I’m considering booking a Norwegian cruise with a stop in St. Petersburg. According to what I’m reading, going ashore without being part of a Norwegian cruise excursion requires a visa for a US citizen. However, I have an Italian passport as well as a US passport. Will I be able to use the Italian passport or do I still need a visa if I wish to go ashore on my own?
As you have an Italian passport, you are eligible to apply for a Russian e-visa to visit the St. Petersburg region. (All EU citizens except for British citizens, who I suppose will no longer be EU citizens in a matter of days, are eligible for this e-visa. UK, US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand passport holders, among many other nationalities, are not eligible.)
You do need to apply ahead of time, but the e-visa is free and is supposed to be issued within 4 calendar days.
Ensure that you will be entering and leaving at one of these border checkpoints. Presumably it will be the passenger port of St. Petersburg, but double and triple check!
Regardless of your passport, you do NOT need a visa for a cruise stopover at SPB if you are visiting with a guided tour (can be your cruise line or one of about a hundred independent tour companies). In any case, it's not exactly going ashore "on your own".
As an Italian citizen, you are eligible for an e-visa ( https://evisa.kdmid.ru/ ), which allows you to visit the city and surrounding area on your own.
Thanks so much for the information.
Unfortunately the cruise companies seem to say that you need to take the ship’s shore excursions to avoid the visa mess. But as was said above, you just need to take a guided tour and there are plenty of independent ones. They will have info on the visa situations on their websites
My Son and his group used Red October Tours for two days in St. Pete. He said they were great and half the price of the ship.
No visa needed. No visa needed if you use a local Russian company.
Thanks so much!
I've found the independent tours to be much better and less expensive than those sponsored by the cruise ship.
Don't be afraid to book a tour with a local company! Local companies are safe, good, and their tours are so so much cheaper than tours that cruise ship companies sell. We used Experience Russia during our Baltic cruise the last Summer. Those guys were wonderful! Basically, we had a private tour for just 3 of us for even less than what Norwegian charges for their group tours.
I hope you get a wonderful experience in St. Petersburg :)
Thanks so much!! 😀