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Russian Visa confusion??

Discussion in 'Europe' started by thomaseu, May 14, 2004.

  1. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    Just received our Shore Excursion Guide for Constellation July 31 Scandinavia & Russia cruise. We have booked with DenRus for a 2 day tour for 4 persons. According to DenRus we will be covered by a blanket group visa and do not need to get individual visas. We have received individual daily tickets to show we are traveling with DenRus. But according to the guide [page 4] "Guests who have not purchased a Celebrity Cruises shore excursion and who do not have an individual Russian visa will not be allowed to go ashore in St. Petersburg."

    How have those of you with Red October and/or DenRus made out. Did you have trouble departing the ship? How did it all shape up.

    I just downloaded the 9 page instructions from Zierer Visa Service, as outlined in the Shore Excursion Guide and the price for visas through them and vouched for by Celebrity is $307 for two persons.

    In a quandry at the moment. Don't want to go on the Constellation shore excursions but don't want to be sitting on the ship for two days! Help please.
     
  2. sandthrush

    sandthrush Guest

    We took the ship arranged shore excursions, so I can't speak from direct experience, so maybe I shouldn't be answering this question, but from what I have read, a representative from the tour company must come on the ship to arrange to get their clients off the ship, and you leave the ship with them. Hope this helps.
     
  3. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    Thanks, they will be at immigration but are not allowed onboard anymore. Our concern is really with Celebrity not with Immigration or the tour company.
     
  4. retired1

    retired1 Guest

    When we traveled the Baltic last year, we also used a tour company with a blanket visa. We had no problem at all.. It was a great way to see St Petersburg.
     
  5. gpotter37

    gpotter37 Guest

    We are on the July 3 cruise from Stockholm to Dover. I communicated with two St. Petersburg tour companies about private topurs. Both told me the blanket visas granted Celebrity cruise line only cover those taking Constellation's own shore excursions. They told me we needed individual visas obtained through the Russian consulate. They provided me with the paperwork necessary to get the visas including the tour company's registration number. They said you can only get off the ship if a representative of the tour company with that registration number is there to take you. My travel agent confirmed the accuracy of this information. Russia visas cost $100 per person and, if you use a passport/visa handling company to get it for you, there is an additional fee charged by that company (generally $40 to $60 per visa). I would make sure the information you are receiving is correct by checking with Celebrity. You don't want to get to St. Petersburg and not be allowed off the ship. We did get individual visas.
     
  6. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    As I understand it, the blanket visa granted Celebrity cruise would, of course, only apply to those taking Celebrity tours. The blanket visa from the private tour company, DenRus, would cover the people taking their tours. We each a letter from them stating that we are covered by their agency. The representatives from DenRus will be there with our registration number. They never mentioned getting individual Russian Visas and when I inquired they responded that we did not need them.
    All of this will be solved when we arrive in St. Petersburg and do or do not get off the ship. I will report what happened on our arrival home.
     
  7. lysolqn

    lysolqn Guest

    Just returned from Constellation Baltic cruise (May 22/June 5). We booked two full day tours through Red October and had no problem getting off the ship. All that was required was a passport and tour ticket from RO.
    I tend to think the company line that you can't get off the ship without either an individual visa or being part of a shore excursion is simply a marketing ploy to insure bookings and thereby increase revenue!
     
  8. Scapel

    Scapel Guest

  9. toots

    toots Guest

    We also just got back from St. P. and used Red October. They obtained our visa for us, we never even saw one. We got off the ship, showed the RO letter they had sent us, and with our passports we got right through customs. The RO people were waiting right outside the ship with their vans. I bet DenRus is the same way. You can believe them if that's what they told you. Naturally, the ship wants you to take their excursions. Our small tour group went right to the front of the lines everywhere, something you appreciate when you see several hundred people waiting to get into the Hermitage.
     
  10. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    Just back [original poster of this thread] and had no problem.

    Celebrity has a 'new' policy for independent travel. They asked who our tour operator would be and the time we were to start our tour. They gave us priority disembarkation passes and had us all congregate in a lounge. Then we were escorted off the ship. Immigration didn't even ask to see our tour tickets. We just had our passports and they were stamped and we were given a red ticket to keep until our return that day. The next day was even easier as our tour didn't start until 9. No problems at all.

    DenRus tour was fantastic! Will post a St. Petersburg report when my head clears.
     

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