Author Topic: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER  (Read 9661 times)

Offline Cornelia Klier

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This time, our trip did not go to Finland, but decided to visit St. Petersburg. A city, I have read alot about, and which recently also became famous for tourists. After I been to Kaliningrad and Kronshtadt before, I was courious, what this will be alike.

The ship "Finnpartner" brought us there, here are some infos:
Type: Ro-pax ferry
Tonnage: 32,534 gross register tons
Length: 183 m (600 ft)
Beam: 29.90 m (98.1 ft)
Depth: 7.40 meters
Installed power: 4 × Zgoda-Sulzer 8ZAL40S diesels
combined 23,040 kW
Speed: 21.3 knots (39.4 km/h; 24.5 mph)
passengers: 274

It is a so-called "Hansa-Class" ro-pax ferry, you can read more about this type of ship here:

Departure 15.02.2014:
First some look around onboard: Big cabin, around 20m2, and only around 20 passengers, including some truckdrivers. Cabin looked forward, which came very convenient later on. Ship was departing from Lubeck Lehmannkai, check-in etc. went smooth without alot of fuss and with good routine.

At sea one of the new Star-class ships took us over. They are the fast lane from Germany to Finland, I have been before on this one - "Finnlady".

After 2 full days at sea we arrived at St. Petersburg in the very early morning, while we were still asleep. If we were not asleep, after all it had anyways still been dark outside.

A trip in summer has the advantage of something I know very well from Helsinki: White nights ! Very long days, which make the people going outside, and also makes themself going outisde more :) But, if you like to visit places, when they are not yet crowded with tourists, or if you like the sea in winter, and if you like to have ice, not just on the evening buffet, the best is - to go in winter. Which I always enjoy, it has a special feeling about itself.

Russia is 3 hours ahead of us, so we arrived literally at 03.00 in the night, and we did get up, get ready for disembarkation. Not tirement, because of excitement. Attached some photos of St. Petersburg approach as well the harbour, as we saw it in the early morning (or in our term - in the middle of the night).

Unfortunatelly there were only 8 hours for the visit of the city, which was very much a pity. So we did think before, how to make the best of it: Visiting ermitage? Not enough time. Book a tour and visit as much as possible in a hurry and just sit inside a bus? Not really an option either. So, we thought lets breath the air of real St. Petersburg and get the touch of a small adventure. Get out of the ship, to next bus stop - and just to Nevskiy Prospekt. So we did. Unfortunatelly we both do not speak Russian, I am able to read kyrillic and know around 15 or so Russian words, that helped a little bit, but not more. Big thanks here to some inhabitants of St. Petersburg who helped us in a kindest way, which we did not expectd and which we did not see in any other city yet!!
Someone on the bus took found out that we are not from there, and took a half hour to walk around with us, and showed us some sights from outside, like the Church of the savior on blood, more cathedrals.. and the ermitage, as well we passed by the Mariinsky theater (no time for visiting it, sadly!) and numerous sights, we walked by, but which would have been worth to explore more into.

Since we both are mostly interested in geography, shipping and history, we decided, to visit the Museum of Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg. I have heard from a few people who have been in St. Petersburg, that they have never heard of it, although their field of interest lies similar like ours. I can recommend it very much, we were surprised by the many authentic items shown, and some of info is also available in English. Thanks goes here to Mr. Andreev, who has invited us, and who explained us alot, too. Of course the many ship-models were interesting too.

Unfortunatelly we did not have time to visit the museum-icebreaker on the river Neva.

We returned the same way as we came, by bus and we were a bit in a hurry because traffic jam has stopped us several time. Entrance to port, and the terminal bus arriving soon. The last few meters we walked, because there was no bus - actually there was, but not that time we were there, so we walked and all was without problems.

Also same procedere as when we arrived: Face control ! Again, again and again. This is meant to be an extra security feature, checking our passports several times, compare our faces with the photo in our passport, as well comparing with the crew lists available. Surprisingly, no computers were used for that. All in paper! Also, they did not check our luggage.

When we arrived back onboard, we were meant to depart a few hours later, so again face-control onboard. But, we did not leave. Not now, not later and next day we still were in St. Petersburg. Technical problems with the ship. They did not tell us, which ones.
We were 24 hours longer there, but were not allowed to leave the ship. Boring ! So, what to do: Enjoy harbour-cinema: Take camera, go on deck and take photos of the harbour and the traffic in the harbour.

Next evening, we left, for Kotka. They were in a hurry because they wanted to be there early morning for repairs. Going to Kotka, with speed of 17 knots, there was around 15-20 cm thick ice, and shifted once we could see in some places too. They took a way that was not used by other ships, and it was shaking and moving and sounding in a way like you were on a train.

For that, in Russia they did not have specialists, but in Finland they had (or the spare parts). Divers were checking the front bow-thruster we saw. No going off the ship in Kotka, too. Borinbg again, but a real shipspotter does not know boredom because there is always something to take photos of :)

After we left Kotka - a delay of 1,5 days, and finally on our way to Lubeck Lehmannkai, without problems.

Some more photos of the ship, including a visit to the bridge where they also had two nice pet-birds. We arrived around noon at Travemünde, proceeding further to Lübeck Lehmannkai. A very interesting trip came to an end, and there is a wish, to visit St. Petersburg again, but next time for some longer time, and perhaps during the time of white nights.

Offline Terry O'Rourke

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Re: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 12:12:56 PM »
Great photos. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Measure twice cut once

Offline chrisg46

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Re: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 03:46:42 PM »
Really enjoyed the read and the photos - thank you!
I'm a working shipping journo, and run a website called ShippingTV . . .

Offline Jens Boldt

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Re: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 05:17:06 PM »
A very nice report (it was fun reading it) and great photos, Cornelia! (The one of Ruth is, of course, my favorite):-)
“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”
- Dame Edna Everage

One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.
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Offline malnik

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Re: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 08:04:42 PM »
Thanks for these great pictures and story. i would love to have a caption for each picture.

I have always been told that you cannot walk around St Petersburg? I have often wanted to go on a cruise but put off by them sayong on a coach only!

And what a different way to get there!

Offline Cornelia Klier

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Re: To Russia !! St. Petersburg, 15.-22. February 2014 by FINNPARTNER
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 06:33:26 PM »
Malnik, you can get a visa by a visa-agency and then you can go where ever you want! It is true, some cruise companies only use group-visa and then you only can go in a group. But I never like to go in a group but make my own way, it is much more exciting and you can also go where you want, the speed you like, limited only by departure of ship. A visa cost around 90 Euros, it is valid for some weeks.

Visa costs: Well, 90 Euros is not really cheap, but same time busses, food, entrance to museums etc. is very cheap in Russia, as well many other things. Of course I wish, there was no need for a visa, after all they should be happy that people are willing to visit the country, and see that there is more to see and experience than old Ladas, vodka and kaviar :)




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