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St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise on the 'MS Princess Anastasia'

Your Adventure

Discover St Petersburg Visa Free sailing overnight there and back from Helsinki on the cruise ship MS Princess Anastasia. Russia’s one time imperial capital is as much a work of art as a city and a captivating cocktail of experiences:ornate palaces, onion domed cathedrals, majestic manicured gardens and of course, the Cruiser Aurora from which in 1917 the signal was given that kicked off the Bolshevik revolution.

What’s Special

For starters you enjoy the better part of 3 days in the city without the necessity, hassle & expense of a Russian Visa. Secondly the Czarist flavour to your holiday begins when you leave the quayside in Helsinki with on board Russian entertainment, food and atmosphere. And in St Petersburg you have an array of private excursions to choose from including ones to Peterhof, Peter the Great’s emulation of Versailles with its Palace, Gardens and Grand Cascade. And in the evenings you can take your pick from ballet, opera or exuberant Russian dancing performances.

Lobby entrance at Helsinki's Seurahuone Hotel | Finland Holidays by ScanAdventures
The bar in Helsinki's Seurahuone Hotel | ScanAdventures
The restaurant at Helsinki's Seurahuone Hotel | Holidays to Finland
Twin room with 5 pillow menu at Helsinki's Seurahuone Hotel | Finland Holidays

Seurahuone Hotel

Possibly the only hotel in the world with a 5 pillow menu: a unique choice of a synthetic filled firm one and medium & soft ones with either down or synthetic filings. A far cry from 1914 when the hotel in its second incarnation opened to plaudits for having running hot water and telephones in all rooms. Each advance though, speaks to the hotel’s timeless pursuit of elegance, style and occupant comfort which the most recent renovation in 2006 spectacularly continued, melding Carl Ludvig Engel’s neo classical legacy with contemporary style. Superbly central for a short stay, the hotel is opposite Helsinki’s landmark granite central rail station, 300m from the airport bus terminal and perhaps more importantly just round the corner from the Karl Fazer Café. All our rooms come with (of course) private WC/shower or a bath tub (your choice), LCD TV, security safe, hair dryer, coffee/tea set, WI-FI and a telephone updated from those in 1914. Not forgetting the pillows.

Outside Cabin on Princess Anastasia Visa Free Cruise | ScanAdventures
Restaurant on Princess Anastasia Visa Free Cruise | ScanAdventures
The Seven Seas Restaurant on MS Princess Anastasia | ScanAdventures
Ms Anastasia in her Moby SPL livery | ScanAdventures

MS Princess Anastasia

The ship has 7 different restaurants, cafes and bars including one focused on traditional Russian cuisine including beluga caviar, Siberian Pelmeni (dumplings), Kotleta po-Kievski (Chicken Kiev) and borsch. There’s also a ’sweet & sour’ experience of a different sort: a hot sauna and chilling plunge pool as well as a beauty salon and Russian dance entertainment. Your air conditioned cabin is 8.5sqm with twin beds and private shower, W/C and hand basin and outside sea facing on either deck 4 or 6 (that’s above the water line). The ship is British Lloyd Registered, owned by Moby spl and managed by DFDS (familiar to us as Scandinavian Seaways) an AAA Nordic certified ship Management Company operating one of the largest ferry fleets in Europe. PS Bear in mind the Anastasia is 30 years old!! A lot of the decor must have come from Soviet era movies; here and there a lick of paint might not go amiss and whoever designed the English Pub clearly had never been in one. But think of the ship as an experience. 

Dostoevsky Hotel St Petersburg double room| Russia Holidays by ScanAdventures
Dostoevsky Hotel St Petersburg | ScanAdventures
Dostoevsky Hotel St Petersburg bathroom | Holidays to Russia
Dostoevsky Hotel St Petersburg resturant | Russia Holidays

Dostoevsky Hotel

The hotel, built in 1783, combines the charm of its history with modern comfort and service. Located in the Vladimirskaya square, the unique historical area of the city, the Dostoevsky faces the Cathedral of Our Lady of Vladimir. The superior rooms are from 21 to 24 m2 and the amenities include 24/7 room service, television with satellite reception, telephone with international direct dial, bathroom with WC/shower, hair dryer, safety box and a mini-bar.

Foyer of Hotel Ambassador in St Petersburg | Russia Holidays by ScanAdventures
Twin room in Hotel Ambassador St Petersburg | ScanAdventures
Fitness Center in Hotel Ambassador St Petersburg | Holidays to Russia
View of the Grand Cascade at Peterhoff by St Petersburg | Russia Holidays

Hotel Ambassador

Just off Sadovaya street, the Ambassador is opposite the Yusupof Gardens and within walking distance of St Isaac's cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt and Sadovaya (Sennaya Ploschad’) Metro station, so you couldn’t be more central. The chandelier overhanging the lobby and marbled staircase leading up from it are both auguries of what the hotel offers: modern standards with a genuflection to Russian opulence. The buffet/restaurant on the 9th floor has a panorama view of the St Petersburg cityscape & St Isaac's Golden Dome. The décor in our allocation of standard rooms is more Scandinavian than Russian with light pine bed heads and furniture, fawn and red fabrics and marbled bathrooms. Each has a coffee table & chairs, a desk with mirror, TV, telephone, WI-FI and wardrobe.

Domina Prestige Hotel St Petersburg |Russia Holidays by ScanAdventures
Domina Prestige Hotel St Petersburg | ScanAdventures
Double room at Domina Prestige Hotel St Petersburg | Holidays to Russia
Domina Prestige Hotel Lobby | Russia Holidays

Domina Prestige Hotel

The hotel is located on the Moika River Embankment, only a walking distance from the majestic St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the famous Mariinsky Theatre, Palace Square, Hermitage and Nevsky Prospekt. The Domina Prestige has its own unique style and contemporary design and the concept of five dimensions: Nature, Family, Fantasy, Adventure and Romantic, which can be seen in the room’s atmosphere, decoration and service! The rooms are bright and cosy and amenities include king size, queen size or twin beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, writing desk, telephone, arm chairs, IP TV, air conditioning, spacious bathroom with WC, bathtub and shower, minibar, hairdryer, safe and a teapot.

1st Day UK – Helsinki

fly direct to Helsinki, self-transfer to the city centre (bus station) and check in at the Hotel Seurahuone (or similar) just 300m or so walk across the road.

2nd Day Helsinki – St. Petersburg

take breakfast and then explore the city. Helsinki is an eclectic mix of east and west set on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland: a neo-classical gem with an art nouveau quarter, and here and there, Alvar Aalto's spectacular modern architecture. There are smart pavement cafés on Esplanade and gourmet restaurants for lunch at less than London prices. In the late afternoon transfer to the south harbour at 19.00 and board the Princess Anastasia for an overnight passage to St Petersburg.

3rd Day St. Petersburg

your ship docks after breakfast at 9.30. Disembark at 10.30 and meet your guide for a private orientation city tour featuring St Petersburg’s most iconic sights (and sites) including the Admiralty, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Nicolas Cathedral, Palace Square, Peter & Paul fortress (inside visit) and Smolny Convent. Check in at your chosen hotel and afterwards explore the city on your own. In the evening you can enjoy dinner in one of our recommended restaurants or go to a folklore, ballet or opera performance.

4th Day & 5th Days St. Petersburg

as much a work of art as a city, Russia’s one time capital is a captivating cocktail of experiences which you can discover on your own or on our optional guided tours: the Hermitage (Day 4); Yusopov Place (Day 4), Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin (Day 5) or Peterhof Summer Palace ( Day 5). Begun by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage's art collection has an unimaginable store of over 3 million works of art; Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin, otherwise known as Tsarskoe Selo, was Peter the Great’s wife’s summer holiday home, a staggering kilometre in circumference with blue-and-white facades decorated with gilded atlantes, caryatids and pilasters. Peterhof Summer Palace on the Gulf of Finland, built in the 18th century as the summer residence of Russian czars has as its centerpiece the Grand cascade of 64 fountains. On Day 5 optional transfer by private car to the ferry terminal for re-embarkation and departure at 19.00. Make a note: if you take a guided tour on your last day it will end at the ferry terminal.

6th Day Helsinki – UK

arrive in Helsinki at 9.30 with time for some last minute retail therapy for iconic design brands like Arabia and Iittala before a self -transfer to the airport and your return flight to the UK.

What’s included in your ScanAdventure:

Return scheduled flights from the UK to Helsinki
All passenger service charges and airport departure taxes
Complimentary beverages & Pay on Board food service
Carriage of luggage (1pc cabin/1pc hold)
3 nights hotel accommodation as per itinerary
Lodgings in twin rooms with private WC/Shower
5 Buffet breakfasts & 2 dinners (on board ship)
Overnight return passage from Helsinki to St Petersburg
On board accommodation in an outside A class cabin
Privately guided orientation city tour/hotel transfer on arrival in St Petersburgl
Private departure transfer in St Petersburg if optional tour taken on Day 5
Services of qualified English speaking excursion guide(s) in St Petersburg

Departure Dates & Prices:

March 27th; April 4th,10th,18th & 24th; May 2nd,8th,16th, 22nd & 30th; June 5th,13th,19th & 27th; July 3rd,11th,17th,25th & 31st; Aug 8th,14th,22nd & 28th; Sep 5th,11th,19th & 25th; Oct 3rd,9th,17th,24th & 31st; Nov 6th,14th,20th & 28th. 2018
Guide* All March,April,Oct & Nov deps £995pp.May 2nd,8th & Sep deps £1145. May 16th to July11th inc deps £1145, July 17th to August 28th inc deps £1285pp 
Guide* Prices are based on our mid-level contract air fares which are real time variable unlike our ground costs. We don't do fancy lead in prices and always use the lowest air fare available at the time you confirm your booking. This may mean your holiday being slightly less or more in which case a proportionate reduction/supplement will apply. Carpe Diem = the earlier you book the better, especially for public & school holdays. 

Interior of Yusopov Palace | Visa Free Cruise to St Petersburg
Interior of Yusopov Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Interior of Yusopov Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Interior of Yusopov Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise

Yusopov Palace

Known above all else as the palace in which Rasputin was mudered, Yusupov is one of St. Petersburg's most exquisitely ornate reflecting the sybaritic tastes of a Russian aristocratic family. The palace retains its original interiors of the 19th beginning of the 20th century. Motives of various styles have been used in the decoration of the halls and chambers. The influence of the art of different countries and epochs can be traced in the Turkish study, oaken dining-room, Musical chambers and the chamber of Henry II. The luxurious decorations of the interiors just dazzle: murals, carvings, marble, mirrors, gilded chandelier, expensive silk clothes and refined furniture. The cellar where Grigori Rasputin, the legendary favorite of the wife of Emperor Nicolas II, now houses memorabilia of his life and death.

The Hermitage Museum Exterior | Visa Free St Petersburg Cruise
The Hermitage Museum Main Hall | Visa Free St Petersburg Cruise
Grand Masters at The Hermitage Museum | St Petersburg Visa Free
Grand Masters at The Hermitage Museum | St Petersburg Visa Free

The Hermitage Museum

With its genesis as Catherine's the Great's astonishing stash of loot, the Hermitage has a mind boggling collection of 3 million cultural artefacts, paintings, graphic works, sculptures, works of applied art, archaeological artefacts and numismatic objects. The collection includes Western European art with works by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael; Spanish art comporable to that in Madrid's Prado; the largest collection of French Art outside France displaying works by Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Gaugin and Matisse. The largest museum collection in the world is spread throughout four buildings. You enter the Winter Palace from the Neva Embankment; the next building to the east is the Small Hermitage; further east lies the Old Hermitage (facing the river) and the New Hermitage (facing Palace Square). An arched gallery spans the Winter Canal and leads to the Hermitage theatre. There are literally a billion things to see in the Hermitage and it is well worth making more than one visit. The overwhelming richness of the museum is all the more enhanced by the incredible splendour of the buildings, inside and out: ornate and regal facades, huge frescoed halls; marble, wood and mosaic floors; and statuettes, figurines, and antique furniture all on such a grand scale that it fascinates the mind.

Exterior view of St Catherine's Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
 Amber Room at St Catherine's Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Imperial Hall at St Catherine's Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Dining Room at St Catherine's Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise

Catherine's Palace

Catherine the Great's Baroque Palace at Pushkin is both a gob smacking example of Baroque architecture, a giant Czarist museum and a park garden the like of which is only matched at Versailles. The star attraction is the recreated Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber panels, gold leaf, and mirrors, originally created in the 18th century but whose panels went AWOL during WW2. Tsarskoye Selo Palace and Park are together like a tribute to world-ranking architecture and garden/park design dating from the 18th century, the work of leading architects, sculptors and painters bent to the will of their czarist masters (and mistresses) fancies. Tsarskoye Selo is a cluster of very fine examples of Baroque and Classical architecture and it was also the first place in the Russian capital where interiors decorated in the Moderne (Art Nouveau) style appeared. This is the world of the Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine where you can their walk through gilded ballrooms, imperial halls , granting your own imaginary audiences, holding diplomatic receptions, gala balls, and masquerades. 

Grand Cascade at Peterhof | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Grand Cascade at Peterhof | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Grand Palace at Peterhof | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Monplaiser Palace & Gardens | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise

Peterhof (Petrodverts)

Fiercely jealous of Versailles and anxious for Russia not to be seen behind the European Renaissance curve Peter the Great's planned an imperial palace  to rival the Sun King’s and, after an aborted attempt at Strelna, Peterhof (Peter's Court) became the site for the Tsar's Monplaisir Palace, and later of the original Grand Palace. The estate was equally popular with Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade. Like almost all St. Petersburg's suburban estates, Peterhof was all but destroyed by the Germans troops in WW2 but was one of the first to be restored and amazingly the Lower Park re-opened in 1945 and the facades of the Grand Palace restored in 1952.


Corp de Ballet at Marinsky Theatre | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
St Petersburg State Circus | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Folklore dancers at Nikolayevsky Palace  | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise
Entrance Hall at Nikolayevsky Palace | St Petersburg Visa Free Cruise

Ballet, Opera & Folklore Performances

You can round off an evening in St Petersburg with any one of authentic Russian cultural experiences; the ballet, circus or folk show. At the Nikolayevsky Palace, originally the home of Emperor Nikolay I’s son, the Grand Duke Nikola, a 2 hour folk performance comes with a chance to have a vodka and caviar during the interval and is characterized with some very energetic dancing. At the Marinsky Theatre you can enjoy Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet or Giselle to music by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Prokofieva performed in classical Russian style on a historic Russian stage. And in Russia's splendidly restored oldest permanent circus complex, a unique engineering structure designed and built on a basis of 1870’s state-of-the-art engineering ideas,  international circus troupes and artists perform shows lay on unique performances. Availability, prices and tickets according to dates and performances.

Grand Cascade at Peterhof | ScanAdventures | Visa Free to St Petersburg

  • 3 Days in St Petersburg
  • Optional Hermitage, Pushkin,Yusopov & Peterhof Excursions
  • Folklore & Ballet Performances
  • Guide Price £995pp