St Petersburg

A legendary Baltic Sea port
The Nevsky prospekt
The Winter Palace with the Hermitage

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St Petersburg

In the court of the Tsar

When you’re cruising the Baltic Sea with MSC Cruises, St Petersburg is the port of call for you.
A sophisticated capital of the tsarist Empire, the cradle of the Communist Revolution of 1917, and a symbol of Russian stoicism due to the city’s heroic endurance of a three-year Nazi siege during World War II, present-day St Petersburg has eased into modernity without sacrificing any of its old-world magnificence and charm, with shopping malls sitting alongside opulent palaces. You’ll find a great city when you step ashore from your MSC cruise ship, maybe the most beautiful in the whole of Russia.

MSC Northern Europe cruises offer excursions to the centre of St Petersburg on the south bank of the Neva, with the curving River Fontanka marking its southern boundary. The area within the Fontanka is riven by a series of avenues fanning out from the golden spire of the Admiralty on the Neva’s south bank.

Many of the city’s top sights are located on and around Nevsky prospekt, the backbone and heart of the city for the last three centuries, stretching from the Alexander Nevsky Monastery to Palace Square. Sited on the banks of the River Neva, the 200m-long Baroque Winter Palace is the city’s largest and most opulent, and was the official residence of the tsars, their court and 1500 servants until the revolution of 1917.

Today the building houses one of the world’s greatest museums, the Hermitage, launched as Russia’s first public art museum in 1852. The Hermitage collection embraces over three million treasures and works of art, from ancient Scythian gold and giant malachite urns to Cubist pieces. After the elaborately decorated staterooms and the Gold Collection, the most popular section covers modern European art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


From 1st October 2019, some cruise passengers visiting St Petersburg (Russia) can do so with an e-visa, available for some nationalities only, to be obtained before the cruise.
Please refer to the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for all information including eligible nationalities, timings and procedures to obtain the e-visa. Alternatively, the current procedure remains in place: all MSC Guests visiting St Petersburg with an MSC excursion do not need a visa, and benefit from the usual advantages of all MSC Excursions (direct assistance while on excursion, insurance, priority disembarkation, etc). Our offices are available to answer any doubt you may have or provide additional information if needed.

Must see places in St. Petersburg

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    A great power
    A great power

    European Russia stretches from the borders of Belarus and Ukraine to the Ural mountains, over 1000km east of Moscow; even without the rest of the vast Russian Federation, it constitutes by far the largest country in Europe.

    Formerly a powerful tsarist empire and a Communist superpower, Russia continues to be a source of fascination for travellersMoscow, Russia’s bustling capital, combines the frenetic energy of an Eastern city with the cosmopolitan feel of a Western one. 

    With its dense human traffic and show-stopping architecture – from the Kremlin’s tsarist palaces and onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, through the monumental relics of the Communist years to today’s massive building projects – the metropolis can feel rather overwhelming. 

    By contrast, with its beautiful canals and graceful buildings, St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, is nicknamed “the Venice of Northern Europe”. 

    A cruise to Russia is a unique chance to visit this seaport, founded in the eighteenth-century by tsar Peter the Great and intended to emulate the best of Western European elegance

    Today, its people are more relaxed and friendly than the capital’s, and its position in the delta of the River Neva is unparalleled, giving it endless watery vistas.