Saint Petersburg is a special place in Russia and definitely a city to visit. So if you are travelling on a cruise line which has a 2-3 days stop in St Petersburg sea port, a visa free tour with a professional guide is what you need.
These visa free tours, also known as shore excursions, are available for ferry and cruise ship passengers who stay in Russia without visa for 72 hours. Importantly, this rule also includes two issues:
- You sleep on your cruise ship, not in a hotel;
- You are accompanied by an authorized tour guide during your whole presence on the shore.
The first condition is clear and easy to fulfill for cruise line travellers. Let’s elaborate the second one.
From the moment you leave the cruise in the morning to the moment you are back on board in the evening, you will have to act according to a pre-planned and arranged schedule. Thereby, you’ll have no opportunity to walk around the city just the way you want it.
Actually the only way to visit places that you want is to agree on all the tour details with a guide you choose. So together you’ll create a desired program — for one or two days.
Pay attention, you should book a visa free shore excursion in advance!
PRIVATE GUIDE vs CRUISE OPERATOR
Pay attention, here the talk is about independent licensed tour guides, not cruise operators. Why? Well, there are several reasons for that, apart from the fact that I am a tour guide myself 🙂
First, as a rule, private guide services are cheaper, though still high-class. Practically, guides include only their costs in the price, while cruise operators have different expenses, usually those a real tourist doesn’t relate to, like rental services, translation work etc. So why to pay more and get something, when you can pay less and get better service and experience?
Second, personal guides offer varied travel programs, quite unusual and extraordinary in comparison to a stated catalogue of services by cruise operators. Local tour guides know more about the city, they have explored it many times and in many ways — they can show and tell you more. Indeed.
Third, often operators intend to gather big groups of tourists for shore excursions. That, of course, doesn’t contribute to better exploration of the city and joy from the tour, as you either have to keep up with a group and just glimpse the sights or stand and wait for the late members of the group.
By the way, with a private guide you have your, let’s say, vote to participate in excursion program creation. For instance, you can visit not only St Petersburg city center, but also its suburbs — beautiful sights and popular tourist attractions full of history, art and architectural masterpieces.
Generally, shore excursion is a very convenient type of trip for travellers and works well for both groups and individual cruise line passengers. You do not have to spend money or time on making Russian visa. All you need is to contact an authorised tour guide and familiarize yourself with materials sent to you. So feel free to write or call me anytime!
To find out more details on one or two days visa free tours in St Petersburg visit this page — Visa-Free Shore Excursion in St Petersburg.
You can book a tour if you are travelling on one of these cruise lines:
- The Bahamas: Balmoral, Blaemar, Brilliance of the Seas, Columbus, Crystal Serenity, Disney Magic, Explorer of the Seas, Magellan, Serenade of the Seas, Norwegian Getaway, Seabourn Ovation, Vasco Da Gama.
- Bermuda: Arcadia, Artania, Azura, Aurora, Queen Elizabeth, Pacific Princess, Regal Princess, Sea Princess.
- England: Britannia, Queen Victoria, Sapphire Princess.
- Italy: AIDAaura, AIDAcara, AIDAdiva, AIDAmar, AIDAprima, Costa Magica, Costa Pacifica, SPL Princess Anastasia.
- The Netherlands: Amera, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam, Zuiderdam.
- Norway: Viking Jupiter Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sea.
- Malta: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Europa 2, Marella Explorer, Mein Schiff 1 NEW, Mein Schiff 3, Mein Schiff 4, Saga Sapphire, Spirit of Discovery, Zenith.
- The Marshall Islands: Marina, Nautica, Seven Seas Explorer.
- Panama: MSC Meraviglia, MSC Poesia.
- Portugal: Astoria.