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About Hoser

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. I tried twice to email you but they're both bounced back. I tried a simple note without attachment and cdn't get thru too. I checked your email address again and again and I typed every letter right. Guess i have to try again later or you can give me an alternative one. A
  2. My pleasure to share the info. I joined this right before my cruise & sure appreciate the help from others. I'll forward the itin to you, jmcassel later today. For those who'll be on the Jewel of the Seas, you won't disappoint. 1 of the best we've been on. A
  3. jmcassel, please give me your email address and I'll forward the itin to you. We're on Jewel of the Seas. We have no problem with bringing food off the ship despite what we read on the board here. We ordered room service for the 1st day and the second day we just took some made-to-order sandwiches the night before ( we're late sleepers ) so we can cut out the mayo and tomatoes etc , and put them in the minifridge in our cabin until early next morning. I brought some glad bags as someone suggested. We brought some apples for the driver and guide too . No one ever stopped and check what we brought off the ship and the Russian Immigration people w'dn't care less. Give them a big smile and you'd breeze thru'. We were stopped by a crew when we tried to get off the ship at 7.25 am. I think may be it's too early. So we just waited for the ship's 1st group to leave and just walked out with them. Added advantage of private tours - they have a separate immig counter for independent travellers and ther're not too many . We never had to line up with the big group. We walked into Russia quicker than anyone else. Eating in the car has no other advantage than having more time to enjoy the places we visit, and not having to return to the ship late in case you're going for evening tours. Our table mates who went with the ship's tour had a great lunch in a restaurant and were being entertained while eating but that took 1 1/2 hr. which cut into the actual tour time. It may not be a bad thing cos the rest w'd be much appreciated after all the walking. But we can rest in the van too. It's a 9 seater air conditioned van so it's got lots of room. The ship had early open seating dinner to accommodate the evening tours. But it seems the ship's evening tours are cheaper cos RO and ****** both have minimum charges for the car, driver and entrance fee and the no. of people in the group. Much simpler to go with the ship's. My hubby went for the ballet and enjoyed it tremendously.
  4. Hi everyone, I just happened to be checking thru' the board and found yours. I just got back from the Baltic cruise 4 days ago and did use RO's service. It's beyond expectation. There're 6 of us and they gave us a mini van. It's a 19 hr, 2 full day tour . We saw everything there is to see and then some, like stopping for photographs at the best view point, buying candles for us at local churches so we can make a wish etc etc. Our guide speaks perfect English, I think they all do. I love the way she says " my people, this way please" ...with those words and the magic wave of her hand we passed the line ups at the gates and the crowd inside, and loved every minute of it. ( we paid for early admissions for 2 places so no crowd at all) We checked with fellow cruise mates who took the ship's tour. RO surpasses theirs ten fold and the cost difference is minimal. ( at least for 6 people, if you have 8 , it'd be about the same. ) I think the diff is in the camera fees ( $4 per camera and $5 for videos, My son has a digital camera that takes video clips as well so we only paid 1 fee) . We ate on the fly. We packed lunches for the driver and the guide too, as they suggested. But our guide didn't even had a sip of water during the whole time. She was eager to point out and explain everything during the drive while we ate. I felt bad about that. We packed in a lot those 2 days. We could have eaten in a restaurant but that w'd cut into sightseeing time. So all of us opted for packed lunches. The weather in May is OK for a sandwich to sit for a few hrs. School kids' lunches sit till noon time. Don't know what it'd be like in the hot summer tho. Red Oct store is a very nice place to visit and has more variry than the ship's store . The ship charges a lot more. Flea market stuff is cheaper but quality not as good. 1 good thing about RO, no deposit and no payment until after the 1st day. We paid by credit card . No extra charge but they had a clumsy way of converting rubles to US $ and then back to rubles for the credit card company and we lose out in the exchange that way. But it's better than carrying a lot of cash. I felt safe as the guide was always beside us and often we're not with the crowd. It's worth every penny. Let me know if you have more questions. Alice
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