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St. Peter Line, 12 Hours in St. Petersburg

Hi All,
Has anyone taken the St. Peter Line and done the single day in St. Petersburg? I'm traveling alone, and am thinking that may be the best thing to do. My questions are - do you keep the same cabin, and can you leave your belongings aboard? How is the passport line in St. Petersburg as well as the return passport line in Helsinki? I'm trying to coordinate this with a complex flight schedule! Thanks!

Posted by
4702 posts

I have taken the St Peter Line between Helsinki and St Petersburg, but I did the option to spend three days and 2 nights in St Petersburg. You won't have 12 hours in St Petersburg ... more like 6. I'm sure if youchoose the "cruise" option, you will have the same cabin for both nights as that is typically how the various ferries operate in the Baltic.

The ship arrives pretty late in the morning. It took a while to get through passport control in St Petersburg. After passport control, we took the obligatory "City Bus Tour" which is really just a shuttle bus that stops at St Isaac's Square and two hotels. By the time we got to our hotel, it was about 11:30am,

The queue at passport control coming back into Helsinki was very long for anyone who is not an EU citizen. It seemed the majority of travelers were Russian. I think we spent close to an hour getting through on our return. I'd allow plenty of time if you plan to fly out of Helsinki the same day.

Having taken this trip, I don't think I would recommend it for just one day. St Petersburg is a big city and I don't think the ferry gives you enough time.

Posted by
2 posts

Everything Laura said is correct.

Is there any way you can take advantage of the longer stay in St. Petersburg? If nothing has changed since last year, you should be able to stay 72 hours without a visa. Granted, you won't stay a full 72 hours because of the ferry departure times, but you should be able to stay 2 nights and have 2.5 full days to enjoy the city.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi there! Thanks for the quick responses. I'm looking at some other options now. But same question- what did you do with your bags even if you did an overnight in St. P? In the end, even if I pack lightly, I will still have more than I would want to carry around the Hermitage... Maybe I'm just paranoid because of the visa-free situation!

Posted by
4702 posts

Generally, you can leave your bag in your cabin on the ship if you are doing two consecutive nights on the ferry.

If you are doing the option where you stay two nights in a hotel, you go to the hotel, check in and drop off your bags, and then head out to sightsee. On the last day, we left our bags with the front desk after checkout and picked them up before taking the shuttle back to the ship.

Posted by
4702 posts

I should add, that we just booked one of the hotels that St Peter Line offers. We stayed at the Sokos Vasilevsky. The hotel is not centrally located, but the ferry's shuttle dropped off and picked up right at the hotel so it made it simple for arrival and departure.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for all the info! I had to take a day away from Stockholm to do the overnight in St. Petersburg, but I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with it. I'm now looking into tours - those of you who did this, did you do all touring on your own, or did you get a guide? The way I read the requirements, as long as I take the shuttle from St. Peter Line, that counts as my tour, right? But I also want to be sure I maximize this very short visit! Any recommendations would be appreciated!