If you are looking for new experiences, Russian river cruises are right for you.
Traveling on our Russian cruises is one of the best ways of getting to know this amazing country.
Traveling to Russia or the Ukraine and taking a river cruise in particular can raise many questions. Below is a list of the most frequent questions that we are asked about our Russian cruises. If you need additional information or do not find the answer that you need, please feel free to contact us.
Q.: I would like to use your services but at the moment I can't pay with my credit card. Can I use someone else's credit card?
A.: For security reasons we prefer that people pay for our services with their own credit cards. However, it is possible to have someone else pay for you if this person fills in, signs and sends us a credit card authorization form (please, ask our managers to send you authorization form).
Q.: I want to pay by bank transfer. Please advise the best way.
A.: If you'd like to pay by bank transfer please contact us and we will send you an invoice with our bank details. All bank transfers should be made at least 21 days before your check-in date.
Q.: Can I pay by credit card for the balance of your services when I arrive in Russia?
A.: For tours, cruises, hotels, tickets and visas, we require 100% prepayment before arriving in Russia; for apartments we frequently only require a deposit which is a percentage of the cost of your stay usually ranging between 15% - 50%. We then require that the unpaid balance for the service be paid in cash at check in. If you are worried about carrying large quantities of cash in Russia, you may just want to use an ATM machine near our office.
Q.: How do I get a Russian visa?
A.: We can send you a visa invitation (sometimes called a voucher) - the main document that you need to apply for a Russian visa. The invitation is needed when you submit your visa application forms to the Russian Consulate in your country. For the application forms, see the visa section of our site where you can download them and learn more about the process of applying. You can either mail in the forms to a Full Visa Service Company or visit the Consulate in person. We can issue the visa invitation during 1-2 working days. If you need your visa invitation urgently, we can issue and send it to you on the same day. We usually send scanned versions of the invitations by email but can also send them by fax. Sometimes, Consulates in certain countries require the original invitation. In this case, we can mail you the original by Federal Express or by a cheaper but slower service (via Finland) called West Post. Please check with the Consulate to know if you need the original. Postage is an extra charge.
Along with the Russian Visa invitation, US citizens can use the following documents to receive their visa: Confirmation of a hotel reservation, a contract for the provision of tourist services, confirmation of reception of the tourist. The above mentioned documents shall have the register number from the Uniform Federal Register of the Tour Operators of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency and the seal of the host organization.
Q.: What documents are required to receive a Russian visa?
A.: Usually the documents consist of: your original passport, 1-2 passport photos, 1-2 Russian visa application forms, an HIV test if you are applying for a business visa (tourist visa applications do not require this) and of course, the visa invitation (voucher) - this is the document that we can supply you with. However, to be 100% sure of what documents are necessary at specific Consulates, we suggest that you contact the Consulates directly. You can find a listing of phone numbers and addresses on this website
Q.: Is it possible to order Russian visa support documents 6 months or more in advance of applying to the Russian Consulate for the visa?
Q.: Do I need an original invitation to apply for a tourist visa or is a printed copy is enough?
A.: If you are applying in the country of your citizenship, the invitation copy will be enough in most cases (there are exclusions, for ex. Taiwan, fax copy in France, etc.), but please check with the Consulate first as they might have slightly different rules by region. You can find a listing of Consulate phone numbers and addresses on this website
Q.: What are the new Russian visa regulations for US citizens?
A.: In accordance with the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on the simplification of visa formalities for nationals of the Russian Federation and the United States of America effective September 9, 2012, US citizens shall as a rule be issued multiple-entry business, private, humanitarian and tourist visas for a stay of no more than 6 months starting from the date of each entry. The visas shall be valid for three years (36 months) from the date of issue of the visa. You can download the new Agreement and updates on Russian visa requirements
Q.: I want to enter Russia from China (via the Trans-Siberian train). Can I apply for a visa at the Russian Consulate or Embassy in Beijing, China?
A.: It is only possible to apply for a Russian visa in the country of your citizenship or in the country where you have a residency permit valid for longer than 90 days. Therefore, if you are planning a long journey, you should always apply for the Russian visa before you leave. Applying in a different country may cause problems, for example, the original invitation might be required. We always recommend contacting the Consulate first to confirm if you are allowed to apply there and obtain the list of specific documents you will need to submit your application.
Q.: Do I have to register my visa when in Russia?
A.: Please note, that all foreigners staying in Russia for more than 7 working days, excluding holidays and weekends, must have their Russian visas registered for the entire period of their stay. You must register on the day of your arrival or you may be required to pay fines or may experience trouble when leaving the country. Our company can provide registration service.
Q.: Do I need to register my visa if I am staying for 7 business days?
A.: No, you need to register only in case you are staying in Russia for more than 7 business days.
Q.: I received an invitation from you. Where is the confirmation number?
A.: The confirmation number is the number of your voucher (invitation), you can find in on the top of the document.
Q.: What is the difference between "Tourist single entry" and "Tourist single entry with registration in St. Petersburg"?
A.: If you choose the "Tourist single entry" option, we will send you a tourist invitation by email (the document that is required to apply for a tourist visa). If you are staying in Russia for more than 7 business days, you are required to register your stay. You can register with the help of our company. To pay for this registration in advance, please choose "Tourist single entry with registration in St. Petersburg", we will send you the tourist visa invitation by email and you will not need to pay for your registration when in Russia. (However, you still will need to come to our office for the registration process). Please note that if you are staying in a hotel they will register your visa.
Q.: The Consulate requests a tourist voucher and confirmation letter, do you issue both?
A.: The invitation that we send to you is comprised of a tourist voucher and a reservation confirmation (all in one document). This document can only be issued by a Russian travel agency registered with Rosturism (Federal Tourism Agency). It satisfies the requirements of the Russian Consulate.
Q.: I didn't mention Novgorod (or any other city) in my invitation, but now I changed my plans. Can I visit this city?
A.: Once you have received your Russian Visa, no cities are stated there, so you can travel almost anywhere in Russia, except to restricted areas (closed cities and regions)
Q.: I cannot find the country of my citizenship in the list when ordering an invitation.
A.: Unfortunately we do not issue visa invitations to citizens of certain countries. Please check the list under the price table.
Q.: I want to apply for a 3-year multiple entry Russian Tourist Visa. Do you provide this type of invitation?
A.: This option is available for USA citizens only. If you are traveling for tourism or if you do not want to receive a business or private visa, you can still receive a standard tourist invitation letter (up to 30 days) and then use this to apply for a long-term 36-month tourist visa. Please check with the Consulate in the USA for more information.
Q.: What should I put in the field "Address in Russia"?
A.: If you did not choose your accommodation yet or are planning to stay with friends, please state any name of a hotel or just "hotel" in this field. We will choose the hotel for you. Please note that according to Russian law, a hotel reservation for the entire period of your stay is required for a tourist visa. Usually this rule is just a formality (and an invitation with a hotel name is enough), but some Consulates take it very seriously (for ex. in Sweden) and in this case, we recommend that you to have a real hotel booking. Once you obtain your Russian Visa you can stay elsewhere.
Q.: It has been more than 3 days since I ordered an invitation and I still have not received it.
A.: Please note that we always send an invitation within the requested period. If you have not received the email, please check your spam folder and contact us by chat, email or phone.
Q.: Where and by whom will I be met for my transfer?
A.: You will be met by a driver holding a sign with your name on it. If you arrive on an international flight, you will be met at the airport exit. If you arrive by train you will be met near your carriage (you should tell us the number of the carriage) or at the head of the train if you have not indicated your carriage.
Q.: How long will the driver wait for me?
A.: Airport pickup: The driver will wait for free up to 1 hour. Usually this time is enough to get through the customs and to collect the luggage. If wait is more than 1 hour for each additional half hour 6 EURO will be charged.
Train Station pickup: The driver will wait for free up to half an hour. If the wait is more than half an hour, for each additional half hour, 6 EURO will be charged.
Pick up from Apartment or Hotel: The driver will wait for free up to 15 minutes. If wait is more than 15 minutes, for each additional half hour, 6 EURO will be charged.
The driver will wait up to 2 hours. If the client does appear within this time frame or does not for any other reasons use the ordered transfer services at the time specified in the order, the order will be considered fulfilled and no refund will be available. Cancellation of transportation must be advised not less than 3 working days before the date of execution.
Q.: Is airfare included in the cruise price?
A.: No, airfare is not included. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office. The airline tickets we offer are the cheapest available on the web. Please browse our discount air tickets section to learn more.
Q.: What time do we need to arrive to the ship and what time we need to depart?
A.: The check in is after 14:00, check out is before 10:00. You can arrive earlier than 14:00 and wait for the check in on board. You can depart later than 10:00 by leaving your cabin and waiting on board.
Q.: If our flight arrives late in the evening do we miss any part of the tour program?
A.: There is no tour program planned for the first and the last days of your cruise. Therefore, you can arrive in the evening and depart early in the morning without missing any tours. The only activity planned for the first day is dinner and for the last day breakfast.
Q.: Can we order extra excursions in addition to those listed in the program?
A.: Yes, it's possible. To learn more please contact your manager as the options vary depending on the cruise.
Q.: Will we have an English-speaking guide throughout the cruise?
A.: You will have a local English-speaking guide in each city you'll be touring. Other languages are on request.
Q.: Can I take my cat/dog on the cruise?
A.: No, pets are not allowed on the cruise ships.
Q.: What excursions are included in the tour?
A.: Excursions vary depending on the tour chosen. There are walking tours in some cities and bus tours in the others. To learn more detailed information please study the description of the tour you're interested in.
Q.: Can I book part of the cruise only (e.g. I'd like to disembark in Yaroslavl)?
A.: No, our cruises are non-dividable and provided as packages only.
Q.: What does "green stop" mean?
A.: "Green stop" is free time on the riverbank. At a green stop we offer active games, competitions and in many cases shashlyk (traditional Russian shish kabob) organized during each stop. You can also have a swim and in some places or order optional excursions.
Q.: Can you open portholes in cabins of the lower deck?
A.: No, it is not allowed to open portholes.
Q.: What kind of cuisine is on your cruises?
A.: Combined. Russian and International.
Q.: If I am allergic or have food restrictions, can I still travel on your ship?
A.: Yes. Our cooks can adjust the menu to your needs. All you need is to tell us beforehand of your restrictions and identify yourself in the restaurant. We recommend you to stick to the same table in the restaurant. It will help the waitress remember about your food restrictions.
Q.: Is there a special dress code on the ship?
A.: No. But you might want to dress up a little for the captain's welcome cocktail and the captain's farewell dinner. Also please keep in mind that during some excursions you will be taken to active churches and monasteries. To get inside men and women should not wear shorts, women also must have a kerchief or a scarf to cover their heads.
Q.: Are your ships equipped with facilities for disabled people and those on wheelchairs?
A.: Unfortunately, no. Besides, most museums in Russia are also unequipped to handle tours for handicapped people
Q.: What is the size of the cabins on your ships?
A.: The size of the cabins varies, depending on the type of the ship, the cabin's category and the deck where the cabin is located. Roughly, the standard double cabin will be about 9 square meters (4 m x 2.2 m). To learn more please see the description of your motorship on our web-site.
Q.: What is the DC current on your ships?
Q.: Is there a currency exchange office on board?
A.: No, unfortunately, this is now prohibited by Russian legislation. You can exchange money during the city tours in the larger cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Kostroma).
Q.: How far are the piers from the city centers?
How to Find Us
A.: In Moscow and St. Petersburg both piers are outside the city center. In other cities, they are more central. In St. Petersburg,piers also depend on the ship. You can find details here.
Q.: Where are your offices situated?
A.: Our offices are located in the City Realty offices in both St. Petersburg and Moscow.
St. Petersburg: 2, Muchnoi Pereulok
We are located right in the historical center of St. Petersburg, only a 5 minute walk from the Nevsky Prospect Metro Station. Exit the metro on Nevsky Prospect Canal Griboyedova. Cross Nevsky Prospect. Walk along Canal Griboyedova and make your fourth left onto Muchnoi Pereulok. We are located at the address 2 Muchnoi Pereulok on the left hand side of the street. The entrance is from the street. Please ask the security at reception for the Express to Russia/City Realty offices. Tel: +7 812 570 6342, +7 812 570 4709.
We are open Monday - Friday, from 10 am until 6 pm.
Our Russian cruises and tours do not include airfare. You arrange your own airfare and we meet you at the airport and handle everything else. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office. The airline tickets we offer are the cheapest available on the web. Please browse our discount air tickets section to learn more.
Romantic star filled evenings on the Russian rivers await you on our Russian cruises.
A Russian river cruise is one of the most economical ways to see what Russia has to offer