Jump to content

getting to your river cruise and back - borders, bridges and bubbles


Recommended Posts

River cruising in Europe is about to return but it will be quite an exclusive affair as many borders are still closed for leisure. When more borders open in June and July and cruises are up and running on a larger scale all over the world, will you actually get to it? Or back home?

 

Some countries are doing better than others and the worry is there for cases to rise again when people travel more. The UK is reacting with a 14-day-quarantine just as more countries are opening their borders across the European continent.

 

So how do we tackle this return to tourism traffic? To reduce the thread, the Baltic states have introduced a travel bubble among themselves, Australia and New Zealand have come up with the idea among themselves and European countries are discussing such "air bridges", especially those that rely heavily on tourism, for example Spain where many Germans want to go again for their Summer holidays (and second homes).

 

Here is an article on the subject: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/impacting-travel/could-air-bridges-and-travel-bubbles-save-europes-summer-season.html

 

Although Europe, i.e the Schengen states and affiliates, should react in unison, it does not look like it will - they do not have to in this. As regards the external borders - that remains to be seen. On 1 June I could sail through the whole of Germany, but could not cross the border into Strasbourg, as an example.

 

Could you fly to Amsterdam and sail as far as Budapest - but cannot fly back home? Arrive in the UK and be stuck? Scrap the extension to Poland? The Danube beyond Budapest? Russia? India? Who knows...

 

One thing is sure, it will get even more complicated, especially for those relying on long-distance air travel to get to their port.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, rrgator said:

We have a Viking cruise in Russia scheduled for late September. Hope it happens but haven’t been able to apply for visa yet. 

Visa - That complicates matters. Had not thought of that. I do hope it works out for you.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Today is a big day for leisure travel with borders opening or announcements of restrictions on border crossing to be eased. Italy is open for visitors! https://www.dw.com/en/italy-reopens-borders-for-european-tourists/av-53667150

 

On Monday Montenegro had opened its borders after having declared itself coronavirus free. The first visitors arrived shortly after midnight.

 

Europe is opening up itself to itself. With air bridges and alliances. Austria will let Germans in from tomorrow (and many others but not Italians), hooray! But borders are annoyingly two way things. So from 15 June Germany will lift the world wide travel warning and replace it with specific advise against travel for individual countries. It means I could go to the UK but as soon as I arrive have to go into a 14 day quarantine. We have been doing so well that the Czech Republic will also let us in from 15 June and Spain is contemplating air bridges for German tourists.

 

Belgium will open its borders to the Schengen countries and a couple of others including the UK from 15 June. Not sure if that is a good idea.

 

Denmark will do the same on 15 June. Denmark, Norway and Finland are opening up to each other but not to Sweden yet. The Swedes are a bit peeved... Well, they have not put themselves into the Europeans good books lately.

 

Iceland will offer tests to visitors so that they can avoid the 14 day quarantine.

 

Travel into the EU and affiliated countries on a large scale still to be discussed at a later date it seems.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

notamermaid - am continuing to watch your posts...  We have a final payment date coming up early in July - and we need to decide what to do...  If we cancel, we lose our deposit - $500.  Not a bit deal in the scheme of things.  But, if we pay it - and the cruise is cancelled, we can move our booking - but our insurance will not, at this time,  cover anything booked for the future  (we are ok for October - as it was booked before Covid hit...).  If we choose not to re-book, it seems as if they are offering a future cruise credit - not a refund.   On top of this - as I am reading the list of "precautions" - not sure I want to spend 9 days on a boat where I may have to wear a mask in all public areas.  Or, wear one on excursions - or on a bus (if we cannot do a walking tour from the boat...) Also - we are sailing the lower Danube, and everything I am reading on Romania & Hungary (start & end points for the cruise) indicate they are still closed to tourists.  So, even if the company says they are willing to sail this itinerary - will we even be able to get to Bucharest - without a 2 week quarantine before boarding the boat...  However, the Budapest marathon - scheduled for early October - still seems a "go"...  Which does give me some hope. 

 

We lost out on this cruise 2 years ago due to low water - and really would like to go,  But - I can't go if I can't get there!!  Your posts & insights are so valuable... thank you - once again - for your detailed updates.

 

Fran

Link to post
Share on other sites

Notamermaid, I too thank you for your updates.  We have travel booked to Europe in December, but not a cruise this time.

 

We are hoping to visit France, Spain and Portugal, but obviously can't go if there is quarantine.  Also travel insurance might be a big problem.

 

Your posts are helping us to decide, so thankyou.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2020 at 6:57 PM, notamermaid said:

We have been doing so well that the Czech Republic will also let us in from 15 June and Spain is contemplating air bridges for German tourists.

New announcement from the Czech Republic. Taken from Deutsche Welle website: "The Czech Republic will drop restrictions on travel to and from Austria, Germany and Hungary on Friday, Czech news agency CTK has reported.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis made the announcement following the re-opening of the border with Slovakia on Wednesday. This latest move fits in with the plan for most EU member states to open their borders by June 15."

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Across the EU, more plans for reopening have been announced. But they also show the outsiders, not difficult to guess if you have followed the news - UK and Sweden. This is what the Dutch authorities say: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/06/tourists-from-uk-sweden-not-welcome-in-nl-as-lock-down-eases-further/

 

I suppose this means that UK river cruisers cannot start in Amsterdam. If Germany is more lenient with the UK and let river cruisers in, then they could go with a company that has them embark in Düsseldorf or Cologne. But as it stands they would have to quarantine for 14 days on return. Which is bad news for a quiet a few tour operators. Who has so much holiday or would even want to spend 14 days at home in self-isolation as a "punishment" for having gone on holiday abroad?

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seeing as most of the demographic who river cruise from the U.K. are made up of the majority of the population who have been and still are self isolating it will make no difference if we have to quarantine for an extra 14 days or not. Reading some of the posts published recently I am seriously considering wether to spend my money visiting Europe ever again. Why bother! CA

Link to post
Share on other sites

The borders of Europe - Schengen mainly - have reopened*, but how to keep track of it? There is a website that unfortunately the UK is not participating in. Here is the report: https://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/375251/uk-gives-cold-shoulder-to-eu-tourism-revival-initiative

 

This is the website: https://reopen.europa.eu/en

 

*Europe with each other, with recommendations by the EU authorities to opening up to outside countries from 1 July.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
Link to post
Share on other sites

Spain has brought forward the opening of her borders to 21 June (from 1 July) excluding Portugal. Yesterday, in a trial exclusively for German holiday makers, planes went from Germany to the Balearic islands. It is official testing ground for the hygiene measures. Germans creat much revenue for the islands as one of the main groups of holiday makers there and second homes there are popular with Germans as well.

 

Sweden has been branded as "the bad guys" and several countries have excluded Sweden from opening up the borders to them on 15 June, including Norway: https://de.euronews.com/2020/06/16/zu-locker-im-umgang-mit-corona-keine-grenzoffnung-fur-schweden

 

It is hotchpotch  - "Durjenanner" as I would call it (Durcheinander in high German) and unlikely to get better in the next couple of weeks.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Right, now the UK is taking on the idea of air bridges and travel corridors, i.e in this case this means scrapping the quarantine. Will see how that develops in the next week or so: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53177282

 

I am sorry to say this still does not necessarily mean good news for you people over the big pond for a river cruise any time soon. But do check again and again what air travel arrangements might work for you.Via Ireland perhaps? Always assuming you have lots of time to self-isolate on return home.

 

You hunker down for weeks on end and the cases are rising because the younger and/or inconsiderate folks are out and about, you want to fly to Germany or Austria - still two of the safest places for river cruises right now -, but the countries neither let you in nor are you allowed to go home just like that, but have to quarantine coming back from a place that is probably safer than your own state. I am telling you, I feel genuinely so sorry for you. Life is even less fair at the moment than it normally is. :classic_sad:

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to inform as a mental bookmark. The EU borders have opened for the states on the white list, like Canada and Australia for example. Or have they? The EU has no power in this to enforce it, the list is a recommendation. Hungary will not follow the list. They are currently only open to Serbia. Info from German news broadcaster tagesschau.

 

The UK is thinking of lifting the quarantine rules for those coming from many countries. List not finalized yet.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Just to inform as a mental bookmark. The EU borders have opened for the states on the white list, like Canada and Australia for example. Or have they? The EU has no power in this to enforce it, the list is a recommendation. Hungary will not follow the list. They are currently only open to Serbia. Info from German news broadcaster tagesschau..

 

notamermaid

 

 

Interesting news about Hungary.  Our cruise (if it goes ahead) ends in Budapest.  In trying to get a sense of what countries are opening - and to whom - I have been watching the page for the Budapest Marathon that is scheduled the weekend before we arrive. At this point, it seems as if the marathon is still a go - and nowhere on the site does it say that you can't register - or that there is even a chance it won't proceed.  It is still quite a distance out (100 days, according to the countdown clock on the home page...) - but I would think that there would be something about access to the country. 

 

Fran

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, here is the whitelist from the UK government: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors#travel-corridors-countries-and-territories-exemption-list 

 

From 10 July people from England can go to Germany for a river cruise and not have to quarantine on return. The same rule applies when visiting England. This is only England. I could take the Eurotunnel and drive all through the country to Scotland, but I would not be allowed to fly to Edinburgh without the quarantine.

 

Portugal is not happy about not being on the whitelist. No cruising on the Douro unless the UK people have lots of time for quarantine.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don’t forget the Anglo Portuguese Alliance in effect since the 13hundreds the longest political alliance in existence we will get this sorted soon. Hopefully if everyone is careful and we all take it easy normal service will be resumed sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed 🤞 CA

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/3/2020 at 11:05 PM, Canal archive said:

Don’t forget the Anglo Portuguese Alliance in effect since the 13hundreds the longest political alliance in existence we will get this sorted soon. Hopefully if everyone is careful and we all take it easy normal service will be resumed sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed 🤞 CA

Thanks for the info. That is an amazing feat in history when you think about it. I was not aware of it, did some reading.

 

Well today is the big day for the end of quarantine rule, so I can go to England (and even go to the pub)! This is the Deutsche Welle daily reporting entry of this morning: "05:42 From today, England and Northern Ireland have dropped a rule requiring arrivals from more than 50 countries to self-quarantine for 14 days. Visitors from Germany, France, Spain and Italy are now exempt, but not those from the United States. 

The move also clears the way for millions of British tourists to take summer holidays without worrying about being quarantined when they return.

Scotland on Thursday said it will use a similar list but retain quarantine for travel from Spain.

Northern Ireland's decision to align with England's approach sets it at odds with the neighboring Republic of Ireland, with which it shares an open border.

The Irish government has delayed dropping its 14-day quarantine for any country until July 20 and has indicated it is likely to produce a relatively shortlist."

 

"Spanish beaches, here they come!" The English that is, not the Scottish yet in masses. Germany treats the UK as being part of the EU still, so any UK person can come to Germany without problems.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The treaty in effect says that if any other countries attack either country then the other countries Princes come to the others aid, conjures up amazing pictures.
Everything is changing at such a fast pace  it’s a challenge to keep up - who can go where, why and how.
I’m sure the Irish between them will eventually come up with an inventive solution. CA

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/3/2020 at 4:34 AM, franski said:

 

Interesting news about Hungary.  Our cruise (if it goes ahead) ends in Budapest.  In trying to get a sense of what countries are opening - and to whom - I have been watching the page for the Budapest Marathon that is scheduled the weekend before we arrive. At this point, it seems as if the marathon is still a go - and nowhere on the site does it say that you can't register - or that there is even a chance it won't proceed.  It is still quite a distance out (100 days, according to the countdown clock on the home page...) - but I would think that there would be something about access to the country. 

 

Fran

Hungary is changing her entry restrictions from Wednesday. Green, amber and red countries. https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-latest-trump-wears-face-mask-for-the-first-time/a-54142305

see: "11:06 Hungary says it will reimpose restrictions, such as mandatory two-week quarantines or bans, on people arriving from countries where the rate of coronavirus infections is considered to be moderate or high."

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Hungary is changing her entry restrictions from Wednesday. Green, amber and red countries. https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-latest-trump-wears-face-mask-for-the-first-time/a-54142305

see: "11:06 Hungary says it will reimpose restrictions, such as mandatory two-week quarantines or bans, on people arriving from countries where the rate of coronavirus infections is considered to be moderate or high."

 

notamermaid

 

Interesting that the US is considered amber - not red -  even with the number of confirmed cases there. 

 

Fran

Edited by franski
Link to post
Share on other sites

Conditions in Europe continue to change and so here are a couple of changes.

 

Most importantly, the EU has revised its list. Canada and Australia are still considered safe. Serbia and Montenegro have been taken off the list. Sweden is in!

 

Further away, Lithuania is restricting entry again as they do not trust some of the developments in Europe. Quite understandable.

 

And Germany has declared Luxembourg a risk zone. After mass testing the country reported so many positives that it met Germany's disease control criteria. Commuting is still allowed. The situation is likely to improve soon, I should think.

 

Here is a little caveat about travelling. If you are in a safe country, you can still get into a local lockdown suddenly. We have seen it recently in Spain around Barcelona especially. Germany has just declared its strategy for localized lockdowns on a municipal level rather than regional or whole districts. Even on a river cruise these sudden changes to ports not open or restrictions on border crossings even are likely to stay with us for a long time.

 

How that translates into cancellations, compensations for missed excursions or insurance issues when stuck, will be interesting to see.

 

An interesting question will be what will happen to the so-called Christmas market cruises if the cruise is safe to go but the market is cancelled at short notice. What will a cruise line do? But that is for now not on the agenda yet.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada may be "safe" for the EU, but I was just checking with someone in Hungary yesterday and although the US is in their "yellow" section (requiring a 14 day quarantine) Canada was in the "red".  I know we have a while to wait, but I am hoping that they will revise this soon....  🙂

 

Edited by Daisi
Link to post
Share on other sites

Daisi, that is puzzling about Canada a bit. But Hungary has shown to have different criteria for countries before, i.e. their safe list is not identical with the recommendations of the EU. And that is the crucial point: the EU recommends, the countries decide to go along with it - or not. Most will.

 

notamermaid

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team: New Ship Ultramarine
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...