St. Petersburg in Russia is probably an overnight stay on your Baltic Cruise
This is an overview that will help you figure St Petersburg out, because there is a lot on offer
The first thing that hits you about Russia is that it is just the same as everywhere else, people and places and the Roman old religions form part of their history. It is not a strange place the cold war may have convinced previous generations. Sure there is passport control, but of all the Baltic stops we were also told to carry passports in Belgium and Germany, which are / were supposed to be one with the UK / Europe. Those of us that cruise regularly will know that in most countries around the world, some in extreme corners, require only the cruise card. Not for those European partners.
Whilst Russia needs a visa to visit, if on a cruise ship you take an excursion from the ship into St Petersburg, at this moment that allows you a visa waiver. Then once the coach drops you off you are remarkably free to explore. Immigration require seeing the tour ticket. Check with your tour operator, but I cannot see this arrangement changing.
The tour company gives you a very simple card to carry whether ‘guided’ or ‘on your own’, which says in Russian the equivalent of, ‘I am lost, please ring this number’. That goes to the tour operator’s office and they will get someone to you. Given the huge number of tours all over the city, like Uber taxi’s, there will be someone near you. It is well organised and visitor friendly.
Passport control in and out is a little longer than landing at say an airport in Portugal, but not much, and far less intrusive than arriving in India. So, it is not much of an inconvenience.
EMPERORS AND ASSASSINATIONS
The tours are all offered to the cruise companies by the local operator, so they are the same even if under different names. There is a lot to see in St Petersburg and the Emperors and Assassinations tour is an old favourite because it rounds a part of the city and gets to the Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood. Walking you down through the Fields of Mars to the Canal in the lands which Peter The Great took from Sweden, you come up through the fountains and statues and arrive at the Mikhailovsky Palace before going into the church on a group ticket. The coach is collected in Art Square by the tourist office which has a lap dancing club below it and is surrounded by theatres offering tourist shows, concerts and Ballet Evenings. Below is an overview film of a very comprehensive walking tour.
Please beware of pickpockets especially in the church. Beware of people offering you tours and leaflets and then a crowd forming round you… that will be goodbye wallet.
In addition there are many Palaces and Art galleries. St Petersburg is a place you will probably re-visit.
- 1. The Audio Pen is a spoken commentary hearing aid, and it is highly recommended.
- Take something to eat and drink or schedule a stop, the day is long and can be tiring.
- Do not carry a wallet or bag you do not need, do not talk to hawkers or people handing out leaflets unless you are aware of the situation and someone is watching your back. Pickpockets work with leaflet givers and book sellers.
- Walking Shoes.
- Share your pictures with us and share these films with other cruisers. Send them to us in comments.
- Plan your Baltic Cruise, there is a lot to do.
Please take a look at the other excursions here in St Petersburg. You have to go on an excursion and show the excursion ticket and meet your tour at the dock in order to avoid the need for a visa. The tours we have covered are, St Petersburg Explorer, Emperors and Assassinations, Peter and Paul Fort, and Russian Ballet Evening.
Many operators take cruises to the Baltic, almost all will go to St Petersburg. Doris Visits allows you to SEE THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA. We have videos of many of the cruise stops you might make from Miami to Tahiti, from Bruges to St Maarten. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share.