In addition, money is spent on infrastructure in many of the Destinations visited. Many Jobs are also created and when the unthinkable happens like devastating hurricanes it is the Cruiseline that comes to the aid with supplies and assistance.
Back on board in La Roche-Guyon and on our way to Vernon known as the "Gateway to Normandy".
We re-pack our day bag and set out for our walk around this provincial town with it's cobblestone streets and half timbered houses.
These historic buildings are amazing with the hand made timbers. When we arrived, the village was fairly quiet. Our group was the main attraction. By evening the streets came alive. I enjoyed browsing in the shops even more than in Paris itself.
The focus of our walk was visiting Notre Dame. The Steeple was under construction but still amazing. The intricate design detail in unbelievable. Yes, there is a Notre Dame in nearly every city. We were unable to get inside the one in Paris since they are still in restoration mode from the fire. But this one is spectacular as well. Just look at the designs in the photos below.
Each night and day along the Seine we traversed several locks. During the day they all look very similar. Large cement and steel walls that open and close to allow the water level to be adjusted. In the evening as we speed up, you can feel the ship rise within the lock and hear the rush as the gates open underneath the ship.
During the last two years with so much free time, I have closely studied the changing protocols of my travel partners. There is so much to consider. From their cancellation policies to health&safety and the support they offer the Traveler, Agent and their own staff.
After a few of my personal trips had been cancelled I decided to try something new. France was welcoming travelers and Viking was high on my list of suppliers. It was time to see for-myself how difficult leaving the country was.
Prior to leaving home we had to get our approved COVID tests and upload the documents with our Passports and Vaccine Cards. The level in France had changed from 3 to 4 and back again a few times prior to our trip. Similarly the US had also had increased numbers.
We had a perfect view. Looking out at the Eiffel Tower all lit up from our dinner table on the Aquavit Terrace.
Nightly before dinner we visit and share drinks before a short discussion by the Program Director of the upcoming activities. The Chef also gives a brief description of what is being served. After Dinner, time for more drinks and a little music if you are not exhausted.
Each evening we travel up the canal to our next port.
The Chateau de La Roche-Guyon
This fortress was built in the middle ages and later occupied by the Germans in World War II. During the Renaissance it was turned into a country house. In 1659 it was purchased by the La Rouchefoucauld Family which still owns it.
If you have traveled around Europe, you already know they are on their own time. Since they were late in opening the day of our arrival we only had an hour to look around. To see every part of the property you need at least three hours.
I would estimate less than 1000 people living in this unique tiny village.
What a nice surprise to arrive back to the
ship where our Captain and staff are outside to greet us with complimentary hot
chocolate and rum.
Have you been thinking about traveling now, or this summer ?
Here is what you need to know....
Besides the possible concerns of cancellations, delays and general upset from COVID,(Previously explained atouristlife.com/2020/06/08/the-new-normal/ ) the attitude of those around you is a major factor.
Over the Summer I decided it was time to do a road trip. 3200+ miles later, as expected, experience is key.
Many states had started lifting their COVID restrictions. This means, no longer requiring masks in public or by kitchen staff in restaurants. Several changes became effective as of April 4th and are not easily discoverable. Nearly a year later and again we are faced with daily confusion and mis information.
In my business I have access to tools that give COVID numbers by state or country and restrictions generally updated daily.
I also recommend only Hotels following strict protocols for cleaning and require masks by staff. ( let's see how well they really are doing)
Of these hotels, a few were in States that do not mandate masks.
In Pennsylvania we stayed at a Marriott Property and the protocols were followed well, however there were many dusty things in the room. Not sure if this was because they were still keeping rooms empty for 24-48 hrs. or they did not clean to the standards they promised to uphold. ( Prior to COVID I have often witnessed 4&5 Star properties lacking detail in cleaning unused items such as light fixtures & coffee makers).
Stopping along the interstate, I walked into a tiny rest area
with many unmasked people, what a wakeup call. I knew that the State (Georgia) did not have a mask law but that does not change the uncomfortable feeling after spending the last year in Hibernation.
We stayed in a IHG Property in North Carolina (a mask state ) and the staff followed protocol but did NOT enforce masks with the guests. We also wandered downtown and it was about 50/50 those wearing and not wearing a mask. The pub we ate at did follow the guidelines. There are plenty of wide open places to roam. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
www.blueridgeparkway.org or visit the Black Mountains.
Florida; we all have heard the horror stories and yet families walk around like nothing is wrong. Most stores have a mask required sign but nearly half the people do not follow it.
The numbers of positive cases per 100K is actually less in Florida than in NY State, even with the large number of spring breakers that had invaded the Miami area.
After being among the locals for a while it is easy to let your guard down. If you live here and have to work, it is impossible to be careful or safe. You are expected to tolerate everyone making their own choices. As a visitor, the option to be safe is especially difficult. Our final destination, another hotel on the list of COVID safe (adhering to safety rules) is very good, but not perfect.
Although many places offer outdoor dining, this is not an option in the evening with the bugs.
The majority of places do not require mask wearing by employees; some wear under their nose or under their chin.
In an area of approximately 100 miles, only ONE place was attempting to be safe. Wallace's Greenhouse wallacesgreenhouse.com/ All staff was wearing masks, tables are spaced apart and everyone is expected to wear a mask moving around the establishment.
I had researched the information before we left home, most do not keep their Websites or Facebook Pages up to date. The County health department does not have daily numbers like we do in our region.
If you have a major health concern, plan to take N95 masks or visit a region like Cooperstown where the Village has a mask mandate in addition to the New York State Law.
If you read my previous blog post about German Back to School traditions this will be a continuation. I belong to a sewing group and we often show off our successes not only our failures. Eva so kindly shared her tradition with the Sugar Cones so I asked her for more details. She sent me wonderful stories and photos and the following is also thanks to her. Even from across the world we have things in common.
I’m coming from a very nice area in Germany it’s called Franconia or the “Romantic Little Switzerland” - that has nothing to do with the county Switzerland it’s just the area so lovely and nice and romantic that it’s called that. It’s also called “the land of the castles, caves and breweries” and a very popular vacation area. Though if you are interested I will be very happy to introduce my home and country to you and providing you with pictures. For e.g. the Nobel family of “Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg” who carried out the assassination attempt on Hitler has a castle just 7 kilometers from my home.
How do they celebrate in Germany ?
First Day of School "School Cones“ / "Sugar Cones“ A German Tradition since 1781. On their very first day of elementary school/primary school little children in Germany traditionally get a big crafted and colored cardboard cone filled with sweets and little gifts such as crayons, little books, drinking bottles, lunchboxes… It is obligatory and very popular and especially mom‘s put a lot of effort into designing those school cones or sugar cones.
Cruising is resuming slow but sure. If you have been waiting to sail, be patient. The rules are changing daily based on the CDC and other health organizations guidelines.
Several operators are resuming with Vaccinated only passengers. There are a small percentage of exceptions for small children and those medically unable to get the vaccine.
Use a Travel Advisor to book your cruise. If there are changes they will keep you informed and help you make the best decision based on the available information and your needs.
Cruising in the US is sticking too short cruises for now. Many international cruises have been happening successfully for almost a year now.
We need to continue to be cautious as more people obtain the vaccine. Know what to expect before you go and be prepared.
Compliments of SENATOR RICK SCOTT
Tuesday, April 13, 2021WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan and Marco Rubio introduced the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act, which would revoke the CDC’s current No Sail Order on cruises and require the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar is leading this legislation in the House of Representatives.
In March, Senator Scott sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator, urging the Biden Administration to immediately issue clear guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise industry. The CDC still has not responded to his letter or provided the cruise line industry with a timeline of when they can begin sailing, which is urgently needed. Senator Scott also introduced the Set Sail Safely Act last year, which would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC's refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
Senator Dan Sullivan said, “Unlike the airlines, rail, and other modes of transportation—and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter—the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations. As a result, potential cruises this summer, when the President said the country will be able to return to normal with more and more Americans getting vaccinated, have been left adrift. The foot-dragging, mixed messages, and unresponsiveness of CDC leaders is totally unacceptable and ultimately endangering the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the hundreds of small businesses across Alaska that rely on the tourism sector. My legislation with Senators Scott and Rubio will accomplish what letters, meetings, and repeated phone calls have not—directing the CDC to finally codify timely guidance and a plan for cruise ships to safely and responsibly welcome passengers again this summer.”
Senator Marco Rubio said, “The benefits of cruise operations are integral to the economies of Florida’s port cities. Floridians and many other Americans who are employed by ports, cruise operators, or work in hospitality jobs near cruise terminals face an uncertain future because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to requests for guidance by stakeholder groups. I am proud to join Senators Sullivan and Scott in introducing legislation that would require the CDC to provide guidance to safely resume operations this summer, and allow Florida’s economy to recover even further.”
Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar said, “Welcoming over 5 million passengers and $9 billion dollars directly into our economy each year, Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World and it is time to start sailing again. I am proud to join my Senate colleagues and lead this fight in the House so that our ships can return to sea, our longshoremen can return to port, and Americans can start cruising again. This legislation will fix the CDC’s arbitrary guidelines and give clarity and fairness to the industry that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Miami’s entire tourism economy.”
Jerry Kaye, Owner, Lucite Creations in Miami, Florida said, “The industry has been sailing safely in other parts of the world already, and it is past time we restart cruising in this country. People are flying, traveling and beginning to resume their lives, and as business owners who have been impacted by this pause in cruising, all we are asking for is the opportunity to get back to work. I am grateful for Senator Scott’s leadership, we couldn’t be more excited about the possibility of a bill that would allow cruising to resume as soon as July, which means we could get back to a full schedule, and I can actually hire my employees back full time.”
Omar Otero, Founder and Owner, VOK Protective Services Inc. in Miami, Florida said, "As a business owner, I’ve been dependent on the cruise industry for my livelihood for 20 years, and this pause has been devastating. What many people don’t see behind the scenes is that cruising has a significant impact on many small businesses, and employs hundreds of thousands of people in America. Resuming cruising is critical to my business and would allow me to work again and support my family. I’m ecstatic to support Senator Scott’s legislation which could restart cruise operations this summer.”
Jeannette Pineiro, President, Cruiseport Destinations in Miami, Florida said, “The uncertainty we've been living with the last year is probably the most devastating mentally for a business owner. I have former employees that are still unemployed. They want to get back to work, and there has been nothing I could do. The cruise industry needs to be treated on par with other sectors of the travel industry, and this legislation would provide a plan to safely resume cruise operations. I commend Senator Scott for this legislation that if passed, would give business owners, like myself, a timeline and a date that we can work toward. I couldn’t be more overjoyed as a business owner, because we finally have hope on the horizon.”
The CRUISE Act: