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Visa for a cruise ship visit

by balramdass Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Hi, Coming to St Petersburg with a cruise for one night. Can someone advice about getting a visa and costs please, also if you've had a visa with a cruise ship excursion, thanks

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11 Answers
  • akkipaa's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by akkipaa Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    There are a lot of those here who have attended cruise to StP and sure you will get answers from them. But should you first check your cruise program? There are possibilities to Visa free travelling, with certain rules, and I think those should be present in your cruise prog details. IF you need a Visa, you should have it in advance (and the process is depending on your embassy, to me here it means some 8 days (definition in embassy is "at least 5 working days) process with passport send to embassy and cost is 35(visa)+21(service)€, but this is for Finns here).
    Russia has outsourced the Visa process in most coutries so check from your embassy (and let's hope you don't need it).

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    I'm American so I'm not going to be much help since you have different citizenship but if you are only in St. Pete for 1 night (most cruises have 2) then it might just be easier to go on one of the ship tours. There are also agencies that you can contract with that provide the visa free tours but I'm guessing that you can't leave them as they are responsible for you. I believe Denrus and Red October are two companies that do private excursions but you don't need to get a visa to use them.

    Check the boards at www.cruisecritic.com, you will likely find some other solutions and suggestions about visas. For Americans, it's a real pain in the @ss to get Russian visas and frightfully expensive, it's actually put me off going back

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  • akkipaa's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by akkipaa Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Yeah, Dabs is in line with me and to us Finns the tricky issue is that these Visa regulations change every now and then (like the oursourcing came somewhere at the end of last year making everything more difficult. I even am a duple passport person just for this "passport-to-embassy-issue".

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by balhannah Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    With a doing tours when on a Cruise ship in St. Petersburg, you either have to do a ships tour or arrange a tour yourself through a tour company, your not allowed to go on your own. Either way, the visa is arranged either by the ship or the tour company. Tours are very expensive.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    You can go on your own though if you obtain your own visa. I don't know how hard it is to get in the UK but in the US I wouldn't do it for one day. We did for the 2 day stay, we spent one day on our own and the 2nd day we arranged for a private tour with a company that did not provide visa support (you had to have a visa to use them unlike Red October or Denrus). Now it's even more expensive and more hoops to jump through, at least it was the last time I checked so I don't know that I would do it for just one day.

    I'd highly recommend looking at the off ship options, I absolutely hate ship tours, they are too crowded, too many people to round up and that have to use the bathroom and are dilly dallying at the gift shops. And you have some measure of control if you book a private guide, we saw a ton more than any of the people at our table who did ship tours.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by balhannah Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    I agree Kristi, we did a tour through a St Petersburg company and saw heaps more, and it ended up a private tour.
    We were told you could only do one or the other for touring St. Petersburg when on the ship. That may have changed though.
    When I looked into what an Australian needed for a visa, one of the necessary items was a letter of acceptance from our accommodation, that was the Ship.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    The ships don't encourage getting your own visa, obviously it's revenue that they miss out on since they figure people will get the ship tours with the visa issue. I forgot about the invitation, that was the most difficult thing to get. I can't remember how many people I had to talk to on our cruise line before I found someone who could give me that.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by balhannah Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Ah! I wondered how you got around that one, I was thinking you may not have needed it.
    So somebody on the ship let you use them as accommodation? I can imagine just how hard that would have been!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    No, I think what they did was get the ship tour company to issue us the invitation but it was a lot of work to get it!

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  • bugulma's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by bugulma Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    If you come to Saint Petersburg by cruise ships you need NOT visa.
    BUT, the following conditions must be satisfied:
    - the cruise ship has a stop in StP less than for 72 hours;
    - StP is the only destination in Russia for the cruise ship
    - passengers can leave the ship as a part of organized tourist group ONLY and must return every evening on cruise ship to have a sleep.

    Moreover it could be forbidden for the tourist to leave the ship if:
    - the passport is not valid for international visits or the tourist has not the tourist voucher on his name (for the organized tour).

    Keep in mind that it is impossible to apply for visa in the port and you MUST have visa if you do not want to have organized tours but would like to see sight seeings by yourself

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  • Am-Expat's Profile Photo

    Re: Visa for a cruise ship visit

    by Am-Expat Online Now Jul 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    There is no such thing as a Cruise Visa or Blanket Visa that is so often talked about by cruisers and tour operators. There is a visa waiver that has been in effect for many years that allows those arriving and departing by international cruise ship to visit up to 72 hours. The law has been expanded to include ferry passengers as well.
    The ships word their warnings about visas in ways to confuse their passengers and discourage them from using local tour operators as their guides, since a good deal of the profit a ship makes is on the extras like shore excursions. The ships do not conduct tours, they can't legally, but they resell tours contracted with local Russian licensed tour operators, and then take 60-80% of the selling price as commission.
    You do need a sponsor however, in either cases of buying a ship sold tour or from one of the many local tour operators who specialize in cruise tours. It means that while off the ship you need to be with a representative of the tour company, usually a licensed guide. A tour can be almost anything and any activity provided it is supervised by the tour operator's employee. You can arrange for an intensive tour that packs as much in as possible in the 2-3 days your ship is in port, or it could be unplanned walking around meeting locals, shopping, fine dining, clubbing or just relaxing in one off the city or rural parks.
    There are so many interesting museums, palaces and cathedrals that most people opt for intensive tours with 7-10 ticketed entrances. For that, there are two general types of tours, private customized itineraries made to fit your personal interests and exploration preferences or group tours, smaller more personal versions of the big bus tours sold by the ship. Group tours have a fixed pre-published itinerary and cover the most requested activities and sights. The first company to offer a guaranteed departure group tour was DenRus, an American company but seeing the success of that itinerary dozens of Russian tour operators have formed that essentially copy the same basic itinerary. Most two day, intensive tours, including meals and all entry tickets cost between $300-330 per person.
    To get a visa free entry into Russia you have only to have a valid passport and have a tour ticket. That is it.

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