I was given a ship assignment in the Baltics, with an itinerary highlight including 2 overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia. Unfortunately, I came onboard rather last minute and didn’t have enough time to arrange a Russian visa or a crew Seamansbook. While my friends were at the Ballet or gorging on Vodka and caviar in some Russian 3akycka, I spent those evenings a discontented latchkey kid for this portion of the itinerary.
I’m not sure what change in bureaucratic policy made it impossible to go ashore. In recent years St. Petersburg built a brand new cruise ship terminal and has apparently become much more diligent in its immigration policies. I was here in 2002 with a German cruise ship. We docked on a slab of cement and I made my way ashore with a pack of Ukrainian dancers. We cut through an abandoned lot and hopped the metro to Nevsky Prospect. Go figure.
I didn’t mind staying onboard as much as I thought I would. I enjoyed some really great naps. The nights we left St. Petersburg, en route to Helsinki, we turned the clocks back an hour. One such evening I returned to my cabin fully prepared for a gorgeous night’s sleep, complete with that extra hour but was so utterly blown away by the light and current outside my window. It was 11:30 pm but barely dusk. I sat in awe as we literally sailed into the sunset.