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Nevsky Prospekt

I will be overnighting in St. Petersburg while on a cruise. One of my shore excursions includes two to three hours of free time on Nevsky Prospekt, on or around Arts Square.
What would you suggest that I do given the limited amount of time?
Nevsky Prospekt looks to be very interesting and beautiful.
I am going on my shore excursions through Norwegian Cruise Lines and they take care of visas.
Will I be given a visa for when I do this free time? I would hate to get in trouble.

Posted by
4684 posts

I think you will need to be escorted while away from the ship.

I visited St. Petersburg not on a cruise but by ferry, where I could use the 72 hour visa-free rule to wander around on my own for 2.5 days. But there are different rules for cruise passengers. If you get an actual Russian visa (not impossible but not simple), you can wander around on your own like I did. I'd be surprised if the cruise would get you an actual visa; it's something you must arrange well in advance.

Nevsky Prospect l is definitely an interesting walk. The beautiful Winter Palace - which houses the Hermitage Museum (part of it) is at one end. There are some interesting old buildings, canals, bridges, churches, and cathedrals. Walk up to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood for sure - an iconic sight in St. Petersburg. On the other hand, there are also Burger Kings and chain stores. And lots of Asian tour groups, crowing the streets. So it's not completely magical.

Posted by
50 posts

If your free time on Nevsky Prospekt is part of your shore excursion with Norwegian Cruise Lines then it should be covered by the visa-free disembarkation that will be provided to you by the cruise line. You would definitely be escorted by a guide during this free time as this is part of their regulations. Don't worry, you won't get in trouble if you have a guide with you during the entire duration of your shore excursion.

Posted by
7153 posts

Hopefully you’re going to see Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin while you’re there. It’s a must must must place to visit! Stunning

Posted by
131 posts

Well, first, I had to make choices. I could have taken the two day package that is offered by Norwegian Cruise Lines but it would have included a visit to the Hermitage during regular hours and I wanted to visit the Hermitage during evening hours so as to avoid the crowds. I chose the Hermitage in the evening but that caused me to make serious choices. I chose an excursion to Peterhof rather than Pushkin. I did ask a question about making a choice on this site and was assured that both places are magnificent. To the person who wrote about not missing Catherine's palace, did I make a mistake in your opinion?

I have copied and pasted the first and last paragraph of the description of the shore excursion that I have signed up for. It is going to be a busload of cruise passengers. It sounds like we are just going to be allowed to do our own thing without an escort.

So this has been taken from the description of the shore excursion that I signed up for. What do you think?

View some the city’s most architecturally and culturally important landmarks during a panoramic drive, and enjoy approximately 2-hours of free time to explore Nevsky Prospekt and surroundings, on your own.

A couple of hours of free time around Arts Square follows, during which you may shop at Gostiny Dvor, the city’s oldest department store, and at the 19th-century Passazh Arcade. Or you may continue sightseeing before returning to the pier. Some of the sights you’ll find in the area are the beautiful Art Nouveau building of the House of Books, Ostrovsky Square with a monument to Catherine the Great and Alexandrinsky Theater, Eliseev Delicacy Food Store, Grand Hotel Europe and many cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and boutiques.

Posted by
613 posts

Ask your cruise company on how to handle the free time.

Read everything you can on how to protect yourself from pickpockets. I have a backpack with 4 skippered pouches. By the time I made from the metro train to Nevsky Prospekt, every pocket got unzipped. Not a problem because they were all empty & my valuables were tucked in under my shirt in a neck pouch.

Posted by
4431 posts

It sounds like we are just going to be allowed to do our own thing without an escort.

I suspect the guide will probably just remain in the general area and give you instructions on time and place to meet up.

Posted by
131 posts

I am going to call my cruise company and ask about the free time on Nevsky Prospekt.
There are some reviews for past guests who took this excursion and they are positive. No one writes about how it is done but also no one writes about getting in trouble. Past guests seemed to enjoy the free time so Norwegian has offered this excursion for some time. Hopefully they know what they are doing.

Thank you for the information about pickpockets. They must be professionals from what you wrote. I am possibly going to buy a money belt to wear. A friend of mine went to Barcelona and they have a serious problem with professional pickpockets.

Posted by
4431 posts

but also no one writes about getting in trouble.

You will be on a legitimate tour. Your guide will know the rules and will communicate any parameters to you. As long as you follow your guides instructions, you should have nothing to worry about.

I visited St Petersburg in 2014 by ferry under the visa-free 72 hour rule. I did not have a ”visa” but my passport was stamped on entry and exit. The paperwork needed was prepared by the ferry company. I imagine the licensed guide prepares similar paperwork. Once you have gone through immigration and are in the city, it is just like being in any other European city.

Posted by
7153 posts

The only time I’ve ever been pickpocketed in my decades of European travels was on Nevsky Prospekt as a group crowded me into the side of s covered bus stop. I felt the hand in my pocket, but all they got was a used Kleenex. Hope they enjoyed that!