by grayjay

  1. It may be necessary for re-entry into your own country. They were strict controls in Madeira last week because airlines / some countries required them. Sometimes it is really confusing....
  2. Great pictures! Brings back lots of fond remembrances I just wondered about the non-enforced security rules that allowed you to get off on your own. Good for you - I have read tales of ships currently cruising in Europe that wouldn't have allowed people back on board who separated from their ship's tour. Someone told us they really had seen people sent off with their luggage sitting outside. So these strict rules seem to be weakened by and by.
  3. Norway aswell as Hurtigruten Expeditions requires proof of full vaccination before entering the country. PCR-tests and Antigentests are required before boarding a Hurtigrutenship on an expedition cruise. For coastal voyages proof of full vaccination is enough. Plus very strict rules concerning meals, masks etc. New on Hurtigruten's homepage since today.
  4. Simply- yes! You won't be able to watch the sea while sitting on the balcony in the area where the red stripe is. It was the reason we changed our booking in 2020 to deck 9 despite the high prices. ( That the cruise didn't happen because of Covid-19 was bad luck - but we could see the ship and the balconies in Tromsø harbour. You can also count the balconies on deck 8 - some in cat. XT don't have that stripe covering the lower part of the balcony.
  5. On Hurtigruten's German website (Corona information/ cancellations) the Expedition cruises for Spitsbergen (the ship) and MS Maud in Britain and Scotland in April, May and June have been listed as cancelled. Might be a good idea to compare with their UK website, as some cruise lines like Princess and P&O are already offering some summer cruises for vaccinated British passengers. Maybe Hurtigruten might follow this scheme to earn some needed monies!
  6. Regarding her being revolutionized I'm still hoping for it to be accomplished in 2021 or early 2022 as I am booked on an April 2022 cruise in a cabin at the stern - the former C1 cabins now appear as Sunset Verandah cabins and the former FV's as Sunset Suites. If I miscalculated - well - it's still cruising with a view of the wake...
  7. I really don't expect there will be much international cruising this summer and fall. Most European countries are still closed and vaccination schedules are still a disaster in many countries like Germany, France, Spain. Italy is going into its third lockdown in April. Some countries are tentatively starting national cruises, for example in Britain for British passengers possibly starting end of May, and even there Scotland and Wales are still not yet open to join in this scheme. Some German cruiselines are operating for Germany customers in the Canaries with strictly enforced mask mandates etc., but I expect they might have to close operations again if cases start rising again. We are not even sure if our May river cruise down the Rhine and Danube will be possible because of lockdowns in place .We are still hoping for our Norway cruise to happen in August, bur at the moment Norway is still advising against all travel this summer and might close its borders till the fall. The situation is fluctuating so quickly that your head atarts whirling and I don't expect it's worth to re-start cruising for ships that have to cross over from the US if they only have a snippet of time left in September/October when the pandemic might cool off in Europe and the vaccination delays have been solved. As our own personal ray of hope we have just booked "Infinity" for April 2022...
  8. Sorry about barging into this thread - And still nothing about the INFINITY, I presume?? As we're rather cut off from news - no real information on the website.... - we're still waiting for information about "Infinity" to be revolutionized or at least renovated. We have been looking at some cruises in 2022 - at quite ambitious prices - but don't want to sail on her in her current condition and don't want to book yet.
  9. I have never considered a cruise with the MeinSchiff fleet, but it was absolutely stunning to read in your blog how well it went and how much fun you had. Just today I read that it is now possible to book cruises of two weeks round the Canary islands on TUI ships similar to what you described , flight included, land tours via cruise line possible. Balcony cabins started at Euros 1500.- which I found quite moderate. The Junior Suite including flights from Germany was 5500 Euros for 2 people. I sincerely hope Celebrity Cruises will be able and willing to offer such a kind of re-start for all of us again in 2021 - I still have a huge FCC to spend....
  10. Yes, that's the point. Living in Europe we won't find many of the itineraries the big companies offer that exciting any more after having seen and visited them often in our cruise lives. It's the reason why we have started to cruise less often if it' s Europe but choose smaller companies and smaller ships because they'll sail lesser-known areas. I'd perhaps choose Azamara which we love even more than Celebrity - but our FCC is only valid for Celebrity Cruises in 2021. And because of the current situation I might be forgiven that I'm looking for a cruise experience a bit nearer to home than on the other side of the world - even if I still dream of a circumnavigation of Australia or another cruise to Antarctica...
  11. Different rules in Europe - no refundable deposits - you'll lose your deposit of 20 % if you cancel. Don't know about the "Lift-and-shift" scheme but I doubt it will be possible to do with the quite substantial FCC we have. But I'll try to find out what Celebrity has to say on the matter even if their answers are not always consistent ...
  12. Itineraries for Europe in 2021 are not that exciting - and those are the only ones I'd consider for 2021. As we have FCCs that expire for booking at the end of 2020 we feel a bit lost. And so far the time line for booking has not been extended for all of us that were dumped from cruises in February and March.
  13. It's a good thing that Tui Cruises are enforcing their safety rules. On the other hand it is not always easy to follow the droning voice of a tour guide walking through a city and forgetting most of the zillion pieces of information your offered. Exploring on your own to us is preferable , but I see the sense in the rules being enforced in these uncertain times to get nearer to cruising more freely again in the future. By the way: when on a tour offered by TUI you are required to ask the tour guide for any snippet of time you need to be away from the group i.e. even for a bathroom break... And no, I didn't make that up!
  14. Hi! Great to hear from you that you simply couldn't stay away from cruise ships and booked one of the few cruises currently available. The one we would have met you on in March (Asia/ Celebrity Millenium) fell through, our three following cruises to Spain , Greenland and Norway as well. The last time we tried boarding a ship we were turned away an hour before boarding because they had detected CoVid-19 cases on board and had quarantined the ship before we were able to get on it.That was in August... Now we have not yet given up but have turned to river cruising for the rest of the year - but we'll keep an envious eye on your trip report and hope you'll have a great time in Greece even with the few restrictions on board. Like you we have never been on a TUI ship yet because we prefer the international crowd on the American and British cruise lines- but perhaps you'll help us re-think with your report! Let's all keep our fingers crossed that these tentative experiments with a re-start of cruising will be successful!!
  15. To answer your question you should perhaps tell us first which cabin category you're interested in - there are staterooms with a large window, balcony cabins and suites. Then it easier to offer help.
  16. On the circumnavigation voyage that didn't happen any more most of the passengers were Norwegian, with a sprinkling of Germans, Austrians and from Switzerland. They were lucky in being denied boarding on their day of departure...
  17. We were supposed to sail today on 15day circumnavigation of Svalbard. 120 passengers denied boarding today were disappointed and deeply unhappy. But it was thd right thing to cancel, of course. But it doesn't bode well for the cruise industry in general because Hurtigruten and Norway with their careful policy concerning the virus were the only ones I was wiiling to trust with a cruise..
  18. As far as I noticed on Hurtigruten's website the Caribbean expedition on Roald Amundsen in autumn has been cancelled whereas the one for sister ship Fridtjof Nansen is still in place. I'm starting to doubt though that the season in South America and Antarctica will go through as planned with the pandemic still raging through Peru and Chile, for example and so many still unable to be accepted on flights to and entry into their destinations.
  19. The situation regarding entry into Norway is so versatile, changing almost too quickly to follow. Right now Belgium has passed the allowed infection rate of 20 and is in danger of becoming a "red" zone for Norway. Austria, France, Switzerland are creeping closer to that magical line, too. We in Germany are getting more cases through young party people and tourists returning , though cases are still low. Norway is well advised to be that cautious.
  20. Yes, I'm happy to see Canadian cruisefriends allowed to enter the EU again. I'm not sure about Norway, though, as they are more restrictive, you'll have to check this, as well as flights. Flights are still scarcer than before, as we found out recently when checking for flights ourselves.
  21. Just a snippet of information to show how quickly the situation changes in these uncertain times: I have just read that Norway has just tightened their restrictions again in regard to Spain where Corona cases have been rising in Barcelona and the coast again (have tripled in Barcelona these last days). Persons arriving now from Spain face a 14-day quarantine again befor being allowed to enter the country because the country is red-listed again.
  22. I'd also recommend taking a look at the Hurtigruten voyages on refurbished ships "Otto Sverdrup" out of Hamburg or " MS Maud" out of Dover. These voyages are a bit longer, I think 12 days or so, but offer more time in the ports visited and as far as I know, many excursions are included, for example the one to the North Cape. Most of the cabins are still as tiny in size as before the refurbishment, but there's lots of public space to enjoy. We splurged on a mini-suite though, a year ago on "Richard With" and were very happy with the quiet time in our spacious surroundings and the views out of the large windows if the weather was inclement. Unfortunately enough, we didn't see a single speck of the Northern Lights even if it was March and statistically a good month. We chose it because of the longer days of daylight - many love the Polar nights in December or January. You can choose! Hurtigruten's website gives you pictures of the different ships, their decks and cabins and public spaces. Enjoy the time of planning!
  23. Yes, I was absolutely envious when I saw all these lovely voyages to lesser-known and small ports around the British Isles from September onward, which are only offered on Hurtigruten -UK. On our national site voyages to Norway and to Spitzbergen are offered . Hurtigruten seems to split up and arrange voyages now to different nationalities , lesser passengers and smaller ports which is quite a sensible idea in this summer season full of uncertainties. And the prices are really affordable at the moment, reduced in comparison to 2021 where they seem to be eye-watering in some cases...
  24. I really hope the voyages to Antarctica can take place, and there's still time until the season starts, but on the other hand the pandemic is still raging through many countries in South America, and there is unrest in the whole of Chile. If you think back what happened in March when cases were just beginning and still the ports were closed firmly against cruise ships and expedition ships I wouldn't be too optimistic. I remember when Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten's brand new ship with healthy passengers on board, was turned away and had to re-route to the Falklands where the passengers were at last able to disembark. But I'd really love to see the Antarctica season begin without hindrance. But I'm also not sure if all nationalities will be accepted in Chile even if I keep all my fingers crossed for us all.
  25. I'm not sure whether Richard With has both categories. l1 is for one person, l2 for two. Both are tiny! I'd think they are for someone who intends to use the cabin for sleeping only and who is willing to spend most of his days in public spaces or outside on deck.
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