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searaider

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    1,012
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About searaider

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Vancouver Island, BC
  • Interests
    cruising, fishing, relaxing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    RCCL, Celebrity, HAL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    have not been there yet

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  1. We just came back from a cruise to the Baltics. We used TJ travel in St. Petersburg for 2 days and their guide Maria was fantastic for the 8 of us. We saw as much as we could possibly see and I found them great to work with. They are very responsive through the internet and you can pay in St. Petersburg or online if you are more comfortable. I also went with them for small group tours in Helsinki and Tallin. Our groups there were 7 and 9 people though the website said there could be more. I found the vehicles very comfortable and quite new and on none of the tours felt crowded. Our guides spoke very good English and very experienced. If we go back to that area, I will be touring with them again, though maybe to other places/things.
  2. We just came back from Iceland last week. Sunny weather for our days, but away from Reykjavik, the wind could be quite strong and cool. We live on west coast of Canada and dressed in layers, with a windbreaker/rainjacket as the outer layer. At various times during the day off it came and back on for cool winds. People from southern areas may need more layers. Remember your sunglasses and moisturizer and a hat for the cool air. I did not use sunscreen and only experienced a little wind burn while walking in an extremely windy area. I only used gloves when walking on the glacier, but people from southern areas may find it a bit more cool than we did. We took way more warm clothes than we needed for beginning of June.
  3. Both days included lunches. First day we ate at a restaurant in the 'Tzars Village' which was a three course meal including Russian borsht. The second day we ate in the city at a small restaurant, again three courses-soup, main, and dessert. Interesting that the second day, the meal included buns but not the butter (was an extra charge). I have a special diet and our tour guide made sure that the restaurants could accommodate me.
  4. We have brought chocolate home twice to Canada from Bruges. Both times from Dumon chocolates which are a family owned business and once were talked about in a Rick Steves book. Both times we put in our checked luggage and they arrived to western Canada after a couple of weeks of cruising in perfect shape. While on the cruise ship we put them in the 'cooler' in our cabin. Oh so good and perfect gifts for those looking after the house at home.
  5. We just returned from our Baltic cruise on Brilliance of the Sea. We used TJ tours for Tallinn, St. Petersburg (2 day tour), and Helsinki and found that they are great to work with. For St. Petersburg, we had to submit passport info when booked and that allow TJ Travel to add the visa to the tickets for the tour. As stated in a previous post, the tickets you receive must be printed copies not electronic to give to customs in St. Petersburg. TJ Travel does not require payment in advance but you have an option to pay in advance if you want, otherwise you pay in St. Petersburg using rubles or by credit card. We paid by credit card and it took only a couple of minutes and they were very though in explaining the charge would be in rubles from their side, though the cost is quoted in US dollars. They also provided the Canadian dollar amount which as Canadians was good. Our tour guide, Maria was one of the best we have ever had in all the private tours we have taken over the years, and the van was newer and very comfortable. The customs in St. Petersburg was lengthy on the first of two days, as the agents are extremely serious and wanted to see passport and compared face to passport, sea pass card for ship, and tour ticket before sending you through. They do not talk to you at all and no smiles. They will want to see passports on the way back to the ship as well. Day two was quick through customs.
  6. We had another great experience with Martin Taxi. They were waiting for us when we exited the port, and we actually exited about 20 minutes before the booked time, as we got off the ship fast and no wait for the shuttle to take us to the port entrance. Meant great picture taking in Bruges before the crowds showed up. It can take a good 1/2 hour to get to or from the ship to Bruges but discuss the best time to go back to your ship with the driver before he/she drops you off in Bruges. The port shuttle from ship to port entrance takes no more than 5 minutes if you do not have to wait in line. Our group does not like to leave it to the last minute, so picked a time about an hour before final boarding to be picked up. We were dropped off right next to the central square which is a bonus, as the buses cannot get that close. Our taxi driver arrived early to pick us up as he said he would be there 15 minutes before the agreed time. By the way, the ship transfer bus drops and picks up people about 15 minute walk from the center.
  7. In all our cruises, I do not remember the obc showing on our account on the first day. It has taken a day or two for they to input it, so likely not able to directly access it before then, as the desk will not have that info yet. On being able to draw it out, I only know about the casino. Someone else will have to tell you of their experience.
  8. As well if you prepaid your gratuities, they will be locked in at the contract price. As mentioned by someone else, the exchange rate changes for cruise planner purchases but not sure how often RCCL changes the rate but have seen a couple of price differences in the past few months due to exchange rate, not sales, etc.
  9. Sailing on the Brilliance on May 19th and received a invite to upgrade today, from oceanview to balcony. balcony $270 pp min bid superior balcony $400 pp min bid
  10. It took a week or so, but after an email to CC help, it was fixed. No problems since.
  11. Today, still not showing on Carnival site or any of the TA sites, I checked. Usually cruises sold out still show but show no cabins available. Not sure what is going on with this cruise but hope it does not get cancelled.
  12. Thanks for the suggestion. I have now ordered a couple of his books. Looking forward to reading them before my trip to Iceland.
  13. Just to let everyone know that the Help contact is dealing with email address issues. I have had my problem fixed. Thanks!!!!
  14. Same problem here, as well and sent an email a number of days ago. All the CC advertisements for cruises and topics for cruisers that come regularly show up in the correct email but not the messages from the boards. Hope this is fixed soon, though I realize this is likely a low priority with all the other issues, I have heard/read about.
  15. Hope you are able to get some help. I have the same problem, and sent an email a number of days ago. Still not fixed or told how I can fix it.
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