Russia's first modern passenger port has been built on Basil Island, just along the coast from the old passenger terminal.

This is part of a development programme called the Marine Facade that will change the face of the city forever. So far, there's little to see apart from a lot of reclaimed land, but a new business district will be built here on the Baltic coast.Highslide JS

Meanwhile historic St Petersburg will be protected modern development. Even the mighty Gazprom company has been thwarted in its plans to build a tower block that would have overlooked the old centre on the river.

Today's vast cruise ships have never posed a threat to the river scene. The Neva is far too shallow for them. Even the eastern end of the Baltic is, and a fairway had to be dredged to the new passenger port.Highslide JS

The fastest way into town is to take a hydrofoil round Basil Island and up the River Neva. By road the distance across the island to the centre is 6 km (3½ miles). Buses cover it in half an hour when traffic is light.

For those with visas and a sense of adventure, the nearest metro station is Primorskaya, a mile (2 km) from the new port. Just follow the canalised River Smolenka. From Primorskaya it's two stops on the metro train to Nevskiy Prospekt in the centre of town.Highslide JS

The passenger port will eventually have its own metro station and be linked to a new urban motorway. Right now the conditions for visa-free visits by cruise tourists make access to public transport irrelevant.

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