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Posts Tagged ‘Baltic’

A Very Russian Tuesday

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

Russia is intense. We’ve been preparing ourselves for that fact since we got to the Baltic, however, I didn’t realize how intense they are. Every port has different documentation that they require for ships and their passengers to arrive and exit the vessel. As each day we are in a different country, the requirements can change drastically from day to day. The first Baltic cruise was pretty stressful in this regard, now that we have a few under our belt, we’re feeling more confident and we know what to expect. Some ports we don’t need anything other than our ID to get off. Some require passports. In Russia, if you aren’t one of a few excepted nationalities, you can’t get off the ship without a visa. Some people don’t consider these things before getting onboard. Fortunately for us, many companies are authorized to offer these visas. So if you’re on a shore excursion, or a private shuttle, as Alex and I took last time we were in Russia, you’re fine. But if you just try to wander off the ship, no sir, back you go. Another reason it’s better to just get your excursions through Carnival, then you’re guaranteed to have a visa, and you’re guaranteed not to miss the ship. Last Russia we had some guests on private tours who didn’t get visas, and we had to try to scramble last minute to get ahold of their excursion companies and try to get them visas and make sure they don’t miss their trips, and so on and so forth. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about the excursion that Alex and I went on last Russian with the dancers and some of the production staff.
But first…let me tell you that I grew up attending musical theatre and acting in plays and have always been in love with the stage. Some of my most cherished memories are going on a girls trip with my mom, grandma and sister to Vancouver, getting dressed up going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Phantom of the Opera (only time in the history of the world that I cried in a theatre), the Nutcracker, and more. We used to put on plays in our backyard. At the end of the day, I’m really just a show missing a stage. So of course, when I found out that I would be in Russia, my goal in life became to see a real live Russian ballet!!!!! Our first Baltic cruise, I waited eagerly for the first Shore Excursion booklet, and when they came to the desk, I leafed through it like a kid with a Sears catalogue at Christmas time. Low and behold, a Russian Ballet excursion!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would be mine!!! Last week, our production dancers and singers all went to the ballet and happened to have two spots available, of course Alex and I jumped at the chance to go. What show, you ask? Only one of the most pivotal ballets ever choreographed, with an accompanying score by a Russian composer (whose statue sat just outside the theatre) by the name of Tchaikovsky …SWAN LAKE!!

As there were 17 of us, we had a shuttle bus all to ourselves into the heart of St. Petersburg (about 20 minutes from the pier) where we found our seats and waited for the show to begin. The backdrops were stunning, the costumes ornate, and the dancers breathtaking. These dancers start training from the age of 4, and are accepted into the dance academy at 10. They eat, sleep, and breathe dance. The girl who danced the part of the swan queen was flawless. I was inspired and moved the entire way through. During the first intermission we sipped complementary glasses of champagne and felt very elegant indeed. Check that one off the bucket list, what an amazing evening!!!
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Baltic Prep

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on June 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Preparing for The Baltic

Just as we managed to get settled (as settled as we possibly could be) in the Mediterranean, we now have to prepare to head to the Baltic ports. Obviously that is super exciting for all of us. However it’s also a little bit stressful as we now have to learn everything there is to know about another 12 new ports. Just to make it a little bit trickier, Carnival hasn’t been to the Baltic either ever or in a very long time. Therefore we have very little port information and most of us have never been to these ports. When you spend 6 months doing the same ports over and over you memorize the ports and exactly how many steps it takes to get to each place and where the best restaurants are. On this route, we are only just starting to get really familiar with the ports and now we’re changing them!! It’s a very difficult position to be in as guest services because all the guests expect us to know everything about everything. The first Med cruise was a disaster, I had no idea where anything is or where a good coffee shop is. Now if you ask me about Malaga or Livorno, or Rome, I can tell you my favorite restaurant, what corner is worst for pickpockets, what time the train to Pomeii leaves, and which side of the shuttle to sit on to get the best view of some random monument that I’ve grown randomly attached to.  And now we have to get used to all new ports. Fortunately, our port agents in every port are very knowledgeable and helpful. They are always happy to answer our emails with informative tidbits. Plus google is a wonderful thing! So we’ve been preparing and preparing and now it’s almost time!! We are currently on our repositioning cruise that will end up in Dover!! I haven’t had much time to get really excited about it, as we’ve had a lot on our plates, however I know it will be a thrill to wake up in the UK!! I can’t wait to explore all our new ports and to share it all with you!!