Visa-free cruise from Helsinki to St. Petersburg

The Winter Palace on Palace Square in St. Petersburg

The Winter Palace on Palace Square in St. Petersburg

Prices from £744 per person
Period: November 2014 – December 2015

Enjoy 72 hours city break in St. Petersburg without the hassle of getting a Russian visa. Cruise on a modern M/S Princess Maria overnight from Helsinki, and combine the modern Helsinki and the historic St. Petersburg for a memorable cultural holiday.

Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703 as his capital. The city is majestic with palaces, cathedrals, river embankments and canals, handsome parks and dozens of bridges.

Helsinki, the Finnish capital, offers dozens of museum and galleries, design boutiques and interesting architecture.

This is a great holiday for independent travellers, who want to explore arts and history, but there is also a good selection of optional excursions and evening programmes with opera, ballet, circus or folklore.

visa-free_boat_map

Day 1: Modern Helsinki
Arrival to Helsinki.

Helsinki is easy to explore on foot as everything is within easy reach – it is a beautiful city on a human scale. The architecture ranges from graceful neo-classical to art nouveau and modernism.

There are dozens of museums and galleries ranging from the outdoor museum of old Finnish buildings to the cutting edge modern art.

For keen shoppers, Helsinki offers an interesting choice of design boutiques and open-air markets. For the year 2012 Helsinki has been chosen as the Design Capital of the World.

There are also excellent restaurants using Finnish ingredients like reindeer, game, fish and berries. To get in the mood, why not pop into one of the several top-level Russian restaurants?

Day 2: Day in Helsinki and overnight cruise
Day of free programme in Helsinki. We recommend the huge outdoor museum of Seurasaari with dozens of old buildings, the Ateneum Museum with works from the Golden Period of Finnish art and a city sight-seeing tour with commentary in 11 languages, including Latin.

Departure to St. Petersburg at 19.00 on M/S Princess Maria.

This modern passenger ferry was built in Finland, and can take 1,638 passengers and 395 vehicles.

Day 3: Welcome to St. Petersburg
Arrival in the morning.

The Panoramic sightseeing tour includes the most essential sights of this magnificent Russian city, such as the Admiralty, the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, the brilliant St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Palace Square and Smolny Convent.

Former palaces of czars, extravagant mansions, and richly decorated churches create an imperial ambience all around the city, the home of Russian rulers for two hundred years.

StPetersburg_St_Isaacs_Cathedral StPetersburg_Chuch_on_Spilt_Blood StPetersburg_Peter_and_Paul_Fortress StPetersburg_Peter_the_Great_statue

Day 4: For art lovers
Breakfast at the hotel.

Optional tour to The Hermitage or Yusupov Palace.

The Hermitage is one of the greatest museums in the world. The tour includes Old Masters, State Rooms in the Winter Palace, and the Impressionists’ Exhibition. The Hermitage has works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Renoir, Degas and Matisse. The collection of Spanish art can only be compared to Prado Museum in Madrid, and the French collection is the largest outside France. Wear good walking shoes, there will be long walks in the museum.

Yusupov Palace is most sumptuous non-imperial palace in St. Petersburg. It was the home of rich and powerful Yusupov family, who from the mid-18th century until the revolution, moved in the most powerful circles in Russia. The Yusupovs were great collectors of art, and their collection was known well beyond Russia. After the revolution most of the collection was moved to the Hermitage, though traces of the incredible wealth that once kept this palace pulsating with life still remain: the various sitting rooms, the intricate chandeliers and candelabras that adorn every room and corridor, and the beautiful private theatre that looks like a cosy version of the Mariinsky.

Recently the palace opened an exhibit concerning an event that occurred in the palace in the winter of 1916. It is in this palace where the assassination of Rasputin, one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history, took place.

Day 5: Imperial jewel
Breakfast at the hotel.

Optional excursion to Catherine´s Palace in Pushkin or Peterhof Summer Palace.

Catherine´s Palace in Pushkin is one of the former imperial summer residences. The town of Pushkin was originally called Tsarskoye Selo (Czar’s Village). The Empress Elizabeth had the original palace, named Catherine’s Palace, expanded and renovated in 1752. The work continued during the reign of Catherine the Great. The palace is a combination of white and gold, and has a huge ballroom and ornately decorated drawing rooms. The most famous of these is the Amber room, which was raided by the German’s during the war, and restored after its return to Russia.

Peterhof Summer Palace is a magnificent ensemble on the Gulf of Finland, built in the 18th century as the summer residence of Russian czars with enormous park and beautiful fountains. The Grand Palace dominates the estate. It is filled with lavish rooms and galleries. Most of the emperors and empresses used the palace for functions and official purposes. Peterhof includes several other mini-museums of interest: Monplaisir Palace, which Peter preferred to the Grand Palace; the Chateau de Marly, on the western edge of the park, is the former guest house in the Louis XIV style; the nearby Hermitage Pavilion, which also has nice views and artwork. The intricate system of pipes and ducts of this masterpiece of the 18th-century fountain construction stretches for nearly 22 km. The water flows downhill by force of gravity while the fountains operate according to the principle of communicating vessels. In both artistry and engineering the fountains of Peterhof are truly unique.

A lunch in a traditional Russian style at a local restaurant. In the evening, an optional transfer to the ferry terminal. Departure from St. Petersburg at 19.00.

Day 6: Farewell to Helsinki
Arrival in Helsinki in the morning at 09.30.

There is still time to visit the boutiques, market square or museums before your flight home. During the summer, the tree-lined Esplanadi comes to life with live music and cafes.

Prices per person:

November 2014-December 2015

November 2014-May 2015 & September 2015-December 2015

From £744 per person in a twin room and £1094 in a single room
(*** Hotel Dostoevsky or similar in St Petersburg)
From £809 per person in a twin room and £1215 in a single room
(**** Hotel Ambassador or similar in St Petersburg)

June 2015-August 2015

From £779 per person in a twin room and £1199 in a single room
(*** Hotel Dostoevsky or similar in St Petersburg)
From £859 per person in a twin room and £1364 in a single room
(**** Hotel Ambassador or similar in St Petersburg)

What is included in the price:

  • Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow with Finnair. Flights from other airports are available for additional charge
  • One night in a city centre hotel in Helsinki including buffet breakfasts
  • Transport by ferry M/S Princess Maria in B-class double cabin
  • Panoramic city tour with a visit to the Peter & Paul Fortress
  • Services of a local English speaking guide in St. Petersburg
  • Two nights at Hotel Dostoevsky or Hotel Ambassador in St. Petersburg with breakfast
  • Registration fee and VAT at hotel

Please note that transfers in Helsinki and departure transfer to ferry terminal in St Petersburg are not included in the price.

Optional extras:

  • Meals on board: Breakfast eur12, Deluxe breakfast eur20, buffet dinner eur30
  • Optional excursions as per program as follows: Hermitage eur115 per person, Pushkin including lunch eur160 per person, Yusupov Palace eur105 per person, Peterhof Park including lunch eur190 per person
  • A-class cabin +eur170 per cabin, Commodore +eur510 per cabin and Deluxe +eur920 per cabin
  • Departure transfer to ferry terminal eur110 per car
  • Optional evening program: ballet or opera eur95-150 per ticket, folklore or circus eur80 per ticket
  • Additional nights in Helsinki
  • Helsinki Card eur38

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