For many people (myself included) visiting St. Petersburg was the primary motivating factor for booking my北欧巡航。It’s a city that enchants from afar like no other but it’s also a destination that will be unlike most any other port you’ve ever visited on a cruise. So if you’re arriving by游轮在“白色之城”，这里就是你需要知道，你应该准备什么使您的访问的。
Unlike at ports in the Caribbean and everywhere else in Europe, before you can officially enter Russia you have to pass through passport control. This means stopping at a booth while your passport is examined and ultimately stamped. If it’s your first time leaving the ship, you will also be given a Russian entry visa which is turned back in on the return trip through passport control. It goes without saying to make sure the Russian entry visa is in a safe place at all times. I’m pretty sure it would be a huge nightmare if you were unable to produce it. The second I passed through passport control (for my evening port excursion), it took a lot less time and no Russian entry visa was given out. And only one person at a time goes through passport control. Regardless of your being married or not, officers were somewhat anal about this, in a not so friendly fashion.
I found it extremely interesting to see all of the Soviet Union/Communist icons that were featured prominently in the stations. I would later learn that most were constructed at the height of the Soviet Union’s power in the 1950s and 1960s. This will be truly be one of the neatest and definitely most authentic of Russian experiences while there.
It costs more but book a private tour
Even though I was limited to booking a tour excursion through Disney if I were to get off the ship in St. Petersburg, there was no way in HELL I was going to do some 50 person group excursion for a city I had dreamt about visiting my entire life. So for the first time after taking eight cruises, I booked a private car which included both the driver and our guide/translator. It was quite pricey, but it was one set price for everyone; a sedan could fit three people and there was also the option of booking a van, which I saw larger families doing.
How it worked with Disney Cruise (and I’m assuming other cruise lines are the same) is that you select the places you’d like to visit ahead of time and your itinerary is then scrutinized by the overseas company that handles the booking to see whether it’s feasible or not. By booking a private tour I could see everything that I wanted to, no disappointments of having to pick that “one thing” to see while in port if I were to have booked a group excursion. I got to see everything from Peterhof Palace to two of St. Petersburg’s most famous churches to riding the metro.
Granted I was visiting during the summer and on a weekend day no less, but I was still taken aback by the sheer volume of crowds at the many popular tourist spots such as Peterhof Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the Church of the Savior on Blood. St. Petersburg can receive countless ships into its harbors on the same day, everything from smaller vessels (ferries, river cruises) to large cruise ships. On the day we were there, there were three cruise ships in port in addition to one river cruise and a large ferry.
Be sure to try the food & drink
圣彼得堡is an amazing city, of all the cities I’ve visited in the world, it blows my mind to think of how much it has witnessed in its relatively short existence (as European cities go) since it wasn’t founded until the 18th century. I look forward to the day when I can return and explore in so much greater detail and depth.