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Information on Helsinki being skipped this week


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I ran into a family who were off-loaded in Tallinn (due to Russian Visa Issue) and were asked to re-board in Helsinki by RCL. However they got email message that RCL will skip Helsinki this week which was surprising since sea were calm. was a nice balmy sunny day without winds.

 

Trying to find out the details from RCL (4 phone calls, each with 15 min hold) and they are clueless. Trying to see if anyone has posted anything on any of the boards and google seach does find something but that link leads to dead end.

 

Any suggestion where one can find this info "Why was Helsinki port was skipped by RCL this week"?

 

(Port of Helsinki could not answer either)

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Thanks for guiding me to the post with details.

RCL had o info. Gave up on them after getting info here.

 

Offloading in Tallinn was due to Russian Visa issue.

 

Yes, you do not need Russian Visa while arriving SPB on cruise and doing local touring through organized tours.

 

But stop in SPB require multiple-entry Schegen Visa for citizens of many countries (not an issue for most white countries like USA, Canada, AZ/NZ or UK)

 

However, RCL ship did an error in this case. They should have simply asked the family to stay on board at SPB and that would have solved the problem. Offloading that family in TLL was a bad choice made worse by asking them to go to HEL and then HEL being skipped. I guided them to Viking Line's ship to STK. Hopefully it would have worked out for them. I had no info on where RCL would dock in STK. Just told them to do taxi (after double checking sticker on window as shameless taxi ripoff is perfectly legal in Stockholm).

 

I was just surprised and curious as weather in Baltic sea was totally clam with no high winds/waves and nice balmy sun.

 

Helsinki is a perfect cruise port. 8-10 hours are enough to see most important things and location of most ports are so convenient.

Edited by hal2008
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However, RCL ship did an error in this case. They should have simply asked the family to stay on board at SPB and that would have solved the problem.

 

I would think that would have worked but maybe not for the Russian authorities :confused:

 

Too bad they were shuffled around ..not my idea of a good cruise experience

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I would think that would have worked but maybe not for the Russian authorities :confused:

 

Well, quite. They would have been in Russian waters. And normally you're not allowed to board a cruise ship at all if you haven't got the necessary permits for all the countries you are visiting, irrespective of whether you intend to get off at the port. It's not just Russia. I doubt whether RCI had any choice.

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I would think that would have worked but maybe not for the Russian authorities :confused:

 

Too bad they were shuffled around ..not my idea of a good cruise experience

This is not Russian authorities, but more likely due to Schengen visa rules.

Not 100% sure but it might be, that they needs to have a multi entry Schengen visa since the cruise ship leaves and re-enters the Schengen zone by stopping in Saint Petersburg.

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I guess since we have no idea the Citizenship of those off loaded in Tallin we will not know the correct answer

 

I would be mighty ticked if it was me ;)

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I would be mighty ticked if it was me ;)
Of course, if the problem was actually because the passenger needed a multiple entry Schengen visa and did not have one, then that's the passenger's responsibility.
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This is not Russian authorities, but more likely due to Schengen visa rules.

Not 100% sure but it might be, that they needs to have a multi entry Schengen visa since the cruise ship leaves and re-enters the Schengen zone by stopping in Saint Petersburg.

 

That's exactly my understanding of the situation.

As Hal's post, most Europeans, North Americans & Antipodeans don't need a visa to visit any of the Schengen countries - but those who do would need a multi -entry rather than a single-entry because SPB was a port between Schengen countries.

 

Russian authorities don't seem to be concerned about who's on the ship, they only inspect & stamp the passports of those who go ashore. So if the unfortunate family had stayed on the ship in SPB it's probable that no-one would have been any the wiser.

But that of course is by-the-by, and RCI might have been wrong, al-be-it at a purely bureaucratic level, if they'd been found to allow the family to stay aboard in Russian waters & then landed them in Helsinki on a Schengen single-entry visa.

 

Taking a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki (or Stockholm) ensures that the legal formalities are correct, but I don't know whether simply staying on the ship in SPB would have been. So I don't know whether off-loading the family in Tallinn was necessary - that might be one for the lawyers.

 

No, I can't find anything on the 'net about missing Helsinki.

Mebbe mechanical problems resulting in reduced speed?

 

JB :)

 

Presumably it wasn't possible to get a multi-entry visa in Tallinn? That would have allowed them to complete the full cruise.

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This is not Russian authorities, but more likely due to Schengen visa rules.

Not 100% sure but it might be, that they needs to have a multi entry Schengen visa since the cruise ship leaves and re-enters the Schengen zone by stopping in Saint Petersburg.

Yes this is very likely the case. The ship leaves the Schengen zone in Tallinn and then was supposed to re-enter in Helsinki, but if fact did in Stockholm. According to the Schengen Borders Code annex IV section 3.2.3 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0001:0032:EN:PDF) exit and entry checks are done if a ship leaves the Schengen area and later returns.

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Russian authorities don't seem to be concerned about who's on the ship, they only inspect & stamp the passports of those who go ashore. So if the unfortunate family had stayed on the ship in SPB it's probable that no-one would have been any the wiser.

 

But that of course is by-the-by, and RCI might have been wrong, al-be-it at a purely bureaucratic level, if they'd been found to allow the family to stay aboard in Russian waters & then landed them in Helsinki on a Schengen single-entry visa.

 

Taking a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki (or Stockholm) ensures that the legal formalities are correct, but I don't know whether simply staying on the ship in SPB would have been. So I don't know whether off-loading the family in Tallinn was necessary - that might be one for the lawyers.

According to the Schengen Borders Code annex IV section 3.2.3 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0001:0032:EN:PDF) exit and entry checks are done if a ship leaves the Schengen area and later returns.
Cruise lines need to report their passengers accurately. Given the number of people involved, the speed of clearance in most ports suggests that immigration departments in many countries take this reporting on trust. In that situation, it's not worth the cruise line's while to lie about the situation of one family that doesn't have the correct visas, particularly when it was the family's responsibility to discover that they needed a multiple entry Schengen visa and to get it.

 

If this supposition is correct about what happened, then I think that if the cruise line could be criticised for anything, it's more likely to be that they didn't refuse carriage at the outset of the cruise, which would have avoided the risk of the family being put ashore in one port, told to make their way to another port, only to have to travel again to a third port. But then, we don't know whether the family agreed to this arrangement in order to be able to take most of the cruise, as an alternative to having no cruise at all.

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Of course, if the problem was actually because the passenger needed a multiple entry Schengen visa and did not have one, then that's the passenger's responsibility.

 

This stuff really scares me. I didn't know about the Schengen area. I have been told that Australians don't need any visas for a Baltic cruise provided that they are on an organised tour in SPB. I would really like to know what nationality these people are and why RCL allowed it to get to that situation.

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This stuff really scares me. I didn't know about the Schengen area. I have been told that Australians don't need any visas for a Baltic cruise provided that they are on an organised tour in SPB. I would really like to know what nationality these people are and why RCL allowed it to get to that situation.

 

Australians are not required to have a Schengen VISA

http://www.immihelp.com/visas/schengenvisa/requirements-exemptions.html

 

You do not need a VISA for Russia if you use a ship's tour or pre arrange a tour with a licensed Russian Guide

 

If you want to DIY then you must have a VISA for Russia

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This stuff really scares me. I didn't know about the Schengen area. I have been told that Australians don't need any visas for a Baltic cruise provided that they are on an organised tour in SPB.
I think that what you've been told is correct for an Australian.

 

So as you don't need a Schengen visa, it's unsurprising that you don't know much about it.

 

However, I know a lot of South Africans. They need a Schengen visa (and a separate visa for UK/Ireland, if their trip also includes that). And trust me, those who need a Schengen visa rapidly find out a lot about Schengenland.

 

To put this in context, imagine that you're someone who needs an Australian visa, and you're booked on a cruise that starts in Australia, so you need to enter Australia to start it. In the middle of the cruise, you visit New Zealand before returning to Australia. It would be completely natural for any traveller to ask whether they need a multiple entry visa for Australia to do this, or whether a single entry visa would do.

 

So I don't think that you need to be scared about these things. If they affected you, you'd be aware of them.

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I think that what you've been told is correct for an Australian.

 

So as you don't need a Schengen visa, it's unsurprising that you don't know much about it.

 

However, I know a lot of South Africans. They need a Schengen visa (and a separate visa for UK/Ireland, if their trip also includes that). And trust me, those who need a Schengen visa rapidly find out a lot about Schengenland.

 

To put this in context, imagine that you're someone who needs an Australian visa, and you're booked on a cruise that starts in Australia, so you need to enter Australia to start it. In the middle of the cruise, you visit New Zealand before returning to Australia. It would be completely natural for any traveller to ask whether they need a multiple entry visa for Australia to do this, or whether a single entry visa would do.

 

So I don't think that you need to be scared about these things. If they affected you, you'd be aware of them.

 

Thanks guys. I will stop worrying about that. I hope those poor people finally caught up with their cruise ship.

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Interesting posts...

 

1) I think above posters are correct. My thoughts of problem would have been addressed if they had stayed on board in Russia are not technically correct. Since you did exit Schengen area, you do need multiple entry visa for Schengen countries.

 

2) Don't know why this was not caught upfront by RCL at the time of initial boarding

 

3) Yes, I would be p**ed too but this family was all cheery and were taking all on as if it were part of experience of traveling to foreign countries. Wish we all had that type of attitude. They even paid for their own transport and hotels which increased significantly when Helsinki was skipped by LoS unexpectedly.

 

4) Luckily for all of us in so-called white countries, we don't have to deal with Visa issues for typical travel. It seems to be big nightmare for nationals from many African, Latin and Asian countries. Bureaucracy can sometime get really stupidly ridiculous some times (Just watch Obama's embarrassment this morning when he found his country on ethically and morally wrong end of PR on visa issue while calling up man elected by the largest voters in the world in the history of mankind)

 

My rule of thumb is when doubtful visa complications are involved, it s best not to undertake the trip because you never know what hidden issue can show up

Edited by hal2008
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Australians are not required to have a Schengen VISA

http://www.immihelp.com/visas/schengenvisa/requirements-exemptions.html

 

You do not need a VISA for Russia if you use a ship's tour or pre arrange a tour with a licensed Russian Guide

 

If you want to DIY then you must have a VISA for Russia

 

Technically, that is true but since shuttle from St Peter line counts as "tour", you can easily do SPB DIY at very low cost. (provided you take St Peterline boat from HEL, TLL or STK).

 

This being regular cruise board, I guess most visitors here do not consider that option.

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2) Don't know why this was not caught upfront by RCL at the time of initial boarding

 

3) Yes, I would be p**ed too but this family was all cheery and were taking all on as if it were part of experience of traveling to foreign countries.

This might support the theory that the family agreed to leave the ship in Tallinn and to rejoin in Helsinki, which would be a solution that complied with a single-entry Schengen visa, as an alternative to the ship refusing them carriage completely.
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Technically, that is true but since shuttle from St Peter line counts as "tour", you can easily do SPB DIY at very low cost. (provided you take St Peterline boat from HEL, TLL or STK).

 

This being regular cruise board, I guess most visitors here do not consider that option.

 

I think it is only an option for people from Scandinavia I would read up on the people who can & cannot use the VISA FREE entry

Edited by LHT28
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That's exactly my understanding of the situation.

As Hal's post, most Europeans, North Americans & Antipodeans don't need a visa to visit any of the Schengen countries - but those who do would need a multi -entry rather than a single-entry because SPB was a port between Schengen countries.

 

Russian authorities don't seem to be concerned about who's on the ship, they only inspect & stamp the passports of those who go ashore. So if the unfortunate family had stayed on the ship in SPB it's probable that no-one would have been any the wiser.

 

While I agree with the first part of the assessment, I think your second statement is possible, but not necessarily that likely.

 

Witness the hold-up just yesterday of a Celebrity ship in another Russian port, as border officials requested all pax present themselves before it could depart.

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While I agree with the first part of the assessment, I think your second statement is possible, but not necessarily that likely.

 

Witness the hold-up just yesterday of a Celebrity ship in another Russian port, as border officials requested all pax present themselves before it could depart.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2042688

A very interesting thread, but not really related to this incident, which is about Schengen visas & nothing really to do with Russia.

 

The background suggests that this is specific to the one port of Petropavlovsk - which I'd never heard of, but apparently is on the Kamchatka peninsula, near Japan.

 

All passengers on that Celebrity cruise were required, unusually & without ample notice, to present their passports before the ship would be cleared to depart. Unlike visas, everyone on the ship has to have a passport regardless of whether they go ashore and the hold-up was down to a handful who hadn't presented theirs.

Perhaps immigration were looking for someone in particular such as a wanted person, perhaps there had been an incident ashore, perhaps something more sinister such as suspected spies or activists. Or perhaps it was just plain bloody-mindedness on the part of one bad-tempered bureaucratic official who'd had a row with his wife that morning.

According to the thread this has happened before in the same port, so it seems un-related to the current political situation.

 

Something similar happened to a P&O ship a couple of years ago at a west-coast US port, the port-of-call visit was wrecked by zealous immigration officers who caused such a delay that going ashore was abandoned by many passengers.

No doubt the same has happened from time to time in the UK & elsewhere in the world.

 

Such things are the lot of being a cruise passenger ;)

 

As a by-the-by, yes the Russian visa regulations are relaxed for ferry passengers arriving in St Pete's, and I don't think the passenger's nationality is relevant. But for ferries travelling in the opposite direction presumably the Schengen visa requirements still apply on arrival in Estonia, Finland & Sweden

 

JB :)

Edited by John Bull
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The background suggests that this is specific to the one port of Petropavlovsk - which I'd never heard of, but apparently is on the Kamchatka peninsula, near Japan.
And Russia can be very sensitive about the Kamchatka peninsula.
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I ran into a family who were off-loaded in Tallinn (due to Russian Visa Issue) and were asked to re-board in Helsinki by RCL. However they got email message that RCL will skip Helsinki this week which was surprising since sea were calm. was a nice balmy sunny day without winds.

 

Trying to find out the details from RCL (4 phone calls, each with 15 min hold) and they are clueless. Trying to see if anyone has posted anything on any of the boards and google seach does find something but that link leads to dead end.

 

Any suggestion where one can find this info "Why was Helsinki port was skipped by RCL this week"?

 

(Port of Helsinki could not answer either)

 

Just got back from this cruise. Have answered your question with the reason we were given by one of the navigating officers (not hotel staff). http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1972516

It may have been balmy with calm seas in Helsinki but the wind, when we were due to leave SPB and the following morning, was very strong and the sea moderately rough. It became calm towards evening.

Anni

Edited by Travelanni
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