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Old 05-17-2005, 10:25 AM
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My wife and I are interested in sharing a shore tour of the most famous sites in St. Petersburg through the Red October tour company. Their mini-van can take eight passangers. We will be arriving 8/22 on the Holland America Westerdam.
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:44 PM
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Do you need a Russian visa?

Tom
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Old 05-22-2005, 08:30 AM
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As I understand it, Red October will provide thge required visas and any other paperwork.
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Old 06-03-2005, 06:01 AM
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rpeck7,
Not sure if you have found takers to share your van, but I just got back from St. Petersburg and Red October got high marks for the quality of the tour. Enjoy-
Nancy
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rpeck7:
My wife and I are interested in sharing a shore tour of the most famous sites in St. Petersburg through the Red October tour company. Their mini-van can take eight passangers. We will be arriving 8/22 on the Holland America Westerdam.
Not sure if you have a tour lined or or tour mates but I was just talking to someone on your ship who is interested in sharing their van. It is with Den Rus, so contact Ilya at sia@denrus.ru for details if you still need a tour with other passengers.
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Ogg:
Do you need a Russian visa?

Tom
Tom
There is a lot of confusion about visas and Russia. The only class of visitor who eligible for a visa waiver program is the cruise ship passenger who is in port less than 72 hours. The conditions of the visa-less entry into Russia is that 72 hour limit and they must be escorted by an authorized tour company that is licensed to host visa-less visitors. The there are 3 main companies do this. Arctur, Red October and Den Rus Ltd. Arctur is primarily large bus tours of 45-50 passengers, and R.O. and D.R. offer both the large buses and the popular private small personalized 2-12 passenger VIP tours. The latter type of tour greatly prefered by visitors because they are personal and more effective in getting into the best sites without lines or waiting. I prefer Den Rus because they are known the be the most flexible and they are the only American-Russian tour company which means western business practices and customer service. But any of them can provide a great visit to a facinating and beautiful city.
If you use a smaller tour company who is not registered for escorting foreign visitors you will need your own visa. Visas cost about $100 for Consular fees plus letter of invitation or tourist voucher which is usually $25-35. There are some advantages to having a visa, you can wander around without a guide and come or go as you please, and stay out all night. Staying out all night is a possibility because White Nights is not a time for sleeping, just too many things to do and too many festivals to attend than to go back to the ship.
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:43 AM
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Stan, I just returned from St. Petersburg and used the services of Den Rus for two days sightseeing and a nightclubbing tour. The experience was excellent. We attended the opening of the Palace Bridge marking the beginning of the White Nights Festival (along with a few hundred thousand other folks) and then hit some nightclubs. I think the most memorable moment was driving near the Church of the Spilled Blood as it was lit up in the White Night at around 3 am.

However, because of the celebrations we could only gain access to one nightclub on Nevsky prospekt, Would you know the name of it? It was both a restaurant and disco. I want to mention it in the review I am writing, but didn't obtain it while I was there.

I completely agree with your assessment of Den Rus.

Tom
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Old 06-08-2005, 11:06 AM
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Hi Tom, I am glad you enjoyed your visit. Night clubs on Nevksy are pretty slim pickings right now, the lease payments are way to high for the return in investment so the are located on side streets and further out. Did it have a restaurant towards the street, that served Sushi and Moroccan food? That would be Magrib at 84 Nevsky prospekt. I sort of have a love-hate relationship with that place. It is the home of some real low lifes who just happen to have money but they also have some of the best DJs. I always have fun there but it is known for foreign guys getting drugged by ladies they meet. They wake up with their apartment or hotel room, wallet and pockets cleaned out. It is the only place I warn western men to be careful in. All other places I can think of are cool and safe.The problem with Magrib is that it is not like St Petersburg, it attracts southern Russian from the Casasus and ex-pats who look up to hoods and tough guys. You will notice the staff looked different than any other club, most were mafia wannabes. Going with a group or as a couple is not a problem at all, it is a fun place.Single men should be warned however. For no hassle good evening out dancing try the 3 floor Metro, or the large British pub on steriods called Red Lion, friendly crowd, English is the normal, 6 bars, good sound control and lots of interesting people to dance with. Only problem is that they hire super lame DJs about 1/2 the time. A real Russian club with the style and flash Russian trendy clubs are known for try Plaza, next door to the old Stock Exchange building that is now the Naval Museum. It is full of young people having a great time but spending a lot of money doing it...good DJs, great sound, fashion shows, bands between the DJs. Casino downstairs. Jet Set is another upscale place with stylish people, the "beautiful people" and tight face control. For good dance but no too many young people to make you feel too old, try Marstall, a foreigner hang out, funky wood interior, good DJs, continuous mild erotic acts( male and female dancers) moderately priced drinks, food, fun contests and packed everynight. It is within rock throwing distance from the Church on Spilled Blood on Gribiedov canal. I never have had a bad time there even though it is not a high class place. A few Pros work the crowd but they are nice and just telling them you are not looking for Company and they are quite gracious in thanking you for the dance. The rest of the people who go there are nornal typical Russian girls who do not go out often so are not part of the club scene, local guys and lots of foreigners. I've met some of the nicest people there....I could on and on as what to do in SPb in the evening.....Oh yes, one more that is really fun, relatively cheap, and very friendly. Two places next door to each other on Fontanka canal close to Nevsky pr: Purga. One of them is New Years Eve every night and the other one is a wedding every night. It really is not a wedding but it is played like one and even a couple or a single man and woman is picked out as the lucky couple and they become the focal point for a festive wedding party complete with cake, lots of drink and good dance music. It is a blast. Plus the cover is only $3.50
I am tired of typing:&gt Be careful of what you ask me, i might write..and write and write....Come back, but spend more time, the longer to stay the more likely you will find it isn't enough.
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Old 06-08-2005, 05:55 PM
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Wow! That is great information. It was Magrib that we were at and it kind of looked like what you described, complete with muscle bound bouncers and all. We had a great time, but I now want to come back and try the clubs you have suggested. It is such a great city.

We ran into our wine steward from the ship in Magrib. He and his friend were from Columbia and when we left, they had hooked up with two really good looking blondes,,,now it makes all kinds of sense. BTW, I don't think I have ever seen a collection of more beautiful women in one place than were in Magrib that evening.

You must be having a great time living in St. Petersburg.

Tom
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:39 PM
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Stanj,
Thanks for the outstanding information. And once again I ask, "Where were you before we went on this cruise?" We needed you as our guide that evening!

I can only echo Tom's sentiments regarding the women of St. Petersburg - I don't think I have ever been so demoralized as spending a night amongst those beautiful women. Ah, to be 20 something again!!! (Of course I am not sure I ever looked like that)
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