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


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One step forward, a quarter step back...

 

as regards reasing travel restrictions. No, no border closures within the EU (Schengen). That has been categorically ruled out. But Luxembourg is still a risk zone to Germany and now the UK government has followed suit.

 

The UK has already reintroduced quarantine for returnees from Spain, now Germany has declared three regions of Spain as risk zones.

 

 

On another note, Denmark has finally lifted restrictions on its neighbour Sweden.

 

The EU has reduced its "whitelist" of countries to 11. Congratulations to Canada, Australia and New Zealand that are still on it.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Despite borders being open in Europe - generally speaking - getting to your river cruise and back without hiccups is getting more complicated. Germany has introduced mandatory testing upon arrival at the borders from risk countries or zones. In theory, that would mean, if you stay in Luxembourg overnight, you need a test when you travel on your cruise into Germany. Testing is done on the ship, but from what I have learnt, that is only the quick antibody test. So if you are going check what you need to do. 

 

Austria have added Croatia to their list of countries with travel warnings.

 

With the UK just having added France and the Netherlands to their list of countries that necessitate a 14 day quarantine by you upon entry into the UK, this deals a major blow to the river cruise lines. If you sailed on the Danube you would be okay for all I know (again, check). But a Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam is out (unless you have time on your hands). Would Amsterdam to Basel work? Depends on what you have to declare on the form you need to fill in. Here is the tricky bit: on your river cruise you visit Strasbourg. All of France is a risk zone. Would this require you to self-isolate even if your cruise is only from Cologne to Strasbourg and back? Complicated? Oh, yes. Basically, the British government allows you to transit through France: you can stop, but as soon as you get out of your car and encounter any person, you have to self-isolate. So, for me this would mean last toilet stop is in Belgium or a deserted bush area in the middle of nowhere in Pas-de-Calais...

 

Problem is the changes that can happen at very short notice. If things get worse in Germany my country could be declared a risk zone. And Switzerland, etc.

 

Anybody still want to attempt a river cruise in Europe? 😞

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 1 month later...

We are struggling here in Europe. The safe travel corridors (as regards quarantine and the individual countries' measures) are dwindling. According to German sources Hungary has officially closed the borders to river cruising, Vienna still works as a "scenic sail-past" and the German company nickocruises has given up offering river cruises on the Rhone this year. The new risk list of our health authorities now includes Normandy as well as Paris which severely jeopardizes Seine cruises. New on the list is also Lisbon, the UK has taken Portugal in its entirety onto the quarantine list. Even the Elbe is affected as Prague cannot be accessed safely, i.e. is a risk zone. There are no large risk zones in Germany, but outbreaks keep pushing districts and cities close to or over the permitted limit. Should this happen to a river cruise port here I do not know how the authorities will react.

 

So what is still possible? The Danube in Germany, the Main, the Rhine in Germany and the Po and Venice in Italy and the Moselle in its entirety (again). Some lesser known areas as well.

 

notamermaid

 

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Belgium in its entirety has been added to the risk zone list of the German authorities. A blow to German river cruise companies. It takes out a chunk of prospective customers as well (also for Dutch and French companies), adding uncertainty to the whole business of river cruising in my opinion. The whole of France is now a risk zone - apart from Grand Est, that is the region that includes Alsace. As a person living in the UK you can still fly into Cologne and cruise along the Rhine, but you cannot take the Eurostar to get to Cologne for example as you transit Belgium, a risk zone. The UK has had Belgium on the quarantine list for a while now. A German cruiser can wander around Strasbourg from their cruise, a UK resident on the same cruise cannot - or go into quarantine on returning home.

 

Will the UK decide to put only parts of Germany on the risk list? They would have a point as some areas like Berlin are struggling - that would possibly affect getting to an Elbe cruise. For now the whole of Germany is still accessible to UK people via air travel, land access is hardly possible as the neighbouring countries for usual entry are risk zones - you could still enter via the Polish border...

 

notamermaid

 

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My apologies. Having got used to saying UK all the time, I forgot to mention that Germany has with like with many other states now decided to split it into zones ( as of yesterday). The UK is not a risk zone, but Wales and Northern Ireland are.

 

notamermaid

 

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So, bearing all that in mind, would I still book a river cruise in Germany for the Autumn holidays if I was sitting in an English or Scottish travel agents? No, probably not if I was unhappy about the prospect of quarantine. Germany is inching closer to the 20 incidence rate rule, today it is at 16.5.

 

notamermaid

 

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Germany is still managing to stay below that figure of 20 which is so crucial for taking us off the travel corridor list - or keeping us on it as long as we stay below. Who knows for how much longer? Well, the other way round things are getting worse, i.e. Germany has now put individual regions (and counties) of England on the risk zones list (up to yesterday I had not been sure they would do that). Newly added yesterday were Scotland and much of Northern England. What a lot of work goes into amending that list almost every day. If you are interested - includes option to switch to English version: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html

 

As you can see most of the Netherlands is back on the risk list.

 

If Alsace "falls" cruising on the Rhine will be even less fun and almost among ourselves again.

 

Italy holding steady for the time being for Germans wanting to cruise the Po and Venice.

 

By the way, Germany also has risk zones among itself which can lead to a travel ban if cases rise.

 

notamermaid

 

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Poland is off the travel corridor list for the UK government. So, if you start your journey in Poland, cross the border and cruise on the Elbe for seven days, you will have to quarantine in the UK on return, although you have spent most of your time in Germany. As an example. To add confusion entirely, if you start your journey in Berlin you do not need to quarantine on arrival in the UK but you must quarantine when you get to Schleswig-Holstein or Rhineland-Palatinate should you happen to cruise in that direction or be on a land trip as they have declared an inner-German risk zone that is the city state of Berlin (not all parts of it). Confusion and somewhat annoyance has risen with the population and politicians, so this is under review.

 

Will Germany get worse and be taken off the UK list as well? The risk is great as we are still getting closer to the figure of 20. That is not to say the situation is bad in Germany. There are still places that have been free of cases for a week or more, but the big cities and many areas where river cruises would take you have increasing numbers of cases that in parts need intervention - this happens at a figure of 35 (per capita rate).

 

Oh, forgot to mention, cruisers from Australia and New Zealand very welcome in Germany, you are not risk zones for our government. Problem as you know is re-entering your country...

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
clarification
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As Wiltshire (Our County) is classed as the South West we are really lucky with very few cases but Cornwall evidently is not so fortunate with quite a blip upwards. Reading between the lines and sorting out the miss information and miss understanding of advice etc. It looks like nationally we are heading towards locally occurring shut downs and restrictions and reopening’s. We will need our computer brains to keep up with it and not use antiquated software systems, ho, ho, ho. Onwards and upwards CA

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  • 2 weeks later...

Germany has declared Grand Est (which includes Alsace) a risk zone. The whole of the Netherlands is a risk zone. The opportunities for travelling along the Rhine are dwindling further.

 

The UK will put Italy off the travel corridor. Fewer and fewer opportunities for unimpeded travel.

 

River cruising, if it happens in December, will be reduced to five day trips along the German waterways only, of those in Europe that is. 😞 

 

notamermaid

 

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Based on the news this morning, cruising the rest of this year and for at least the first quarter of next year looks unlikely.  The US is seeing spikes all over the country, and PM Trudeau isn't going to open the border to Canada.  Cases are rising in the UK, Italy, and Germany.  

 

If we can get thru this winter and hopefully have a vaccine by the middle of 2021, river cruising may be back in business on a large school basis.  I've given up on my January ocean cruise, but am holding out hope for my December 2021 Netherlands and Belgium Yuletide cruise.

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Germany has declared more areas, i.e. mostly additional regions and provinces in Europe as risk zones, which is coupled with a travel warning. As the situation has really deteriorated over the last week this means it includes more countries as a whole. Those are Ireland, Liechtenstein, Poland and Switzerland. The UK almost entirely, apart from the scattered islands that Isle of Man and those in the Channel. As of 24 October. In effect, this makes international river cruising for the English language river cruising market in Germany and much of the European continent quite difficult. There are ways

of doing it, for example with a negative Covid-19 test, but the situation can change any day, most likely for the worse.

 

It looks like us Germans could be almost all alone on our rivers - again - soon. Or not sail at all if things get worse...

 

notamermaid

 

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6 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Germany has declared more areas, i.e. mostly additional regions and provinces in Europe as risk zones, which is coupled with a travel warning.

 

notamermaid

 

 

And, apparently the EU has now been closed to Canadians...  After doing so well for so long, our numbers are rising...

 

Fran

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  • 2 weeks later...

After our number of cases started rising fast, It was only a question of when not if the UK government takes Germany off the safe travel corridor list. The news is out. Germany and Sweden are off and the regulation comes into effect tomorrow: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/germany-and-sweden-removed-from-travel-corridor-list-of-exempt-countries

 

Well, I had already given up hope of getting to England before Christmas anyway...

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 4 months later...

Here we are in March 2021 and things are not looking that good for river cruising despite vaccinations happening in the millions. March and April do not promise to be good months at all, very few sailings in March can happen in Europe - and April? Who knows.

 

Belgium has just extended the ban on non-essential travel into and out of the country till 18 April - which promptly made the EU tell the country off, the measure is supposedly too harsh.

 

From my understanding it would rule out river cruises that go through Belgium. Whether we will be able to sail at all in March in a European country and cross a border, rather than sailing within a country is a big question and necessitates looking carefully at each state involved.

 

Most European lines now look towards  April for a restart from what I have read. But they are able to find niches and pockets for sailing, further afield. And the company Viva Cruises is doing one night sailings round-trip Basel.

 

notamermaid

 

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We have reached April and things are still not looking better. But there is hope with all the vaccinations being done. Iceland extended their free travel policy on 19 March, now everyone from everywhere who has proof of vaccination with an approved vaccine can enter the country. Okay, this does not help with river cruising but you could have a look at the active volcano: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/03/18/vaccine-passports-iceland-allows-in-all-travellers-with-jab-certificates

 

We can still only speculate, but my suspicion is that soon other countries will follow suit, probably not those as part of the EU and/or Schengen as they aim to coordinate this and have something ready that is like a certificate by Summer, which is designed for their citizens obviously and not incoming travellers, but other river cruise destinations perhaps?

 

notamermaid

 

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2 hours ago, notamermaid said:

We have reached April and things are still not looking better. But there is hope with all the vaccinations being done. Iceland extended their free travel policy on 19 March, now everyone from everywhere who has proof of vaccination with an approved vaccine can enter the country. Okay, this does not help with river cruising but you could have a look at the active volcano: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/03/18/vaccine-passports-iceland-allows-in-all-travellers-with-jab-certificates

 

We can still only speculate, but my suspicion is that soon other countries will follow suit, probably not those as part of the EU and/or Schengen as they aim to coordinate this and have something ready that is like a certificate by Summer, which is designed for their citizens obviously and not incoming travellers, but other river cruise destinations perhaps?

 

notamermaid

 

Maybe you can sail down that river of lava?  🤣

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

EU may allow more people from countries outside of the bloc in soon:

https://www.dw.com/en/eu-considers-lifting-entry-restrictions-for-vaccinated-travelers/a-57409554

 

notamermaid

 

I had seen that. It is the first thing that gives me hope that it might be just my own vaccination status rather than the entire country that will matter.

Edited by gnome12
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