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St. Petersburg Port Guide

There’s no destination on a Scandinavian cruise that’s more mysterious and enduring than St. Petersburg, Russia. An enigma of historic and religious sites and the birthplace of of some of literature’s greatest works, here you’ll explore museums housing some of the biggest and best art collections in the entire world. St. Petersburg is an intellectual city, a cultural capital where arts, music, and creativity thrive despite the bitter winters. May to July brings about the White Nights, a short time in St. Petersburg where the sky is completely lit up throughout the entire day, making late spring and early summer a prime time to visit St. Petersburg.

Make a day of museum hopping from the Hermitage Museum onto the Dostoevsky Museum, finishing the afternoon off at the Russian Museum. If church tours are more your thing, check out the ornate domes of the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, or take photos of the beautiful Nikolsky Cathedral. Vodka tastings? You bet Russia’s most famous export is alive and well in St. Petersburg, too. Whatever you fancy, Russia’s cultural capital will captivate you on your St. Petersburg cruise.

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to St. Petersburg

Hermitage Museum

There are over 350 rooms in the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, so you’ll find it impossible to see everything in the short time you have there. When you cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia, come here with a plan on how to see your favorite artists and time periods on display here.

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

Elaborate and breathtaking, this Russian Orthodox cathedral is one of the most recognizable sights in all of St. Petersburg. The mosaics and colorful domes are what the cathedral is famous for, along with it being the site of an assassination attempt of Tsar Alexander II. Beauty and Russian history collide as you explore the church.

Russian Museum

Even if you were previously uninformed about Russian art, the Russian Museum is the perfect primer for the local art scene. Spend the day perusing the museum at your leisure, then bring all sorts of art history tidbits back to the ship with you.

Peterhof Palace

This set of palaces and gardens is yet another example of St. Petersburg’s opulence. Meant to invoke a similar reaction as the Palace of Versaille, Peterhof stands up to the hype. It’s open from 9am to 7pm Sunday through Friday, and closed Mondays.

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Top Things to Do in St. Petersburg

Tour the Palace of Rasputin’s Famous Murder

The elaborate Yusupov Palace along the Moyka River was built for Russian aristocracy in the late 1700s, and it encapsulates the art and culture of Russia at the time. Don’t miss a tour through the very castle where Rasputin was assassinated. It’s a harrowing place where you’ll quickly get a taste of the wealth and status of the day.

See the Winter Palace

The Winter Palace also comprises part of the Hermitage Museum, but you could easily spend your entire time there simply walking the colorful grounds, where the palace glitters in gold and teal blue. Russian emperors lived in the Winter Palace from the 1700s until the 1900s.

Explore the Dostoevsky Museum

Famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky lived in St. Petersburg for much of his life, and the Dostoevsky Museum was erected in the apartment where he lived from 1878 to 1881. Today, you can walk in his footsteps and experience his apartment for yourself. It’s a must-see for literary types and fans of Russian literature.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

Palkin

Address: Nevsky Prospekt 47, St Petersburg

Classic Russian cuisine comes with a side of history at Palkin, which was also the site where famous Russians like Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, and others once sat and broke bread together. Try the fried foie gras, the salmon caviar, or the boar and venison dumplings. Adventurous, filling dishes are the name of the game here. 

Chekov

Address: Petropavlovskaya St., 4, St Petersburg

You might not have tried truly authentic Russian food before, but Chekov is the place to change that. Inside, you’ll feel transported back to the 19th century, though the menu is decidedly modern. Try the marinated brandy trout fillet or the chicken liver pate. Delicious dumplings, called pelmeni, are stuffed with meat and made in-house daily.

L’Europe Restaurant

Address: Mikhaylovskaya Ulitsa, д. 1/7, Saint Petersburg

Located within the Grand Hotel Europe is a fine dining experience like no other in St. Petersburg. It’s one of Russia’s oldest restaurants, which only adds to the charm of getting to spend an evening here. Sunday brunch is a favorite. Every Wednesday, dancers and performers move to the classical sounds of Tchaikovsky during the dinner service. There is a wine-pairing menu as well as an elaborate seven-course menu including dishes like duck confit, salmon tartar, red caviar, and a four-cheese tortellini.

Culture & History of the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

Tsar Peter the Great founded the capital city of St. Petersburg in 1703. Ever since, St. Petersburg has become a cosmopolitan hub for arts, culture, and style. Famous authors like Nikolai Gogol and Dostoevsky were inspired and influenced by their times living in the city, which is immortalized in their literature. Though the climate was harsh and the winters almost unbearable, St. Petersburg remained a place where immigrants and visitors flocked to for hundreds of years. Today, it’s the second-largest city in Russia behind Moscow, home to a population of over 5 million people.

St. Petersburg Port Facilities & Location

When your cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia docks in port, you’ll have to quickly go through immigration before continuing on to explore everything the city has to offer. The port, called the Marine Facade, is a passenger port equipped to handle wide berths and plenty of cruise traffic.

Transportation in St. Petersburg

The metro system in St. Petersburg is comprehensive and runs daily until midnight. Otherwise, biking and taking a taxi or shuttle bus from the port into the center of town are great bets for getting around during your St. Petersburg cruise stop. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the cruise port to the city center, or around 45 minutes to get to the Hermitage Museum.

Shopping Near the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

You won’t be hard-pressed to find some of Russia’s enduring souvenirs, from famous nesting dolls to Russian vodka, chocolate, and other goods that tourists love to take back home with them. These souvenir shacks and stands are scattered throughout the city, making it easy to shop when you feel like it. But St. Petersburg isn’t all kitschy wares. There’s also a growing boutique shopping scene here, like the impressively large Galeria or a smattering of vintage shops selling clothes dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The local currency in Russia is the rouble (stylized as R), and you’ll find credit and debit cards are used all over the place here. Still, it’s handy to have a little bit of cash in case you need it. ATMs are widely available, too. Tipping your taxi driver isn’t expected, but you can round up or leave behind a few R if you’re particularly happy with the service you received. At restaurants, leaving 10% is customary.

 

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St. Petersburg, Russia- Although reportedly built to resemble such Western cities as London, Paris, and Vienna, one look at St. Petersburg's regal palaces and vast public squares is enough to
tell you that it is truly in a class of its own. This grand city has always been entrenched and largely defined by its proximity to water. The Neva River snakes and bisects this city at every turn, necessitating the building of some 342 bridges to navigate pedestrian, motorist and boat traffic.

Dubbed ‘The Venice of Russia’, there’s a wealth of history and culture to experience on a cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia. As a central location for the world’s greatest works of art, St. Petersburg has few rivals. The Russian Museum, where the city’s greatest works are housed, is a must visit as it spreads out over 4 lavish palaces still intact from its Tsarist past.

Peter the Great, of whom the city gets its namesake, sought to make St. Petersburg the imperial seat of Russia and a showcase city built largely by the best European architects that money could buy and his vision is still very much preserved throughout every inch of this memorable city. If you're in St. Petersburg in June, you'll be able to catch the city's famous "white nights," when the boundless night sky is never completely dark.


Tip from Travel + Leisure

Kulturra

For souvenirs beyond the ubiquitous matryoshka dolls, head to Kulturra, a cutting-edge concept store where artists and designers—among them Marmeladova, who creates fanciful silk cocktail dresses and fitted blouses in bold prints—set up shop within a fashion-forward communal space. Designers here come and go, making it a hot spot for locals looking for the next big trend.

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