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Getting your own visa for St. Petersburg


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After reading all the posts about Red October, Denrus and other tour companies, I think we are going to hire a private guide and driver directly. Our friends just cam back from a business conference in St. Pete and they had hired a private guide and driver who they referred to us who they said was wonderful (and is frankly much cheaper than any of these tours --$50 an hour for everyone--we are 4 people). But we need to get our own visas.
I remember seeing threads on this, but I can not seem to find then and the search function on the board doesn't work.

We are sailing RSSC Voyager. Does the cruise line give you the supporting documents you need? I am more than happy to use a visa service, but do not know where to begin. Any help would be most appreciated.
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We are sailing on Celebrity and once we made final payment they sent a booklet with all kinds of info. Included in that was how to obtain a visa on your own. You could either go through a company they recommended, in which case this company had all the necessary info on the sailing. Or, you could handle it your self but would need to contact the cruise line to get the necessary supporting documents.

I'm sure RC would have the same thing. However, I would not want to wait until the cruise line sent this info to me. I would call them now and ask them to walk you through the necessary steps. From what I recall from previous posts, it was more expensive to go through an agengy to get the visa, but they took care of everything. If you handle it on your own I'm sure it's more of a hassle, but less expensive.

Good Luck.
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You can get visa support online at zvs.com or baltictravel.com, among many others. Russianembassy.org will give you the info about what you need, the cost and where your closest embassy is. It can all be done by mail if you're not near enough to hand carry. Good luck!
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Alibee,
Sorry about that-they posted while I was in the middle of typing. We were successful in obtaining our own Russian visas. We used russianembassy.org to download the forms. Our tour company (Premier Travel) e-mailed us their visa support letters which were necessary. I followed the directions on the forms and mailed on my own using UPS with a prepaid UPS return envelope. I did not use any forms from Celebrity other than our reservation verification that we paid in full. I highlighted this for the embassy. It took about two to three weeks. I'll post when we return in July about this travel company. They have been great so far in returning all my e-mails and modeling the tour to suit us.
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Alibee,

Was on Voyager last year and did same thing. RSSC will order Visa for you. Just ask your travel agent. Private drivers can not meet you at the ship, but they will wait for you outside the gate (about 2 miles away.) Here's some advice: although you will not need help finding a cab to take you from the pier to the gate, ASK YOUR GUIDE TO GET YOU A CAB TO TAKE TAKE YOU FROM THE GATE BACK TO THE SHIP. Of course if you speak Russian that won't be necessary. BTW, the cabs are really just old cars driven by guys who probably give some of their income to the border guards.
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Alibee,

I am going to the Baltics in August and was wondering if you would mind sharing the info from your friends regarding the guides contact info. You may e-mail me at [email]ellenbolt@aol.com[/email] if you prefer in private. Thanks,

Kim
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We booked a tour guide from Palladium, and they gave us the info we needed for our visas. The applications took quite some time to fill out. We just received our visas this week with no problem.

[url="http://home.earthlink.net/~danamcmahan/"]http://home.earthlink.net/~danamcmahan/[/url]

**Noordam Aug 1, 2004 Jewels of the Baltic**
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We are using a guide named Olga Stepanova. Since we won't meet her until July I can't speak from personal experience, but she has been very responsive via email and came highly recommended. Her email is [email]stepanovaolga@hotmail.com[/email]. Please tell her Jamie Ney referred you. Good luck!
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Travelingmcmahans
We are using Palladium in Sept. Please let us know about your experiences when you get back.We have had very good responses so far with them. We just sent for our Visas. I will feel better when we get them back. It was a challenge to fill out the forms but I hear it is worse for the Russians wanting a Visa to the USA.
Lindaf
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LindaF:
Travelingmcmahans
We are using Palladium in Sept. Please let us know about your experiences when you get back.We have had very good responses so far with them. We just sent for our Visas. I will feel better when we get them back. It was a challenge to fill out the forms but I hear it is worse for the Russians wanting a Visa to the USA.
Lindaf<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Yes, the forms *were* hard. But the visas came within several weeks, and it's so cool to see them in the passports.
I will definitely post on here after the trip, but we won't be home until mid-August. Feel free to email me at [email]travelingmcmahans@mailzoo.com[/email] if i don't have anything posted by the time you leave.

[url="http://home.earthlink.net/~danamcmahan/"]http://home.earthlink.net/~danamcmahan/[/url]

**Noordam Aug 1, 2004 Jewels of the Baltic**
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I got this gem of a booklet from St. Petersburg when we were there in May. I had posted all sorts of links to private guides, hydrofoil tours etc, but one day the page was gone. Here is the booklet page and there should be several private tour providers listed.

[url="http://www.city-guide.spb.ru"]www.city-guide.spb.ru[/url]

If you want some web addresses of tour guides that are listed in this booklet, let me know and I will post.

Jewel of the Sea May 2004
Serenade of the Sea August 2003
Splendour of the Sea August 1999
Legend of the Sea August 1997
Rotterdam May 1989
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Thank you for all this information. Could you please let me know who has recommended Olga Stepanova. I emailed her to book 22 and 23 July and said I had been referred by Jamie Ney as in Bookbag's message. She only has the 22 July available. Have had a nice reply but my kids are saying make sure you know who she is!! I have emailed her asking about hiring/renting a car etc because I guess we need to do that. We are getting visas. Any additional information would be very helpful and much appreciated.
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I used Zierer Visa in San Fransisco for my visa in September 2001. It was about $100 and took a few weeks. I still have the stamped visa. It's a great souvenir for the scrapbook!
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