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Years ago I was in Europe and decided it would be a great idea to go to Saint Petersburg by ferry since it is regarded as a beautiful city and is a port. I didn't mind departing from Finland, Estonia, or pretty much anywhere else. I only wanted to arrive by sea as this was the whole point.

I could not find at the time details on the Internet, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, or travel agencies about where to depart from or if any international ferries even existed. Finally I found out there were none.

This was in 2001. Has the situation changed in the past ten years?

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Yes, the situation has greatly changed since 2001 :)

Today you can get into Saint Petersburg in many ways by ferry:

  1. By St. Peterline company ferries:
    1. by "Princess Maria"
      • Monday, Thursday, Saturday at 19:00 from Helsinki (you'll be at St-Petersburg at 09:30 AM next day)
    2. by "Princess Anastasia" (sorry, only link in Russian are available)
      • Wednesday, 09:00 AM from Stockholm without going through Tallinn's port (you'll be at St. Petersburg at 11:30 AM next day)
      • Saturday, 19:00 from Stockholm with visiting the Tallinn
      • Sunday, 18:00 from Tallinn (you'll be at St.Petersburg at 8:00 AM next day)
  2. By AS Tallink Grupp company ferries (with changes):
    1. From Riga you can go to Stockholm, after that use first variant
    2. From Rostok you can go to Helsinki, after that use the first variant
  3. There is also Viking Line, Eckero Line and Linda line ferries, if the schedule of two first variants is not applicable, but you'll also need changes.
  4. I found the Finnlines company, and they are serving many interesting routes in Baltic sea:
    1. You can get to Helsinki from Gdynia, Travemünde or Rostok, and after that use the first variant.
    2. You can directly get to the Saint-Petersburg from Lübeck or Sassnitz in Germany, or from Ventspils in Latvia:
      • Wednesday, 19:00 from Lübeck (you'll be at Sassnitz at 05:00 AM at Thursday, departure at 07:15 AM, at Ventspils at Friday 00:00 AM / 04:00 AM, and finally at Saint-Petersburg at Saturday, 08:00 AM)
      • Saturday, 19:00 from Lübeck (you'll be at Ventspils (no stopover in Sassnitz) at Monday 22:00 AM / 00:00 AM, and at Saint-Petersburg at Tuesday, 08:00 AM)

Update: I strongly recommend minimizing travel time on Russian ships, mainly because of their service level. Ferries are old German ships, and servicemen are not as positive as on Finnish lines.
Please do not think this relates to Saint Petersburg where service has highly improved in the last 10 years.


Update 2: Added information about another ferry from Germany via Latvia by Finnlines.

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I was going to answer but I can't compete with the above, nice work :) –  Mark Mayo Jun 27 '11 at 10:03
    
Having just been to Tallinn, Helsinki and St Petersburg, I'd love to return and do what you're looking at - arriving by ferry. I entered Russia up north by Murmansk, so not this time. –  Mark Mayo Jun 27 '11 at 10:03
    
You can move out of Russia in any point, can't you? –  VMAtm Jun 27 '11 at 10:07
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@hippietrail updated the question with timetables. –  VMAtm Jun 27 '11 at 18:17
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You are welcome. I'll do my best to provide answers that helps you to visit my country :) –  VMAtm Jun 27 '11 at 18:22
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