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trapsma Apr 17th, 2008 04:49 PM

Carnival's scare letter
Well...I got my letter from Carnival Cruise Line letting me know I'll need to get a visa if I use a tour company other than theirs. Also, a sneaky "anticipate guests with individual Russian Tourist Visas being able to disembark at approximately 9:30AM" - what an outfit.

djkbooks Apr 17th, 2008 05:57 PM

This is probably not what you are presuming.

When we went to Russia with Viking Rivers, we learned that so long as you are on tour with your tour group no visa is required. But, if you want to go off on your own, then a visa is required. We got visas because we hired a private guide for two of our free days in St. Petersburg.

So, it's probably not Carnival, just requirements when visiting Russia.

Viking sent forms for a recommended visa support agency, but we were not obligated to use that one. We did use that one, though, because the price was reasonable and figured their recommendation was probably one that was reliable and efficient (and it was).

jacketwatch Apr 18th, 2008 04:42 AM

Actually there are several Russian tour cos. including Red October, Alla and Denrus just to name a few whose services come with the necessary VISA included in their price. So they provide the sort of VISA you need. The ships tours aren't exclusive of this type of temporary VISA. If CCL told you otherwise then I think this is misleading to say the least. We were in St. Petes last June and chose to tour with the ship (Star Princess) but met several passengers who chose outside Russian cos. No worries. They were quite pleased.

FainaAgain Apr 18th, 2008 08:55 AM

Please double-check the requirements and err on the side of caution. Russia has new rules for tourists now.

When I was doing a search for cruises, on Princess' website (I think... or it may've been another major cruise line) it says, even if you don't plan on going ashore, you must have a russian visa.

There are also additional documents for US citizens born in the former USSR, posting this just in case somebody is like me, "from the other side of the iron curtain".

trapsma Apr 18th, 2008 08:59 AM

Yes, Jacketwatch, thanks. Percy has posted quite a bit about his tour with Alla. I was kind of expecting the letter, from what others have said, but it certainly is not a nice way to start a vacation. I also received a long letter from DenRus which fortifies its info on their web site concerning these letters. Also, the DenRus forums seem to have hundreds of people looking for tour shares on their outside tours. My travel agent called Carnival and was told I would be able to leave the ship, on my time, as long as it didn't interfere with their shore excursions disembarkation.

trapsma Apr 18th, 2008 09:06 AM

FainaAgain, thanks for the information. This is another issue DenRus has spoken to. People have asked whether the Russian laws have changed, and the answer has been no. DenRus supplies the Visas, or I think they are part of the ticket. It seems that thousands of people from different lines use outside excursions.

FainaAgain Apr 18th, 2008 09:38 AM

Sorry I am not familiar with DenRus. My information comes from the russian embassy, travel visa (you can download the form, and it's now $131, yikes!)

isailtheseas Apr 18th, 2008 09:48 AM


With all do respect I know what you saw, but there is more to this story and this is a SCARE tactic done by the cruise ships.

I have been on 3 Baltic cruises and used a Private Tour each time.

The big private tour companies are Red October, DenRus and ALLA.

If you leave the ship on a shorex your visa is covered we all know that.

If you leave the ship on a private tour through a private tour company that has an agreement with the goverment to umbrella you in under thier tourism visa.

If you leave the ship on your own, our you hire a private guide whose company doesn't cover the visa THEN
you need to buy the visa in advance

EVERY SINGLE YEAR, the cruise lines send out a carefully crafted THREAT letter about this...and when you don't carefully read it word by word it can scare you into taking the ship sponsored shorex.

This topic has been discussed EXTENSIVELY on, under the port information and in roll calls. You might wander over there to put your mind at ease.

If you would like to see pictures of our Baltic cruise and read our information about the ports...take a look at our personal travel journal...

Bon Voyage!

FainaAgain Apr 18th, 2008 09:54 AM

TheSeas, I read your post. Thank you for information.

trapsma Apr 18th, 2008 11:09 AM

Isailtheseas, I read your itinerary and was quite impressed. Lots of good information. Faina, I was just on the Russian Embassy site, and it reads: "A completed visa application form (one per person) available at the Consulate or from travel agencies and visa services." Alla, Red October, and DenRus should qualify as travel agencies. It's true about Carnival's letter. I began reading it word for word, and it is definitely filled with tricky wording.

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