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About Heidi13

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    British Columbia
  • Interests
    Travel, Photography, Swimming, Walking Dogs, Football (Glasgow Rangers)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Tending to Viking Ocean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. Heidi13

    Advise for gifts for a world cruise

    Suggest checking the World Cruise Board, as they have a number of threads listing suggestions. While our Viking WC isn't until 2020, we have completed a previous WC with another line. One of the biggest help for us is small magnets and/or 3-M Command Strips and hooks (various sizes). We will bring a World Map with the route, which is attached to the bulkhead with magnets. We keep track of progress on the map. We also bring printed schedules, listing ports/sea days, any tours booked, specialty restaurant bookings, etc. These are also attached to the bulkhead. A good pair of binoculars always come in handy, while VO supplies a pair, I heard they might not be best quality. If they are avid photographers (I took > 10,000 photos) they may require extra cards and also an external storage device (I use a portable hard drives). Notebook for maintaining a written journal. DW takes a supply of hand sanitisers (large bottle + smaller one she refills), hand towel wipes, small packets of kleenex (cruise ship crud), small pill box for taking a few pills to breakfast, collapsible shopping bags, individual lens cleaning wipes, few nylon shopping bags (light weight and used for laundry), insulated tea/coffee mugs, laundry pen for removing stains
  2. Heidi13

    Strategy for booking excursions

    For anyone interested in private SPB tours, I have attached the Excel summary I created. Please note it is effective summer 2017 and information was collected on the respective company websites from their tour descriptions. Thought I had included 4 companies, but actually only have 3. Totally agree with the comment on the subway ride. The artwork in the stations was amazing, as was the depth of the stations. Cruise tour comparisons.xlsx
  3. Heidi13

    Wardrobe for Southern Mediterranean in Winter

    Affirmative, wouldn't expect Winter clothing for the Chicago area is required in the Meddy. Expect temperatures in the 50's and 60's F,
  4. Heidi13

    Strategy for booking excursions

    When in St Petersburg, suggest using one of the local tour companies, which provide smaller tour group than you will experience on a ship's tour. I researched 4 of the top companies and their 2-day tours were virtually identical in content and price. We opted for Alla, as one of the blogs I follow did a post on an Alla Tour, which received excellent reviews. In reality, all companies listed here have excellent tours. By taking an Alla Tour in St Petersburg, you receive discounts on tours in other Baltic ports. Can't remember of the other companies have similar deals.
  5. Heidi13

    Another booze question

    Jim - On the West Coast, especially the Pacific NW, I believe us beer snobs way out number the wine snobs. In Metro Vancouver, we have about 70 local micro-breweries, but the CAMRA style "Real Ales" are still in the infancy. Just last weekend, I attended a local beer festival and for the first time they had a section for cask ales, only 6 choices, but a good start. First time I have seen this since I left UK. Like you, I will try a number of beers in various countries, but have already researched most of the ports on the 2020 WC for micro-breweries, should we have some spare time after tours to quench the thirst.
  6. Heidi13

    Princess transfer or Private Car Service

    Anytime we have used Princess transfer to/from the airport, it was a big bus. We look for the Princess signs outside the arrivals area. They collect everyone from your flight and direct you to the bus. Bus dropped us right at entrance to port building.
  7. Heidi13

    NCL Star vs Coral Princess for Panama Canal

    Enjoy your cruise, especially the Canal
  8. Heidi13

    Pier Runners

    Normally if they are running along the dock they are most likely independent, as with the ship tours you have no incentive to run. Seen it too many times with the ship pulling away from the dock, both as a pax and working aboard.
  9. Heidi13

    Favorite Cruise Ports

    You couldn't pay us to take a Caribbean cruise. Favourite destinations are: - Baltic - St Petersburg - Meddy - Dubrovnik/Venice - South Pacific - Sydney/Apia/Easter Island/Pitcairn Island - SE Asia - Hong Kong - Africa - Cape Town
  10. Heidi13

    Hawaii-Japan early April

    Lots of variables and the Pacific is almost as unpredictable as the Atlantic. Have completed this trip a few times, as from Panama, I used to Great Circle to Hawaii and then Great Circle to Japan. Kept us from going too far North. One trip we experienced a brutal storm a couple of days after Hawaii where we hove too for a couple of days. Believe that trip was sometime between March & May. Don't have any memories from the others, so they must have been OK.
  11. Heidi13

    VAT stamp

    We have experienced this a few times in UK and Southern Ireland. Some shops will not charge VAT when you provide a passport, but reserve the right to charge you the tax at a later date, if receipts & forms not submitted upon departure. Last time we experienced this was a 2014 cruise calling at Cobh & Dublin.
  12. You should have lots of Eastbound TA options in April, but not all call at Civitavecchia, which is the port for Rome. Might have to accept other arrival ports and fly to Rome. Westbound TA's start in the Fall after the Baltic/Meddy season. Only TA's available in June is probably the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton or Hamburg.
  13. Heidi13

    Bring your own travel mug?

    We bring an insulated cup on every cruise. Use them around the ship and in the cabin.
  14. Heidi13

    Advantages of travel agents?

    Similar to the previous post, I primarily use a TA to resolve any issues that arise pre or post cruise. The additional OBC is also nice, but our preferred cruise line does restrict any promotions/OBC/gifts received from the TA. Don't use them for research and at times even make a provisional booking myself, getting a cabin we want. Prior to confirming the booking I visit our TA, give her the provisional booking and she completes the process and takes the deposit. Just knowing we have a voice to resolve any dispute make us happy.
  15. Heidi13

    Change to payment arrangements ?

    Totally agree Jim. Not overly concerned with rapid expansion, as I'm more concerned with a buyout, once they really take business from the big guys. Never seen a buyout yet that worked well for the customer. The predecessor Royal Viking Line was a spectacular cruise line until bought out about 1986. 12 yrs later they folded. Also the same with P&O, Princess & Cunard, which have been reduced to little more than budget cruise lines since being bought by Carnival. You remember the good days with Cunard, while I remember them with P&O, but sadly those days are long gone.