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Duchess1738

Want to see St Petersburg

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we're on Nautica this summer and have 3 days/2 overnights in SPB.

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I've been in St. Petersburg for 10 days on a land trip and an Azamara cruise and there are still places I want to visit. 

It's almost criminal to only have two days there if this is your once in a lifetime visit. 

Each of the major, and perhaps not so major tour companies have much more flexibility when scheduling tours. They are very willing to work around your checklist but you do have to do your homework.

I am guessing that the September cruise would be early in the month and the weather could be changeable but not intensely hot like July or August. That's a real plus because none of the museums or palaces are air conditioned.

I'd also recommend that you don't bother going into Peterhoff. The gardens are more than worth a visit but spend your precious time in other glorious palaces.

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8 hours ago, alcpa1 said:

I've been in St. Petersburg for 10 days on a land trip and an Azamara cruise and there are still places I want to visit. 

It's almost criminal to only have two days there if this is your once in a lifetime visit. 

Each of the major, and perhaps not so major tour companies have much more flexibility when scheduling tours. They are very willing to work around your checklist but you do have to do your homework.

I am guessing that the September cruise would be early in the month and the weather could be changeable but not intensely hot like July or August. That's a real plus because none of the museums or palaces are air conditioned.

I'd also recommend that you don't bother going into Peterhoff. The gardens are more than worth a visit but spend your precious time in other glorious palaces.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   Peterhoff was one of the best places we visited in SPB.  The house , the gardens and waterfalls were  wonderful and then we came back to the city on the water by high speed Cat.   For us a must see. 

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we, too, recommend Alla.  We just turned it all over to them of what to see and do. 

 

The amazing Julia took us into the Hermitage and pointed out the "best" thing to see in each room--the griping people soon realized that they weren't going to have to spend 3 hrs in one room with the masses. 

 

She knew her art history and so we were treated to the great works of art and sculpture that are there.  She even included a quick trip through the subway after we asked even though it wasn't part of the tour!!

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7 hours ago, cbb said:

we, too, recommend Alla.  We just turned it all over to them of what to see and do. 

 

The amazing Julia took us into the Hermitage and pointed out the "best" thing to see in each room--the griping people soon realized that they weren't going to have to spend 3 hrs in one room with the masses. 

 

She knew her art history and so we were treated to the great works of art and sculpture that are there.  She even included a quick trip through the subway after we asked even though it wasn't part of the tour!!

We used Alla twice in SPB and both were great tours.   3 days and we could have done more.   Could be it was the same Julia who was terrific for all the 3 days.  Even on a private tour the stops are not all the same but we had the subway on ours.   Rode thru 3 or 4 stations and then the driver met us.  Great.  

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On 10/27/2018 at 8:54 PM, Duchess1738 said:

. If so how were the shore excursions and if you do the Hermitage is there a lot of stair climbing involved?

thanks  

If you happen to be in SPB on a Monday and have a tour with one of the companies (SPB, Alla, etc) go to Hermitage on a Monday when it is closed to the public but open to groups. You will be there virtually alone with your group.

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3 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

If you happen to be in SPB on a Monday and have a tour with one of the companies (SPB, Alla, etc) go to Hermitage on a Monday when it is closed to the public but open to groups. You will be there virtually alone with your group.

 

Thanks.  VERY good to know, if it's possible to arrange the timing!

 

GC

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8 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

Thanks.  VERY good to know, if it's possible to arrange the timing!

 

GC

It should be possible unless things have changed since we were there in 2016.

It was an incredible experience to be in a virtually empty Hermitage. A couple of the rooms were closed but they opened them for us at the request of our guide. Unfortunately, their incredible Impressionists collection has been moved from Hermitage and now requires a visit to a different museum (if interested).

The other venue that we enjoyed and is fairly new and unique to SPB is the Faberge museum.

Edited by Paulchili

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My info is very old but I thought I'd throw it in for general consumption.

 

We were there on the R7 (with Renaissance, now with Azamara I believe) in May 2001.  At that time, there were three ports.  At the last minute our port was changed, so our private guide (this was before Alla, Red October, etc. were in business I believe) went to the wrong port.  I immediately emailed her when I learned about the problem but she must have already left.  Far fewer cell phones back then, and back then I didn't have one anyway!

 

We waited for a while but then a couple of crew members came out and offered to drive us to the Hermitage, so off we went.  Needless to say, she showed up 5 minutes after we left with them.  (I paid her for the day since we were the ones who bailed on her.  Her fee at the time was all of $60/day.)  We had visas so there was no problem in wandering around on our own.

 

We spent most of the day at the Hermitage.  I don't remember what day of the week it was but I also don't remember huge crowds.  But it was long ago.  My feet were so sore by the time we left I thought I'd never walk again, but we had a wonderful day.  For the poster who asked about lots of stairs, I don't remember them.  Definitely there was a gorgeous staircase from the ground floor to the first floor, and I do think we spent most of our time there ... maybe not.  I took a lot of photos ...

 

We got somewhat ripped off by the cab driver who drove us back to the port, but that was because we were on our own.

 

The next day we met our guide as scheduled and she took us around.  She spoke to the cab driver when we returned to the ship and that time we were NOT ripped off.  Even with the first guy's exorbitant charge, by NYC standards it wasn't much at all.  And we had the rubles.

 

Truly one of the spectacular museums of the world ... we loved it, and had no problem going around on our own without an ability to speak Russian.  I sing in Russian but somehow that isn't the same thing ... being able to read the Cyrillic letters doesn't mean you know what the words mean!  Unless I had seen them in a vocal score, which again tends NOT to be the standard spoken vocabulary!

 

Mura

 

 

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What is extremely redundant in every one of the above Posts ? There is absolutely zero reason to take an Oceania sponsored shore tour in St. Petersburg with all the above mentioned private companies offering great tours at significantly lower prices than offered aboard.

 

Only ignorance or laziness could justify an O shore tour there.

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guess i'm ignorant and lazy because we're taking 2 shorex this summer in SPB with O and a shorex on Day 2 by high speed train to Moscow.   Works for us.

 

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RJB,

I guess I didn't make myself very clear. With such a short time in St. Petersburg, whether it be 2 or 3 days you can't see everything. Personally I felt the palace at Peterhoff was not as entrancing as others I have visited. But then I could stand at the Rostal Columns for hours or spend time at the Peter and Paul Fortress. As you say it's definitely a matter of taste.

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When we cruised on the Nautica in August 2016 one of the highlights was sailing up the river to the English Quay, the sun was shining on the church domes turning them to shimmering gold & silver, truly magical. However I don't know whether the Nautica always docks there. We did the 2 day Alla tour  which visited the Faberge museum which my husband claimed as his highlight. He had previously visited St Petersburg in the late 1960s so was amazed at the many changes. The Alla tour was excellent ,we were the only 2 people on the Nautica that chose the Faberge tour,  but we went on a tour with 14 others off a? Celebrity cruise ship & there were no problems being pick up from a different ship & dock. In any city every one will discover their own special surprises and also some slight let downs (The amber room didn't do a lot for me, whilst for others it was totally amazing.) We really loved our time in St Petersburg and would love do it again. Enjoy your trip and enjoy what you do see.

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15 hours ago, alcpa1 said:

RJB,

I guess I didn't make myself very clear. With such a short time in St. Petersburg, whether it be 2 or 3 days you can't see everything. Personally I felt the palace at Peterhoff was not as entrancing as others I have visited. But then I could stand at the Rostal Columns for hours or spend time at the Peter and Paul Fortress. As you say it's definitely a matter of taste.

You were very clear, as you say a matter of personal taste.  A lot to see and not enough time. 

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1 hour ago, triplestar said:

When we cruised on the Nautica in August 2016 one of the highlights was sailing up the river to the English Quay, the sun was shining on the church domes turning them to shimmering gold & silver, truly magical. However I don't know whether the Nautica always docks there. We did the 2 day Alla tour  which visited the Faberge museum which my husband claimed as his highlight.

Thanks for that.

We are not on Oceania, but another 'R' ship.

English Quay would certainly be bonus if it were to happen.

 

Re Faberge. That is the one my wife is considering.

Was it scheduled just for an hour on the 2nd afternoon.

How was that for timing/ viewing, especially if crowded ?

Or did you do the evening tour there which can be added on ?

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The Faberge museum  was part of the tour schedule not an evening add on, however we saw that as the first stop of our tour on day one not as schedule for the afternoon of day 2. They did this as it wouldn't be busy  at time and Peterhof which was stop one day 1 was busy at that time. They do move the schedules around to try & minimize time wasted due to queuing. We had very few people when we visited& viewing was excellent. I can not remember how long we were there but saw all there was to see. We had chosen this tour instead of the 2 day tour which went to St Isaacs cathedral. Faberge museum have a good web site,if you google it  you will see what a beautiful palace it is.

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Agreed - The Faberge collection itself is the star but the palace is magnificently restored. It is but one of probably hundred palaces around town but few are restored or accessible.

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We were on the Nautica this summer for a 3 day, 2 night visit to SPB. We booked a 3 day tour with TJ Tours and were very happy with them. We were in a nice van with10 other people and were able to visit all the sites that all of the Ocean tours together offered, but for a longer period of time at each site at less than half of the price. As with all the larger companies, the tours are intensive and fast paced. The tours are planned ahead of time and vary only to account for traffic. If you want deviations or time for rest, it would be better to book a private tour, which each company happily will arrange. We also booked TJ’s night tour, The Russian Experience, which gave us an opportunity to go into the city at night. We were the only ones on that tour, so we had a wonderful 4 hour guided tour and dinner with our charming guide, Sasha. She talked freely and took us to some shops to buy souvenirs and gifts when we requested it.

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16 hours ago, triplestar said:

The Faberge museum  was part of the tour schedule not an evening add on, ...............

 

16 hours ago, Paulchili said:

Agreed - The Faberge collection itself is the star but the palace is magnificently restored.........

Thank you both for the additional info.

I think we'll book this one for our 2 day tour.

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I  believe most  of the  Guides in SPB  go to all the same places & it is  pretty much controlled by the Russian Government

Some guides  may be better  than others but for the most part they all seem the same  structured tours

Pick one & enjoy

If you can get 3 days in SPB   it will be very intensive 

 

YMMV

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4 hours ago, LHT28 said:

I  believe most  of the  Guides in SPB  go to all the same places & it is  pretty much controlled by the Russian Government

Some guides  may be better  than others but for the most part they all seem the same  structured tours

Pick one & enjoy

If you can get 3 days in SPB   it will be very intensive 

 

YMMV

With Alla Tours we were able to customize our tour as we were only 6 the first time and 4 the second time.  Not a lot of down time waiting for people.  Also did shows in the evening.   Great time. 

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