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No Visa required if you book tours through the cruise line. You will not be permitted to leave the tour and tour independently at any time. Same thing if you book a through a licensed independent tour company - they will need all your passport infornation beforehand though.

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We are travelling on Celebrity Eclipse in July and have booked a two day St. Petersburg excursion with Celebrity. Does anyone know if we require visas?

 

Many cruisers have found that the private tours are less expensive and you see much more in St. Petersburg than on a ship's tour. It makes sense - a smaller group doesn't waste as much time and the smaller vehicle can maneuver much closer to the venues. We used SPb Tours but there are other good ones such as Red October and Denrus which are lightly recommended. The private tours have to be registered with the government and also take care of your visa same as if on a ship's tour. Some prefer using the ship's tour so they don't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time, etc. However, the private tours stake their reputation on doing a good job (as it is a referral business) and getting you back on time so I would not worry about that. Whatever you do, St. Petersburg is fabulous. There is more there than you could ever possibly see in 2 days.

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Please look into private tours; lots of great information on Cruise Critic's Port of Call boards and on Trip Advisor. If you book with a good private company you will have such a better experience. Much smaller group and you will see so much more (and quite possibly save money too). Private vendors also obtain the visa on your behalf, so you do not have to worry about that either way.

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Please look into private tours; lots of great information on Cruise Critic's Port of Call boards and on Trip Advisor. If you book with a good private company you will have such a better experience. Much smaller group and you will see so much more (and quite possibly save money too). Private vendors also obtain the visa on your behalf, so you do not have to worry about that either way.

 

 

Totally agree. The cruise lines make people concerned about the VISA situation whereas the main local company's are registered so their passengers dont need Visas either. We used TJ Tours. Did a two day tour, saw everything for half the cost of the ships tours. Check your roll call as there will be many wanting to join private tours.

 

 

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Many cruisers have found that the private tours are less expensive and you see much more in St. Petersburg than on a ship's tour. It makes sense - a smaller group doesn't waste as much time and the smaller vehicle can maneuver much closer to the venues. We used SPb Tours but there are other good ones such as Red October and Denrus which are lightly recommended. The private tours have to be registered with the government and also take care of your visa same as if on a ship's tour. Some prefer using the ship's tour so they don't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time, etc. However, the private tours stake their reputation on doing a good job (as it is a referral business) and getting you back on time so I would not worry about that. Whatever you do, St. Petersburg is fabulous. There is more there than you could ever possibly see in 2 days.

 

We also used SPb Tours and did a wonderful "2 day active Tour", seeing more sights than I thought possible in the time. The wonderful guide and

the driver couldn't have been better. Google the company if you want to

find out any more details. Thoroughly recommend them. There were about 12 of us on the private tour. Everything went so smoothly and we were back in plenty of time before the ship sailed and the price of the visas

was included in the tour cost.

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We are travelling on Celebrity Eclipse in July and have booked a two day St. Petersburg excursion with Celebrity. Does anyone know if we require visas?

No visas required if you use Celebrity or a licensed Russian tour Company. We used Ala tours and I thought our tour guide was exceptional. I think we had a van of 16 folks. Did the 2 day Grand Tour. Show your passport and tour receipt and your through customs. The early entry into the Hermitage is really important. You get into the museum before the hords of tourist enter and you can really enjoy the beauty that is the Hermitage. We tried to do a show at the Marinski theater but too hard logistically. We did a Russian folk lore shore with Ala after the first day tour. It was an enjoyable show with decent food and vodka. But it made for a long day. I went back and forth between Alla and SPB tours but I was totally happy with Alla. Both give discounts if you use them at multiple ports. Check tripadvisor for rating and reviews. But the 2 day tour is the one to do.

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We did back to back cruises on the Eclipse last summer. We did Norway/Iceland and then the 14 day Baltics. I looked into private excursions and read a lot of posts on this site. I booked SPB tours with Viktoria the owner and cannot emphasize enough how professional and wonderful they were. We were a group of 20 on a 48 passenger bus in Berlin! Viktoria's husband came and greeted our bus at our first stop at the Berlin Olympic stadium. He thanked us all and answered all our questions. All the buses were clean and comfortable. As a frequent cruiser I am steering away from the ships tours of 48 passengers to the smaller private tours. I've never had a problem on any private tour and would highly recommend Viktoria and her tour guides. We booked the Baltic Pearls package tours and were thrilled everywhere! The smaller groups were SO MUCH better. On our last tour which was in St. Petersburg Viktoria came and personally greeted and thanked each one of us as we returned to the ship. What a wonderful way to start and end a trip!

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We took the two day tour through Celebrity. It couldn't have been better. We were first group at the Hermarige and Catherine's Summer Palace. We have photos of us in rooms with just a handful of people. We had two traditional Russian lunches, one with local entertainment. Our tours were well planned. The guide was terrific and made sure we moved along at a nice pace. They make it so easy. Cheers!

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We took ship tours the first time we went to St. Petersburg. We just went to a few places. Last year when we took the Alla tour, we visited so many different places and had a much better time. You can check out all the places we stopped at if you go to our website www.thepreismans.com and look at the Eclipse Baltic review. You will have a much better time on an Alla or other private tour in St. Petersburg.

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With Russia about to start full scale war with the Ukraine, I seriously would reconsider any cruise that sails there. Even though St Petersburg is far from the Black Sea, it will probably not be a good place to visit for a while.

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With Russia about to start full scale war with the Ukraine, I seriously would reconsider any cruise that sails there. Even though St Petersburg is far from the Black Sea, it will probably not be a good place to visit for a while.

 

We share you concerns. We are scheduled for the September 2nd Waterways of the Tsars with Viking and we don't know what is going to happen!!! We fell in love with the Priesman's photos of the area and wanted to spend as much time as possible..........Hopefully the region calms down before September!

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Why on Earth would you be afraid of visiting St Petersburg , a city thousands of miles away from the Crimea?!

What Russia is preparing is to secure the safety of their most important Naval Assets: their Black Sea Naval fleet and the more than 1.5 million ethnic Russian citizens in the Crimea that feel threatened by the current civil unrest in the Ukraine.

 

The USA has invaded Afghanistan and Irak.

France has landed troups in Mali.

 

Do you avoid the USA or France for that reason?!

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Why on Earth would you be afraid of visiting St Petersburg , a city thousands of miles away from the Crimea?!

What Russia is preparing is to secure the safety of their most important Naval Assets: their Black Sea Naval fleet and the more than 1.5 million ethnic Russian citizens in the Crimea that feel threatened by the current civil unrest in the Ukraine.

 

The USA has invaded Afghanistan and Irak.

France has landed troups in Mali.

 

Do you avoid the USA or France for that reason?!

 

Generating fear could lead to price drops, otherwise I agree with you. We found some good prices on airfare and cruises right after 911.

 

As for the thread, we used TJ travel when we toured St Pete's, had a terrific time. I arranged all the Visa with the lady at TJ Travel and we each printed them out at home before we left. No problem at all.

Edited by joecleveland
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Mike & Carol- Just returned from your Baltic Cruise (#2) pages. Have bookmarked your web site. Thank you for your great pix, interesting commentary & comments. Although it will not be this year, a similar cruise including St Petersburg is on our 'to do' list. As an art history major, I have waited too many years to get to this part of the world. It is quite a ways distant from the Black Sea. Lets be patient and see how things work out there.

 

I think it will be a while before travel is restricted into St Petersburg. It is a good source of tourist money for the Russians. As Mike points up, they have spent a lot of money cleaning up and refurbishing the buildings there in the last 10 yrs. It's an investment.

 

In the meantime, let's hope for as much freedom, and little bloodshed as possible, for people in the Ukraine. It seems a combination of historical nationalism, corruption, fear, poor economic policy and Russian insecurities about gas pipes & naval bases in the Crimean region have pushed tempers to the boiling point. Another cruise we would like to go on would be a Black Sea one. That may be of greater concern this year.

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I totally agree with those above regarding St. Petersburg, Russia. It is a distance and a world apart from the Crimea. My contacts in St. Petersburg(SPB)shared that there is no reason to worry. Yes, things could change in a heartbeat, but no one foresees this affecting St. Petersburg. Our flight goes into London in June for a 14 day Baltic Cruise. All the prices have just gone up since we purchased our tickets, but I can see prices possibly dipping if people believe that Russia is not a safe place to go. I can't foresee us going to war with Russia, even though Putin is a sly leader!

Edited by Lastdance
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Why on Earth would you be afraid of visiting St Petersburg , a city thousands of miles away from the Crimea?!

What Russia is preparing is to secure the safety of their most important Naval Assets: their Black Sea Naval fleet and the more than 1.5 million ethnic Russian citizens in the Crimea that feel threatened by the current civil unrest in the Ukraine.

 

The USA has invaded Afghanistan and Irak.

France has landed troups in Mali.

 

Do you avoid the USA or France for that reason?!

 

Interesting points, but all we see is US news and it is 24/7 on this subject right now. We do not want to be involved in any more foreign situations!! We trust that things will calm down and it will be a wonderful trip. We, as citizens of the US, do not want to be looked at as "war mongers" and the general population wants us to fix our own problems. Hopefully that is what happens and we can enjoy a wonderful river cruise in Russia. (My family was from Russia on my mother's side)

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