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About Mehroswitha

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  1. Did you have a travel insurance policy? Some of them provide PRIMARY medical insurance, which means you file a claim directly with them rather than with Medicare or any other health insurance you may have. The travel insurance company then either pays the provider or reimburses you if you had to pay out of pocket. (I believe they may sometimes recover part or all of the cost from Medicare and your other insurers, but that's hashed out among the companies involved. You've already been paid.) We were covered under such a policy with Travel Guard when we had a large medical claim while touring in Canada a few years ago. We filed directly with TG, which required a bit of paperwork including details of any other medical coverage we had, and we received full payment from them very promptly.
  2. Not a casino person myself, but my son constantly receives offers in the (postal) mail for free or greatly reduced-fare cruises on HAL based on his casino play. Usually there's a whole list of choices with interior cabins free or nearly free and the option to upgrade at varying prices. For example, since his girlfriend didn't have vacation time available, he's booked a week-long mother/son Caribbean cruise for us next month in a Neptune Suite at $800 apiece. The booking must be made directly through the number provided on the offer rather than a TA, but the rate is clear up-front. He claims these offers are based on total amount wagered during the cruise (NOT amount won or lost), time spent playing, and behavior. "Behavior" means tipping the dealer whether he wins or loses and generally treating him/her well, clearly enjoying himself while never being rowdy or drinking to excess, and doing whatever he can to enhance the experience of other players. Players who are having fun in the company of others having fun will play longer, which in the long run always means more money for the casino. No inside information here--just his experience. But it makes more sense to me than any other explanation I've seen.
  3. Can anyone tell me where Viking Ocean ships usually dock in Boston? Thanks in advance!
  4. You might not even need to give them particular notice of a special occasion. Other than filling in the standard guest information form, we gave Viking no special notice that my husband had a birthday during our recent Midnight Sun cruise. Yet a beautiful (and delicious!) birthday cake with congratulatory note still appeared in our cabin on the proper day with knife, plates, forks, cloth napkins, glasses, and a bottle of bubbly!
  5. We've stayed several times at the Admiral in Copenhagen, and it's among our favorite hotels anywhere. The location is convenient, and the building is loaded with character and history. Even without AC we were never uncomfortable, including a couple of mid-summer stays. Their Web site sometimes offers packages that include a really excellent buffet breakfast. We'd happily go back anytime, even during renovations.
  6. I'm so sorry you had to cancel! Since his first HAL cruise a couple of years ago my son has been receiving such offers at seemingly random intervals--the most recent was about a month ago. (This time he's accepted, upgraded to a Neptune suite, and asked me along to make it a mother-and-son cruise!) These offers are based on your history of casino play and are extended in hopes that on another cruise you will wager even more--especially since the cruise itself has cost you little or nothing. By booking you've indicated your openness to doing just that, so I shouldn't think your cancellation would stop future offers. That's an opinion based on my own observation and experience coupled with others' accounts--but absolutely no inside information!
  7. We also used Viking's Custom Air for our flights in July and were able to arrange flights with which we're very happy. We're booked on an overnight Air France flight from Washington Dulles to Paris. Our layover there is sufficient that we have no worries about customs, immigration, and the like without it being too long--then onward with Air France to Bergen.
  8. Now it's one minute past noon, Eastern Time. We received an e-mail reminder of it from Viking a couple of days ahead of time.
  9. Private tour providers tend to be VERY careful about getting cruisers back to their ships on time because they realize the online reviews that would result from failing to do so would be disastrous to their business. I've heard of people left behind who were out touring on their own (or drinking!) but never anyone who was on an independent tour. Not saying it never happens, just that the reputable operators are very conscious of how important a prompt return is. Check online reviews of providers you're considering.
  10. We've purchased April insurance once in the past and had no complaints other than the fact that they were very slow in getting a copy of the actual policy to us--but we also didn't have a claim, so that doesn't mean much! Have you looked at Travel Guard? Everyone's case is different (age and health of cruisers, destination, state of residence, etc.), but we have found their Gold and Plus policies meet our needs very well. Two of the factors that we feel make it a good choice for us: Under their Gold and Plus policies (not sure about their others) TG health coverage becomes primary. This means you don't have to file with your other health insurer and then again later with TG for costs rejected by the others. You file once with TG; they pay and then sort things out with other insurers. Pre-existing conditions are covered if policy is purchased within a certain number of days of booking. Perhaps most important to us: We had a very large and complicated claim with TG a couple of years ago that was settled promptly, professionally, and to our complete satisfaction. This "track record" means more to us than the possibility of saving a few dollars with some other company that could (of course) be just as good but with which we are not familiar. Works well for us, but "your milage may vary!"
  11. We're in the DV category and had no real difficulty booking the excursions we wanted for our July Midnight Sun cruise. I did make the bookings within minutes of the opening of our eligibility window, though, and in some cases had to settle for our second-choice time slot. Even so, we're very pleased with the overall outcome. Dining reservations, however, were another story entirely! We really had to scrounge for them! By booking the moment our category opened, we were able to get Chef's Table reservations for the menu of our choice but had to settle for a 9 p.m. slot on our last-choice day. Manfredi's was a little better: Even though we couldn't get in on a sea day as we'd hoped, we did snag a good (in our opinion) time slot on a busy shore day. We're quite flexible, so all will be good. It all seems to depend on the particular cruise!
  12. The expensive extension isn't actually necessary. Our cruise ends with an overnight in London, and one of the shore excursions offered is the Churchill War Rooms and War Museum. We are very much hoping to be able to book it!
  13. You must have a Russian visa to go on shore--whether on your own or with a tour--but any reputable tour company will take care of it on your behalf just as your cruise line will if you sign on for one of their excursions. You don't need to send in your passport or anything like that. They just gather the needed information from you ahead of time. We were very happy with Alla Tours, but if you check the Ports of Call section of Cruise Critic you can probably find lots of reports on them and other companies. We had a group of six--I don't know if that's typical or not. Another place to look for information is the Cruise Critic roll calls--not only for your departure but also others that include St. Petersburg. There you can read and benefit from the information others have gathered or possibly even connect with fellow passengers.
  14. We always stay at the Admiral Hotel. It's a converted granary several hundred years old with unique and--we think--fascinating architecture. Staff are friendly and helpful; rooms clean, quiet, comfortable and modern. Many of the things a tourist wants to see are within walking distance. Cruise port is not walkable, but the taxi fare is modest.
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