|Subject: Re: Baltic Cruise|
I wanted to say that we too have been looking at taking Baltic Cruise.
This trip would probably include a few cities that we've already visited, since we live in St. Petersburg already. Still, the opportunity seems nice and relaxing.
We have several friends that have sailed with Silja Cruises and really enjoyed it.
Actually, I know that one couple last week came back here before going home and were showing us pictures of the port there in Stockholm where Silja docked.
I remember seeing the same ship docked in Tallinn, Estonia about 3 weeks ago.
Silja is a Finnish cruiseline (Suomi, in the language list), however, for anyone who can read Russian, or leaves from Russia, there is usually a big discount in price.
The negative is that for a trip from Russia, would usually require a return trip and thus a payment for a second entry.
On the Russian visa subject, as long as you have the 6 to 10 days to wait, the new visa costs $50 US, and the required invitations (for the visa) are from $20 to $30 and can be obtained within 1 to 2 days. [This is a fairly recent change, and one my family welcomes when it comes time to visit us.]
If you should want to visit Russia on your own, or just find a tour when you arrive in St. Petersburg, I would suggest either Russian Holiday or Alliance Travel. Both have been good to us, and Rusholiday is easy to find on the street should you need to find them (and speak English quite well).
If staying in Russia for more than 3 days (or automatically in any hotel), tourists must register. Hotels kindly do this for you when you arrive. This is very useful. Staying with friends or in an apartment here, you must either stand in line at OVIR (just don't, it's usually a 3 hour line when it's short) or going to the same agencies above and paying a small registration fee. This is the common method when not in a hotel.
I can also say that we checked with and talked to every agency in Saint Petersburg to find the best rates and fastest service...those were the two that we ended up with as best and also cheapest.
Happy Travelling, Sky St. Petersburg, Russia