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Cruising From European Ports?


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We're booked on a Tauck River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel Switzerland that starts July 13th. We fly from Miami to Lisbon Portugal on July 10th (Arrival date +1), have a day in Lisbon then fly from Lisbon to Amsterdam arriving a day before the cruise on the 12th. Board on the 13th and sail at 4:30pm. There is lots of uncertainty with travel, COVID and Monkey Pox surges in Europe. The way to avoid anxiety over these things is to research them. I thought I'd share that with you.

TRAVEL: I have both anecdotal and first hand knowledge (friends who are aircrew flying internationally) of what's going on inside airports and with flight cancellations. There's a lot of frenzy and hype in the media about flight cancellations and disruptions to air travel. Regional flights both in the US and Europe are being affected by personnel shortages at the airlines themselves and every supporting activity for flight ops (e.g. baggage handlers, fuelers, caterers, security and customs).

  • Airports are swamped with travelers and airport check-in C&BP, security, food and coffee services have long lines. Sundays are the worst, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Thursdays better. In most cases, you are going to have to check in at the service counter along with your bags for international flights. Just the way it is these days. 
  • International travel is less affected mainly due to the smaller numbers of flights per day of international flights. If you haven't booked already leave days, not hours between connections. That way, you can rebook a cancelled international flight the next day as the airlines flying international rarely have more than one flight per day to European destinations from the US.
  • Leave 3h from the time you arrive at the international terminals to departure time. If it so happens things go smoothly that's bonus. If not, you're ready for it.
  • If you're flying regionally in Europe be prepared for you're flight to be cancelled. Check your airline's booking site before you go and know what subsequent flights you can book if you're original flight is cancelled. Importantly, download the airline's phone app and get familiar with using it before you have to use it. Rebooking a cancelled flight to a later time is going to be time critical.  Using the phone app is almost always better than trying to find a airline CSR. 
  • Have an international voice and data plan for your phone service. Make sure you know how to set your phone up to roam if this is something you don't do on the regular.
  • Below is a very good link to check up to date COVID related travel restrictions including what countries do you need proof of negative COVID tests, proof of vaccination, visas and specific declaration forms. Yes, it has gotten much easier to travel in Europe since March, 2022 but things can change quickly, check, check and re-check before you go. In addition, your airline web site will probably have a decent section that allows travelers to check arrival and departure requirements for their European itinerary.  

https://www.iata.org/en/youandiata/travelers/health/

INFECTIOUS DISEASES:  Let's get this out of the way right up front. Fear mongering about Monkey pox is rampant. It's in the mainstream press (at least claims are vetted) and in Social Media (not vetted and notoriously inaccurate). My reference for this assessment is from the EUCDC (link below):

Monkey Pox:

Reports of confirmed infections are rising in Europe.

Increased case numbers are modest and are concentrated regionally (by city or locale) opposed to wide spread.

The virus predominates in men that have sex with men. It is in this cohort, no others, where the virus is increasing the most.

The virus does not cause serious symptoms in most individuals with symptoms lasting up to 2w but usually clear in 7d. Symptoms include high fever and isolated or multiple pustular, 1cm or less skin lesions. Persons with competent immune systems will have isolated lesions.

Spread of monkey pox is from contact with the pustules or fluid left on bed clothing or towels. Prolonged mouth to mouth contact can transmit the disease. It is not transmitted by airborne means and rarely from contaminated hard surfaces (toilet seats, counter tops, etc.).    

COVID:

Reports of confirmed cases are rising in Europe. Attack rates (Rt) vary by country and region)

So far, as in the US, case counts are not overwhelming medical facilities and recent 7d averages have remained flat.

This is the link to the EUCDC's web site. I encourage you to take a look around within it. It has very good sections on Monkey Pox and COVID. From the information you'll gain you can make your own risk assessments for your travel particulars and take considered and appropriate precautions for your travel party accordingly:

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en

If you have questions or see something that is incorrect in this posting, PM me and I'll sort it out.

 

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