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dogs4fun

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  1. Personally, I would skip the Ice Bar - there simply isn't enough time to fit it into your day. It will probably take about an hour to get back to your ship assuming there are no issues with traffic. Furthermore, we needed to be back onboard 30 minutes before sailing (some lines require an hour before sailaway).
  2. Huge benefit is that there is no security queue for St. Peter's Basilica when exiting the door from the Sistine. But, like I said, it was guarded and people were checked for their tour stickers when exiting the door. Definitely worth taking the tour if one wishes to avoid the long security queues at the basilica.
  3. There are definitely no egg painting workshops held at the Faberge Museum - the Faberge collection is housed in the restored Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Embankment - there is no area within this beautifully restored palace wherein painting workshops are held. I believe that the workshop is held at a jewelry center - not sure which one - could very well be Rousskie Samotsvety.
  4. You have several choices for purchasing the ATVO tickets: - at Venice Marco Polo Airport: 1) ATVO ticket office and automatic ATVO ticket machines in the baggage-claim area2) ATVO ticket offices in the arrivals hall3) automatic ticket machines located outside the airport, in the ATVO departure bays4) from the assistance ATVO staff at the bus stops 5) you can also purchase your ticket online The one-way ticket, including baggage costs € 8,00The round-trip ticket (open return) to Venice or Mestre, luggage included, costs € 15,00 Location of ATVO bays at the airport: Exit D, second lane on the left, platform nr. 3 for Venice Great info here on the ATVO express: https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice_airport_buses_atvo.htm
  5. You are right - 2 days are not nearly enough to do Russia justice - especially the big hitters like Saint Petersburg & Moscow. The USA does not allow Russians the benefit of touring with an e-visa, just as Russia does not allow US visitors an e-visa - it's tit for tat. We are welcome in Russia - just not with an e-visa - same for the Russians entering the US, they are welcome, just not with an e-visa. Perhaps one day the political situation will change and the US, UK, NZ, Canadians & Aussies will be able to apply for Russian e-visas but this will not happen unless there is visa reciprocity. Just wondering why you would not apply for a regular Russian tourist visa? My Russian visa is good for 3 years and it makes sense for me to visit Russia when on a yearly trek to Europe - lots to see and do in Russia & my visa was well worth the effort and cost in obtaining it.
  6. We took the train - very comfortable and economical way to travel. Spent a week in Prague last year - made our own hotel reservations. Much less expensive than booking through the cruise line! We had also taken the overnight train from Amsterdam to Prague on a previous trip (2014) - we really love Prague - it is such a beautiful city. We enjoy staying in the old town - as close to the square (Staromestske namesti) as possible and then using our feet and/or trams to get around.
  7. Your guide should be able to give you some good recommendations - why not email the company with whom you booked? Some online recommendations here: https://mostpetersburg.com/best-georgian-restaurants https://theculturetrip.com/europe/russia/articles/the-best-places-to-try-georgian-cuisine-in-st-petersburg/ We love Tarkhun (check-out the second link) - just a short distance from the Faberge Museum. You can find reviews of Tarkhun here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g298507-d1532340-r116170383-Tarkhun-St_Petersburg_Northwestern_District.html
  8. Isn't the Carnival almost over in Venice? I thought it was from 2/8 - 2/25? Just ending the Carnival a few days early, right? Better than no carnival at all.
  9. 👆 Exactly - personally, I would not risk attempting to sneak out the door as I noted that people were checked for their tour stickers when last I visited. Many people have read the Rick Steves travel guide or watched his PBS episode on the Vatican and have been aware of this not so "secret" door for many years.
  10. Personally, the above would be my feeling as well. There is so much to see in Rome - I would spend my time in Rome & save Venice for another trip. Methinks the OP would be attempting to cram too much into a short span of time - sometimes less is more.
  11. Yes, we are aware that the port of Civitavecchia serves cruise passengers visiting Rome - we have been many times. Although I am quite sure that there will be passengers on our TA with cold symptoms, I am assuming that it is highly unlikely that there will be problems with coronavirus fears on our particular cruise as it commences in Ft. Lauderdale and ends in Rome. MSC & Costa ships are still disgorging their passengers in Civi & Naples - the Smeralda incident was, thus far, a "one off" & is scheduled to again dock in Civi on February 27th. This is why we are closely following developments - hopefully there will not be an uptick in USA infections in the near future or an uptick in port closures in Italy. However, if there appears to be conditions of mass hysteria with Italy not allowing cruise passengers to disembark we will cancel our cruise and (hopefully) fly into Rome.
  12. Tallinn & Helsinki are easy to DIY. If you get a copy of Rick Steves Northern European Cruise Ports, this will give you info on DIY in your ports of call. You can purchase a copy or get one from your local library. Can't speak to Visby - hopefully someone with Visby experience will post.
  13. I don't think that tours of Tallinn are strenuous. The medieval old town is a pedestrian area with cobblestone streets - it is located on a hill (Toompea). My guess is that tours of Tallinn are listed as strenuous due to the fact that the majority of cruise passengers on the Baltic itineraries are retirees - tour companies are giving a nod to this fact by listing walking tours as strenuous. Just my guess.
  14. Please forgive me if I misunderstood your post above. Are you saying that your guide in Saint Petersburg with SPB tours did not expect a tip? This is certainly not the norm with guides in Saint Petersburg - especially those employed by SPB Tours. If you check the FAQ on their website, you will find the following information: "Gratuities to the guide and driver are not included in the tour price. We recommend 10% of the tour cost to the guide and 5% to the driver, to be given separately. We can not charge any gratuity to your credit card. Please have some cash with you (USD, EUR or RUB) if you intend to tip your driver and guide. Suggested amounts for flat-rate group tours per person: St. Petersburg (25-30 USD guide, 10-15 USD driver); Berlin (10 EUR guide, 5 EUR driver); Schwerin (10 EUR guide); Warnmünde/Rostock (10 EUR guide), Helsinki (5 EUR guide, 3 EUR driver); Tallinn (3-5 EUR guide), Stockholm (8 EUR guide, 4 EUR driver), Copenhagen (8 EUR guide, 4 EUR driver), Gdansk (8-10 USD guide, 3-5 USD driver), Riga (8-10 USD guide, 3-5 USD driver), Klaipeda (3-5 USD guide). In St.Petersburg if you are on a 2-Day Tour, you can tip at the conclusion of the second day if you wish. Your guide and driver will be the same 2 people on both days. Tips may be given in any currency, whatever is most convenient for you, but please make sure if using bills foreign to that country that they are in very good/new condition, otherwise the guide may not get full value for them. You can check exchange rates on www.xe.com."
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