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Visa requirements for cruise port in St. Petersberg,Russia

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Dec 15th, 2012, 01:31 PM
  #1
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Visa requirements for cruise port in St. Petersberg,Russia

I am a little confused as to the Visa requirements for St. Pete Russia. I am told that if i book a excursion via my cruise line then a visa is NOT needed. However if i plan to go independently i DO need one. Is this correct? If so i have heard that the visa is hard to get and expensive. How expensive? And what do people mean by difficult? Do i have to write a 100 page thesis on why i want to visit Russia?
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Dec 15th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Yes if you do go out on your own you need a visa. If you book a tour through the ship or a private tour company they look after it. Your best bet is to go to cruisecritic.com and find your cruise on the rollcall board. You can probably make arrangements to join a group there with one of the private tour companies. Its a much more economical way of doing it and you get much more for your money than a tour booked through the cruise line. There are lots of trip reports here on fodors by people who have done the private tour. Try this thread for some opinions http://www.fodors.com/community/crui...petersburg.cfm
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Dec 15th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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Good advice from traveller69


Yes you need aVISA

At the present time everyone needs a visa of some kind. If you want to go ashore INDEPENDENTLY, you will need your own personal visa, available from Russian embassies.

This is quite costly and time consuming.

You first need an invitation from a Russian Hotel or tourist authority to accompany your application. There are companies online who will process the application for you for a fee.

If you are going on a shore excursion, either from the ship or arranged through an independent operator, you are included in a Group Visa for that particular tour.

If you are going on a Baltic Cruise then do a Private Tour from one of the Tour Companies in St.Petersburg.

I highly recommend Alla Tours.

But keep in mind that:

You must return to the ship with your tour, and you are not allowed to stay in town unless you have your own personal Russian tourist visa.

You cannot leave your guide at anytime to wander around the city while you are on tour, unless your guide gives specific permission.

Just keep in mind that your tour guide IS your Visa.

Your better off having a Private Tour than anything the ship can offer you.

The tours are not exactly cheap,BUT you do get to see a lot.

Also if you booked with Alla Tours ,and want to joint a small group of say,6 to 10 people ,then just let Alla know.

The more in the group the cheaper it is, but keep the group small.
Okay, Okay, !!!!! Here is Alla's e-mail address.

[email protected]

I can give you her phone number if you want.
It is no big deal to call Russia.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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You can get your VISA done through a visa agency which is even more costly but a lot easier than doing it yourself. Here is one of many www.travisa.com
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Dec 16th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Easy answer to a confusing question.

Book excursion with the ship, your visa comes with your excursion ticket.

Book excursion thorugh one of the "accredited" private tour comapny (ALLA TOUR, Red October, STB etc), it is the same as the ship, your visa comes with your excursion ticket, and don't let the ship tell you otherwise. Some cruise lines will like you to think they are the only game in town.

If you want to go on your own, or hire a private guide outside the "accredited" tour organizers, you will need to get a visa. It is not 100 pages but very clsoe. It's about 10 pages and they want to know your life history.

We were there earlier this year and used Alla Tour. They are very good, cheaper than the ship's excursions and get to see more. Their web link is http://www.alla-tour.com/

I knew people who used Red October and STB. They are also very good.

My trip report is here if you want to take a peek.
http://www.fodors.com/community/crui...se-in-june.cfm
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Dec 17th, 2012, 04:05 PM
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Thanks. I think i will book a tour on the ship that is conssiour serivce and hope i can talk/bribe the guide into seeing the church
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Dec 17th, 2012, 04:44 PM
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You have a 100% better chance of seeing the Cheseme Church with a private tour guide, than you will have trying to "bribe" a bus driver who has 45-60 people on board.
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Dec 17th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Isn't Chesma Cathedral a bit out of the way? The Moskovsky Victory Park is near by. With a private guide for a small group, you stand a better chance than an excursion through the ship.

You won't find Chesma Cathedral a popular stop with any organized tours. With only 2 days and traffic being an issue, I would say your chance of stopping there is pretty slim as it is too out of the way from the rest of the "must see" venues.
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Dec 18th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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( Hi Eschew)

Yes the Chesme Church is a bit out of the way...for a ship cruise tour but not for a private tour.

You may be seeing Peterhof first and then Catherine's Palace.

Now FROM Catherine's Palace back to St.Petersburg it is a straight line back from Catherine Palace along Moskovskiy Prospekt..

You will come to Moskovkaya Square... here there is a large statue of Lenin and the House of Soviets right across the Square from Lenin.

The Chesme Church is just 2 1/2 blocks from here( The Chesme Castle is across the street from the Church).

I do not know if you will be able to go inside , but because it has such a lovely exterior , you can do a photo op here.

If you are on a private tour, you can defintely see it.
That is why you are doing a private tour...

besides ..it is NOT out of the way coming back to St. Petersburg from Catherine's Palace.
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Dec 18th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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Taking the hydrofoil (maybe 20 minutes?) saves precious time heading back to St. Petersberg from Peterhof. The driver drove back to meet us in St. Petersberg while we were touring St. Catherine's Palace, the founatins, the garden etc. It took too long to drive back to St. Pete (hour and a half to 2 hours?) so to visit Chesma Cathedral it is either you stop by on the way over, or you will miss it as it won't be on the way back.

The outside of the Chesma Cathedral is nice, sort of pinkish with strips (almost candy cane like?)

With only 2 days, Chesma Cathedral is not high on any tour group's list as there are so much to see in St. Petersberg, espically just to take picture on the outside. If I have an extra hour, I would spend more time in St Catherine's Palace, or Hermitage. With our private group, we managed to see lots including riding the subway to admiralty and back.
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Dec 18th, 2012, 07:53 PM
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Eschew we did not use the Hydrofoil, because we were off the ship and ready to go at 7:11AM we had much extra time.

So we stopped at several War Memorial places as I did want to see the Narva Arch and the Truimphal Arch .

From the Triumphal Arch it is just straight down and a block over to see the Chesme Church.

We went to Catherine's Palace first and then on to Peterhof.

DARK_MAGIC, if you have a private tour you can see whatever you want that is on your list.

You might miss a few other places but if seeing the Chesme Church is important to you , then go to see .

And tell your private tour guide that you want to see it.

I saw many places extra (because we had extra time and because I knew where the places were)

Besides the usual places everyone want to see in St.Petersburg, ....make a list of some places that are imporant to you.

I really very much doubt that you will get to see any extra places on the cruise ship tour, as that tour schedule is set and the driver is not able to cater to the desires of 40 - 50 passengers.

You pay more for a private tour ( like Alla) but you see more also.

Eschew if I ever get back there ( via a Russian River Cruise ) I will have to do that Hydrofoil !! it looks neat )
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