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When is too much really too much?

Hello,
Question, I am going to be in St. Petersburg for 2 days while being on board a cruise ship. I am someone who wants to see all... but I am afraid that there are too many options in St. Petersburg.
so I am planning:
Church of Spilled blood
Hermitage
Faberge museum
Palace square
St. Peterhof
canal tour (is it like in Amsterdam?)

Do you think its too much or are there other places I need to see?
A big thank you!

Posted by
7204 posts

We never did a canal tour because it was just not enticing with so many really great places to actually go into rather than just drifting by on the canal. Also be aware that the Hermitage can easily take an entire day if you really stop to look at things and take it all in. Our absolute favorite experience in St Petersburg was our day trip to Catherine’s Winter Palace in Pushkin. It’s gonna be tough for you with only 2 days!

Posted by
97 posts

Thank you Tim,
Have you also been to Peterhof? In your opinion, which one is nicer, Peterhof or Catherine’s Winter Palace?
I know, 2 days is too short... so many things to see.
I think we prefer to choose fewer places to see and have time to really appreciate them. If we like St. Petersburg we can always come back...

Posted by
4532 posts

Catherine's Palace is mostly about the interiors, especially the Amber Room (recently restored). Peterhof is mostly about the grounds, especially the fountains. Unless the weather's bad, I'd suggest Peterhof because the crowds are dispersed over the area instead of cramming into rooms and doorways, and because you could get there and back by hydrofoil -- though a bus ride out of the city is also interesting.

The big omission from your list, to my mind, is the Peter Paul Fortress, across the river from the Hermitage. It includes a beautiful church where the czars are buried. A canal boat ride would be fun and interesting. My recollection is that the canals are bigger (wider) than in Amsterdam and there's less to see from them block by block. Our boat also went into the river for awhile, a great way to appreciate the city's grandeur.

Do you have a visa to enter Russia? If not, it's probably too late to get one for a cruise this year. But booking a tour with Alla or one of the other companies, directly or through the cruise line, takes care of the visa requirement. I went on a two-day van tour with Alla, an enjoyable and efficient way to see the city, covering all the places you listed except the Faberge Museum (which was an optional add-on).

EDIT -- You've posted under "Rick Steves Tours," but you'll probably get more responses if you post under "Russia." Plus you'll see other threads that may help you plan and prepare.

Posted by
97 posts

Hi Dick,
Thank you for all that useful info. I thought I almost had it figured out what I wanted to see and then I saw your tips so now I am changing my plans again. :-) It good to hear first-hand experiences!
When I am booking a trip I first put a list together of the places we would like to see and then I look for the best options of how to book. I love this part of the planning....

Posted by
342 posts

I did a Baltic cruise last September - and had 2 days in St Petersburg. I think you have to accept that there's way more that's worthwhile to do in 2 days and decide what your priorities are. I hope I will have the opportunity to go there again sometime.

Anyway, for me the highlight was the Faberge museum - absolutely stunning. Only has about 6/7 galleries, with one main one with the eggs, other galleries have general Faberge stuff, also other Russian artwork and treasures. . It was one of the half day options - am so glad I did it.

I also went to the Hermitage, but really it was just a rush through, but interesting going through the entrance etc. I also went to Catherine Palace, we walked in the grounds, and inside went through a few rooms - including the Amber room.

Most other sites we saw/were pointed out from the bus. I would have liked to go on the river but just no time.

Another thing to look into, on the night when you are docked, there may be something you can go to in the evening. Unfortunately we missed being able to go the ballet by a couple of days.

On my cruise there was a lecturer, who was excellent - so that those who had attended his lectures were all really knowledgeable about Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Tsar Alexander II, Rasputin and the last Tsar and his family etc. It really added to the trip to St Petersburg. I would look out for anything like this on your cruise.

Katy

Posted by
97 posts

Thanks Katy,
I can’t wait to go to see the sights in St. Petersburg. You also gave me useful information. About the lecturer, I was on a Regent Seven Seas Cruise, where they taped the lectures to be replayed it continuously on their tv system. So you could just listen at any time when you were just in your suite. This time I will go with Princess, let’s hope they have the same.

I have decided on where to go and I have contacted a local travel agent, Anastasia Travel. They have very good recommendations. Katherine is very helpful and is creating a personalized tour for us. I will ask if Ballet is an option. We will be there from August 10 to 11. It’s a weekend so maybe we are in luck. Would love to see that! I am not sure if my husband is into Ballet though…. ;-)

Posted by
342 posts

Just did a bit of googling. Looks as if on 10th August Swan Lake is on. The Nutcracker on the 11th. I wish I could go :(

Posted by
97 posts

Hi Katy,

It looks like we were able to get tickets to Swan Lake. And I was able to convince my husband to go! Hahaha, it did take some effort though, but we are going. Can't wait :-)
Did you ever been to the Tchaikovsky Ballet Theatre? It looks amazing.

Posted by
342 posts

Lucky you. Enjoy. I'm sure it will be great.

Sadly not been to the Tchaikovsky theatre.

I have St Petersburg on my list of places to revisit, two days just wasn't enough.

Posted by
97 posts

Hi Katy,

Yes, I am afraid 2 days will not even close to being enough time to see everything we want to see. But at least we have a taste!

Leaving soon, time to pack... :-)