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Master thread of St. Petersburg advice and recommendations from cruisers who've been!


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22 hours ago, cruiser551 said:

Curious if you did one of the evening add ons?  If so which one and did you enjoy it?

 

I did not ( I wanted to do the faberge museum and could not find anyone else to go)

several people did the ballet and loved it

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4 hours ago, lois1112 said:

I did not ( I wanted to do the faberge museum and could not find anyone else to go)

several people did the ballet and loved it

Thanks, thinking of the Music Seasons as I don't think Swan Lake would be a great choice for me ... maybe Nutcracker but not Swan Lake

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On 12/31/2019 at 2:37 PM, dogs4fun said:

We usually visit Saint Petersburg via land rather than cruise so we have the benefit of many evenings from which to choose. We have attended ballet, folk performances, concerts, evening Neva music (jazz)/dinner cruise & had great times in some of the local pubs. We have enjoyed them all. 

Yes that would surely be an advantage of a land based stay (assuming you would have a Visa) as we will use the tour groups visa I think we would need to stay with the group for this trip.  The Russian Musical Seasons in the Grand Duke Vladimir Palace speaks to us.  Just trying to find if anyone has had a good experience with it.  Definitely an area to go back and spend more time in.

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5 hours ago, cruiser551 said:

The Russian Musical Seasons in the Grand Duke Vladimir Palace speaks to us.  Just trying to find if anyone has had a good experience with it.

Did you check the reviews on TripAdvisor? The reviews are excellent: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298507-d12105257-Reviews-Russian_Music_Seasons-St_Petersburg_Northwestern_District.html

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57 minutes ago, globetrottingfam said:

I've heard that when you go to St. Petersburg on a cruise, the cruise company will bring a local music group to perform on board while docked.  Anyone experience this on a Princess Cruise?

Yes. that was our experience. Though it was back in 2007.

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20 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Yes I saw this and agree looks great.  Thinking this will be our evening entertainment.  Also booked Vivid Grand Show in Berlin today for one of the evenings we have in Berlin, looks like a fun show (opposite of the classical music)... love variety!

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My son and I will be going on the NCL Escape in June 2020.  I am trying to find a shore excursion that includes some time in Nevsky Prospect.  Our budget is limited but in searching and searching it looks like I can find one that will work.  Wanted to see if there was a tour that stood out in anyone's mind and if I am overthinking wanting at least an hour in this part of the city.   

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54 minutes ago, thillman123 said:

I am trying to find a shore excursion that includes some time in Nevsky Prospect.  Our budget is limited but in searching and searching it looks like I can find one that will work.  Wanted to see if there was a tour that stood out in anyone's mind and if I am overthinking wanting at least an hour in this part of the city.   

There are quite a few tours that include some time on Nevsky. There are some venues of particular interest on/near Nevsky (Gostiny Dvor, Kazan Cathedral, National Russian Library, Stroganov Palace, Hermitage/Palace Square, Vorontsov Palace) but our favorite haunt is the Eliseyev Emporium.

For a coffee or snack, I would recommend a stop at the Literaturnoye Kafe (Literary Cafe) located on 18 Nevsky - it is historically significant in that it was frequented by many famous Russian writers (including my 2 favorites, Dostoevsky and Pushkin).

Note that some of these venues are open in the evening - ( for example: Eliseyev Emporium, Gostiny Dvor - shop til 10pm, Literaturnoye Cafe) so if you are doing a free content event in the evening, it should satisfy your desire to spend some time on Nevsky. 

 

 

Edited by dogs4fun
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1 hour ago, thillman123 said:

My son and I will be going on the NCL Escape in June 2020.  I am trying to find a shore excursion that includes some time in Nevsky Prospect.  Our budget is limited but in searching and searching it looks like I can find one that will work.  Wanted to see if there was a tour that stood out in anyone's mind and if I am overthinking wanting at least an hour in this part of the city.   

 

Have you been on your cruise Roll Call to see if anyone else is interested in the same and has already set up a tour or might be interested in joining a private tour with you? I remember on our trip last year, there were *lots* of people on our Roll Call who were interested in Nevsky Prospekt and a number who set up their own tours. (The companies make it very easy for you, and you don't need many people to make it cost-affordable. If no one on your Roll Call already has a tour running, I'd email a few of the companies to see what they could set up and then you can post to your Roll Call yourself to see if there's interest. I liked Red Sun Tours myself for their communication, but I'm sure any of the companies mentioned on this thread would be happy to work with you.)

 

ETA that the advantage of a private tour instead of a small group tour that just mentions Nevsky is that with the private tour, you can have input on what part of the Prospekt you visit  and how long you spend there.

Edited by trosebery
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17 minutes ago, trosebery said:

 

Have you been on your cruise Roll Call to see if anyone else is interested in the same and has already set up a tour or might be interested in joining a private tour with you? I remember on our trip last year, there were *lots* of people on our Roll Call who were interested in Nevsky Prospekt and a number who set up their own tours. (The companies make it very easy for you, and you don't need many people to make it cost-affordable. If no one on your Roll Call already has a tour running, I'd email a few of the companies to see what they could set up and then you can post to your Roll Call yourself to see if there's interest. I liked Red Sun Tours myself for their communication, but I'm sure any of the companies mentioned on this thread would be happy to work with you.)

 

ETA that the advantage of a private tour instead of a small group tour that just mentions Nevsky is that with the private tour, you can have input on what part of the Prospekt you visit  and how long you spend there.

Thank you yes I found my role call.  I had a couple of people say they were intereseted in a tour that Anastasia Tours customized for me, exactly what I want to see and do but now it's like crickets getting anyone to really say they are going to book it and i can't take the chancee I'll end up with just the two of us all I'll be committed to pay the full fair for just two 😞  Also their cancellation policy is a bit iffy. 

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32 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

There are quite a few tours that include some time on Nevsky. There are some venues of particular interest on/near Nevsky (Gostiny Dvor, Kazan Cathedral, National Russian Library, Stroganov Palace, Hermitage/Palace Square, Vorontsov Palace) but our favorite haunt is the Eliseyev Emporium.

For a coffee or snack, I would recommend a stop at the Literaturnoye Kafe (Literary Cafe) located on 18 Nevsky - it is historically significant in that it was frequented by many famous Russian writers (including my 2 favorites, Dostoevsky and Pushkin).

Note that some of these venues are open in the evening - ( for example: Eliseyev Emporium, Gostiny Dvor - shop til 10pm, Literaturnoye Cafe) so if you are doing a free content event in the evening, it should satisfy your desire to spend some time on Nevsky. 

 

 

Thank you for the suggestions.  We won't have Visa’s, so we need to do Shore Excursions.   I asked Anastasia Tours to include Eliseyev Emporium and they were happy to accommodate.  If only I could find a tour that I could afford that included these already.  The private tours are so expensive and if no one books with you, you have to pay the full price for just two which I can't afford. 

 

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7 minutes ago, thillman123 said:

Thank you for the suggestions.  We won't have Visa’s, so we need to do Shore Excursions.   I asked Anastasia Tours to include Eliseyev Emporium and they were happy to accommodate.  If only I could find a tour that I could afford that included these already.  The private tours are so expensive and if no one books with you, you have to pay the full price for just two which I can't afford. 

 

Many of the companies with whom you book your day tours also offer evening excursions - you would not need a visa. You can check with Anastasia to see if they offer free content options in the evening where you can explore Nevsky at leisure (Alla Tours offers such a free content tour in the evening). 

Did you post on your roll call? That is a great place to find cruisers to share the cost of private tours.

Edited by dogs4fun
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6 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

Many of the companies with whom you book your day tours also offer evening excursions - you would not need a visa. You can check with Anastasia to see if they offer free content options in the evening where you can explore Nevsky at leisure (Alla Tours offers such a free content tour in the evening). 

Did you post on your roll call? That is a great place to find cruisers to share the cost of private tours.

Yes, posted on roll call but it's like crickets on it. 

 

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2 hours ago, thillman123 said:

Thank you for the suggestions.  We won't have Visa’s, so we need to do Shore Excursions.   I asked Anastasia Tours to include Eliseyev Emporium and they were happy to accommodate.  If only I could find a tour that I could afford that included these already.  The private tours are so expensive and if no one books with you, you have to pay the full price for just two which I can't afford. 

 

Will you have one or two days in St. Petersburg?

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Best places for views Kempinski Roof restaurant. or Tessara , make sure to insist you get a table with a view, just keep walking ! If confident no one will stop you.

 

interesting is Grand Hotel outside bar adjacent to Nevski, smoking possible too in smoking area !

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5 hours ago, thillman123 said:

Yes, posted on roll call but it's like crickets on it. 

 

We are also doing a tour with Anastasia when we are in Saint Petersburg in July.  When I first contacted them about a private tour they said they had a couple of groups already scheduled for when we are going to be there and would check to see if they were willing to add us.  Unfortunately they weren't.  But you might want to let your contact know you are looking to add people to your group to lower the cost.  They may be able to add someone who isn't on  your ship, but interested in a similar itinerary

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On 10/4/2019 at 9:11 AM, dogs4fun said:

Princess allows their tours to disembark first - this rule applies to all cruise lines and was instituted a few years ago, purportedly to relieve congestion with immigration. Private tour operators are not allowed to enter the port until 90 minutes after the ship has docked.

The first day is the only day that cruise lines insist that their tours to disembark first  - the second and third days you will be able to disembark when you wish & tour operators can enter the port at will.


This is absolutely incorrect.  On Windstar you can walk off the ship at your leisure as soon as it's cleared.  You do not need a color or number, do not need to wait for their tours (although if you show up as one of their tours is getting off obviously you'd have to wait behind it), and can be the first people off if you are there waiting at the door so to speak.  Of course there are as many people on the entire ship as there could be on a single tour on a mass market line. Yet another reason to cruise on the small (under 350 passenger) ships.

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2 hours ago, ducklite said:


This is absolutely incorrect.  On Windstar you can walk off the ship at your leisure as soon as it's cleared.  You do not need a color or number, do not need to wait for their tours (although if you show up as one of their tours is getting off obviously you'd have to wait behind it), and can be the first people off if you are there waiting at the door so to speak.  Of course there are as many people on the entire ship as there could be on a single tour on a mass market line. Yet another reason to cruise on the small (under 350 passenger) ships.

Happy to hear that you enjoyed your Windstar cruise but I was replying to the OP whose query specifically referenced Princess cruises . I was not replying in reference to the smaller ships that utilize the English Embankment or the Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment. 

I fail to see how the docking procedure for Windstar cruises pertains to Princess cruise ships or any other ships that dock at the Marine Facade. Princess, as well as other large, mass market lines (RCCL, NCL, HAL, X, Oceania, etc.) utilize the Marine Facade and passengers booked through these cruise lines are allowed to disembark first on day one. Since the larger, mass market ships dock at the Passenger Port (Marine Facade) located on Vasilyevsky Island and there are sometimes several ships in port, obviously, this is where the port congestion occurs.  I assumed it would be self-evident that the small passenger ports in the city (Lieutenant Schmidt or English Embankments) would employ an entirely different procedure as their passenger loads are so small.

 

 

Edited by dogs4fun
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18 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Happy to hear that you enjoyed your Windstar cruise but I was replying to the OP whose query specifically referenced Princess cruises . I was not replying in reference to the smaller ships that utilize the English Embankment or the Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment. 

I fail to see how the docking procedure for Windstar cruises pertains to Princess cruise ships or any other ships that dock at the Marine Facade. Princess, as well as other large, mass market lines (RCCL, NCL, HAL, X, Oceania, etc.) utilize the Marine Facade and passengers booked through these cruise lines are allowed to disembark first on day one. Since the larger, mass market ships dock at the Passenger Port (Marine Facade) located on Vasilyevsky Island and there are sometimes several ships in port, obviously, this is where the port congestion occurs.  I assumed it would be self-evident that the small passenger ports in the city (Lieutenant Schmidt or English Embankments) would employ an entirely different procedure as their passenger loads are so small.

 

 

 

You said "this rule applies to all cruise lines and was instituted a few years ago," which means you were applying it to all cruise lines, not just Princess.  When speaking in absolutes you shouldn't make assumptions.

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Question for those who have been to St Petersburg - we will be there on Viking Jupiter in June 2020.  I am interested in seeing Swan Lake and wondered if anyone has had any experience with using an independent tour operator for an evening performance while in port overnight.  Any pros/cons to booking this way?

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