We booked a full day tour online for day 1 in St.Petersburg prior to travelling, with a view to my wife booking the evening ballet trip onboard, once we'd clarified the respective timings.
I called the excursion office from our cabin and asked when the day tour would be back at the ship, to be advised by one of the female staff that it would be 4:15pm, no later than 4:30pm, and therefore there would be ample time to shower, dress and have a buffet meal in time for the 7pm assembly for the coach party.
This advice turned out to be complete baloney - we were still in the Hermitage museum at 4pm, and when asked, the guide assured us that the company (the tour firm) had told her to be back for 5:30pm.
It was 5:50pm before we were back on board and Her Ladyship had to have a quick shower, do her hair, dress and then hurry to the lido restaurant for a quick run around the buffet.
I had a "discussion" over the 'phone with the head of excursions wanting to know why I had been given completely wrong information, pointing out that I would never have booked the ballet had we known the true timings in advance - especially as the full day tour had meant a early rise.
I've come to the conclusion that the member of staff who I first spoke to is either incompetent, or being economical with the truth in order to sell an excursion.
I believe other guests were also unhappy at these timings issue.
All this after a total shambles of any organised disembarkation procedure at 7am due to no arrangements being made. I didn't need to complain on that one though - there was a big queue ahead of me !!!
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