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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:37 pm #1
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Cruise Tours from ship of St. Petersburg

Has anyone taken a cruise tour ship of St. Petersburg from the cruise ship. What was it like? I know I would need a visa if I tried to go on my own. How close to attractions in St. Petersburg do the cruises ships dock? Thanks.
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Old Oct 28, 17, 2:15 pm #2
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Originally Posted by jonsail View Post
Has anyone taken a cruise tour ship of St. Petersburg from the cruise ship. What was it like? I know I would need a visa if I tried to go on my own. How close to attractions in St. Petersburg do the cruises ships dock? Thanks.
You should do a google search of the subject. I remember recently reading a thread ( not sure it was FT) about this very question and almost all responses were that in most cities it is fine to do a tour on your own....but NOT St. Petersburg. ( can't remember why)
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Old Oct 28, 17, 6:01 pm #3

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There is a lot of information here:

http://cruiseportwiki.com/StPetersburg

But I was wondering, won't you need a visa just to go on the cruise? I can't imagine them checking each person as to whether or not they get to get off.

I did visit St. Petersburg on my own a number of years ago. Flew from Moscow and took a train back. Little old lady and I was by myself. I don't remember having any particular problems doing what I wanted to do. Although I tend to do a huge amount of research and planning ahead of time. Maps, bus schedules, guide books, web research, etc.

The information with your cruise should give you more specifics as to where they actually dock.
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Old Oct 28, 17, 10:59 pm #4
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If you are on a cruise to SPB, assuming you haven't arranged a Russian visa, you will need to be on a "tour" of some type to have a visa. The tour company -- whether it is your cruise line or a land-based company -- will arrange your visa for purposes of the tour, and the tour only. The only other exception is if you have tickets to the World Cup 2018 (which we do ).

In terms of SPB excursions, there are many of them. I would suggest reviewing: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/foru...prune=-1&f=192
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Old Oct 29, 17, 10:29 am #5

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nnn's comments about the Russian visa sound logical.

If you do decide to get a visa on your own, they are fairly expensive. Also can be complicated. I opted to just pay one of those companies to do it for me.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 12:05 am #6

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If you are a US citizen, and you go to (and depart, within 72 hrs) St. P by cruise, you do not need a visa. You technically do have to sign up with a "tour" from the cruise line. However, with St. P, the default "tour" is basically a (somewhat overpriced) shuttle bus ride from boat-St. Isaacs and back. It isn't a terribly long ride from the dock. 20 min or so, maybe a little less. I did this a year and a half ago. I think the cruise line probably does offer real city tours, but I wasn't interested in them, so I can't really comment.
But anyway, as long as you get the shuttle "tour" then you can do any other tour, guided or not, as you like. It's pretty easy to hit the highlights on your own. Buy your Hermitage tickets online in advance!
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Old Nov 3, 17, 9:00 am #7

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I can highly recommend redoctober.us - we used them to set up a private tour of St. P and they ended up assigning us a university professor who knew how to get into venues and avoid the lines. We were met at the ship by him and a van & driver (we were four couples who set this up before our Baltic cruise). They also have plenty of non-private tours. Any tours with them do not require a visa.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 4:12 pm #8
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Originally Posted by physics View Post
You technically do have to sign up with a "tour" from the cruise line.
FWIW, you don't have to arrange the tour through the cruise line. You can also arrange a tour though a Russian land-based tour company. There are many of them that get good reviews. Check cruisecritic.com.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubesl View Post
Any tours with them do not require a visa.
You technically do get a visa when you use a Russian tour agency. It's just that the tour agency handles the visa paperwork for you for purposes of the tour. The real benefit is that you don't have to worry about getting your own visa.
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Old Yesterday, 3:04 pm #9

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FWIW, I've done this twice - once in St. Petersburg, once in Korsakov. (Ship's tours both times.) My passport only has entry and exit stamps, not full-blown visas.

Now, I don't know what strings were being pulled behind the scenes. Maybe the cruise line or its local partner were filing visa apps for me. In any case, it's certainly not the long, convoluted process that obtaining a standard Russian tourist visa would be.

(In fact, this loophole is exactly what got me on my first-ever cruise, after a lifetime of swearing I'd never take one. It was the only feasible way to visit St. Petersburg on short notice. Turned out to be great fun, and I've been on 3 subsequent cruises since then. Thanks, Russian bureaucracy! )

Also, although I personally did full tours, it is indeed possible to purchase a phony "tour" consisting of nothing but a short shuttle bus to/from the dock. Great for those of you who would like to spend the day on your own. (To answer your original question, my RCCL ship was docked at a commercial dock about 15-20 minutes by bus from the city center.)

Last edited by Gregory Nelson; Yesterday at 3:11 pm
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Old Yesterday, 7:31 pm #10

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SPG

Our cruise that visited St Petersburg was in port two nights so we were able to have two full days of tours. We also had the option of extending the tour into the first evening. Booking with SPG they take care of the visas so no problem there. I highly recommend this company.

https://spb-tours.com/
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Old Today, 10:25 am #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by physics View Post
You technically do have to sign up with a "tour" from the cruise line.
That's a lie that the cruise companies perpetuate. You can sign up with any company you want, and all the legitimate ones will arrange your visa.
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