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Tour to Moscow


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My family and I will be travelling on the Grand, Aug.7. We're considering doing the day tour to Moscow through the ship. Has anyone done this tour? Is it worth the price? Did you feel safe on the Russian airplane? Was it a jet vs. turbo prop plane? Any other comments???

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We are on Radisson Voyager and we are doing the ship's Moscow tour the second day of our three day stay there. Iff you are only going to be in St.Petersberg for 2 days you might want to skip Moscow since there is so much to see in St. Pete. Our tour to Moscow is about 16 hours and you really need that lengthy a tour if you are going to see anything in Moscow. It is a long trip in traffic to the airport and back and you need at least 6 or 7 hours in Moscow to see anything. Check out the actual tour to Moscow before you decide to book. Radisson had an excellent tour there.

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Here is an excellent reply which I received when I posted a similar question a few weeks ago. hope it helps you!

 

 

Hi Mercury

 

I did the Moscow excursion last year with Celebrity and it was fabulous. Although you must weight the fact that you will only have one day in St. peterburg. That is something to consider. Last year I posted my review of the excursion but I think it may be far down the board so here it is again:

 

Fri June 13th 2003 12:20pm to Sat June 14th 2003 6:30pm

St Petersburg, Russia (Moscow)

 

We knew we wanted to take the Moscow Day tour with the ship. We booked this way ahead of time on the Celebrity website. There was a high price tag (approx $700 USD – just under $1000 cdn dollars for us.)

 

My parents had gone to Moscow and Leningrad (St.Petersberg) in 1975 and we have been seeing their slideshow for years. There was no way we were going to be that close and not go. It was one of the best days of my life. For those that are interested here’s what we did on the ‘Journey to Moscow’

 

…A few fellow posters really summed it up well…(I think it was VegasJim & Olderpilot- and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say)…growing up in the shadow of the cold war, watching numerous spy movies. The KGB vs CIA. I could not imagine passing by the opportunity to stand in the middle of Red Square, daydream of days past when Lenin would speak out the crowds of thousands. On June 13, 2003 that is exactly what I did.

 

 

ï‚· We docked in St Petersburg approx. (all the times in this are approximations) 7am.

ï‚· Our tour left about 8am. There were 44 people that went from the ship. Throughout the day we were split into two groups of 22 on two buses. This was nice because each bus was half full and everyone could have a window seat if they wanted. Each group had their own tour guide from St Petersburg as well as a guide in Moscow as well.

 On our way to the St Pete’s airport we got a bit of a city tour and we went to see St Isaac’s Cathedral and spent time there. I liked this idea because it was smart to let us hang around there and shop at little market stalls and take photos, rather than having us wait around the small airport. On the way out to the airport we did get to see a lot of St.Pete’s

 Once at the airport our St.Pete’s Guide (Marina) got all the boarding passes together and we merely had to go through security check and go out to the plane.

 It was very interesting to actually be on a Russian airline, it was similar and at the same time completely different. It was like a flashback to the 1970’s. The flight left at 10am and was pretty much uneventful. They served a drink and a chocolate bar. It took about 50 min

ï‚· When we arrived, we were pretty much told not to look at the older security officers and not take pictures. The explanation from Marina was the older guys are still set in their Soviet ways, and if they wanted to they could make trouble. But if no one was looking go ahead and take pictures.

ï‚· We met up with our buses and there was a small bag of food/lunch for everyone. A bottle of water, croissant, cheese, chicken sandwich, apple, and a piece of cake.

ï‚· Then we met our driver Viktor and our Moscow guide Irena. She was excellent, could not have been better, she had lived in Moscow all her life, was university educated in History and talked about every aspect of life in Moscow and answered questions easily.

ï‚· On the way from the airport to our first stop, they drove around pointing out places and points of interest as well as any pertinent facts. On the way to town we saw the new Ikea, Home depot type stores, we saw the first McDonalds, Gorkey Park and the like

 Our first stop was on the subway; Moscow has a very special underground. It was very deep (like Washington DC’s) and much like a museum, Marble walls, detailed carvings, bronze sculptures, we traveled and got off at three different stops to see how each was different, then our last stop was walking distance to Red Square

ï‚· I think Irena sensed we were very interested in the present day life in Moscow as well as what it was like in Soviet times. She spoke freely on both and answered our questions well.

 When we reached Red Square it was like a daydream, very surreal. The enormous size, the huge walls and buildings, St Basils and that huge clock tower. I can’t get the images out of my mind.

ï‚· We had some discussion, then we asked for some free time to walk around, and they were hesitant (we later realized because of the visa issue) but they let us go and hang out for about 40 min then we had to meet at St Basils.

 We couldn’t go in and view Lenin’s body in the tomb because it closes at 1pm, some of us were disappointed but in the whole scheme of the day it didn’t matter.

ï‚· I bought a Russian army hat with numerous CCCP and Lenin medals, there was one special KGB medal that the guy pointed out as being important. They were real they felt very heavy. Some other medals that were being sold you could tell were cheap aluminum imitation. Our guy wanted $10 and I guess I could have bargained but I wanted it. This one in Moscow was filled with medals (over 40) some of the ones in St Petes only had 10 or so. They are probably worth $5 and they even sell them on the ship after you leave Russia but they are garbage and they wanted $10.

ï‚· I should mention during this excursion to Moscow everything was included (as it should be) just souvenirs and shopping were extra. All you need is $USD and it has to be crispy bills. No roubles were needed.

ï‚· I also bought a painting of Red Square in Red Square to commemorate the day.

ï‚· Next we went to the Kempinski Hotel, a 5-star hotel across from Red Square to have tea. This is the hotel where dignitaries and rock stars would stay

ï‚· After the break it started to cloud up to we drove around a bit to some more sights from the bus until it cleared. The Driver and Guides seemed to be very good about having us do the walking when it was clear and driving when it was rainy. We had one good cloud burst before we went to the Kremlin and then it cleared up

 After some photo stops we went to the Kremlin (around 2 – 3pm ) and saw the armory and walked around and saw cathedral square and walked around the Kremlin buildings.

ï‚· The armory museum is like their national gallery and housed a multitude of priceless treasures from the Czars. Royal sleighs and carriages from the 17th century. Crown jewels and ornate robes covered in gemstones, jewelry, china, and gold riches, very similar to the treasures at the tower of London but even more opulent.

 The famed Faberge Christmas eggs that are part of the collection, were on tour, and again some people including myself were disappointed but when you saw the other collections from Faberge, not seeing the eggs didn’t ruin anyone’s day

ï‚· We then drove to some more sights after leaving the Kremlin. A convent where the Czars sent their wives when they wanted to marry other lovers, the university, that has a view high above Moscow, the stadium of the 1980 Olympics.

ï‚· Then we went to the posh literary club for dinner. This was a place where Russian poets and VIPs have been dining for 100s of years. We had first class service and dined on caviar, stroganoff and bottomless Russian Vodka and Italian Chianti. A perfect relaxing end to a great day

ï‚· The flight back was around 10pm it was interesting but safe and we arrived back in St Petes to a full moon.

ï‚· We got back to the ship around midnight.

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I Will Be There Next Week And Wouldn't Miss Moscow For The World. This Is A Once In A Lifetime Trip For Me And Going That Far; I Would Definitly Regret Not Taking Advantage Of The Tour. The Tour Via The Grand Is About 17 1/2 Hours Long. It's A Long One But The Adrenaline Will Keep Me Going And Going. St Petersburg Has Alot To See But I've Tried To Book Two Excursions In One Day On The Second Day Stay There And Plan To Say Pretty Much Most Of What I Wanted. I Guess This Is A "to Each His/her Own" Decision Iris

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I did the excursion to Moscow on my NCL Baltic trip in 2001. I wouldn't have missed it. It was about 18 hours. The whole thing was a great big adventure. Flying on a Russian plane did make me a bit nervous but that's the only way to get to Moscow. Besides...it's a short flight.

 

If you can, go to Moscow the first day and tour St. Pete the second day. That's the best of both worlds in my opinion. Have fun!

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Since I was mentioned in Stingraynz's review, I thought I should add my two cents worth. My wife and I took the Moscow tour last year while aboard the the Oosterdam. We both agreed it was a terrific, unique experience. Walking through the Kremlin, around Red Square and visiting the KGB Museum will be remembered always.

 

Yes we did fly a on Russian jet. That was unique too. Being a retired airline pilot I had a chance to visit with the Captain while waiting to get everyone on board in Moscow. Guess what, he was just like every other pilot I have ever known. On Holland America the flight is a charter and was reasonably well organized, especially considering there were 250 of us. The flight attendants were pros and I thought all safety considerations were handled properly.

 

With the help of Laura and her Red October folks we saw a lot of St. Petersburg in our other available day. To each his own, but as I mentioned to Vegas Jim las year, I spent a significant part of my life chasing the Russians around the world. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to walk the streets of Moscow.

 

Unless you plan on re-visiting, I say go for it.

 

Jerry

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