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I am getting mixed information on this topic and was hoping someone had recent experience. We are on the Volendam cruise in April that includes these two countries. According to HAL, we can only get visas through them if we are on their shore excursions. If we don't have visas in advance, we can't get off the ship. On the Asia Port boards people have said you can get visas on the ship, but they were not necessarily on HAL. Does anyone know if you can get them either on the ship or will they let you exit and pay the fee within the port area assuming you have your paperwork and photos in hand?
We have been to Cambodia and Vietnam (twice). You can only get visas to cambodia for more than the cruise visit by getting it before hand or at specific points of entry (ie airport at Siem Reap, etc.). When we were in Cambodia on the ship we did not use the cruise tours and were still able to use the ships if we were required to have one at all. We did get off ship and we hadn't gotten prior visa's for the day so think we probably just paid for the ship's visa. As for Vietnam, we were going to be coming back to Vietnam for a week after the end of the cruise, so we got visa's ahead of time on our own. But I'd still think you could get visa's for the ports without using their tours. We were on Royal Caribbean, so not sure how HAL might differ from this. Visa's to Cambodia are cheap not the case with Vietnam if you get them individually. Not sure if this helps, but have a great time... if Nha Trang is one of your stops... I was assigned there during the war years and lived on a compound called the Grand Hotel... just across from the high rise Nha Trang Hotel both located across from a large flower petal structure built on the beach across the street from the hotels.
I have been to Vietnam twice .. recent visit, I had to get a visa in advance, even though we were only on ship excursions. The visa was from the embassy in Washington and took up a whole page of my passport. It also was very expensive. However, this trip to Vietnam was quite enjoyable .. especially Hue and the Mekong delta.
We have been to Vietnam twice. The first time was in 2007 on a HAL cruise. We did not have to get a visa ahead of time - the ship took care of it. The second time was this fall. We were in Vietnam for a week and Cambodia for a week. Vietnam required a multi entry visa to the tune of about $125 and Cambodia required a visa. The Cambodian visa was about $25 and I think could have been gotten there. For the Vietnamese visa we had to send our passports to the embassy before we left. I don't know if the requirements have changed in three years or if was that we were in country more than a day. The HAL website (under "for booked passangers") has a link to the ZVS web site where they show the visa requirements for various HAL sailings. I would check there first.
I'm just off the 2010 Asia & Australia Grand Voyage, so I visited both Vietnam and Cambodia in October. Both countries required visas and HAL could obtain them on board if desired. Vietnam was $40 and Cambodia was $45 - charged to my shipboard account. An absolutely painless and transparent process! Nothing was said about being on a HAL shore excursion or not. (This information came to me in a letter from HAL about 3 months before we sailed.)
I imagine that the various countries' requirements change from time to time. It also may be that arrangements are done differently for a Grand Voyage. So I would wait to see what HAL tells you a few months in advance. My experience has been that they provide all necessary information at the appropriate time.