Cruises in the Baltic can include the Scandinavian cool of Stockholm and Helsinki, the fairytale old towns of Riga and Tallinn, and the lively charm of Gdansk. But for most Baltic cruise passengers, St Petersburg port of call is the jewel in the crown of their voyage. And the St Petersburg cruise port terminal will ensure you have a smooth journey from on board your ship to the city’s numerous attractions.
The cruise passenger port name is Marine Facade. It has four terminals, the most recent opening in 2011, and has won several awards, including the “Most Improved” transport facility in 2011, and the “Best Port” award in 2009. However, the key things for most passengers is that the St Petersburg cruise port terminal is comfortable, there is plenty of information about what you might see, has ATMs, and – most important of all – is a place to meet St Petersburg private tour guides who will show you around the city.
The St Petersburg cruise port terminal lies several miles away from the city centre and attractions like the Hermitage, the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet House and St.Isaac’s cathedral. It is some distance away from the nearest metro station Primorskaya, and although there are buses, they can be difficult to negotiate without being able to read timetables in Cyrillic and ask for directions in Russian. Also, using public transport means waiting for a bus or a train to appear – and with limited hours in St. Petersburg cruise port, most cruise passengers want to get to sights as quickly as possible.
For many people who join cruise excursions in St Petersburg, the best way to see the city is on a private tour, either by themselves or with a small group of friends who are interested in the same areas. If you want to see as much as you can of the Hermitage museum and the Winter Palace – and you could spend days there and not see everything! – your private tour guide will take you straight there. If you’re particularly interested in the Cold War, or Russian cuisine, or art and culture, then a private tour allows you to focus exclusively on your interests, and avoids the feeling of being herded from A to B that can be a feature of some large coach tours. Private St. Petersburg tour operators can also arrange your visa-free disembarkation in St. Petersburg, as well as queue-jump tickets to the Hermitage and to any concerts you might want to see.
Back at the St Petersburg cruise port terminal, there are several facilities that allow you to make the most of your time in the city. If you want to send your postcards with a St. Petersburg postmark, then there’s a post office where you can buy stamps and send mail. If you haven’t had time to shop for souvenirs, then you will be able to pick up some presents at the souvenir shops.
Cruises to St Petersburg are an amazing holiday experience. And if you plan in advance and use the facilities available at the St Petersburg Cruise Terminal, then you’ll be able to maximize your time in this beautiful city.
If you hold a Russian Tourist visa and wish to tour on your own then you can take public shuttle bus # 158 that runs every 30 minutes from the cruise terminal gate to the nearest metro station Primorskaya and back. The trip takes about 20 minutes. You need to have cash rubles to pay for the ticket which is 25 Rubles for one trip (tickets can be bought in the bus). Otherwise, you can take a taxi to the nearest metro station. It is better to travel with a local Guide-Guru who can find the way and transport to the port easily given the short time you spend in the port of St. Petersburg.
Shuttle bus timetable from Terminal 3 to Primorskaya metro station: 6:52, 7:20, 7:48, 8:16, 8:44, 9:12, 9:40, 10:08, 10:36, 11:14, 12:01, 12:35, 13:03, 13:31, 13:59, 14:27, 14:55, 15:23, 15:54, 16:22, 16:50, 17:18, 17:46, 18:14, 18:42, 19:20, 20:07, 20:45, 21:13, 21:41, 22:09, 22:37, 23:05, 23:33, 00:01.
Did you know you can enter Russia visa-free if you are travelling by cruise ship? Learn more >>
By Natalia Rogachyova on Google+
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