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St Petersburg Visa-Free Tours for Cruise Passengers

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(No time to read? See the video version)

There are several rules you may find useful to know planning a shore tour in St Petersburg on a cruise ship.

You can visit St Petersburg and Moscow visa-free. There is a 72-hour visa-free rule which means that a cruise passenger can get off a cruise ship in St Petersburg with no Russian tourist visa providing he/she stays in the country less than 72 hours. To be eligible for a visa-free entry, a cruise ship passenger must stay on board of a cruise ship overnight. For hotel stays visas are required.

Another condition of a visa-free visit is that a cruise passenger needs to tour with an authorised tour operator.

There are hundreds of tour operators providing tour services in St Petersburg. And choosing the one that suits your needs and budget might be a challenging task.  TripAdvisor reviews night be a helpful tool in this decision-making process.

Most sea cruise ships arrive to  St Petersburg port Morskoy Facade.  The port is located in one of the city suburbs and is about 20 minutes drive to the city centre. Smaller cruise ships ( Seabourn, Azamara, Silver Sea and some others)  may arrive to the central city embankments.

In general tours are divided into two categories — private and group.  Group tours are run on a join-in basis and tour operators have different group number limits.

Marina Wilson Private Tours limits cruise groups to 10 PAX and have guaranteed departures for 2 PAX minimum.

Private tours can be run for any number of customers. It might be a solo traveller or a large party. All private tours are priced individually.

If this is your first time in Russia there are two places you need to visit without hesitation — the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and Kremlin in Moscow. Both museums give a highlight to Russian history and help visitors understand the local culture.

Russian currency is rouble but most shops accept Visa or MasterCards. American Express and Diner’s are not popular cards in Russia. There are ATM machines at the port arrival terminals. Finally, for some tour operators pre-payment is not necessary. You can pay for your tour in Saint Petersburg with your Visa or MasterCard. The only tours which require deposit payments are those which include theatre tickets (non-refundable!) and train tickets to Moscow.
Happy and worry-free cruising!

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