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Preparing for my Greece trip – my Covid PCR test experience this morning

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I’m headed to Greece tomorrow and I am going through this whole travel “process” myself right now, so I am sharing my experience…
Preparing for my Greece trip – my Covid PCR test experience this morning
As I prepare for our 40th anniversary trip, where we’re going to do a 2-week sailing around the Greek Isles, I’m getting personal experience in what is required for travel at this point.
Travel Requirements

Greece does not require any testing for entry if you’re fully vaccinated, but our cruise ship does. Just this month Seabourn Cruise Line introduced a testing requirement. Our sailing is on August 28th and on August 9th they created the requirement for testing with a negative Covid test, which could be either PCR or antigen test, two days later they changed that requirement to be PCR test only.

That’s a great example that the requirements are evolving, so you do have to watch for changes – from your travel supplier, from the airline, and from the destination.


There are three things that we have to do to be able to start our cruise:
  • To get into Greece, we have to fill out a passenger locator form from the Greek website ahead of time, and then once we arrive show the QR code from that form, along with our vaccination cards
  • We need to have PCR test for Seabourn, that can be taken up to 3 days prior to embarkation
  • This morning I had to fill out a health authorization form in my Seabourn account.

PCR Testing Experience

For the PCR test requirement, I had researched online to find a testing site that could provide a result within 24 hours because I wanted to make sure I had a negative result before getting on the plane tomorrow. Near my home is a Piedmont UrgentCare that stated on their website that as long as you have your PCR test before 1:00 p.m. you would get your test result emailed to you by midnight.
In regard to an appointment time, there is the option to and to ‘Save My Spot’ on their website, but by the time I looked at it on Monday afternoon, they only had afternoon appointments available for Wednesday, and clearly, I wanted to have my test by 1:00 p.m. I called and the receptionist advised that if you get there at 8:00 a.m., then you can book the next available spot at that morning, and then come back at your designated time. This morning so my husband and I were outside the Piedmont UrgentCare at 7:55am, with about 7 people in front of us when they opened the doors at 8:00 a.m. By the time we got to the receptionist the next available appointment was at 9:10am.
Once you get your appointment time, they want you to leave the office and sit in your car for a visit scheduled within 30 minutes, or else leave until your later appointment time and wait in the card for a call to come in. They have scan a QR code that links to a form they want you to complete that collects all the information of your contact information and then if you’re going to pay personally or use insurance. We were just paying ourselves because it’s for travel rather than medical. The cost is $195 for the PCR test.
One Hour Result for a PCR Test
I sat in my car until they called me right at 9:10 where the technician told me to go directly to room 5, so I walked right in and straight back to the exam rooms. Within 30 seconds the technician came in, and he asked if I had symptoms, and I replied no, I’m just getting the Covid test for travel. He told me that the results would be ready in 40 minutes to an hour, and I said no, I need a PCR test. He assured me that it would be a PCR test, and if it was a rapid test, he would have results in 15 minutes. I admit I questioned the guy repeatedly to ensure he provided a PCR test – he said they have the testing equipment onsite to get the results. I think we’ve all heard stories of it taking days and days to get PCR test back.
I did have a conversation with the doctor later and she said that Piedmont had invested in having lab equipment on site. They used to send out the tests in a batch to Quest and other labs, and that was what took so long. Since they no longer have to collect tests all day and then send them out to the lab to be analyzed and be at the mercy of those labs, now they can use the five PCR testing machines they have on-site to provide such quick turnaround. I had my appointment at 9:10 a.m., and I and I got my email at 10:04 a.m. (negative – yay!).
I will say it is a huge relief just to have that chore completed more than 24 hours before we ever leave home for our flight. We now have a negative test result, so we know we’re good to go to get on our cruise.
What Happens If
There have been some other issues or questions in regard to ‘what happens if’, in regard to testing positive, and how that works with insurance. What happens if you have a negative test right before you’re going to leave, or when you’re trying to come back to the US.
I’m going to direct you to a document that I’ve put on my website from Travel Insured, the primary travel insurance company that we use. The document explains how various situations are handled.
See the Frequently Asked Questions document at:
When it comes to travel insurance, the plan document defines everything so you must follow those written rules, but it’s nice to have some general information. Here are some tips but your own specific situation and plan document will determine how insurance handles it.
When talking with the travel insurance specialist, she gave me an analogy that I think is exceptionally helpful. Any place you use the word covid, substitute the flu. So if right before you were going to take a trip you got the flu, would your travel insurance cover it? One key requirement for the sickness benefit associated with your travel insurance is there must be a physician that determines your medical status – you cannot self-diagnose. You can’t say “I’ve got the flu, I’m going to cancel my trip” – if you were to do that, you would not get reimbursed by travel insurance because there’s no doctor involved. So, the same thing with Covid – don’t self-diagnose. If you have a positive test, you need to make sure you have a doctor who is saying you are sick – cannot self-diagnose from a home test.
So now I’m ready to jet off to Greece tomorrow. I’m sure I will have lots more travel insights to share in the future weeks.