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Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

Ireland
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Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

We will be arriving on a Royal Carribean Cruise ship for 2 days in SPB next week. One of the tours offered by the ship appears to offer the freedom to sightsee on your own - or am I missing something important here? I understand you are meant to be accompanied by a tour guide but ......

the tour drops you of in Nevsky Prospect and leaves you for 6 hours to "souvenir shop." I have attached the full wording of the tour from the company website below for clarity.

We always travel independently from ship tours and planned to purchase this "tour" and then visit the sights using the hop on hop off bus and by just walking to the Hermitage / Peter & Paul / Church of Spilled Blood etc.

Obviously we would have a "tour ticket" which means we are travelling visa free but are we likely to encounter any problems doing this ... we were actually going to do this tour both days and just make our own itinerary.

Any guidance greatly appreciated - wording from cruise tour below.

"Your tour will begin with a short drive to Nevsky Prospect, one of the well-known streets in St. Petersburg. Cutting through St.

Petersburg's historical center, Nevsky Prospect runs from the Admiralty to the Moscow Railway Station before making a slight

curve to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Since the 18th century, it has been the center of the bustling, rapidly growing city. This

street is lined with magnificent architectural ensembles and offers a wealth of cultural interests including cathedrals and churches,

numerous theaters and movie houses, the Small Philharmonic Concert Hall, the City's National Public Library, and numerous cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. It is also the main shopping area of St. Petersburg. Some of the best shops can be found around Gostiny Dvor Arcade and Passage. The street always teems with people until late into the night. Nevsky Prospect has also figured prominently in Russian history and literature.

Note: Guests must be able to walk approximately 1.5 miles over uneven, cobblestone surfaces, inclines and steps. Comfortable

walking shoes are recommended. Due to its nature, this tour is not suitable for guests with walkers or wheelchairs. Time permitting;

guests will have approximately 6 hours for souvenir shopping during the tour. The drive to/from the port is approximately 30 minutes each way, dependent upon traffic conditions. Tour order may vary between coaches due to traffic or crowding circumstances"

Ireland
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1. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

Have just been advised that the Cruise Ship gives you a visa with your name and details on it with the tour ticket so it appears it may be a way of unsupervised sightseeing ... any thoughts??

Moscow, Russia
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2. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

> Cruise Ship gives you a visa with your name and details on it

No way.

Ireland
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3. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

Marassa -

cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php…

See 7th post in this thread on a cruise forum regarding the Visa from someone who has just returnedfrom the cruise.

Do you think it would be unwise to do as we had planned?

Moscow, Russia
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4. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

You probably mean #8? This person obviously can't tell their visa from their tour voucher. A visa cannot be "provided by the ship" and you don't get to write anything in it - it's glued into your passport by a Russian consulate in your country for a rather hefty fee which is equal to the fee the Russians have to pay to get your country visa. Please don't selectively read just those posts that seem to suit you - some people on that board (like the next poster) do have a clue.

Now to the reality: by law, with no visa you are supposed to be supervised by a tour operator at all times, period. In practice, the city authorities seem to be pretty lax on this subject and the police have been told not to interfere with visaless tourists wandering on their own unless something happens. But what if anything happens that would require the police to do their paperwork? Once put on paper, someone has to do something about your violating the visa free regime. Are you prepared to risk it?

St Petersburg Russia
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5. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

It seems that one tour company who contracts with ships, Baltic Travel, is pushing the law to extremes but they only handle Norwegian Cruise Lines and offered it as a tour with a 3 hour window of time to walk unsupervised from the Church on Spilled Blood to Arts Square where they were to meet their bus. Immigration did not know about it and there has been some repercussions after someone without a visa was caught by local police. The visitors made the mistake of asking a policeman for directions and revealed that they needed to get back to their ship tour group. RCCL is contracting with Arctur and has not before this offered this type of program. The question has come up with the local tour company association for shore excursion companies when meeting with immigration and the concept was stated to be against the law.

A printed tour ticket is NOT a visa and any police who stop you will have every right to pull you in for being in the country illegally since your visa waiver specifically says you are to be supervised and hosted by an authorized tour operator at all times off the ship. There is no excuse for "being told it was OK" since you are responsible for the laws regardless of whether you can read and understand them or not.

Six hours wandering around without knowing where you are or going in the throngs of people you will be moving among and through is ripe for missed return buses and missing tourists. Seems risky.

Ireland
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6. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

Stanj & Marassa,

Thank you both for your replies.

We are travelling on this cruise next week and were planning on using the "St P at your leisure" cruise tour as away of doing independent sightseeing each of the two days we are in port.

We plan to get dropped off day one and board the city sightseeing HOHO bus for two hours then disembark it and visit Peter & Paul Fortress - then walk back to Nevsky Prospect to be picked up by the cruise tour for return to ship.

On day two we planned to again get dropped off by the "St P at your leisure tour" at Nevsky Prospect and walk to the Hermitage and Church on Spilled Blood before again returning to ship with the tour.

These walking routes are within a reasonable radius of Nevsky Prospect and we have detailed maps and directions.

Royal Carribean Cruises are dropping their guests of on a tour that is called "St P at your leisure tour" - how are they doing this? Would they do this if they had not researched the practicalities and implications of it?

It is not like we are leaving the ship independently and are therefore "on our own" - we will be on a RCCL tour that leaves you for 6hrs to do your own thing and then has the responsibility of returning you to the ship. What does the tour company think their guests are going to do for 6 hours? This is either total madness on the part of the Cruise Line because it is an official tour which they endorse - OR - has an agreement been reached?

Naturally we don't want to break any laws in a foreign country but I am having difficulty understanding how this tour is being offered by one of the largest Cruise Operators in the world if it is totally contravening local laws.

Stanj

Missing the return bus is not an option!!!

I understand your concerns about this but assuming we are capable of getting back to the pick up point is our itinerary practical from a walking point of view ( if perhaps legally questionable )

Your thoughts would again be appreciated

7. Re: Visa Free Entry On Tour - Freedom to Sightsee

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