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About kitkat343

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  1. Good luck. If they can give you an unlisted email address or phone number while you are there, please let us know (just in case the government goes after their webpage). I have no idea how closely the cuban government is monitoring individual email/text messages.
  2. I think it's wonderful that you all have dressed up your children, and have such lovely photos! On the flip side, if anyone doesn't want to bring formal clothes I would like to note that the cruise lines are tolerant of families who aren't that dressed up (I like the idea of dressing up, but my last cruise to Norway required ski clothes and shorts and everything in between so we couldn't schlep anything else). I wore an ordinary day black dress on Cunard, a line where we spotted men in tuxes and women in formal ball gowns in the buffet and they didn't say anything to me about my ordinary day black dress on formal night (there was no way I was bringing anything that couldn't be washed since I knew I'd be wearing food at some point). My boys wore polo shirts and shorts, and they seemed tolerant of all of us.
  3. On RC, because there are so few cabins for five we really couldn't take advantage of the kids sail free promo they had recently. It would cost almost the same to have a minisuite as a balcony plus interior room, and you get a lot more room plus a bathroom if you chose two cabins close together. It's frustrating, but you do need to call to price out the options, especially if you are dealing with a kids sail free situation.
  4. I hate to bring more bad news, but those of you planning a visit should visit the cruise critic Cuba forum. Posters are reporting the Cuban government is threatening private tour guides and some companies have had to go out of business.
  5. these poor people (I don't believe the accident, but am very sorry the government is forcing them to stop working as tour guides). I hope everyone will be okay.
  6. thanks for the great review! Did you ever have any trouble getting reservations for the guppy drop off nursery?
  7. Does your coverage include medical evacuation? That can be quite expensive.
  8. santorini is so beautiful! but I'd agree you should explore the island (you can briefly stop at the beach, but it's so lovely to see everything)
  9. sorry - forgot to mention - if you are better (and I hope you are), still try to take it a little easy in Tallinn. You can take a cab to the top of Toompea hill, and then walk down, which would be lovely. Tallinn is beautiful, but usually the day before St. Petersburg so it's best to take it a little easy there if you are worried about your energy or getting hurt.
  10. I think arsenal boy makes an excellent point about your rehab. The HOHO is not recommended in Tallinn since parts of the historic old city is closed to traffic. We rented a brief pedicab ride, and you can take a longer one. There's also a silly child's train that runs through the town, and although we took it initially for our 3 year old it turns out that it's quite a pleasant way to see the lovely sights of Tallinn. A private tour in St. Petersburg is a really good idea. If you can afford it, a private tour for just the two of you would allow you to rest whenever you need to and skip lesser parts of attractions (like the middle of Catherine's Palace, since the highlight is the beginning and Amber room). You can rest as much as necessary. I'd recommend listing your itinerary in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Honestly, we found public transportation to be excellent in those cities so we wouldn't have wanted a HOHO. But if you list your itinerary, maybe someone with more knowledge of the cities can explain if you'd be better off with a HOHO (which might be the case if it can save you walking, and that'll depend on where you'd like to go and how well it's served by the HOHO and public transport). Best of luck to you.
  11. andy chris if you purchase insurance with cancel for any reason clause within 24 hours of booking your cruise, you can get all of your money back. You just lose the fee you pay for insurance. that might be worth it since you are traveling during the summer, when schools are out. or you can wait and see. it just depends on how picky you are about your room/how willing you are to wait until next year to take this cruise.
  12. We stayed in Copenhagen precruise, so we got a transportation card. We had a 3.5 year old and were able to easily diy all cities except St. Petersburg. The public transportation is excellent. You might want to organize a tour or transportation if you choose to visit Berlin, or dock in nynashamn instead of Stockholm. Aside from that, you’ll be fine on your own. My cruise review Talks about kid friendly options in the baltics. In addition to these, there’s a reindeer excursion outside Helsinki and an impressive train replica in the grand market in St. Petersburg and if you google best guides children’s page they’ll have ideas for experiences for older kids in St. Petersburg. It’s a great trip and I’m sure your kids will have a wonderful time
  13. I did but that was because we traveled in 2014 when there were the russian military intervention in the ukraine. When I called my credit card company to put a travel notice on my card, they told me they were worried if things got bad politically, they'd need to put a freeze on credit card transactions in Russia and suggested getting some rubles. We didn't really need them, but given the political mess it was good to have dollars and rubles on hand as a backup.
  14. Is the private tour a completely private tour for just your group? If you only have 24 hours in st. petersburg, I'd honestly say a private tour for just your group is the way to go if you can afford it. With a completely private tour, you can research everything ahead of time so you'd know exactly what you want to see. There are some people who could happily spend 48 hours in the Hermitage, and others who'd rather visit local markets, so a lot of your choices should be guided by your preferences. And if you only have one day, you don't want to waste time so other people can buy souvenirs if you'd prefer to skip all souvenir stores. For me personally (and a lot of people will disagree with me) I loved the exterior of spilled blood, but because I don't love mosaics I could have skipped the interior (and a ton of people will disagree with that). I also really liked the Renaissance art at the Hermitage, and was quite happy with the hour I spent there (an hour was my 3 year old's limit, and then we went to the internet cafe. Since I knew ahead of time exactly what I wanted to see I saw that first, and didn't mind when we were done. I watched my son while my husband got to see the Impressionists, which was his favorite period). By the way, if you are reading this and have two days you still need to research the Hermitage. You could spend weeks there, so you might not get to see what you want if you don't know what to ask for prior to starting the tour. Catherine's Palace and the gardens of Peterhof were two highlights for me. The middle rooms of Catherine's palace are not the highlights (the first few rooms, and the Amber room are), so I'd move through the middle quickly if you have a 3 year old in tow, or have only one day in St. Petersburg. The metro ride is very short, and interesting so if time allows I'd keep that. But it isn't an absolute highlight, just something really interesting that can give you a sense of Soviet values that they made the subway so beautiful. The canal ride was very nice and a pretty view, but If I were there only one day I'd take the hydrofoil to the Hermitage instead. You can go on canal rides in Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will also be lovely. For me personally, Peter and Paul was very nice, but not as much of a highlight as the other stops. Stolle serves great savory and sweet pies, and is extremely fast. They're a chain all over st petersburg and would be great for a quick and tasty lunch. But the biggest problem with my personal favorites is that two of them - Catherine's Palace and the gardens of Peterhoff - involve significant travel. To do that, plus the Hermitage, plus a basic driving tour of st petersburg with a photo stop of the spilled blood and some other locations would not leave you much time anywhere (and depending on your time docked all of this might not even all be possible, especially since ship tours get first priority disembarkation and it can take a long time to exit the ship in St. Petersburg due to the very slow customs agents). Running around all over and seeing the highlights of things is my personal travel style, so I would contact the major tour companies and get a sense if they think it would even be possible (and it might not) but you honestly might prefer researching each of the things on this list (they've given you all the major attractions) and deciding exactly what you'd prefer and seeing fewer attractions. I honestly wound up spending very little time anywhere since I needed to keep my son moving so he didn't get bored, so we wound up also seeing a bunch of more minor locations also. I was just grateful to have seen all of the major highlights of St. Petersburg, because it was such a spectacular city. But I think if you look at pictures of all the major highlights you can design a private tour that will let you see exactly what is most important to you.
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