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Covid restrictions in Hungary


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We are on Crystal Ravel leaving Budapest on September 5, but I am concerned about entry into Budapest. From what I have read on the US State Dept website and on the official Hungary site, US citizens arriving in Hungary must quarantine for 10 days, or produce 2 negative COVID tests taken at least 48 hours apart, one of which must be administered in Hungary. While you can get a test at the Budapest airport, the required test results are not available for 24 hours, during which time you must quarantine at an approved site. This obviously presents a problem for those arriving just before the ship sails, and even for those of us who will arrive early. Does anyone have different information?  Anyone else facing this problem?

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Posted (edited)

Facing same problem with another cruise line. Arrive BUD 2 days before embarkation and no time for the tests to be done within their current requirements. This is made worse since we arrive on a Saturday in the late afternoon, during Hungary's equivalent of our July 4 celebration. Little chance testing facilities will be open that weekend. Anyway, the problem I see is if the PCR is the ONLY test acceptable, since it is taking 3 to 5 days for results to come back where I live. This could be solved if they were to accept one of the antigen tests that can turn results around within hours. If that were the case I could even stop at a Walgreens or CVS on the way to the airport and have the test done, with results probably coming back via email by the time I boarded the flight or, at the latest, during my layover at AMS. But, there are still 4 weeks to go for me before the cruise line decides whether to go or pull the plug on my cruise. Even then, there's always the chance that if and when Hungary opens to US citizens, the testing requirements would be more akin to what the US requires for returning to the US -- they accept pretty much any and all of the current types of tests so long as they are taken a max of 3 days prior to travel.  At least I got word back via email from their Border Control Police Section in Budapest that they are currently accepting from EU travelers both paper AND digital versions of their vaccination certificates. Getting a scannable QR code that reads my vax results has been a major problem for me. Still a work in progress, so that original paper CDC card is the best proof I have, along with paper copies from my health record showing all the details on the vaccine,

Edited by PRNole47
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Here is the email I received from Viking yesterday regarding our trip that starts in Budapest August 23 2021.

 

"Thank you for choosing Viking for your upcoming Passage To Eastern Europe voyage. We would like to take a moment to advise you of a change in your cruise extension.

Due to ongoing travel restrictions, foreign travelers can only stay in Hungary for 48 hours prior to cruising. As a result, the Budapest extension you have booked with us cannot operate as planned and has been cancelled for your departure. A full refund for the cancelled extension will be credited to your purchasing account within the next 20 business days.

Please note, your included two-night stay in Budapest is not affected by this cancellation and will still happen as planned."

 

For our trip, so far they say we only need proof of vaccine. So it's possilbe that Hungary had worked something out with the river cruise lines.

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Thank you for posting this information about Viking cruises that start in Budapest.  Our cruise begins Aug. 17 and I have had a difficult time trying to figure out what the entry requirements are,  We are not staying at a hotel at all.  Our Viking cruise begins in Budapest by going directly to the boat. We have not heard any information from Viking.  It has been very frustrating.

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I meant to add that we downloaded and installed the VeriFLY app that Viking requires to verify our Covid vaccinations for their cruises.   When you get the instructions from Viking, read them carefully. 

I printed them out so we could check each step. It helps to gather your information together before you start the interactive process with your cell phone. It took us about 45 min or so to register my husband and me together.  It was a bit tricky, but doable.  Luckily my husband is very patient with software.

If you have a problem...find a 10-year old to help.

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On 7/22/2021 at 12:23 PM, Spud & Andy said:

<< Due to ongoing travel restrictions, foreign travelers can only stay in Hungary for 48 hours prior to cruising. As a result, the Budapest extension you have booked with us cannot operate as planned and has been cancelled for your departure. A full refund for the cancelled extension will be credited to your purchasing account within the next 20 business days.

Please note, your included two-night stay in Budapest is not affected by this cancellation and will still happen as planned.>>

 

I'm probably missing something but it seems to me the 2 statements I highlighted above in black italics conflict with one another: One says your Budapest extension booked with Viking has been cancelled whereas because it violates their 48 hr max stay rule, whereas the 2nd statement says your included two-night stay (48 hrs?) in Budapest is not affected by this cancellation.

 

Had you planned an pre-cruise extension independent of the cruise line that was longer than 48 hrs so that Viking had to shave off the portion of your stay that was longer than the 48 hrs they're now allowing for US citizens in order to comply with the new 48 hr max stay rule? 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

FYI: Just received a phone call from our cruise line about 45 min ago informing us that since Hungary is still closed to US citizens as of this morning -- and there is no current expectation that they will open borders any time soon -- we will be flown to Vienna (no restrictions for US citizens) instead of Budapest and transferred over to Budapest by motor coach, a 2 and 1/2 hr ride. We get to keep our 2 day pre-cruise in Budapest, keep same embarkation date and routing, and not be charged anything extra if the re-routing by air turned out to be more costly. I kinda like that.

 

Edited by PRNole47
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Update:  Just got an email from Crystal. 

     “You may have been advised that currently there is a 10-day quarantine restriction for all third country nationals entering Hungary. In clarification, please note the following:

     The current requirement only applies to non-EU travelers flying into Hungary; it does not apply to travelers entering Hungary via ship or land. Therefore, you will not be affected by this rule. 
    There are currently no social distancing or mask restrictions for shops, hotels, restaurants, or any other public spaces in Budapest. Face masks are required only in hospitals and government offices. 
    We are in contact with our local partners and anticipate Hungary will release an updated set of guidelines that will effectively allow cruise passengers to enter Hungary via plane and bypass the quarantine requirement so they can enjoy their planned cruises. We will release additional information when it becomes available. Please also note that should the Hungarian government not roll out the aforementioned exemption, we have a strong contingency plan that will allow guests to enjoy their Crystal Ravel cruise. 

 

Sounds like the cruise lines may have gotten together to work out an exemption for us. Good for them. 

 

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2 hours ago, J80crew said:

Update:  Just got an email from Crystal. 

 <<"Please also note that should the Hungarian government not roll out the aforementioned exemption, we have a strong contingency plan that will allow guests to enjoy their Crystal Ravel cruise.">>
 

Sounds like the cruise lines may have gotten together to work out an exemption for us. Good for them. 

 

Possibly the same as my cruise line, which is flying us into Vienna instead and transferring us by bus to Budapest, thus avoiding the restrictions when arriving by air at BUD.

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18 hours ago, dkf11 said:

When is your cruise?  And which cruise line?  I'm still waiting to hear from Uniworld!

 

Avalon, embark Aug 23, with 2-day pre-cruise in Budapest.

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On 7/22/2021 at 3:01 PM, umbrellagirl said:

Thank you for posting this information about Viking cruises that start in Budapest.  Our cruise begins Aug. 17 and I have had a difficult time trying to figure out what the entry requirements are,  We are not staying at a hotel at all.  Our Viking cruise begins in Budapest by going directly to the boat. We have not heard any information from Viking.  It has been very frustrating.

Please take this word of advise as "friendly advise" and not to imply anything negative. This is just from past experience making cruise or airline connections in Europe. You indicated arriving same day as embarkation and going directly from airport to boat?   I have taken many cruises within Europe and the UK, as well as made many airline connections within Europe. I can tell you of at least 5 or 6 instances just in the past 15 years in which our airline connections have been lost, embarkations on cruise ships been missed, and having to experience general travel disruptions because...transportation strikes are common in Europe, can begin on short notice, last anywhere from 24 hours and up, and can involve land, air, and sea transportation systems. We have had to arrange for rail and private car transportation in various countries because, for example, Air Traffic Controllers went on strike the day we landed, no flights were available anywhere, had to arrange rail travel to the city nearest our departure port, only to find that all local public transport at the port city were also on "sympathy" strike with the Air Traffic Controllers. That's why we always arrange to arrive at least the day before we embark on any cruise, so as to allow plenty of time for such eventualities. Even arriving early by 1 day is sufficient.

 

Just a friendly word of advise. Good luck and have fun on your cruise. Safe travels!

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On 7/30/2021 at 11:19 AM, PRNole47 said:

Avalon, embark Aug 23, with 2-day pre-cruise in Budapest.

 

Please post a review in the main boards when you either get home or are on the cruise (hey, I realise how busy they can get, so don't expect a live review 🙂).  We are scheduled to do the Bud-Prague next May if we can't change it to 2023 and would love to hear how things go now with Avalon. Are you doing the pre-cruise with Avalon?  Thanks.

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25 minutes ago, Daisi said:

 

Please post a review in the main boards when you either get home or are on the cruise (hey, I realise how busy they can get, so don't expect a live review 🙂).  We are scheduled to do the Bud-Prague next May if we can't change it to 2023 and would love to hear how things go now with Avalon. Are you doing the pre-cruise with Avalon?  Thanks.

Yes to the review and pre-cruise questions.

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I am very curious as to what your hotel rooms will be like.  I can see what hotels they use, but we have never done the pre & post cruise trips.  I am wondering if you get one with a view to the river, or just any old room.  

 

Looking forward to hearing how your cruise went.  I will miss the buffet, as I enjoyed choosing what fruit, meats & breads I wanted for breakfast, but I'm sure I can find an amiable server...they were so great on our last cruise.  

 

Have fun.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Daisi said:

I am very curious as to what your hotel rooms will be like.  I can see what hotels they use, but we have never done the pre & post cruise trips.  I am wondering if you get one with a view to the river, or just any old room.  

.........

Have fun.

Thanks! As for the hotel rooms, I've been a 35+ year Marriott customer. I always get upgraded whenever and wherever I check in, no matter whether I'm paying for the room, getting it for free with points or certificates, or is being booked directly by a 3rd party (like cruise lines or other tour companies).  Best room experience I've ever had was our last stay at the Grosvenor House in London, where I used points to pay for a room and we were upgraded to one of their corner penthouse suites on the 8th floor, which we learned had been occupied the week before by Tony Bennett. Terrific view of Hyde Park! Luck O'The Irish, I guess (except I'm not Irish).

 

Edited by PRNole47
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Yes, we did that with our last cruise, had a fantastic corner suite booked in a nice place with their own transport to and from the airport.  We don't have points at the hotels that Avalon uses, so was wondering what the "normal" rooms are like. We've never done the pre & post cruise with the line, just on our own.  I'm more curious as the 3 hotels all have views to the river, and hoping that those are the ones you get, but then, we probably will only be in the room to sleep, so it may not matter.

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1 hour ago, Daisi said:

Yes, we did that with our last cruise, had a fantastic corner suite booked in a nice place with their own transport to and from the airport.  We don't have points at the hotels that Avalon uses, so was wondering what the "normal" rooms are like. We've never done the pre & post cruise with the line, just on our own.  I'm more curious as the 3 hotels all have views to the river, and hoping that those are the ones you get, but then, we probably will only be in the room to sleep, so it may not matter.

Modern Hotel in Budapest City Center | Budapest Marriott Hotel

Luxury 5-Star Hotel: InterContinental Hotel Budapest (ihg.com)

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The 3 listed for our trip are the Sofitel Chain Bridge, Intercontinental and the Marriott.  As I say, they all look out on the river, what I am trying to find out, from those who take the extensions, are what type of room you get, if it looks out over the river or the city.  They all seem to either have river or office/apartment building views, and am curious if you get the river view when booking through Avalon.

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I don’t know about either Avalon or Europe, but my experience with Ama in Saigon was that they booked a superior room. I had booked a cheaper room for my additional night, but when I contacted the hotel to ask about not having to change rooms, they allowed me to upgrade my room for considerably less than it would have cost to go through the cruise line. 

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Thanks @gnome12, I am figuring we will get a decent room, just curious about the view.  Would much rather wake up to looking out at the river than a building... 🙂

 

@PRNole47I see Avalon has said that all passengers are to be vaccinated, and they are working on getting the entire crew done as well.  i am hearing that other lines make you select your table the first night and those who sit with you are your dinner mates for the entire cruise.  I will be curious to know what Avalon is doing...and also the breakfast menus now, if you can snap a few pics for me.  Thanks!  I'm going to have lots of questions for you, so figure I will get them in now so you can plan. 🙂

 

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For those who may be going to Budapest soon and may not be up on current Covid restrictions in Hungary, I received the following info from local government health and state sources as well as directly from the hotel where I'll be staying at the end of August: 

 

The following changes occurred when Hungary reached 65% - 70% immunity based on # vaccines given out (over 6.6 million people fully immunized in a country of appx 9.8 million):

 

No outdoor or indoor masking required anymore, except for inside hospitals and medical facilities.  All airport hubs and centers still require masks.

 

No “entry Covid testing” required anywhere.  One may enter common tourist sights, bath houses, museums, restaurants, bars, night clubs, etc., without proof of tests or even vaccination cards.

 

98% of hotels have renewed full guest services and are back to pre-pandemic functioning, all open to guests, including fitness, dining, gift shops, etc. Individual hotels may decide on their own how far to open or restrict services and amenities,

 

No proof of vaccination required any longer for entry into restaurants, museums, shops, etc.

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