Russian Tourist Visa information for guests joining our vegan cruise
A visa-free entry program is in place for those docking in St. Petersburg as part of an itinerary with a licensed operator, such as Cruise & Maritime Voyages + Vegan Travel. It allows passengers to visit the country for up to 72 hours without a visa, provided they stay onboard overnight. Another important stipulation is that if you want to get off the ship to explore, you can only do so by booking a tour through CMV Vegan Travel or a Russian company licensed by the government.
Cruise passengers may disembark from the ship without a tourist visa if they participate on tours organized by CMV & Vegan Travel. Passengers not participating on tours and wishing to disembark will need to obtain a Russia tourist visa. Passengers won’t be permitted ashore if they don’t present a valid passport, a Russian visa and a voucher issued by a Russian travel company or another authorized organization.
Cruise passengers cannot obtain a visa in Russia. Visas are issued in the country of residence before departure.
Once you disembark the ship, you’ll go through immigration at the port to get your passport stamped, and officials will also ask for proof that you’re a passenger on the ship (show them your key card) as well as the tickets for your tour. Depending on how many people are disembarking at once the process can take up to 30 minutes, so be sure to factor that in to ensure you make it through in time.
Passengers who wish to explore St. Petersburg individually, must obtain a Russian tourism visa before leaving home; visas cannot be obtained during the cruise.
You’re also required to stay with your tour company, so don’t get any ideas about breaking away to explore on your own even though it’s tempting. If the idea of being at the mercy of a a group excursion isn’t your idea of a good way to see the city, then there’s one other option: book a private tour with an accredited driver / guide who can take you anywhere you want.
There are quite a few good tour companies out there and Vegan Travel can recommend some.