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Cornwall, UK
20 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
If we book an organised trip to St Petersburg from the Cruise ship website, do we need to have a Russician Visa, or is it included as part of the trip ?
Tennessee, USA
928 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
From what I’ve read the tour company will arrange the necessary visa documents for those on their tour but you will be returned to the ship after and can not venture out in your own after or during the tour
Cornwall, UK
20 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Thanks for this info. This is our first cruise. What if the trip is an all day event with an organised trip in the morning, followed by free time in the afternoon before being returned to the ship.
Las Vegas, NV
1,242 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Any tour, ship or private will get you in Russia without a visa. Some do have free time on your own including princess excursions.

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Turlock, CA
1,366 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
As stated , any Temp Visa will be taken care of by Princess or Private company. With that said - we used Alla Tours for all the ports -GREAT and much cheaper than Princess and smaller group. Search my name here for report of list Passport in Russia - yo do Not want this to happen to you
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Turlock, CA
9,972 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by kjb310
Thanks for this info. This is our first cruise. What if the trip is an all day event with an organised trip in the morning, followed by free time in the afternoon before being returned to the ship.
When we used SPB we had about 90 minutes of free time in the afternoon.

We wandered off a bit to hear a concert but we had to go back to the meeting place to meet our guide and the rest of our group.
Blue Planet
2,488 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by gottagocit
I should point out that when we visited Vladivostok on a cruise we had no restrictions and no visa was required.
Vladivostok is a special rules place - and you don't need a visa.

St Petersburg is not. You do need a visa to get off the ship, if you want to do your own thing totally you need to get a visa before you embark on the cruise. If its a ship or privately organized excursion with a recognized tour company then they handle the formalities and you do not need to get your own visa in advance.

Last time I was there I took the ships Hermitage tour, we did that, didn't take too long, and then we were told we could have free time and either make our way back to the ship whenever we wanted to or get on the tour bus at a particular time and place for them to take us back.

So we walked around St Petersburg, - its a very big place. And we found it quite hard to navigate. Interesting though.
7,327 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
We went on the two-day tour offered by SPB and organised by someone on Cruise Critic. The tour was superb and about half the cost of the very similar Princess tour. As others have said, if you have book either through Princess or with a recognised tour company, you do not need a visa. By the way, the visa is expensive.
Central Texas
289 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We also used SPB tours and can recommend them highly.

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Kawerau NZ
7,380 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
If you are using Princess shorex the following that I got from the Russian Embassy in Wellington applies:-

Good day.

All cruise passengers visiting Russia may enter and stay there without visa up to 72 hours.
Compulsory conditions are:
- They should have accommodations on board.
- The list of all passengers must be submitted to the local authorities 72 hours prior to arriving to the port of destination
- Every passenger must have valid identity documents.
- They must be included in the above mentioned list.
- They must travel only with the group according to the pre-arranged program of the shipping company.
Please, visit the website.
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Stockton, CA
5,624 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by kjb310
Thanks for this info. This is our first cruise. What if the trip is an all day event with an organised trip in the morning, followed by free time in the afternoon before being returned to the ship.
We did something like that. We had a tour of the Hermitage and then some free time to wander about a pre-designated area. We met up with a friend vacationing there and had lunch with her. At the proper time, we rejoined our group and were escorted back to the ship.

You did not get off the dock without either a visa or an excursion. They were very firm around that.

We did have a lovely time there, though. I hope you will, too.
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New Cumberland,PA, USA
30,771 Posts
Joined May 2000
Lets try and make it very clear. (this applies to both Americans and Canadians but we do not know about other nationalities). If you book a Russian tour with a local "licensed" tour provider they will cover your tour(s) under their own Group Visa program. In fact, the savings on not having to obtain your own personal visa will often pay for the tour . The procedure is that these companies will e-mail you the necessary Visa document..which you must print-out and use to clear Russian Passport Control as you exit the vessel. The Russian authorities will check your documents each and every time you exit the ship. When on a tour, you will be required to stay under the control of your guide (who will only give you very limited on your own freedom). We can personally recommend two local companies, TJ Tours and Alla....and there are other companies that have been recommended on this blog.

There has been some previous problems with a few cruise lines who mislead cruisers into thinking that "only those booking cruise line excursions" can leave the ship...unless they have a personal visa. This is simply not true and seems to be a veiled attempt to get cruisers to book cruise line excursions (which are generally more expensive and crowded when compared to small local group tours). It should also be noted that the local Russian authorities do not give any preference to the cruise ship excursions...although some cruise lines might try to prevent cruisers from going ashore before their own excursions. Our most recent cruise to St Petersburg was on a HAL ship...and to their credit they simply let folks off based on first come first serve (we easily walked off before any of the cruise line excursions). Once in the cruise terminal you simply entered one of the lines to clear Passport control. Local tour guides will meet you in the terminal once you clear Passport Control, or out at the curb (they will e-mail meeting instructions).

On our most recent trip we booked 2 days of tours with TJ Travel. We were grouped with 8 others (total of 10 in our group) and driven around in a very new Mercedes Bus/Van that had 20 seats (2 seats for each of us). Our driver spoke some English and our tour guide was wonderful and a real professional. We actually did not pay for our 2 day tour until the morning of the 2nd day (they accepted US Dollars or major credit cards).

I should add that our 2 full days of touring cost a little more then half the cost of a similar tour from the cruise line. And when DW and I decided we wanted to add another tour (during our evening in port) to go to the ballet, TJ Tours arranged for excellent seats and sent a car/driver to pick us up (after we finished dinner aboard) and drive us to the theater. Our cost for the tickets and private transfer was less than the cruise line charged on a similar tour with a packed large bus group.

881 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Two years ago when we went we did the tour through Princess and were very impressed. The other thing to remember is the first time you go through the passport control, they will give you a little piece of paper with some writing and your picture on it. You MUST keep this because when you return back through passport control, they take it from you.

The 2 other times we left we did not do this. I guess we were just on a list after that.