Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

pontac

Members
  • Content Count

    486
  • Joined

About pontac

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    London
  • Interests
    Wine
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Rivers

Recent Profile Visitors

255 profile views
  1. I didn't fly out of Odessa, but if it's like you say, like a 50s rural airport, then it has to be better than Kiev even tho' both are in Ukraine. But tours that start in Kiev from 2020 will fly out of Bucharest not Odessa. This is an extract from my detailed report on the Sineus trip. Airports: We flew from London on Lot Polish airlines. We were concerned about making the 90 minute connection at Warsaw but we did and our bags arrived at Odessa. (Make sure you follow signs for transfers – don’t follow other passengers through immigration). About a dozen people on pre-cruise extensions didn’t receive their bags till the second afternoon. I don’t have details; I think some came from Vienna on Austrian air. We left from Kiev airport. This is unpleasant. It took 50-55 minutes to get to airport from ship. Then to get into airport you have to queue to lift your bags onto X-ray machine and go through security scanner. Viking have staff there and they directed the coach to the far entrance where the queue was much less. After checking in you have to go through security. Then you get to passport control. There were 10 desks open with such long lines that they took up the entire hall and it was hard to find the end of a queue. The lines moved at a glacial pace. Although the lines were wide with groups, people – even kids – had to go separately to the desk. Reason seems that for Ukrainians a passport is not enough; they need supporting documentation. Some have it ready in their hands; others have to search for it when they get to desk. Then officer has to read the certificates etc. I strongly suggest that the Viking bus group sticks together in one queue. The first person won’t be seen any quicker, but the rest will because foreigners just need to get a stamp in their passport. There is a fast line both here and the preceding security, sponsored by Mastercard. But you can only pay for this with a Mastercard issued by a Ukrainian bank. Business Class flyers can’t use fast line. Once you’ve wasted so much time hopefully you won’t have missed your flight. Airside is quite good, with a selection of restaurants and shops I used Bucharest airport a few weeks before and that was a dream compared with Kiev. If I do this cruise again, I will go the opposite way; I won’t depart from Kiev. You can red my whole report on page 8 of this thread
  2. Thanks both Great lakes sounds interesting, but pix of ice? Brr….
  3. This year the cruise has changed. Instead of ending in Odessa it ends in Tulcea, Romania and then you are bussed via Constanta, where you are served lunch, to Bucharest. According to the UK site, the first Ukraine tour doesn't start till May so no one will have done this itinerary to answer you till then. Suggest you use Google Maps to find out how long it takes to drive from Tulcea, Romania to Constanta, add 40 minutes for slower coach travel and assume a lunch time of 1200 and 1300, then subtract the estimated coach time; that'll be the latest time you leave the boat. As I recall you have to check out of your cabin by 0900 on all itineraries. Bucharest is not a bad airport to fly from - be grateful you are flying into Kiev, rather than from Kiev!!
  4. While it could, I don't think this will happen, certainly for travel to the UK for two reasons. I think it would require more than 'modest increase in the total number of inspectors' when you think of the sheer number of trains per day, also the very short journey time (56m) for those travelling between Calais and London. Secondly, once on board the train the next stop is UK. There are hundreds of migrants willing to risk their lives to get to Britain by crossing the channel in toy rubber boats. Under the system suggested they could board the train and then are guaranteed to get to the UK risk free. Also I don't see how a customs inspection could take place; baggage is stacked in a baggage area at the end of carriages, how could cases be extracted for opening, and where would they be opened?
  5. The public areas are air-conditioned so I would assume they stay at a constant temperature throughout the year. Personally, I find it set too cold, but others were in short sleeves. What you may feel is the contrast when coming from outside to inside. On lovely warm summer days I found the air-con a cold shock, not so much in the winter.
  6. Fair point, although I haven't been on an ocean cruise. However, a roll call for a cruise where everyone participates no matter what date they travel can be of tremendous value. For Instance this roll call - All Viking 2019 Passage to Eastern Europe - covered 27 pages and 669 posts. Those who had been reported back on hotels, the value of optional tours, that sailings in one direction required getting up at 3am for a passport check at a border, food service, table lay out and every facet. Whoever had a question on their up-coming cruise got a useful answer. Plus the list I regularly updated, showed who was travelling on which sailing allowing people to meet up. Thread would have been even betterif some people didn't prefer to start their own roll-call for their particular sailing
  7. One is unlikely classed growth claret offered among the included wines 🙂 All the same, 'undrinkable' is a pretty damning indictment of the wines on offer. I have been on only one cruise where I thought the house wines were sub-standard. Luckily as we were in wine country (not a co-incidence) I bought local wines to enjoy on board.
  8. There may be few or no CC participants that are going on your particular cruise, but unless you look on the appropriate river cruise forum you won't know. And if there isn't already a roll call for your cruise then start one. It's not necessarily a waste of time. I posted aggregates of people going on each date of a particular cruise of two cruises I did this year and on several there were 3 (which means three couples) and there were a couple of fours. If it hadn't have been for CC River Cruise Roll Calls we wouldn't have met the delightful @Horsedds and her fella, and we are still in touch exchanging travel news and more.
  9. Thanks, @jpalbny I think for the OP there will be no change; Boris says he has an agreement and if so there will be a transition arrangement till 2021 with no changes before then. Re immigration, the positioning of French border control staff in England and UK border staff in France to do pre-train passport inspections pre-dates Schengen and is the result of a non-EU separate bilateral agreement between France and the UK, so Brexit per se will not affect it. It's some time since I last used Eurostar but I'm pretty sure UK customs are at St Pancras. Like airports you just walk through the area and it's quite understandable if people getting of a train in a new city are unaware of it as you don't even see any officers., unlike USA customs where you have to see a customs officer and handover a list of goods. Eurostar's concerns about changes in customs arrangements are to do with their cargo business, not passenger's belongings. But we will have to wait and see. There has been travel between France and England for centuries, before Eurostar/Le Shuttle we crossed on the channel ferry and there was minimal delay. I really don't see an issue and the OP should have no concerns about the upcoming travel
  10. Bearing in mind you'd already paid for the wines on board - what wines of your own did you bring?
  11. Hi Keith As you can see from my avatar I am keen on wine. Your post is headed the Art of Wine but I did not see any sign of it what this means on a Crystal cruise. You report you enjoyed several different wines ..... and appreciated the diversity of the offerings. I'd really like to know what wines? How diverse? Local/international? On your food post, Kent9xxx1 says Wine, OTOH, is a miss. They have a new bdx, which is ok. The white options are undrinkable. Most of the red options are just as bad. We brought our own wines based on previous experience. Wine, like food, is very subjective. One persons favourite may be someone else's undrinkable, but all the same there's a big variance in the reports.
  12. I'm sorry, I can't read the article without creating an account and I'm not going to do that. Since I haven't read the article I acknowledge I may have missed something, but I'm not convinced by the accuracy of it after reading the first sentence The high-speed rail link was once the locomotive embodiment of the ideal of a border-free Continent. When the tunnel was planned, when the service began and to this day it was not and has never been 'borderless' between the UK and France. Borderless travel is within the Schengen zone and the UK has never signed up for that, therefore travel into the UK or from the UK to other EU countries requires passing through immigration control. The Schengen area came into being in 1999, five years after the first passenger train service ran between London and Paris. Since there are currently border controls at each end of the tunnel I cannot see Brexit making a difference.
  13. No, not customs. You need to clear immigration - i.e. a passport check. UK customs is on arrival in London. One just walks through unless stopped by a customs officer. There are no customs limits or liabilities for tax paid good bought in EU and taken to another EU country. After Brexit, customs rules depends on what is agreed by EU/UK
  14. Why?? UK is not in Schengen zone so there should be no change whatsoever, except (depending on transitional arrangements) there will be 'duty-fee' rules rather than current unlimited bringing in of drink/tobacco/perfume products
  15. Sue Bryant wrote a long article published in today's Sunday Times. Of the comment by Paul Strachan, Pandaw Group Founder, "On Pandaw remote river expeditions such adventures are part of the course and part of the adventure as any seasoned Pandaw traveller will attest." she wrote "I'm sorry, Paul but that's nonsense. This wasn't an "adventure". It was a serious incident. A hole had been ripped in the boat and the current was incredibly strong. A number of passengers could walk only with stick and the potential for people to get into difficulty was high. If anyone had fallen in , they would have swept away ad probably killed." She also says the itinerary was a "shambles" that the crew were unaware that pontoon bridges were erected across the Ganges during the day. As there were a further six before their destination, the scheduled arrival time was "totally unrealistic"
×
×
  • Create New...