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We arrive late afternoon in St. Petersburg and wondered if a canal cruise would be a good idea that evening. We are thinking that a canal cruise that includes dinner would be a nice way to for exhausted travelers to spend the first evening. are we too optimistic? Does anyone know of such a thing or can recommend something else?

Posted by
6486 posts

We took a canal cruise as part of a two-day tour a few weeks ago, and I'd definitely recommend it I don't know how to set one up if you're not part of a tour group, but it must be possible. Google is your friend here. Major tour companies, that might offer cruises apart from their other tours, include Alla, TJ, and SPB. Ours (part of an Alla tour) started on a canal near Palace Square, passed between buildings of the Hermitage out to the Neva, went in both directions on the river, and then through more canals to a drop-off point that was different from the starting point.

It was strictly a day boat, comfortable enough in good weather, with a small cabin and bathroom below. I saw a lot of such boats, but none that looked set up to serve meals. Dinner cruises may not be available in St. P as they are in Paris. I'd recommend against a dinner cruise anyway because it divides your attention between what the sights you're passing and the food (probably not great food) you're eating. In Paris or anywhere else, focus on the views, have dinner elsewhere.

Posted by
445 posts

Re: setting it up if you are not part of a group
At almost every central location along Nevsky or point of interest there are people with loudspeakers and signs (mostly in Russian - "речная прогулка", "экскурсия по каналам" or "прогулка по Неве", but some are in English) inviting for a boat tour.

If in doubt, look out for people on Segways dressed in blue and wearing "ask me anything" badges - I've seen these at most central locations like the Arts Sq., Palace Sq., Kazan cathedral, St.Isaaq, etc. They will direct you to the nearest pier.

Like I stated elsewhere, the only option that offered dining that I saw was the Volga-Volga restaurant ship. Again, ask volunteers for directions (or Google it). But in do agree with the above poster - I'd rather eat first, take a boat tour later.

Posted by
8035 posts

I don't do dinner cruises -- have done them all over the world and haven't had a good dining experience yet -- but it is dead easy to do a canal cruise in St. Petersburg. We went to the one on the banks of the Fontanka right by the Faberge museum which had one in English; just walk up and get a ticket by the bridge and walk down to the quai. There is a schedule posted of English tour times.