I was planning on taking the St. Peter Line ferry from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in a few weeks with a 72 hr stay in the city. However, now I wonder if that would be foolish with the US State warning to reconsider travel. Thoughts or opinions? Am I asking for trouble? Thanks!! Greg
What kind of trouble are you looking for? ;-)
I did the 72 hour visa free trip in 2016. Tensions were not quite as bad then but were getting worse. I felt completely safe and comfortable there on my own - it was great. People were friendly to me - had I spoken any Russian, I would have probably had more conversations with locals than almost any other city I've visited as a tourist. Have the locals soured on Americans since then? Somehow, I doubt it. St. Petersburg was more touristy than I expected (plenty of Asian tour groups).
I will say that I am now quite alarmed at what Russia has been doing - much more so than I was in 2016. I think I might be more hesitant to go now, not because of fear for my safety but because I don't want to support the Russian regime by giving them my tourist money. I'm not saying I WOULDN'T go - I'd just be more hesitant to go.
The whole ferry experience was, by the way, much more fun than expected. I had never slept on a ship or been on a cruise before, and it was really fun!
Only afraid because US Advisory states “US Citizens harassed by police”
I spent a cumulative of about three weeks in St.Petersburg over this past summer, always as part of a large tour group. We were there on City Day and the day of World Cup final, so, as you would imagine, we did get to see A LOT of LEOs there. Our only interaction with them was asking for directions - and getting a polite and informed response.
You might want to be careful though. However, it's a delightful experience. My family and I had a Baltic Cruise using Anastasia Travels and it was very memorable. I think you should consider using an agency, they'd guide through the process.
One might also be careful about following the advice from esteemed new members, especially those pushing for a specific tour company (the one whose name starts with Anastas, but doesn't end with Mikoyan). The company itself is legit, but I find its promotional efforts to be in poor taste.