Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Recommended Shore Excursions in St. Petersburg, Russia

Recommended Shore Excursions in St. Petersburg, Russia

Of the 33 excursions offered by Disney Cruise Line, here are our recommended port adventures for first-time visitors to St. Petersburg. If you plan on an evening excursion, we suggest no more than a five-hour tour during the day:

Low Budget: Since visa requirements make on-your-own touring a non-starter, it's comforting that there's a good list of affordable excursions hitting the major sights. Cheapest is St. Petersburg Shopping Experience (SP16, $29/$19 ages 3-9, 3.5-4 hours), which gives you 2.5 hours of on-your-own shopping in Arts Square. In the long run, a visit to Hermitage Museum (SP03, $99/$49 ages 5-9, 3.5 hours) may cost you less!

Big Budget: The big money goes for private vehicles with driver and guide, and on a per-person basis, the cost is not prohibitive. Meals and admission fees (including the guide’s) are extra, and it’s best to arrange admission through the cruise line. Cars carry up to 3 guests, vans up to 10, mini-buses up to 16. Rates are $499-$1,299 for 4 hours, $799-$2,199 for 8 hours. Or do it up in style with Retro Car Ride Through St. Petersburg with Driver/Guide (SP42, $799+ for up to 4 guests, 4-4.5 hours), which puts you in the back seat of a vintage, luxury auto.

A Night Out: A Night of Russian Ballet  (SP08, $199/$189 ages 5-9, 4.5-5 hours) seems just the ticket. The trick is, which ballet company, and what ballet will you see? You’ll have to take your chances. An extra $150 adds dinner and a meet-and-greet with the performers (SP19). Royal Ball at Catherine's Palace (SP32, $399/$359 ages 3-9, 5.5-6 hours) recreates that bygone era, with costumed dancers and "Catherine" herself in attendance. Evening at the Hermitage  with Private Concert (SP30, $319/$289 ages 5-9, 3.5-4 hours) helps you dodge the daytime crowds and heat (no air conditioning) and adds a 30-minute orchestral performance.

Palaces: Considering the travel time required to see Catherine Palace or Peterhof, we’d go for Pushkin & Peterhof: Suburbs of St. Petersburg (SP10, $225/$165 ages 0-9, 9.5-10 hours), which gives you both palaces. Combos that include one of those plus the Hermitage are another good way to go.

Armchair: St. Petersburg Introduction (SP01, $39/$25 ages 3-9, 3.5-4 hours) lets you catch major sights from the seat of a bus, but Evening Canal Boat Tour (SP17, $65/$35 ages 0-9, 2.5-3 hours) may be more appealing. If museums aren't your idea of "culture," perhaps the classic Russian Folkloric Show (SP09, $79/$59 ages 3-9, 3.5-4 hours) will suit your style.

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