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Posts posted by Hezu

  1. 11 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

    Yes, outside of the Baltic "cruises" mentioned above, all of the container lines that offered passenger service have not restarted this since the pandemic.

    Actually, I can think of also ro-pax routes outside Baltic, eg. between UK and France and The Netherlands, between Norway and Denmark, between Denmark and Iceland via Faroe Islands and various ports on shores of Mediterranean Sea. Granted, in every case the vehicle deck(s) may not have just freight on board, but also private cars and vans that travelers want to take with them across the sea.

    • Thanks 1
  2. At least in Europe there is several shipping routes that could be used for freighter cruising. Some routes (eg. between Finland and Sweden and Finland and Estonia) are operated by cruiseferries that resemble "normal" cruise ships despite that there is also vehicle decks that carry wheeled cargo. And then there is more freight oriented operations, eg. Finnlines Helsinki<->Travemünde route. Those operate from more cargo oriented ports and on board experience on these ro-pax ships is more spartan, but still includes decent cabins, sauna, gym, buffet restaurant, cafe and bar.

    Granted, these "cruises" are quite short, couple nights at most.

    • Like 1
  3. 8 hours ago, mskaufman said:

    I currently have a Canon D60 and am thinking about a lighter mirrorless option. I usually use a Tamron 18 - 400 lens. Any thoughts on these two cameras as to whether I would be gaining capability, or these might be a step down.

    I have no experience with either camera, but I know that Canon's EF-M system is being phased out in favour of RF mount, so one potential risk with Canon M6 is that if you want native lenses for that camera there may not be many options.

  4. On 9/1/2023 at 5:11 PM, Meander Ingwa said:

    To optimize northern light chances you need a lot of dark sky hours along with the blessing from the sun.  I am going in January.  February is also a high prospect.  October would be the early part of the dark season and you will be exploring at midnight.

    Actually, October may not  be that early for northern lights observations, already this September there has been at least three nights when one could see auroras even in southern Finland where I live and further in the north the suitable conditions occur even more often. And in certain way, the late autumn may offer better viewing conditions as the nights may look even darker than what they are once snow falls.

    But the late evenings/nights are already be quite cool (if not cold) and they are getting even colder as the winter is approaching, so the aurora hunting can be quite chilly activity. And then even if there is suitable space weather conditions for auroras, it might not be possible to see them if the sky is cloud covered...


  5. 25 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

    The EU and Schengen are separate entities. For example, Ireland is part of the EU but is not part of the Schengen area. Conversely there are countries not part of the EU that are part of the Schengen area such as Switzerland. 


    Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area, although it is in the process of joining. As a result a citizen of Cyprus does need a Schengen visa.

    Nope, you are misinformed: if one is a citizen of any EU country (regardless of whether the county is within Schengen zone or not) then one can freely move around anywhere within EU (and also within those Schengen countries that do not belong to EU), although obviously you are subject to border controls when moving between Schengen zone and elsewhere and have to prove that you are an EU citizen.

    Even a permanent residency in one EU country may allow one to travel within other EU countries without visa, but I would double check these regulations as there might be some limitations that may apply.

    • Like 1
  6. 3 hours ago, sydney dog said:

    In addition to above mentioned I always bring antibiotics.  A few years ago I got sick in Disney and it was not that easy to get antibiotics, but I did.  When I get sick I know it.  If I bring my own antibiotics I know I'll be ok within 24 hours. 

    I have to comment this by noting that liberal use of antibiotics may lead into antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and that is a growing problem as it becomes harder and harder to find suitable antibiotics that will cure conditions that genuinely need antibiotics. So if you get sick, it would be wise to be sure that the condition is actually caused by a bacterial infection and not by some virus before taking any antibiotics.

    • Like 7
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  7. 12 hours ago, eileeshb said:

    I was checking glazers cameras in Seattle for some accessories and spotted they have the tg7 listed for pre-order but the specs look to be the same as it’s predecessor. 

    Dpreview reports following:


    So what's new? The top line features are a 'grippier' grip, a USB-C connector (for charging but not power), a 3" TFT display with more accurate color, interval and time-lapse modes, and support for the RM-WR1 weatherproof wireless remote. Support for vertical video has also been added.

    The TG-7 also offers a new 'construction' scene mode that can automatically remove dust from photos, brighten dark pictures, take stitched panoramas, and capture photos of blueprints or whiteboards.

  8. I think one interesting option might be also a "Living desert tour", where your get a drive in the desert and the guide shows you various interesting creatures that live there. Most likely also Welwitschia plants.


    Granted, my experience of one was during a land based trip in Namibia and it started in Swakopmund and the tour begun in afternoon and ended close to sunset time (around 6 pm in early July), so I don't know how that fits into a cruise schedule. I believe there are few different local tour operators in the area that arrange these.

    • Like 1
  9. 17 hours ago, hallasm said:

    Link to bus operator - route 400  - it’s 90 minutes each way.

    There appears to be also faster Express bus route 400 between these two cities, albeit the timetable is probably not that convienient for most cruise passangers since the departures from Tórshavn are weekdays at 6:25 and 16:15 and from Klaksvík only in the weekday mornings at 6:25 and 7:35.

  10. On 8/10/2023 at 10:56 PM, Floater67 said:

    With serious respect, I’d love to know what you base that on. Looking at the Heipi, I’ll agree the ‘center column’ is different. I personally avoid using a center column if possible. IMO, they are prone to vibrations from wind. However, I really disagree about the legs. I don’t know if you’ve used a PD tripod, but I find the carbon version very stiff and dependable. The PD website includes a report from an engineer comparing many different tripods for a variety of characteristics. Worth a read at a minimum. I’ve used mine in 40+ mph winds in Iceland with no complaints. Plus, the product and customer support are US made. You certainly may have different experiences, but I’m very happy with the results using substantial equipment. All the best.

    I own both Peak Design and Heipi travel tripods (bought both from their Kickstarter campaigns) and certainly PD tripod has its advantages (like low weight and compact packed size) and is not a bad tripod and it can keep light camera gear stable enough, the thinnest leg sections look somewhat less convincing.

    Heipi 3-in-1 tripod is then certainly sturdier, the mini tripod is useful addition (especially for low level shooting needs), changing the included ball head to something else is very easy and ice spikes are stored inside the tripod legs and included in the price, which is significantly lower than what PD travel tripod retails. And size and weight are still quite tolerarable.

    • Like 1
  11. On 8/9/2023 at 7:59 PM, Floater67 said:

    I’m a huge fane of the Peak Design travel tripod. I have the carbon fiber, but they also have an aluminum version. https://www.peakdesign.com/pages/travel-tripod

    Peak Design Travel Tripod is ok, but the legs are tad flimsy. My current favourite is Heipi 3-in-1 Travel Tripod, which is bit more sturdy and the construction with a mini tripod as the central column is quite innovative. It is available at https://heipivision.com/products/heipi-3-in-1-travel-tripod 

  12. 2 hours ago, Nitemare said:

    Downtown Reykjavik is where the cruise port is.  The airport is a solid 45 minute drive away.  Blue Car Rental is the preferred provider based on reports I read regularly on TripAdvisor, and we used them last time we were in Iceland.

    It is Keflavík Airport that is quite long way from the Reykjavík city centre, but there is also Reykjavík Airport that is within the city and I don't think it takes 45 minutes to get there from the cruise port. That airport concentrates in domestic traffic (+ some flights to Greenland), but if I looked right on Google Maps, there is couple car hire places next to the Reykjavík Airport. Another few (including that Blue Car Rental mentioned above) seem to be located in harbour area of Reykjavík and although the cruise port is located elsewhere, the distances between two are tolerable.

  13. On 8/3/2023 at 4:01 AM, markeb said:

    The only place in Europe I’ve needed actual cash in the last ten years or so is the bier tents at Oktoberfest which so far refuse to go cashless. And rarely to get into a bathroom, although some of those take contactless payment. 

    Actually, I think in Germany there are still quite a few other establisments that do not accept card payments or if they do, it is only the local cards that most foreign tourists do not have.

  14. 1 hour ago, LEtue said:

    We don't sail until March 2024 and I have been following camera discussions on FB.  Most recommend a waterproof camera in addition to the iPhone.  GoPro and Olympus TG-6 are the top ones.....

    These options provide the protection from the water (during boat rides and such), but like mobile phones GoPros and TG-6 have lenses with more or less short focal lengths and you may miss chances to capture shots for which you need a longer telephoto lens.

    Granted, hauling an ILC and a telephoto lens (+ possibly also alternative shorter lenses) could be somewhat taxing. One alternative option would be then a superzoom compact and in this category my favourite choice would be Sony RX10 IV, although some other cheaper alternatives might work too, although these have inferior autofocus capabilities compared to RX10 IV.

  15. 52 minutes ago, John Bull said:

    We were in Alesund in June / July and took a tour to Trollsteigen. It included a village called Validal which grows strawberries - field after field after field of them, and they're the best we've ever tasted - better even than English strawberries.

    I have no first hand experience with Norwegian strawberries, but at least I have read that since Finnish strawberries grow during the time of year when daylight is plentiful in the northern latitudes that improves the taste.

  16. I have never visited Galapagos islands myself, but if I ever would do so I certainly would like to take also other photographic equipment than just a mobile phone. The reason is simple: with an ILC and telephoto lens I could photograph also subjects (eg. fascinating endemic animals) that are further away as mobile phone cameras only have lenses with short focal lenghts. So, in your case, I would  definately take the DSLR and that telephoto lens.

    • Like 4
  17. On 7/26/2023 at 10:10 AM, Dr. Peds said:

    Just back from the Baltics.  Did not use cash a single time while in the ports.  Our stops were Gdansk, Visby (Sweden), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), Aarhus (Denmark), Copenhagen (Denmark), Kristiansand (Norway), and Warnemunde/Berlin (Germany).  Of those ports, only Germany, Finland, and Estonia use the euro (though some accepted it as an alternative currency).  I used a credit card for every purchase I made and the exchange rate was excellent on all those purchases.  My mom and dad had some Euros from a previous trip and were barely able to find places to spend them easily (and ended up using them for tips--that was actually a good use of cash).

    Although it is worth noting that Germany may not be as card payment friendly as the other locations on the usual Baltic itinenaries and several, especially smaller establishments may require cash payments (or local cards, that foreign tourists do not have).

  18. On 7/4/2023 at 11:01 PM, chengkp75 said:

    Unfortunately, no lines have restarted passenger service on cargo ships since the pandemic.  They may do so in the future, but it is a decided side line for the companies, so they may not feel it is worth it anymore.

    Although I think there are some ferry routes that are more of cargo ships than fancy cruise ferries. For example, Finnlines ro-ro-ships on Helsinki - Travemünde route do take also other passengers than truck drivers, although the operation is first and foremost geared to get goods on wheels across the Baltic Sea from Germany to Finland or vice versa.


    And if one plans to make extended stays abroad, it is good idea to check what sort of visa policies there are, and this also includes visa-waiver programs, which may still dictate that you can only stay eg. up to 90 days within 180 days in certain country or area (like EU/Schengen area).

  19. 11 hours ago, cmph said:

    We just returned from our trip, so I wanted to report back on successes or lack thereof. 🙂 Good news is: no one got "glutened" the whole 2 weeks!



    -Under Kastanjen https://underkastanjen.se/  - great!! We ate here twice (lunch the first day, dinner the next), wonderful Swedish meatballs that are naturally gf, great gf chocolate cake.

    Actually, meatballs may not always be gluten free: many Nordic meatball recipes include bread crumbs and those obviously most often mean wheat (and thus gluten).

  20. 8 hours ago, kitkat343 said:

    We also greatly enjoyed our visit to the Lennusadam SeaPlane Harbor Museum in Tallinn.

    ( http://www.lennusadam.eu/et/ ) . The sea plane name is a bit of a misnomer, since it is more of a general military museum with a lot of fascinating hands on exhibits, including a submarine you can explore and a flight simulator inside of a plane (my 3 year old really loved making the plane crash into the trees). Kids also love the simulated weapons and radio controlled boats at the museum. There is also an icebreaker ship outside that you can explore. It was a really interesting museum, and a highly enjoyable way to conclude your day in Tallinn for both adults and children.

    That museum is actually part of Estonian Maritime Museum and the reference to the seaplanes comes from the fact that the museum building was originally built as a hangar for seaplanes and the adjacent waters formed a seaplane harbour.

    • Like 1
  21. On 6/24/2023 at 4:56 PM, tim_london0 said:

    Just need to work out how much cold weather stuff I need to pack and how much they will lend me (I see that today's temp is +5C, which is hardly going to be bothersome).  No mention of needing boots, so I presume that there are no wet landings, now they are a pain in the bottom.

    My experience aboard MS Nordstjernen is already some years ago, but I think at least then there was no complimentary clothing (might been there was some available for buying, although I had a decent selection in my luggage). On landings there was portable steps on shore, so you could walk into the land with dry foot. However, at least on some stops before you boarded the boats they required you to step into desificant liquid to ensure your footwear does not bring any harmful seeds into the vulnerable artic nature, so it would be a good idea to have waterproof footwear. I had then light hiking boots with Goretex. In general, it is certainly a very good idea to have a waterproof outer layer as those boat rides can be somewhat wet.

  22. On 6/20/2023 at 3:51 AM, TheOldBear said:

    Depending on your luggage space, you may want to consider a somewhat larger Sony - the RX10 Mark 4


    It's a large camera, with a large lens, lots of smart processing modes - and it is weather sealed [no problems using it in rain/snow].

    On the other hand, although RX10 IV is certainly not a pocket camera, it is still far more compact than the traditional ILC + long telephoto lens combo, that doesn't even cover the wide angle part of RX10 IV's lens.

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