There are many amazing privileges American citizens are fortunate to have. One of these is the ability to travel around the world with our passports. Some countries, however, require a visa – and these visas can be expensive, and time-consuming to obtain. One of the countries that require Americans to present a visa is Russia. However, this should not prevent you from visiting Russia! Russia is the largest country in the world, and it is a mysterious giant with famous vibrant domed Orthodox churches and a unique culture.
I’m always proud to say that I have visited Russia because it is one of the harder countries to access in Europe. However, the truth is it wasn’t hard for me to get there at all – and I’m going to share with you exactly how to do that today. No, you don’t have to wait months for a visa approval, marry someone in Moscow, or agree to be a Russian spy. All you need to do is take a cruise.
Several Baltic cruises offer stops to St. Petersburg and Moscow, and you can use your ticket as an up to 72-hour (depending on the cruise ship or ferry) visa. I took a cruise with the following itinerary: Stockholm – Estonia – Helsinki – St. Petersburg, and spent one day in St. Petersburg.
We took the St. Peter Line, and we had the absolute time of our lives. Every stop was amazing, and the people and crew on board were so friendly. As we made our way through the passport check we were eagerly anticipating what this country would hold. It only took about 10 minutes to get four of us through passport check, and out into the city.
St. Petersburg was simply beautiful, and a huge culture shock. Russia has a different alphabet so it was awe-inspiring to see shop fronts and street signs in a totally different text. We visited the Hermitage (the largest museum… in the world), and hit all the popular sites including St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the Church of the Savior on Blood
So, there you have it, here is a step by step breakdown of how to get to Russia visa-free: