I didn't have any problem getting off. I just relaxed in one of the lounges and when I saw a group ready to get off I jumped right in and was never challenged. As a matter of fact the independent groups had a seperate line through immigrations and we were off with our company while the Princess tou group was still locked up in a rather long queue. Some of the cruise lines will tell you this is what the Russian authorities want when in fact they don't care as long as you have the proper paperwork.
Good day C,
Here is what RO wrote in their message: " Please kindly note that sometimes they ( the ship) make announcement on board for the tours to disembark. Since you do not belong to these tours you may go ashore as soon as the ship is cleared. The ship usually makes an announcement when they receive clearance" and it is in the same lines as what I did read in most forums about what people did. My DH and I will be in the Sept 2 Star Princess Cruise.
Hi it is me again !!
Here is a quote from another board :"We were just on the May 15 (2006 that is) Star Princess sailing and had a tour booked with Denrus. We lined up at the gangway before the ship was even cleared, which I strongly recommend doing. Once the Princess tours start coming down, you'll be caught behind them. The good thing is that they have to go to one of the lounges first to get their tour stickers, so you'll have time to get down there first. We heard horror stories later from people on tours that were caught in lines for more than 2 hours!"
Hoping that will help you
Unless the Star Princess is no longer docking where it used to, make sure that the tour company 1) is able to get to the ship (it is docked way back in a working dockyard) and 2) handles the visa's for you.
We had no problem getting off in a timely matter in Sept 2005. Not having to wait in a lounge for a Princess tour number to be called was a definite advantage. We did line up early at the gang plank and cleared Russian immigration quickly and easily. We had our Denrus paperwork in hand, having heard that an'invitation" was crucial. The Russian official did not so much as look at any of that, just stamping the pasport and allowing us to proceed. Our Denrus driver and guide were waiting just beyond immigration. Denrus (and our guide Ludmillia) were great. Enjoy St. Petersburg.
You won't have any problem with Red October, My family and many friends have travelled with them before. Some friends just returned in May and travelled with RO, they were perfectly happy with RO .
Enjoy! By the way when are you going? My wife will be going on 12 September, 2006. Do you want to team up with us and go with Red October? If you are interested, email me. Regards.
I have heard very good things about Red October tours. They can get in ahead of other tours, etc. I have read everything I can about Russia and its history, the Romanoffs, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great and it is fascinating. We have been on 18 cruises and hope to get to Russia and the Baltics one day. I know your trip will be memorable; have a great cruise.
we were off the ship by 7:00 a.m. July 13 trip, make sure you have copies of passport and visa's from your guide company ready to give to the guards/security off the ship, take a raincoat and bottled water as it has been warned not to drink the water, come back early on 2nd day as you can get caught in the railroads ajoining the ships terminal, we were stuck for a short time, trains use this as main area for loading too, have a great time, I'd do it again in a second, highlight of the trip