St Petersburg, Russia
Peter and Paul Fortress
With canals and royal palaces, St Petersburg is a mix of Venice and Versailles on the western end of Russia. Most Baltic cruises spend two days here.
Citizens of most nationalities will either need a visa or be on a tour from a government authorized operator. For independent tour companies, SPB Tours, Alla, DenRus, and Red October are recommended. You may need to fill out a customs card. For those on overnight visits, your passport stamp will give you entry the second day.
Where You're Docked
Large cruise ships dock at the new Marine Facade complex three miles northwest of the city center. You will need to clear customs in the cruise terminals here. There are ATMs, and some small shops though the terminals are a fair distance from the residential areas. Smaller cruise ships sail up the Neva river and dock at either English Embankment or Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment much closer to the city center. Marine Facade website with ship schedule here http://www.portspb.ru/en/
Marine Facade Map
Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment
Money & Tipping
There is an extensive metro network in St Petersburg though it may be difficult to get around if you can't read or speak Russian. When taking a taxi, have your destination written in Russian since most taxi drivers don't speak English. Taxis can be booked from desks inside the cruise terminals. Private vehicle drivers may offer to take you to your destination for a fee. For your safety, it is recommended to only use legitimate taxi companies.
Bus 158 travels between Marine Facade and the nearest metro station, Primorskaya, about 2km to the east. The bus departs approximately every 30 minutes between 7am to midnight. You will need local currency and the fare is 30 RUB. Take the metro with it's opulent stations two stops to Gostiny Dvor. To ride the metro, a token must be purchased for 35 RUB (Apr 2016)
Search hotels in St Petersburg here
Must See Sights
Because of the expense of a visa and difficulties with language (both spoken and written), most cruise ship passengers will opt do do a tour. Here are some sights you may visit. Prices updated Mar 2016.
If you depart from the UK, you will have three hour forwards when arriving in St Petersburg. Tours usually start early in the morning to make the most out of your day. Most people that book evening tours on an overnight don't show up because they are too jet lagged and tired.
Shopping & Restaurants
Nevsky Prospekt is the city's main street where you can find Gostiny Dvor. It is the oldest, and largest department store in St Petersburg taking up an entire block. There are markets behind it on Sadovaya and the surrounding streets. Two malls adjacent to each other can be found by Sennaya metro station two blocks to the southwest. There is a souvenir market beside the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood and some stalls on the south side of St Isaac's. Off Nevsky Prospekt across from Gostiny Dvor is Malaya Sadovaya, a short pedestrian street with a Kugel ball.
For Russian fast food, try a Blini (a russian crepe) at the chain restaurant Teremok. For the non-adventurous, you can find Subway, Starbucks, McDonalds and Carl Jr's here.
Head to the soviet-era cafe Pyshechnaya (Bol. Konyushennaya ul. 25 - off Nevsky Prospekt near the Church of Spilled Blood) for coffee and russian style donuts, pyshki. These donuts can also be found at various bakeries along the main street including Sever (44 Nevsky Prospekt), Bakery Volkonskiy (15 Nevsky Prospekt), and Bakery Michelle (114 Nevsky Prospekt).
Try a piroshki (baked pie with meat or dessert version with fruit) at Stolle (multiple locations, including 11 Nevsky Prospekt by Hermitage). Popular with tourists. http://www.stolle.ru/
Some of the terminals at Marine Facade have post offices. The Central Post Office is at 9 Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa about a block west of St Issacs Cathedral.
Cafes and malls may provide free wifi for customers. Cafes inside the cruise terminals may have paid wifi. An internet cafe may be setup just outside the terminals and full of crew.
Maps (right-click to save)
St Petersburg Weather Forecast
Climate and weather http://www.saint-petersburg.com/weather/
Suggested Port Guides