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Everything Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe" - Budapest to Bucharest


Peregrina651
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"Were ATMs easy to find during the cruise, on the excursions? I'd really rather not pay the high fees of trying to get a small amount of the various currencies before I leave but I would still like to buy postcards and the like along the way. Would vendors accept euros or dollars? (Sometimes street vendors will but I wouldn't expect the retailers to do so, so it is nice to know where to expect it and where not--to avoid insulting anyone)."

 

ATMs are in the lobbies of the hotels in Budapest and Bucharest, or very close by....

 

CC was having some issue last week and the quote button wasn't working correctly, as you can see from the sample above where the member used plain quotation marks to mark the text. Yes, it is a pain when the servers are having issues. BUT, lucky for us, there is another way to get CC to put quoted text in a blue box--and it is very easy to do. It won't tell you who you are quoting but it will give you the box.

 

Copy and paste the text you want to quote and then highlight it. Then click the quote.gifbutton on the formatting bar. CC will insert the proper html commands around your text and it will appear in a blue box when you hit 'submit reply.'

 

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Peregrina,

We found the best price on our paprika at a small store where we docked in Kalosca. It was only a departure point for our tour, but we had some time beforehand to shop at this store. He had a nice selection of goods and so we went ahead and got our paprika and some other things there. My friend and I looked at the prices in the Central Market in Budapest and what we paid was a bit better. Also, he told us to put the paprika in our checked luggage, not our carryon. Ours was the powdered, not the paste, so not sure why, but I sure didn't want it questioned at security, so I complied. No issues. Ours came with a little painted spoon. Those to whom I gave this for gifts loved it.

 

Becki

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P.S. As noted above, on one day of your cruise, you will visit Kalocsa, Hungary, where you will see a performance of traditional Puszta horsemanship. There is a little gift shop there that has paprika with the little hand painted wooden spoons, and some of the paprika bags have the horsemen painted on them. It's a very nice momento. As I remember, Kalocsa is also one area where Hungarian paprika is manufactured, so it is a natural place to buy it. Also, be sure to check out the professional photos taken at the horsemanship performance because you may find a nice picture of you!

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Peregrina,

We found the best price on our paprika at a small store where we docked in Kalosca. It was only a departure point for our tour, but we had some time beforehand to shop at this store. He had a nice selection of goods and so we went ahead and got our paprika and some other things there. My friend and I looked at the prices in the Central Market in Budapest and what we paid was a bit better. Also, he told us to put the paprika in our checked luggage, not our carryon. Ours was the powdered, not the paste, so not sure why, but I sure didn't want it questioned at security, so I complied. No issues. Ours came with a little painted spoon. Those to whom I gave this for gifts loved it.

 

Becki

 

There is even a Paprika Museum in Kalosca. I was reading about it the other day when I started to do research on the ports of call.

 

paprika_bent_sm.jpg

 

Kalosca is also home to Kalosca Porcelain.

 

 

pic361big.jpg

 

 

Becki, do you have a picture of what you bought so I know what to look for? It looks like I am going to be have to be careful when it comes to buying paprika because we aren't planning on checked luggage and we won't be able to buy it in the airport after we pass through security because we leave from Bucharest.

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Peregrina,

We found the best price on our paprika at a small store where we docked in Kalosca. It was only a departure point for our tour, but we had some time beforehand to shop at this store. He had a nice selection of goods and so we went ahead and got our paprika and some other things there. My friend and I looked at the prices in the Central Market in Budapest and what we paid was a bit better. Also, he told us to put the paprika in our checked luggage, not our carryon. Ours was the powdered, not the paste, so not sure why, but I sure didn't want it questioned at security, so I complied. No issues. Ours came with a little painted spoon. Those to whom I gave this for gifts loved it.

 

Becki

 

Becki sounds like we bought the same one! And maybe in the same shop because Kalocsa is where I bought my paprika too! I bought single ones with just mild paprika for most of my friends and family (with the little spoon) and I bought a triple pack for me and my son because we tend to be more spice lovers. It is excellent quality. I did put it in my checked luggage, mainly because it's unbreakable and I had a some crystal wrapped in bubble wrap in my back pack.

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Thank you, Peregrina, for your explanation for how to do quotes on CC. I never noticed that button, but have used quotation marks not knowing the quote would be blue boxed. icon12.gif (I found the smiley buttons, too!)

 

You're welcome. Nobody ever explains all these cool things that you can do with your posts (if you wish). Sometimes it nice to know that there is another way to do things.

 

 

There are a couple of other handy tricks on the formatting bar:

 

createlink.gif lets you create a "hot link", Paprika Museum, so that you share a link without interrupting the flow of the paragraph.

 

insertimage.gif Let's you insert an image from another website into a post without cutting and pasting the whole image into the text box.

 

On the other hand, code.gif, html.gif and php.gif are above my pay grade. I have no idea how they work or what they are used for.

 

BTW, I just learned that there is a 6 image limit -- and that includes smilies

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Becki sounds like we bought the same one! And maybe in the same shop because Kalocsa is where I bought my paprika too! I bought single ones with just mild paprika for most of my friends and family (with the little spoon) and I bought a triple pack for me and my son because we tend to be more spice lovers. It is excellent quality. I did put it in my checked luggage, mainly because it's unbreakable and I had a some crystal wrapped in bubble wrap in my back pack.

 

 

Hydrokitty,

 

I bought a triple pack with 2 regular and one spicy. They all had spoons with 'Kalocsa' and flowers painted on them. I gave them all away as gifts. Nice to give, as they were very packable and those I gave them to are people who cook.

 

Becki

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Peregrina,

 

I really don't know that you have to worry about putting the paprika in checked baggage. But, you might want to check the TSA website. It's a powder, and that is not a regulated thing to bring onboard, like lotions, gels or liquids.

Here's a photo similar to what I got.

963507653_Paprikapackage.jpg.7f1893f0c6215f691ac759a3f742b73d.jpg

Paprika.jpg.e770556d49796906ffa4ddf8c1ed85e1.jpg

Edited by rjscott
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Peregrina,

 

I really don't know that you have to worry about putting the paprika in checked baggage. But, you might want to check the TSA website. It's a powder, and that is not a regulated thing to bring onboard, like lotions, gels or liquids.

Here's a photo similar to what I got.

 

I bought the one with the green, white and red for myself and one son. Did you buy them at the Hungarian cowboy show? That's where I got mine! I was on the Vantage Gateway to the Black Sea from August to Sept, 2014. I don't think the powder would be a problem with TSA, although I think poster was talking about the paste, and I can see that being refused. I packed mine in my checked luggage because it was unbreakable and my backpack was filled with a beautiful Bohemian crystal vase I bought in Prague. :D

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Peregrina,

 

I really don't know that you have to worry about putting the paprika in checked baggage. But, you might want to check the TSA website. It's a powder, and that is not a regulated thing to bring onboard, like lotions, gels or liquids.

Here's a photo similar to what I got.

 

Thank you for the photos. Very helpful.

 

Here's the problem--and where the confusion is. We try to travel very light and don't plan on checking any bags unless forced to by the airline. We try to have only carry-on bags and so we have to be careful of what we buy. Even though the packaging you show is just a cellophane bag, there must be a reason why the vendor told you to put it in your checked luggage. As for the tins, it might be because the tins count toward your 3oz containers limit.

 

I understand about liquids and gels. However, sometimes it isn't really the state of the material in the container but the size of the container itself. Back when the three ounce rule was first put into place I heard an explanation of why three ounces and it had to do with the amount of explosive that could be put into the container and how much damage that amount of explosive could do. That's why you can't bring a 6oz tube of toothpaste even it only contains 3 oz.

 

The store you bought from gave you very good advice about putting it in your checked luggage. Not all countries follow the same exact guidelines as TSA. Some are more strict. Some countries don't let you carry drinks on board even if they were bought after the security check point. I went through one airport that had a collection of confiscated nail clippers and manicure scissors, which are legit under TSA regs.

Edited by Peregrina651
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Thanks to everyone on this thread. I had opened a thread for our October 4 sailing of the Viking Embla from Budapest to Bucharest, and nobody contributed any information, so this thread has been a big help to me. We arrive in Budapest October 2, booked private tours on the 3rd and 4th, and then do the rest of the trip with Viking including the Transylvania extension in Bucharest. I am really excited to start.

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Thanks to everyone on this thread. I had opened a thread for our October 4 sailing of the Viking Embla from Budapest to Bucharest, and nobody contributed any information, so this thread has been a big help to me. We arrive in Budapest October 2, booked private tours on the 3rd and 4th, and then do the rest of the trip with Viking including the Transylvania extension in Bucharest. I am really excited to start.

 

 

Because river boats/ships are so much smaller than cruise ships, roll calls just don't work as well. Average participation rate in all roll calls ocean and river hovers around 2 percent of cabins. On a cruise ship with 1000 cabins, that is 20 cabins. On a river cruiser with 100 cabins, that is two cabins. Sadly, the odds are against roll calls for river cruises.

 

IMHO, the best threads for river cruising are threads by itinerary found in the River Cruising forum that are all encompassing and not limited by date. The best example is the Viking China thread, ongoing since around 2006. The current Viking China thread is actually Part 2. Part 1 had to be closed a couple of years ago because because, at some 400 pages of posts, it was bigger than the servers could handle. Maybe this thread will take off like the Viking China thread --but only time will tell.

 

So, when you get home, please come back and share your experiences with us and answer questions for those who are about to sail. Even better, give us live updates as you travel. Live updates don't have to be long post detailing everything you did, just capture the highlights (or lowlights) of the day.

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Peregrina,

On your ? about cash/ credit cards, we did find that American Express was not accepted as widely as Visa and MasterCard, especially as you begin your cruise. Also, in Bucharest, and possibly a couple more places, if you use a credit card, you will need to input your PIN for that card when you sign for the transaction. Our friends did not know the PIN for their chg card, so we had to treat a couple of times. :D.

 

Becki

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Peregrina,

On your ? about cash/ credit cards, we did find that American Express was not accepted as widely as Visa and MasterCard, especially as you begin your cruise. Also, in Bucharest, and possibly a couple more places, if you use a credit card, you will need to input your PIN for that card when you sign for the transaction. Our friends did not know the PIN for their chg card, so we had to treat a couple of times. :D.

 

Becki

 

Recently returned from Eastern Europe,including Bucharest. No problem with ATM's, except in Prague where it only dispensed large bills. Also no problem using my Capital One card in any of the countries from Czech Republic to Romania. One caveat: when using your credit card if the merchant offers to convert your purchase to dollars for you, say No, thank you. They will convert using the highest allowable rate, while the bank will use the current and some like Cap. One won't charge any conversion fees.

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Peregrina,

On your ? about cash/ credit cards, we did find that American Express was not accepted as widely as Visa and MasterCard, especially as you begin your cruise. Also, in Bucharest, and possibly a couple more places, if you use a credit card, you will need to input your PIN for that card when you sign for the transaction. Our friends did not know the PIN for their chg card, so we had to treat a couple of times. :D.

 

Becki

 

All of this is good to know.

 

I always thought that PIN numbers were for cash advances against the credit card and since I have no wish for high rate loans, I've always made sure that there is no PIN attached to my credit card. Even my ATM card is strictly for ATM withdrawals and is not a debit card.

 

So, here's my question for Hyrdokitty and anyone else who has been there already. Do your experiences with your credit cards reflect Becki's? Were there times whne you needed to supply a PIN? If you did need to use a PIN were those transactions posted as purchases and not cash advances?

 

I just like knowing these things in advance so I won't be surprised.

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All of this is good to know.

 

I always thought that PIN numbers were for cash advances against the credit card and since I have no wish for high rate loans, I've always made sure that there is no PIN attached to my credit card. Even my ATM card is strictly for ATM withdrawals and is not a debit card.

 

So, here's my question for Hyrdokitty and anyone else who has been there already. Do your experiences with your credit cards reflect Becki's? Were there times whne you needed to supply a PIN? If you did need to use a PIN were those transactions posted as purchases and not cash advances?

 

I just like knowing these things in advance so I won't be surprised.

 

I can only speak to my own personal experience. I used ATM's with a bank card and pin, not a debit card, and had no trouble other than as stated before, in Prague some of the ATM's only spit out large bills, which was annoying. As for purchases, I used my Capital One, has a chip but no pin is required, and it was accepted everywhere. Only caveat that bears repeating because it happened so often: do NOT let the merchant calculate conversion from local currency to US $.....they will give you the worst rate imaginable!!! If you have time, I don't like to advertise, but I would recommend a Cap. One card or some other card that does not charge foreign transaction/conversion fees. Countries I was in this past June/July are: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaaria.

In none of those countries did I need a PIN to make a purchase or bank withdrawal. I did not use a credit card for ATM's nor did I use a debit card anywhere.

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Peregrina,

I also have just an ATM for cash withdrawals from my bank acct at home, rather than a debit card. And I do agree with Hydrokitty about the Capital One Visa, although our American Express card also recently dropped the fee for foreign transactions.

There were a few times in Bucharest at restaurants , where, after they swiped our credt card, they then asked us to put in our PIN. This did not happen at every restaurant, but it did happen at least 3 times. You can request to have a PIN for your card(s) from the customer service #. The reason some merchants need that PIN is Europe is on the 'chip & pin' system for credit cards, while we are still on the swipe & sign. They will accommodate our swipe & sign cards most of the time, but some will require the PIN. Keying in your PIN does not change the transaction from a purchase to a cash advance.

Hope that clarifies it for you.

Becki

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Peregrina,

I also have just an ATM for cash withdrawals from my bank acct at home, rather than a debit card. And I do agree with Hydrokitty about the Capital One Visa, although our American Express card also recently dropped the fee for foreign transactions.

There were a few times in Bucharest at restaurants , where, after they swiped our credt card, they then asked us to put in our PIN. This did not happen at every restaurant, but it did happen at least 3 times. You can request to have a PIN for your card(s) from the customer service #. The reason some merchants need that PIN is Europe is on the 'chip & pin' system for credit cards, while we are still on the swipe & sign. They will accommodate our swipe & sign cards most of the time, but some will require the PIN. Keying in your PIN does not change the transaction from a purchase to a cash advance.

Hope that clarifies it for you.

Becki

 

Thank you, Becki and H-Kitty. Very, very helpful info. It is giving me a very clear picture on the banking/payment situation.

 

I'm already a CapOne customer and always travel with their cards. I always pay in the local currency. BTW, cards charge a foreign transaction fee and not a conversion fee, so having a merchant charge you in dollars will not avoid the foreign transaction surcharge for cards that have them. In fact, if you let the merchant make the conversion for you, it is a double whammy--very unfavorable conversion rate plus the percentage foreign transaction surcharge.

 

 

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Using American credit cards with the European Chip and PIN system is currently a process filled with Voodoo. We just got back from Spain. We had opened a new account specifically to get Barclay's Arrival Plus card, which their swear has the full Chip and PIN technology. Guess what? It never worked that way. We were always able to use it, but it defaulted to Chip and Signature and the little portable machine printed out a signature slip before we had any chance to enter the PIN. Luckily we didn't need to use any automated kiosks, because that is where Chip and Signature won't work.

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Thank you, Becki and H-Kitty. Very, very helpful info. It is giving me a very clear picture on the banking/payment situation.

 

I'm already a CapOne customer and always travel with their cards. I always pay in the local currency. BTW, cards charge a foreign transaction fee and not a conversion fee, so having a merchant charge you in dollars will not avoid the foreign transaction surcharge for cards that have them. In fact, if you let the merchant make the conversion for you, it is a double whammy--very unfavorable conversion rate plus the percentage foreign transaction surcharge.

 

 

 

Thanks for the information on conversion vs. foreign transaction fees.....I always thought it was a matter of semantics, didn't know there was an actual difference! But the bottom line is the same, never let the merchant convert to US$ for you.

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Using American credit cards with the European Chip and PIN system is currently a process filled with Voodoo. We just got back from Spain. We had opened a new account specifically to get Barclay's Arrival Plus card, which their swear has the full Chip and PIN technology. Guess what? It never worked that way. We were always able to use it, but it defaulted to Chip and Signature and the little portable machine printed out a signature slip before we had any chance to enter the PIN. Luckily we didn't need to use any automated kiosks, because that is where Chip and Signature won't work.

 

There's a thread on FlyerTalk devoted to this card. As I understand it, this card always tries Chip & Signature first. If the terminal won't accept C&S, then it switches and asks for your PIN. Several people have reported successfully using this card at unattended kiosks.

 

Another tip for this card - once you set up the PIN on the Barclays website, it still has to be updated on the chip. This can only happen the next time the card is inserted into a terminal that reads the chip. Walmart has updated all their POS terminals to accept the chip cards so the update can be done in this country. If you don't have a Walmart nearby, you should call Barclays for advice.

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Peregrina, which 2016 Midnight Sun cruise are you taking? I'm taking the Princess 2015 Sun cruise. How funny that our itineraries are the same, just one year apart!

 

Mackenzie, it is a small world on Cruise Critic. I've already met a cousin's ex-wife, who I had met only once 40 years ago a a funeral, and I've met a woman who went to college with my next-door neighbor, many, many years ago.

 

We are going with Viking. I showed my husband the itinerary; he said, "WOW! Book it." I called the travel agent. We are traveling with my brother-in-law. Viking has an add-on to Iceland which we are still deciding about.

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