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Arrival at St Petersburg, Russia

Baltic Cruise (St Petersburg) . 2015 . Aug 8

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

The highlight of the entire cruise of the Baltic Sea was the historically and culturally-rich St Petersburg in  Russia - a country that was fairly difficult and unlikely for us to venture via land.

After leaving Helsinki,  the Caribbean Princess picked up speed through the night and reached the port of St Petersburg in the early hours of the next morning as we looked on excitedly in our balcony.

Unlike the other ports of call at the Baltic Sea where we could enter the city at leisure, security was a lot tighter at St Petersburg, Russia.  We had to carry our passports upon disembarkation and clear the Russian Immigration before entry into the country.

Loads of tour buses were already waiting for us at the other end of the immigration line.

In Singapore, it was almost impossible to find a money changer to buy the Russian rubble or the Polish zloty.  We actually embarked on this trip without any Russian or Polish currency in our hands.

Princess Cruises made it so much easier for us by having a currency exchange machine onboard with the currency sold varying with the next port of call.  The only drawback was that the machines accepts only the US dollar, meaning that we have to be subjected to the conversion rates two times.

After the Russian immigration office, there are also money changing machines installed for tourists who want to make some last-minute attempt at currency exchange.

Currently the second largest city in Russia after its capital Moscow,  St Petersburg is a splendour of fine architecture and opulent palaces.   However, despite its recent development and modernisation, we still felt relatively insecure traveling by ourselves into the city, which was actually only a 25-30 minute drive away from the pier.

Taxis were available at the pier, but not all drivers speak English.  Our safest option was therefore to take on a land excursion, one that would bring us into the city for some sight-seeing and yet still allows us flexible time to explore the city for a while on our own and get back safely to the ship.

Join us next as we bring you to the Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and oldest museum in the world.

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

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