Are Visas required? No, not with Tours and Tickets shore excursions, although your cruise-line will not tell you that!
During any Baltic Sea Cruise Season we receive many letters and phone calls by worried cruise ship passengers who have been told by letter or on the phone that they cannot disembark in St Petersburg unless they book shore excursios from the ship. If they do not wnt to pay the high prices for the large crowded bus tours the ship sells, they must obtain a separate Russian visa. This policy of using that scary tactic has been used since the first cruise ships arrived in St Petersburg many years ago. It is not true.
The letters and comments are scripted attempts to mislead their own passengers, and to scare them away from even thinking of booking any other tours, except these offered by their own ship. The fact is that the Russian operator, which your cruise line has chosen to be as its tour provider in St. Petersburg has no monopoly in Russia, and the cruise passengers are totally free to choose their own tour providers, provided it is an officially registered and licensed local Russian tour operator company. Tickets and Tours is a fully licensed and authorized tour operator so we are permitted to host visitors without visas..
Here is an extract from the official Russian Consulate Website page providing instructions for the cruise ship passengers staying in the Russian Federation for less than 72 hours.
New Tourist visa
ATTENTION CRUISE SEA SHIP PASSENGERS !
According to the Russian Immigration Law
if you travel on an International Cruise Sea Ship and follow below mentioned conditions:
1. During your stay in the Russian Seaport you have accomodations on the the Shipboard in the same Sea Port;
2. You have group tourist program organized by a local tour operator, or your Cruise company in the same city.
You don't need tourist visa for the period of up to 72 hours.
This special immigration regulation does not apply to individual Sea Cruise tourists without organized tourist program, river board cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours.
For this type of travelers please see Consulate's visa requirements below.
In case you wish to see the entire file, here is the link to the entire Russian Consulate website:
In order to avoid any misunderstandings: Any person participating in a Tickets and Tours operated shore excursion program, and holds a Tickets and Tours issued valid tour ticket to be presented to the Russian Immigration Agent, does not need any Separate Russian tourist visa. DenRus shall make all necessary arrangements with the Russian Immigration Department for this person's entry to Russian Federation. However, if a person wants to disembark totally independently, and has not purchased a organized tour, or a ship's tour, then this person must have a valid Russian visa.
Sample Shore Excursion Ticket
Here is a sample of a Shore Excursion ticket, which each person on our tours is expected to present to the passport control agent at the St. Petersburg port terminal. These tickets are forwarded to you 1-2 days after you processed your booking with Tickets and Tours.
In case you did not receive them, please, check your Junk Mail Box, or Spam Box, and if not found, then either send us an e-mail to