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Royal Caribbean - shore excursions to St Petersburg

(13 Posts)
DragonRojo Sat 27-Dec-14 14:26:08

I am reading through the shore excursions options with RC. I don't want to go through the hassle of organising our own Russian visas, so we are definitely going to stick to shore excursions. We are going in July and there's quite a lot of choice, so I am not sure what to choose.We are 2 adults and a 12 year old. We like history, but the 12 year old doesn't want to spend too many hours inside museums. Has any of you got any recommendations? Thanks!

IAmAPaleontologist Sat 27-Dec-14 14:40:24

Tricky. How long will you have?

Decent summary of things here

It is beautiful so pottering around is a must really. I'm guessing your 12 year old will not want to spend long in the Hermitage but it seems a shame to not go. Perhaps given the history interest it would be best to concentrate on Romanov connections.

atoughyear Sat 27-Dec-14 14:51:18

I definitely recommend going on the organised trips as I think St. Petersburg can feel a little intimidating to foreigners. The Hermitage is great but it takes ages to see only a small part of it. I took my 8 and then 12 year old around it and they coped ok. They found Catherine's Palace more enjoyable and there are outdoor spaces too. We did a trip down the river where there was a folk band playing and liberal amounts of vodka served. That was fun!

Floralnomad Sat 27-Dec-14 15:01:06

My sister and my DS went to St Petersburg a couple of years ago ,we organised a personal guide via Expedia , she was excellent and they really felt they saw much more than they would have had they been left to their own devices , so I'd also recommend an organised excursion.

DragonRojo Sat 27-Dec-14 15:38:37

the cruise stops in St Petersburg for 1.5 days, so we can for in a long excursion and a short one. The options are:
1- Grand St Petersburg and Hermitage - 9 hour tour
2- Peterhof and Hermitage- 9 hour tour
3- Local life exp and kuznechny market- 4 hours
4- Nevski walking tour -
5_ St. P cathedrals- 4 hours

IAmAPaleontologist Sat 27-Dec-14 16:03:28

Oooh tough choices. I think the St P Cathedrals are interesting and will probably spark interest in your 12 year old, especially if they do a bit of reading around the theories surrounding one of the Romanov children surviving. There is plenty of room for a few flights of fancy there!

Peterhof would be lovely though I think you will see more of the actual city if you do the first option.

Though the walking tours and local life ones also look good. Depends on the group size though really.

Oh I'd love to go back to Russia!

DragonRojo Sat 27-Dec-14 16:26:56

I am going to buy a guide book and do some proper reading. I want to do it all, but I really need to choose!!

LittleBearPad Sat 27-Dec-14 16:38:30

Of those Peterhof and the Hermitage. Peterhof is stunning and the Hermitage, which will include the winter palace extraordinary.

St P is a stunning city and very easy to walk around too.

MissMillament Tue 30-Dec-14 18:32:26

Bear in mind your options are not just shore excursions organised by RC and DIY get your own visa. There are masses of companies in St Petersburg that do excursions. When we went with Celebrity last year we checked out the various tour companies and ended up with Alla Tours. As a family of five we paid about the same for a private two-day tour with our own guide and minibus as we would have for five places on one of the cruise ship tours. We saw far more than they did and were able to customise it ourselves. Check out your ship's Roll Call on Cruise Critic and you may be able to team up with another family, or the tour company can put a group together. Look on Cruise Critic also for recommendations and get quotes from a few companies -we went with Alla in the end but there are five or six others that come highly recommended (look them up on Trip Advisor too). One of the best things about our tour was getting into the Hermitage at least 30 minutes before the big cruise ship tours went in - we had the museum practically to ourselves for that time which was astonishing. We also went to a couple of places that the regular tours don't always go to such as Yusopov Palace which was certainly one of the highlights for me - it is where Rasputin was killed which is a gory enough story to please any 12 year old! plus there is a creepy exhibition in the basement and the Russian art museum (Hermitage contains mainly western art). Loads of other stuff too that we would never have fitted in on a big tour, plus a lunch in an interesting Russian restaurant. Agree with the others that a river tour, Catherine Palace and Hermitage are the three big no miss things, and you should see at least one cathedral Church on the Spilled Blood/St Isaac's are both astonishing. Don't miss a metro ride either if you can - again your 12 year old is sure to love that.

Dancergirl Fri 09-Jan-15 23:11:31

That's really interesting miss We are doing a similar cruise next summer with 2 days 1 night in St Petersburg. My ballet mad 13 year old dd wants to see as much ballet related stuff as possible, any ideas?

MissMillament Sat 10-Jan-15 16:31:34

I think the Mariinsky Theatre is closed in July and August and probably the Mikhailovsky Theare as well, but there are other ballet companies that put on special shows for tourist - seemingly variable in quality of venue and performance so perhaps worth shopping around. There is a State Music and Theatre museum and I think the Mikhailovsky has a little museum too. If you opted for a private excursion the company could probably arrange an evening at the ballet. We didn't do this, but it was definitely an option from Alla Tours. The best thing is to email four or five of the private companies and tell them about your interests and ask what you could see. As well as Alla, SPB, DenRus and Red October all have good reputations - look on Cruise Critic and you will find lots of reviews. We did this because we wanted to see Russian art and none of the standard tours go to the Russian Museum. The tour guide said it was the first time she had taken anyone there, and it was so worth it.
There is a July 2015 ballet schedule here
In my view, it is worth spending a fair bit of your budget on St Petersburg and doing the other stops on the cheap to compensate, that's what we did and we don't regret it for a minute.

Sushiqueen Tue 13-Jan-15 15:02:53

We are doing a private tour the year as well. As MissMillament said we joined our roll call on cruise critic and have got a private tour organised through TJ travel. We will have a 13 year old with us and she has been able to see the tour details.

We are travelling with Celebrity and didn't even consider doing their excursion. By using a private company they can adjust the tour to rake everyone's needs into consideration.

DragonRojo Fri 23-Jan-15 07:35:42

thank you, miss. I will check that as well. I had not realised you could do that!

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