Golden Horn bridge in Vladivostok Russia

Trying to keep their clients happy and increase repeat business, cruise lines are always looking for new destinations.

The name Vladivostok may not sound familiar yet. This city is known as being the homeport of Russia’s Pacific Fleet and was virtually closed to the outside world until 1992. It is also the largest Russian port in the Pacific Ocean.

This city is on the Pacific coast of Russia and is about to become a recognisable name to many cruise holiday makers. Soon, there will be another port for passengers to visit in Russia besides the ever popular St Petersburg.

Vladivostok in the News

Mainly serving as a major container ship port, a few passenger ships have already discovered the city’s charms. Presently, the majority of ships have been Asian cruise liners sailing out of Japan with over 50% of passengers being citizens of Japan. Word has spread out to the west and Princess began to make calls at Vladivostok on a few sailings.

The big news recently was that Vladivostok welcomed Costa’s ship Victoria this month on the 18th of May. It was the maiden call for Costa to this Russian port. The city of Vladivostok organised an all out welcome ceremony of national dances, folklore songs and bands on the pierside.

Costa Victoria

Image courtesy Costa Cruises

The city made quite an impression and now Costa is in discussion to increase the number of ships visiting. Other cruise lines are sure to follow and be part of Russia’s goal to develop cruise tourism in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Cruise ships dock at Morskoy Vokzal which is beside the town. Vladivostok’s central area is fairly small and easily walkable from the cruise terminal. Other options for the future are plans for a new terminal.

What to See

Russia is well known for their opera houses and the Russian Opera House in Vladivostok is no exception. Originally constructed for the APEC summit in 2012, the Opera House is unique not only for the symphonies within but also its exterior.

The Opera House is designed to resemble a cube within a cube surrounded by glass walls and consists of three stages. These stages are the Grand Hall, the Small Stage and the Summer Stage. Come here for a great cultural experience.

St Andrews Church is a newly added chapel located on the seafront. The church built in 2004 is quite small hosting a maximum of 50 people.

St Andrews Church Vladivostok

The Sportivnaya Market, the largest in the city is a shopper’s paradise. A favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, this market offers everything from electronics to furniture to even foodstuffs. Excellent fish dishes as well as the Kamchatka crabs makes for an unforgettable culinary experience.

The funicular is over 50 years old and is one of two remaining funiculars in the whole of Russia, the other one is in Sochi. The ride is short, cheap and very smooth but the real attraction of the ride is to admire all the beautiful scenery around you. The final stop is at Eagle’s Nest Hill which offers a truly stunning bird’s eye view of the entire city.

Not only does it offer the best views of the city, it is also perfect for hiking. What was once an extinct volcano is now a marvellous mountain. Lace up those boots and get walking on top of this majestic peak and don’t forget to take the camera.

After all that walking, head to a Banya otherwise known as a Russian sauna. One of the oldest traditions in the nation, dating back to 945 AD. The temperatures can get as high as 34 °C which will require you to wear special headgear for protection whilst in the sauna. The treatment is followed with banny venik branches, laced with eucalyptus and oak, guaranteed to improve your circulation.

At the Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art, visitors can interact in multiple ways. Besides viewing exhibitions, there are interactive games such as attempting to create your own masterpiece.

Sound enticing? Be on the lookout as the “gateway to Siberia” is bound to be an exciting destination on many Asian cruise holidays for years to come.

St Andrews Chuch Photo credit: Vladivostok 3 via photopin (license)

Written by Veronica Shine