Russian Visa issued (details, time frame, comments on ZVS.com)

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#1
24,119 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Just wanted to post my experience with Zierer (zvs.com) as many are probably getting ready to submit their application to get their Russian Visa.

Amadeus recommends Zierer (http://zvs.com/). The cost was $194.00 including Fedex next day shipping costs to send the passport and visa back. Their breakdown in cost is $173.00 for the visa pp and $21 for Fedex service. There are extra costs for expediated services and changes.

It appears other services were less expensive and I probably should have gone that route but since with a Russian Visa, you need an invitation in order to get your visa, it seemed easier to just use the company Amadeus recommends. We were told that Zierer would not accept the application more than 90 days in advance of the trip.

River cruise is May 30th.

March 12 - sent Visa and Passport to Zierer Fedex 2nd day air. 2nd day air cost $6.99.

March 14th - Zierer received passport and visa and sent me an email indicating such.

March 30th - received an email from Zierer indicating that my visa was issued and that it was being mailed back next day air (Fedex). I received tracking information which has an April 2nd (Monday) date for delivery.

Zierer does offer online tracking but this was pretty much worthless. There are 5 levels of status:
1. Please Call our Call Center for assistance
2. Received and preparing documents for submission
3. In process at Consulate or AGency
4. Completed and Verifying Documents
5. Shipped Home.

My status started with #2 and then went to #5 today. It was never updated for steps 3 and 4. I had called late last week and that person was not helpful and referred me to the status online which was not updated.

I then called ZVS asking the status this Tuesday and they were helpful and indicated that they would get it back from the Russian Consulate on Friday (today) and they didn't specify when it would be sent out (which turned out to be the same day).

Overall, I was impressed with Zierer with the exception of the status not being updated. In my case, it wasn't a big deal since I don't leave until May 30th. Though - they had my passport so I was sort of feeling protective over the process.

I did compare prices with a friend who went to Russia for Spring Break and they paid less than I did and had their Visa approved in about 5 working days. I have another friend going on an Alumni Holiday trip on the MS Repin and he was told to expect $140 fee and he was told not to apply for his more than 60 days out. He isn't sure who is doing his visa.

Good luck to everyone else applying for their visas (Russian and others).
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#2
12,556 Posts
Joined May 2005
Thanks for the detailed info...........its getting closer

GCT recommends in their PVS packet you send yours in 3 months before travel, PVS says on its website it takes two to three weeks to process I am not sending mine until the end of April...still 2 months.....

Let us know when you receive yours.
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
Happy Cruising!


1ST Ocean Liner Cruise
1983 Caribbean, Carnivale,
1ST River Cruise
2006 China, Viking Century
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B2B
2015 Venice,Croatia,Turkey,Greek isles, Splendour
Sisters-only cruise
2010 birthday, MR, Mariner
Longest friendships and thread
2006 Panama Canal, Coral Princess
Major change in itinerary,Swine flu
2009 Cabo-San Francisco, Mariner
Last minute, wonderful CC groups
2009 PNW, Mariner
2016 PC, Crown Princess
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2010 SB, Sapphire Princess
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2006 PNW, Serenade, 2016 Oasis of the Seas
Best Family Cruises
1992,1993,94 Parents' Ann., Viking Serenade
1996, Dad's 40th, Viking Serenade
1998, Bahamas, the Big RED BOAT
2007, Caribbean, San Juan, Celebrity
2008 spring break,#2 HS grad, MR, Vision
Overall favorite
2007 Russian river cruise down the Volga, St.Pete's to Moscow, MS. Rossia
#3 HS Grad
2011 MR, Mariner
Did someone say Short Escape?
2008 Jan, Feb, Mar, May 3&4 day Monarch
2013 Oct & Nov, 3 day Golden Princess
2014 Jan, Mar x2 3&4 day Sapphire Princess
2014 Nov. 4day,SD,Golden Princess
2016 May, 4day,BC, Explorer
Switch from a 4 to 3 day cruise out of SP?????
2016 Feb. SB, Crown Princess
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2005 Tahiti, Tahitian Princess
2007 Holy Land,Egypt, Royal Princess
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2009 Galapagos, Xpedition
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2014 & 2015 W Caribbean, Emerald Princess FOG and More FOG!!!!!!!
2016 Feb & Oct, MR, Crown & Ruby Princess

2017 Jan-Feb Around the Horn, SA, Crown Princess



#3
24,119 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by land lover
GCT recommends in their PVS packet you send yours in 3 months before travel, PVS says on its website it takes two to three weeks to process I am not sending mine until the end of April...still 2 months.....
I am sort of surprised that I never received a packet (yet) from Amadeus. I knew I needed a visa for this trip and had my agent ask Amadeus about the Visa and it was verbal instructions to go through Zierer. What if my agent didn't know that I needed a visa - would Amadeus have mentioned it on the phone? Or would I be rushing to expediate a visa application.

I seem to have a million questions about this cruise (you know, first river cruise) and am surprised they don't send out a packet after booking and then send out the final documents. Someone posted that they are sailing May 6th and they just received their documents so 3 weeks from now, I will probably also.

I am so excited.
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#4
1,979 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
It's so stressful for me to send off my passport, whether for renewals or visas. Will it get lost? Will it get back in time? Plus I just don't like not having a passport handy.

Having used both ZVS and ABriggs in the past, am very comfortable with them both. ZVS is the largest out there and have never had issues - they always beat the time frames they promised and everything came back nicely. With the issues regarding renewal delays will probably go through a passport agency this next winter when I need to renew mine just so I can keep track of the timing and further expedite if necessary. Have always just sent in my passport for renewal in the past, but wasn't facing 10-12 week processing timelines.
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#5
12,556 Posts
Joined May 2005
Got our Russian Visas today from PVS International, GCT coordinates with them so received a discount.
Rate paid was $145. for 1 or $270. for 2.

Send registerd mail on May 1, called PVS May 9th said they received it on May 3rd( looking back I should have used Fedex, but the paper work suggested registered, I did not pay for confirmation... cost $8.50)

Received passports back today, 2 day fedex shipped out May 15.

Turn around time 2 weeks...we must have just hit everything right...

Reading the visas I know the dates are right, in fact it was done for 31 days...but the writing on the bottom has got me totally confused...they have written our names with alpha and numeric characters.

Enjoy
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
Happy Cruising!


1ST Ocean Liner Cruise
1983 Caribbean, Carnivale,
1ST River Cruise
2006 China, Viking Century
1ST
B2B
2015 Venice,Croatia,Turkey,Greek isles, Splendour
Sisters-only cruise
2010 birthday, MR, Mariner
Longest friendships and thread
2006 Panama Canal, Coral Princess
Major change in itinerary,Swine flu
2009 Cabo-San Francisco, Mariner
Last minute, wonderful CC groups
2009 PNW, Mariner
2016 PC, Crown Princess
Wildest ride
2004 New England, Grand Princess
Worst Weather
1998 Alaska, Dawn Princess
2010 SB, Sapphire Princess
Favorite Ships
2006 PNW, Serenade, 2016 Oasis of the Seas
Best Family Cruises
1992,1993,94 Parents' Ann., Viking Serenade
1996, Dad's 40th, Viking Serenade
1998, Bahamas, the Big RED BOAT
2007, Caribbean, San Juan, Celebrity
2008 spring break,#2 HS grad, MR, Vision
Overall favorite
2007 Russian river cruise down the Volga, St.Pete's to Moscow, MS. Rossia
#3 HS Grad
2011 MR, Mariner
Did someone say Short Escape?
2008 Jan, Feb, Mar, May 3&4 day Monarch
2013 Oct & Nov, 3 day Golden Princess
2014 Jan, Mar x2 3&4 day Sapphire Princess
2014 Nov. 4day,SD,Golden Princess
2016 May, 4day,BC, Explorer
Switch from a 4 to 3 day cruise out of SP?????
2016 Feb. SB, Crown Princess
Favorites
2005 Tahiti, Tahitian Princess
2007 Holy Land,Egypt, Royal Princess
2008 25th,Turkey,Greece, Navigator
2009 Galapagos, Xpedition
2010 Galapagos, Xpedition,
2012 Xmas Market River Cruise on the Danube, Aria
2014 MR, Sapphire Princess
2014 & 2015 W Caribbean, Emerald Princess FOG and More FOG!!!!!!!
2016 Feb & Oct, MR, Crown & Ruby Princess

2017 Jan-Feb Around the Horn, SA, Crown Princess



#6
24,119 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Landlover - my name is written the same way. And it was this same way 18 years ago when I went to Russia.

You definitely had the better deal price wise for the visa. I am glad it is in your hands - your trip is coming up soon also!
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#7
12,556 Posts
Joined May 2005
Theresa,....the reg. price would have been similar to yours...Amadeus being new still doesn't have the connections, I guess. PVS has a website just for GCT clients. Viking uses Generations and no discounts are given ...so I think on these visa's with GCT I just lucked out...because they cut the processing to 25 each and return mail..20 for both.


Thanks for confirming that your bottom section is weird as well.

Your trip is less than 2 weeks now...hopefully someone will post a Russian river cruise review before you leave.
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L RI
Still favor land trips best, but as I log more sea and river days on ships and hours on CC , I might become a "Cruise Lover" sooner than I think or am I already?
Happy Cruising!


1ST Ocean Liner Cruise
1983 Caribbean, Carnivale,
1ST River Cruise
2006 China, Viking Century
1ST
B2B
2015 Venice,Croatia,Turkey,Greek isles, Splendour
Sisters-only cruise
2010 birthday, MR, Mariner
Longest friendships and thread
2006 Panama Canal, Coral Princess
Major change in itinerary,Swine flu
2009 Cabo-San Francisco, Mariner
Last minute, wonderful CC groups
2009 PNW, Mariner
2016 PC, Crown Princess
Wildest ride
2004 New England, Grand Princess
Worst Weather
1998 Alaska, Dawn Princess
2010 SB, Sapphire Princess
Favorite Ships
2006 PNW, Serenade, 2016 Oasis of the Seas
Best Family Cruises
1992,1993,94 Parents' Ann., Viking Serenade
1996, Dad's 40th, Viking Serenade
1998, Bahamas, the Big RED BOAT
2007, Caribbean, San Juan, Celebrity
2008 spring break,#2 HS grad, MR, Vision
Overall favorite
2007 Russian river cruise down the Volga, St.Pete's to Moscow, MS. Rossia
#3 HS Grad
2011 MR, Mariner
Did someone say Short Escape?
2008 Jan, Feb, Mar, May 3&4 day Monarch
2013 Oct & Nov, 3 day Golden Princess
2014 Jan, Mar x2 3&4 day Sapphire Princess
2014 Nov. 4day,SD,Golden Princess
2016 May, 4day,BC, Explorer
Switch from a 4 to 3 day cruise out of SP?????
2016 Feb. SB, Crown Princess
Favorites
2005 Tahiti, Tahitian Princess
2007 Holy Land,Egypt, Royal Princess
2008 25th,Turkey,Greece, Navigator
2009 Galapagos, Xpedition
2010 Galapagos, Xpedition,
2012 Xmas Market River Cruise on the Danube, Aria
2014 MR, Sapphire Princess
2014 & 2015 W Caribbean, Emerald Princess FOG and More FOG!!!!!!!
2016 Feb & Oct, MR, Crown & Ruby Princess

2017 Jan-Feb Around the Horn, SA, Crown Princess