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Old July 12th, 2003, 03:41 PM
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Default Oosterdam

My wife and I are booked on a Sept. departure aboard the Oosterdam. We are seasoned travelers but this will be our first real cruise. Our itinerary includes St.Petersburg. As I mention we are seasoned travelers and would prefer to explore ports on our own. Does anyone have any advice pro or con about going it alone in St.Petersburg?
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Old July 12th, 2003, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Oosterdam

I assume you are aware of the visa requirements to travel in St. Petersburg by yourself. If not , the process is lengthy and somewhat costly. You cannot clear Russian immigration by yourself without a visa.

Traveling without a tour guide is challenging unless you are fairly fluent in Russian. Many folks find a private tour organization. They essentially "sponsor " you and no visa is required. The Red October agency has an excellent reputation. Their e-mail address is redoctober@peterlink.ru. Address your inquiry to Laura. You should hear back from her in 24-36 hours. Their prices are much less for 4 than 2 and even lower for 6. If you can't team up with others Laura may be able to do that for you.

Otherwise, it's the ship tours.

OP
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Old July 12th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Oosterdam

We were on a cruise while visiting St. Petersburg. We opted to take ship's tours both days eventhough we hate cattle call excursions. Most of the attractions in St. Petersburg are mobbed with tens of thousands of people each day anyway. You may find that a private tour is far less than private. I have never been to museums, estates, castles, etc that were so crowded. The Hermitage is magnificent but be prepared for HUGE crowds no matter how you choose to tour this lovely museum. Also wear cool clothes. There is no A.C. and it can get unbearably warm insite the Hermitage and many of the palaces. My favorite tour was the Pushkin tour that included a wonderful and amazing lunch. There was vodka, champagne, classical music played by a string quartet, folk dancers, all in a lovely room in one of the famous Czar's estates.
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