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

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1 hour ago, LaPochCka said:

Do you mean there are several terminals one can dock at in StP? Something I did not think about 🙄 Is it a huge difference in terms of time and distance depending on where you dock? Is the main terminal longer from the city center? 

Correct. Depends on the size of the ship  apparently.  We will be there in June on Azamara (all being well and fingers crossed that all the ships will be there this summer!) 

A couple of screen shots for you.

 

D8AD4D04-A5E0-41AE-A958-A39731D1169A.png

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4 hours ago, LaPochCka said:

Is the main terminal longer from the city center? 

Yes, the Marine Facade is about 25 minutes from the city center. I've attached a google map of Saint Petersburg - you can see the Marine Facade (on Vasilyevsky Island) and the English Embankment (on the Neva in the city center). 

775528603_Marinefacade_Englishembankment.thumb.jpg.968e5e49057489574bdb50aa292f5aca.jpg

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53 minutes ago, OlympicGirl said:

Hi! 

Question to those who have been from the one who still hopes to travel 🙈

Are the souvenir shops in StP worth visiting? Does it make sense to buy anything there except a bottle of vodka or a matryoshka (hope Russians forgive my spelling 😁)

Don't know about purchasing souvenirs specifically in souvenir shops but here is my list of worthwhile items that I have purchased in Saint Petersburg during my visits (most of these, I would assume, you could purchase in souvenir shops - or ask your guide if you are looking for a specific item (particularly amber, malachite or imperial porcelain)):

1) birch bark containers, boxes, trivets, etc.

2) matryoshka dolls - very popular souvenir sold almost everywhere with a wide variety of prices

3) lacquer boxes - I purchased a gorgeous hand painted box with a piano.

4) amber jewelry

5) malachite jewelry

6) imperial porcelain 

7) vodka (sold in a variety of interesting bottles)

 

 

 

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Hi there! 

As for me I always buy russian tea -called Ivan chai actually. It's made of dried rosebay willowherb and some other supplements (black currant my favourite). It's really good!

some russian chocolate also tastes good - Alyonka or Babaevskyi for examp

last time we were in Saint P  I revealed local designer shop called 12 storeez and got very fine things

all in all there are many spots in the centre where you can find authentic brands of an excellent quality and price

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, LaPochCka said:

Where do you usually buy this tea?

You can buy Ivan chai (aka Kaporie Chai) at Vkusvill natural goods stores in Saint Petersburg - the teas found in the supermarkets are mostly Ceylon teas. You can also purchase it in Estonia and/or online (& have it shipped to you).

The Moychay specialty shops are a tea lovers paradise - there are several of these shops in St. Petersburg.

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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On 3/15/2020 at 10:03 PM, LaPochCka said:

Hi Lagerta!

Where do you usually buy this tea? Is it something you find in any local supermarket? My mom is a tea-lover, and I usually buy her a box when I travel. 

Hi!

I used to buy it in eco-shop called  Kompas Zdorov'ya - there is a variety of such teas. Also there are some special tea-shops throughout the city, on Nevsky av. as well. Actually it is sold even in supermarkets but mostly tea bags

 

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33 minutes ago, OlympicGirl said:

Thanks Lagerta, checked 12 storeez on the web already, looks they do have some cool stuff there! 

I am glad you like them. You may also check I am studio and NNEDRE. They have some cool stuff there as well.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OlympicGirl said:

Malachite is this green one right? Don't they have a malachite room in the Hermitage?

You are correct on both counts. Malachite is green and there is a Malachite Room in the Hermitage (this salon is so named due to its gorgeous malachite columns, fireplace & large urn).

Edited by dogs4fun

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15 hours ago, OlympicGirl said:

Perfect, thanks a lot. Could never imagine Russia has own fashion designers. Never too late to learn, right? 😉

 Well yes actually I also was surprised to find so many interesting things apart from vodka and matryoshka! 😀

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On 3/27/2020 at 7:08 PM, OlympicGirl said:

This is so true, Lagerta! I now remember a friend of mine showed me a very nice ring they bought in Saint-Petersburg, and they said they were amazed by the number and variety of jewelry shops right on the main street (is it Nevsky?), so apparently there is a lot to do there for shopaholics 🙂 

Oh yeah! I know a sliver jewelry shop on a street near Nevsky, but sure there are many of them. Every thime you go in St. Petersburg you reveal something new! I think I 'll never get tired of this city

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On 4/2/2020 at 8:46 PM, LaPochCka said:

God, what a place! I have already read and heard so much about this city, I still don't want to believe that we won't be able to go, despite all I see around and in the media. On the other hand even if Russia is so far coping better than we do in the US (at least according the official stats) it does not mean the situation there and in other European countries will stabilize in a couple of months, so we need to be realistic and be prepared for any scenario. 

It is amazing how local tour operators in Saint-Petersburg deal with the new reality - they don't panic, they are very friendly, ready to help and still hope for the best. 

Our tour operator for example sent me a link to their online excursions they recently started https://www.facebook.com/BestGuides.StPetersburg/

Antivirus sightseeing tour - isn't it lovely? 😊 

 

 

Well indeed tour companies do their best to stay afloat during this tough time. I've also seen similar video reviewing news throughout all Europe. I'll put the link here if I find it

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On 4/5/2020 at 12:54 PM, Lagerta said:

Well indeed tour companies do their best to stay afloat during this tough time. I've also seen similar video reviewing news throughout all Europe. I'll put the link here if I find it

Please do! What else can be do during self isolation? At least travel virtually!

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Posted (edited)
On 4/18/2020 at 8:58 AM, LaPochCka said:

Does anyone know what this event is about?

112678223_(183).thumb.png.903822ed66230b9d3263d62b1c73f6f4.png

 

Found this pic recently on somewhere on the web. Looks terrific in my view!

The photo depicts Scarlet Sails. 

Scarlet Sails is an event held during White Nights - it is spectacular & includes a fireworks display,  pyrotechnic multimedia water shows that include light & music & a variety of concerts.

Scarlet Sails is scheduled for June 20-21, 2020.

Another fabulous event is the closing ceremony of the Peterhof Fountains held every year at Peterhof.

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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On 4/12/2020 at 4:37 PM, Fran2020 said:

Please do! What else can be do during self isolation? At least travel virtually!

Hello ,

I couldn't find the video about Europe, but in case you are interested I can share a link to the one I received from a company we booked a tour couple of years ago - they made a short video of St Petersburg in this April

 

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8 hours ago, Lagerta said:

Hello ,

I couldn't find the video about Europe, but in case you are interested I can share a link to the one I received from a company we booked a tour couple of years ago - they made a short video of St Petersburg in this April

 

Thanks for posting that. What a difference a year makes!

 

Now if she had shown a long video tour of an uncrowded Hermitage, I would show that to DW who is an art teacher and it would really be wonderful for her (and me too.)

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, ontheweb said:

Thanks for posting that. What a difference a year makes!

 

Now if she had shown a long video tour of an uncrowded Hermitage, I would show that to DW who is an art teacher and it would really be wonderful for her (and me too.)

Hi,  there are some videos of Hermitage, but most of them in Russian, here is one of them. It's amazing to see it emply

 

Edited by Lagerta

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3 hours ago, Oliver Hansen said:

Thanks for sharing

My Russian is quite close to zero but I assume it says that Iphone11 Pro was used to get this video done, right? Apple could not even think of better advertisement.

You're welcome.

 

 I also share your lack of knowledge of the Russian language, but you are probably correct in your assumption.

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On 4/19/2020 at 7:42 PM, dogs4fun said:

The photo depicts Scarlet Sails. 

Scarlet Sails is an event held during White Nights - it is spectacular & includes a fireworks display,  pyrotechnic multimedia water shows that include light & music & a variety of concerts.

Scarlet Sails is scheduled for June 20-21, 2020.

Another fabulous event is the closing ceremony of the Peterhof Fountains held every year at Peterhof.

 

God, it's beautiful! Do you have an idea how does it work? Is it open for public? And when is it held? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LaPochCka said:

God, it's beautiful! Do you have an idea how does it work? Is it open for public? And when is it held? 

It is beautiful! I've  twice attended the Festival of the Fountains (autumn closing ceremony) and it is truly a fantastic pyrotechnic (laser, light, water & fireworks) experience which also includes music & ballet . The closing ceremony takes place every year - usually during the middle of September (performances are held on Saturday and Sunday evenings - performances begin at 9 pm but we arrived when the park opened at 6 pm). It is open to the public and there were thousands in attendance both times that we went. Arrive early if you wish to secure a spot close to the Samson Fountain/Grand Cascade (which, IMHO, offers the best views). Ticket prices in 2019 were 1000 rubles per person. Each year, the festival is focused on a specific theme - the theme in 2019 was Empress 2019 (Catherine the Great).

There is also an opening ceremony held each spring but I find the closing ceremony much more spectacular.

You can read and ask questions about the festival on the Peterhof FB page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/peterhof.museum/events/?ref=page_internal

You purchase your tickets at the Peterhof site but the 2020 event is not yet listed - the 2019 event is still on the site. 

Peterhof: https://en.peterhofmuseum.ru/events#d=0&e=2&o=0

I have no idea of the 2020 Festival theme or if Covid 19 will impact the 2020 performances. You can email samson@peterhofmuseum.ru with questions if you are interested.

Note: The hydrofoils were operating from 6 till 8:30 pm. They were NOT operating after the show. From my info copied last year:

For the late evening after the Show the city minibus transfers will be increased. One may take the city minibuses № 224, 300 or 424 from the Upper Garden to "Avtovo" metro station in St. Petersburg, as well as city minibuses № 103 or 420 to "Leninsky Prospekt" metro station in St. Petersburg. The operating hours for the trains to St. Petersburg won't change either. One may take city bus № 356 or 351-A from the Upper Garden to the "New Peterhof" Station, from which it's 36 minutes till the Baltic Railway Station by train.

We have 3 year Russian Visas - it is for events such as the Ceremony of the Fountains that a visa really comes in handy!

Edited by dogs4fun

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57 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

It is beautiful! I've  twice attended the Festival of the Fountains (autumn closing ceremony) and it is truly a fantastic pyrotechnic (laser, light, water & fireworks) experience which also includes music & ballet . The closing ceremony takes place every year - usually during the middle of September (performances are held on Saturday and Sunday evenings - performances begin at 9 pm but we arrived when the park opened at 6 pm). It is open to the public and there were thousands in attendance both times that we went. Arrive early if you wish to secure a spot close to the Samson Fountain/Grand Cascade (which, IMHO, offers the best views). Ticket prices in 2019 were 1000 rubles per person. Each year, the festival is focused on a specific theme - the theme in 2019 was Empress 2019 (Catherine the Great).

There is also an opening ceremony held each spring but I find the closing ceremony much more spectacular.

You can read and ask questions about the festival on the Peterhof FB page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/peterhof.museum/events/?ref=page_internal

You purchase your tickets at the Peterhof site but the 2020 event is not yet listed - the 2019 event is still on the site. 

Peterhof: https://en.peterhofmuseum.ru/events#d=0&e=2&o=0

I have no idea of the 2020 Festival theme or if Covid 19 will impact the 2020 performances. You can email samson@peterhofmuseum.ru with questions if you are interested.

Note: The hydrofoils were operating from 6 till 8:30 pm. They were NOT operating after the show. From my info copied last year:

For the late evening after the Show the city minibus transfers will be increased. One may take the city minibuses № 224, 300 or 424 from the Upper Garden to "Avtovo" metro station in St. Petersburg, as well as city minibuses № 103 or 420 to "Leninsky Prospekt" metro station in St. Petersburg. The operating hours for the trains to St. Petersburg won't change either. One may take city bus № 356 or 351-A from the Upper Garden to the "New Peterhof" Station, from which it's 36 minutes till the Baltic Railway Station by train.

We have 3 year Russian Visas - it is for events such as the Ceremony of the Fountains that a visa really comes in handy!

Hi Dogs4fun, 

how difficult is it to get a real visa for a US citizen? Lots of paperwork? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OlympicGirl said:

Hi Dogs4fun, 

how difficult is it to get a real visa for a US citizen? Lots of paperwork? 

It is not difficult at all. We first visited St. Petersburg via cruise ship but found that we wanted to visit Russia in much more depth than a short cruise stop would allow and we also wanted to explore Moscow, Novgorod and some other places in Russia. Thus, we applied for our first Russian visas about 10 years ago (we are currently on our third set of visas).

We do not live in a city that has a Russian consulate so we utilized the 'mail service' offered by ILS (they walk your visa though the Russian consulate for you).  There are Russian consulates in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco and Houston - if you live in or near one of these cities, you can walk-in your visa application in person and avoid the 'mail service' fee.

https://ils-usa.com/

We followed the step-by-step instructions on the ILS site,  filled out our application online, sent in the required fees & sent off our passports & documents. We received our passports back with our 3 year Russian visa inserted within about 4 weeks. The application asks quite a few questions (like what countries you have visited in the last 10 years, schooling, military training, etc.) but we simply made copies of our first application so that we had the information for subsequent visa applications. For the countries visited within the last 10 years we simply entered the dates for the stamps that we had in our passports. 🙂 Honestly, it is not difficult. ILS will also provide your letter of invitation if you need one (your Russian hotel will usually provide the letter at no cost).

Your Russian visa allows each visit over a three year period for a period of up to 90 days at a time. You can visit as many times as you wish during the validity of your visa - definitely worth the cost if you wish to visit Russia more than once. What is especially nice for us is that we usually tag-on a visit to Russia each year when we are already in Europe - last year we flew from Budapest, Hungary to Saint Petersburg at the culmination of our Danube river cruise - it is especially nice to travel this way as we needed no special documents to enter Russia ( we already had our 3 year visa).

There is another site that you can also use to obtain your visa: 

https://www.vfsglobal.com/en/individuals/index.html

I highly recommend procuring a Russian visa if you want to experience some of the wonderful sights and events available only to those with a visa.

Edited by dogs4fun

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3 hours ago, Antic Lover said:

I have emailed the museum and asked about the Festival for this year, but so far they did not get back to me. Might be they still don't know themselves how it develops, it looks Russia is currently seeing COVID increase, but maybe they will at least arrange something online, would be great. 

I don't know what they will do this year regarding the festival - it is highly unlikely that something will be arranged online. The videos of past festivals are simply recordings of the actual events. I know from attending the festival that it is very crowded & everyone is packed in like sardines. It may be cancelled this year but there is always an opportunity to visit next year and following years.

Moscow is currently experiencing an increase in Covid 19 - St. Petersburg is not as impacted as Moscow but is also experiencing an uptick in cases.

I usually visit Russia each year (usually when we are already in Europe) - 2020 will be the first year out of the past nine years that I will not be visiting Russia or Europe. Hopefully things will improve next year. 

I do hope that you are able to attend the festival at some point - it is truly a fantastic experience.

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On 4/21/2020 at 9:52 AM, Lagerta said:

Hello ,

I couldn't find the video about Europe, but in case you are interested I can share a link to the one I received from a company we booked a tour couple of years ago - they made a short video of St Petersburg in this April

 

Lovely! We booked our 2-full day excursion with Anastasia and these videos make me so nostalgic!

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