To enter Russia you'll need a visa before travel - make sure you apply for the correct type and duration of the visa. During periods of high demand, you should apply for your visa well in advance. Russian diplomatic missions and the visa application centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh will collect biometric data (scanned fingerprints) from visa applicants above the age of 12. This applies to each Russian entry or transit visa application. It is mandatory to visit the Visa application centre in person to apply for a Russian visa. Visa applications for UK residents are to be submitted at the Russia Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh (UK). For further information see the Russian Embassy website and the website of VFS Global who manage Russian visa applications on behalf of the Embassy. Tourist visa applications can take 10 working days to be processed and longer during busy periods. Please see https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia/entry-requirements for more information. We can help towards application via a Visa Support Letter (VSL). You will need to send us the all of the required passport information within the API form we have sent to you. Shortly after we will send you your signed VSL. Upon receiving an authorised VSL you will need to go to your nearest UK based Russian embassy to apply. Please note that only you can acquire a Russian entry Visa due to the collection of biometric data (scanned fingerprints). Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa. You cannot apply for a Russian visa more than 6 months before the date of arrival in Russia.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number, and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to St Petersburg airport with British Airways (BA), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 5. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding in size and 1 personal item such as a handbag, briefcase or laptop case. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking, lounges or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extra Tel. 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
Health and Vaccinations
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This river cruise is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on cobbled streets and getting on and off the cruise ship. This cruise is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
Excursions are escorted by an experienced, English speaking guide.
The currency in Russia is the Rouble (RUB). It may be more convenient to exchange Euros or US Dollars in cash when you arrive in Russia. Sterling is not as easy to exchange. ATM machines are widely available. Please note, that there is no exchange office or ATM on board the ship.
This cruise is Full Board, so you will only need to take a little extra money with you to cover any drinks on board, souvenirs and snacks purchased when off the ship, as well as any optional excursions you wish to book. Tipping is at your discretion. There is an envelope in your cabin for this purpose that can be handed to the reception at the end of your cruise. Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards are accepted on board the ship and throughout Russia. AMEX is not widely accepted.