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Baltic Cruise: Managing multiple currencies and internet/mobile connections

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Apr 25th, 2018, 10:43 PM
  #1
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Baltic Cruise: Managing multiple currencies and internet/mobile connections

A group of us will soon be on our way to Copenhagen for an 11-day cruise of the Baltic. We'll port in Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. One concern is how best to obtain and manage the small amounts of cash needed for such things as souvenirs, lunch or snacks, drinks, and tips for tour guides during the brief stay in each port. We already have some leftover Euros from previous trips, so I think Germany and Estonia are covered.

What are the experiences of folks who have taken cruises in this region, and what would you recommend, for managing multiple currencies?

On a related note, the cruise line rates for internet seem high, and the connections are said to be very slow. Can anyone share what they have done to manage internet and mobile connections during the cruise?

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by Dave_Ohio; Apr 25th, 2018 at 10:45 PM. Reason: remove redundancy
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Apr 26th, 2018, 08:49 AM
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I did a Baltic cruise a bunch of years ago (2009?) and am doing another one this coming July. As far as the different currencies, you can use euros in Germany, Finland and Estonia.

On my last cruise, in Sweden and Denmark I didn't want to mess around with small bits of currency so I avoided situations where I needed cash and charged everything. Both port stops in Stockholm and Copenhagen we toured DIY so we didn't have to tip anyone.

In Russia I knew I would need cash because I wanted to stop at a kiosk to buy blini so I withdrew rubles from an ATM. The tour guides in Russia are used to being tipped in US dollars. I also gave them any leftover rubles I had that I hadn't spent.

On my upcoming cruise, for the currency I pretty much plan to do the same thing as before.

As far as the internet connections, I have never tried it before on a cruise. From what I've read on the cruise critic forums, what the ships now have is a vast improvement over what they used to have and it doesn't seem to be too bad (considering you're on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean). I'm probably going to get the unlimited internet package to share with my daughter on our upcoming cruise in July - it's mainly for my daughter - I figure if she has constant access to wifi to do her thing she won't hold the rest of us up when we get to port and she finds a free wifi spot. Plus it will be nice to be able to send the occasional picture to friends and family of our travels while we're gone.
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Apr 27th, 2018, 06:28 AM
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Unless the internet connect is absolutely critical, I avoid it on a ship as been very undependable, slow, and very expensive especially when you factor in how slow it is. Generally you can get free wifi when ashore at local bars and restaurants. I batched all our email so I only ten or fifteen minutes when ashore. Download all of the emails and read later on the ship.

As for cash, simply used local, bank owned ATMs to get a small amount of cash as need. Cheapest and easy way to do it. You can also get local currency on the ship -- you will pay a fee -- but it is handy also.
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Apr 27th, 2018, 08:48 AM
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I recall that most of our Baltic stops used Euros. In St. P the vendor from whom I bought the hand-carved and painted Santa said U.S. dollars would be great. Believe we took about $100 cash w us, and we always advance and get about 200E here at our bank, the small differential is worth it. Other than that, we used credit cards. We only took a cab in Oslo to the fabulous Vigeland Sculpture Park, most of the other cities we walked or were shuttled by our cruiseline. You can exchange currency on the cruiseship as well.

We have had TMobile for many years -- now both of our iPhone (smartphones) cost us only $60/month for coverage (new 2-phone senior rate -- hurray) , and overseas texting/messaging and internet is free. Makes travelling easy (and quite a bit cheaper).
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Apr 27th, 2018, 02:16 PM
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said U.S. dollars would be great
I bet. What exchange rate did you get?

Use ATMs, preferably with a card with no foreign conversion fee..
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Jun 6th, 2018, 02:02 PM
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UPDATE (I know that you all have been waiting for this.)

Here's what we ended up doing for currency:
In Oslo, we used credit cards for everything including the purchase of tram tickets along with snacks at a 7/11.
Germany, Estonia, Finland use Euros, which we supplemented at ATMs.
St. Petersburg, credit card, plus US dollars for about $50 of souvenirs. We tipped our tour guide with Euros.
Stockholm, credit cards, except a few souvenirs which were purchased with USD. The change, given in Swedish Kroner, was used to tip our guide.
Finally, we withdrew Danish Kronas from an ATM when we returned to Copenhagen.

Here's what we ended up doing for communications:
On Day 3, I purchased one-day's internet/wifi on the ship for $15 (vs. $121 for the ship's eleven-day package deal). This allowed catching up on emails, contacting excursion providers, and it unexpectedly left me with wifi access to Facebook and WhatsApp for the remainder of the cruise.
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Jun 6th, 2018, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for reporting back, Dave. I trust you had a wonderful trip!
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Jun 6th, 2018, 03:34 PM
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View of the Baltic Sea, between Warnemunde, Germany, and Tallinn, Estonia.
We had a nice trip, indeed. The weather was unusually mild throughout. The Baltic was like a mirror much of the time (photo, 9:45 PM, May 13). We encountered rain on two days, and then only briefly.

btw: I think I have the Swedish and Danish currencies mixed up, above. Denmark uses Krone, and Sweden uses Krona. The correct plurals are anybody's guess.
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Jun 8th, 2018, 08:11 AM
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I had the same experience when my family did the Baltic cruise~the sea was like glass!
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