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About notamermaid

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    Rhine, Germany
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  1. I spotted the Excellence Empress on the river a few days ago. She is ready and will very soon sail on her first itinerary on the Danube. If you are interested, here is a German language article from Switzerland: https://www.travelnews.ch/cruise/16446-die-excellence-empress-das-neue-umweltschiff.html The Excellence Empress has a few innovations as regards caring for the environment. Unfortunately, she has to forgo a proper christening for the time being. Safe travels to her always. notamermaid
  2. And you. Look after yourself and your loved ones. notamermaid
  3. Yes. All such huge events banned until at least end of August. Ban might be extended. Due to the mass logistical preparations needed for Oktoberfest it was cancelled very early. But Bavaria also saw the danger of the festival early and decided to not go ahead with planning before it is even clear that it needs to be banned. You just cannot set up the tents within a fortnight, takes much longer according to steamboats. Oh, events, by the way, so far just a couple of news headlines of Christmas markets not happening. Only small ones, no major touristy ones. notamermaid
  4. It is Monday lunchtime and I have had my first scare for this week, wanted to clean an attic helping a neighbour. We got up the steep steps and walked into a swarm of wasps. Quickly down the steps we went and decided to clean in the Autumn... But much more scary is the news coming from the United States of America. I am seriously concerned. But not just about America, my own country is, you know, doing okay (I am slightly ashamed of repeating this, I mean one should be thankful and humbled). So, seeing people partying and dancing on the tables in Arizona, just made me shake my head in disbelief. Now as regards Germans it is time to set the record straight. Yes, partying! We know the "endless series of Brits behaving badly (on holiday)" and I am sure Prague was quite happy to not see British tourists for a few months. After the pubs reopened in Britain the BBC quoted a police spokesman as saying "alcohol and social distancing don't work" or something like that. What a revelation! (Sarcasm from me) Now us Germans are also cheeky and let the worst offenders do it all on Mallorca rather than at home. Appalling and "we" seriously shocked the locals. Our health minister is not happy: https://www.thelocal.de/20200713/the-danger-of-a-second-wave-is-real-germanys-health-minister-warns-holidaymakers And the Mallorca online news reported like this: https://www.majorcadailybulletin.com/news/local/2020/07/11/69585/german-english-tourists-live-their-bad-reputation-majorca.html I am bl**** annoyed about those tourists. Ischgl seems all but forgotten, why does some people's memory only go back 48 hours?? Sorry, I needed to get this off my chest. Back to butterflies and adorable cats sleeping in the plant pots. notamermaid
  5. 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
  6. I have had my first "big trip out" since March, 110km round-trip! And it felt like a trip, a weekend getaway. Funny, how one can get used to being at home. There were people, lots of them, eek! Seriously, it felt safe but I have gone off crowds, with no festivals happening and me not having worked with the public much. Still no holiday booked. Small yachts and rowing boats are on the river, the weather is lovely and life seems almost normal. Until one reads the news... But, the good news. The Mennonites in Euskirchen were quite embarrassed about the outbreak, cooperated well with the authorities and testing showed quickly that there has been little community transmission, no lockdown! In Koblenz students celebrated with beer drinking during daytime on Friday, they had every reason to as testing there also showed few additional cases. Quarantine for the student accommodations lifted! This morning I got really worked up about the infamous slaughterhouse/meat processing plant. Tönnies, under the pandemic act, wants to claim back money from the state. They are entitled to do so and the authorities will (they have to be fair within the law) grant the money most likely. Unbelievable! And our agricultural minister made her views on it clearly known: https://m.dw.com/en/germany-virus-hit-tönnies-slaughterhouse-slammed-for-requesting-state-aid/a-54143323 Deep breath. Back to the nicer stuff. A couple of weeks ago I talked to my neighbour about the thistle growing in the back garden. Normally this would have been ripped out but she left it to grow into a really nice specimen in the hope that the butterflies might like it. Earlier today a lovely butterfly flew past me in the yard, perhaps it was as on its way to the thistle... Hope you can find pleasure in the small things that go right in this turbulent world. Stay safe. notamermaid
  7. Avalon is a good company to start with and compare to what Viking had planned for you. AmaWaterways is a possibility for solo travel, not sure about the supplements. Do include looking at Vantage and Gate1 and some European lines. Riviera Travel UK have dates mostly intended for solo travel for example. But there are also Scenic and Emerald. You need to bear in mind that Budapest to Prague - while a standard for North Americans - is not a typical itinerary for Europeans in that companies may offer a round trip Passau to Budapest or go Vilshofen to Budapest or vice versa. The extension from Vilshofen or Regensburg or Nuremberg to Prague might be something you will need to leave out with European lines. But look around what suits you best. Not necessarily a deciding factor but something for the back of your mind. The Danube is prone to low water issues in October, sometimes September. To completely avoid that problem on your cruise choose an itinerary from Budapest to Vilshofen. Straubing, Regensburg and Nuremberg are past the low water section and might become inaccessible company coming from Budapest on a 135m ship. The ships with 110m or less fair better. The companies are used to that scenario and will adapt, but I thought I'd mention it. Have fun re-planning. notamermaid
  8. Portuguese wines - lovely. I am not a white wine drinker, but the white wines I have tried are different from German, French, etc. Quite distinctive. In the country, I would certainly order one with a fish dish. Scallops, nice, but I do not like other seafood, especially not when it still stares me in the eye with its eyes! @steamboats Welcome home, glad to hear you had a great time. Looking forward to your review. notamermaid
  9. And creating demand and keeping ahead of the competition in the minds of potential travellers to make up for cash loss? Remember, Viking is the company that has been repeatedly mentioned here as having a very long period from date of full payment to actual cruise date. Keep up the marketing and creating bookings now with full payment very soon for ships sailing next year... Doing marketing and not sailing I would regard as not contradictory. I think Viking will come out of this crisis successfully, I am not so sure about a few others. But overall the confidence is in the river cruising industry, even more so now that the industry has seen itself that river cruises can work, better than ocean cruises can. The catalogues for 2022 are out from some companies. notamermaid
  10. @FuelScience I remember your trip review well of course. And I was a little annoyed with NickoCruises not having delivered the product as I think they should have. After all, I pointed you towards NickoCruises. Your link does not lead to the cruise itinerary page anymore, but here is the one for 2020: https://www.nicko-cruises.de/en/river-cruises/#river=30 @KathyK13When one looks at the German lines for booking a cruise it is important to check if they have a minimum number of guests required for offering English language excursions if the cruise is not all-inclusive. With my cruise it worked really well, had bilingual tour guides or the groups were split. All communication on board was bilingual. They even had daily news from Scandinavia printed out at the reception desk. There were between 10 and 16 foreigners (not sure of the correct number, did not count) from Scandinavia and Russia on my trip. The next cruise after mine had even been part-chartered by a large British group. I was not aware of limitations on the bilingual cruises until FuelScience reported on his experience. A-Rosa does mention it on the website somewhere that a minimum is required. My ship, the MS Belvedere then with Transcoean, has since changed operators and is now sailing for - wait for it - NickoCruises! https://www.nicko-cruises.de/flotte/schiff/ms-belvedere/ notamermaid
  11. 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
  12. Ah yes, your settings on your device will do that, had not thought of it. I get this with languages other German. Part of the reason the cruises look so reasonable is that it is a basic package. You buy drinks on top of it and excursions as well. The excursions tend to be reasonably priced I find (from what I know from my own cruise and looking at websites over the years). If one does not expect luxury but a well developped river cruising product NickoCruises can be an option. Talking of prices. I have mentioned on another thread that an online website has struck a deal with AmaWaterways. That German online seller in its marketing text for the cruise actually says that the cruise ship is used by Americans and now here is the opportunity "for Germans to sail on the luxury ship for less money than the Americans would pay". A little cheeky... but I suppose correct. notamermaid
  13. Let us have a look at what a company that has recently made unusual worldwide headlines in the industry will offer next year - NickoCruises. They have published their 2021 catalogue (German press release): https://www.touristik-aktuell.de/nachrichten/kreuzfahrten/news/datum/2020/07/03/nicko-cruises-neue-flussreisen-fuer-2021/ New itineraries and a couple of new rivers. A new ship on the Douro. Looks good. What I very much like is the itinerary from Nancy to Saarbrücken. Very few ships sail further on the Moselle than Remich. Currently I only know of the Excellence Pearl and the MS Avalon. The latter is more a canal barge, calling her a river cruise ship while kind of correct is stretching the term a bit. This is the cruise route of the MS Casanova (German website only): https://www.nicko-cruises.de/expose/auf-mosel-und-saar/ Other cruises are available also on the English website. notamermaid
  14. Two German ladies are now "in charge" of Europe, Ursula von der Leyen and Angela Merkel, who (i.e. Germany) took over the presidency of the Council on 1 July (lasts six months): https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-recovery-europe/a-54087230 The light lockdown adjacent to Gütersloh was lifted after a week, Gütersloh remained for another week but is now also "free" again. That is the the good news from North-Rhine Westphalia. Bad news is coming from there in that the town of Euskirchen has a potential outbreak in the Mennonite community. 13 people are positive and it is expected that up to 1,000 people will be tested in the next few days. The whole community is in quarantine but there is hope that due to them being much among themselves there is not much spread in the wider community in Euskirchen. A bit more worrying is the situation in Koblenz where three students in three halls (dormitories) have tested positive. All 350 residents are in quarantine. As the young people have probably mingled quite a bit, who knows what is happening in Koblenz and the area. Testing and tracing is underway of course. Will see how that goes in the next 48 hours. The slaughterhouses, well, they are still under much scrutiny and politicians are eager to punish the wrong-doers and change the employment laws in that trade sector. Things here with me are going okay and workload is picking up. Summer holidays have started in Rhineland-Palatinate and cycling is the craze. Standard bike and e-bike. The bicycle shops are much profitting from people holidaying near home. @Canal archive Enjoy the haircut, I am sure it will really lift your spirits. notamermaid
  15. CroisiEurope restart dates: https://www.cruisetradenews.com/croisieurope-restart-dates-2020-european-river-cruises/ First cruise will be on the Seine on 13 July, other river will follow shortly. notamermaid
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