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  #1  
Old February 21st, 2005, 01:55 PM
SUEB126 SUEB126 is offline
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Default Century-5/21/05 St Petersburg Tour

There are 2 of us on the May 21, 05 Century sailing. Want to do a 2 day tour of St Petersburg. Looking for 1-2 couples willing to share the tour, probably with Red October.
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  #2  
Old February 23rd, 2005, 10:31 PM
ROXANNE ROXANNE is offline
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Default Century May 21

Sue
My husband and I are going to be on the Century on May21. I have already contacted Red October and have begun working with them to get a group tour together for both days.

Right now I think I have 8 or 10 interested for a possible 12 passenger bus. Would you like to have me send you further information? If so give me your email or fax number.

Roxanne
Houston
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  #3  
Old February 24th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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alpal1993 alpal1993 is offline
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We will be on The June 2 cruise and I as well have tried to contact Red October without any success.We have a very small group on CC and at this point no one appears interested.So I have been looking into the ships tours and cost wise they aren't too bad.We want to see the Ballet and also the Hermitage.Also was interested in the river cruise tour.
Good luck.I hope we all get our sightseeing plans just the way we want.Have a great time.
Ann
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  #4  
Old February 24th, 2005, 11:13 AM
SUEB126 SUEB126 is offline
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tHERE ARE ACTUALLY 4 OF US ORGANIZING A TOUR. IT'S ABOUT $355 PP. hOW DOES THAT COMPARE WITH YOURS??
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  #5  
Old February 24th, 2005, 01:51 PM
~Cruisenut~ ~Cruisenut~ is offline
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I think there are a number of sites for this sailing date...

http://messages.cruisecritic.com/sho...d.php?t=118063
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  #6  
Old February 25th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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alpal1993 alpal1993 is offline
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Hi Everyone!
I think they changed our itinerary again, Supposedly one day in St Petersburg and a day in Poland.
Ann
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  #7  
Old February 25th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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alpal1993 alpal1993 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SUEB126
tHERE ARE ACTUALLY 4 OF US ORGANIZING A TOUR. IT'S ABOUT $355 PP. hOW DOES THAT COMPARE WITH YOURS??
Mine came to 330 per person that included Grand St Petersburg with Hermitage for 8 hours and 30 min-Ballet at night.Day 2 River and canal tour with Peter and Paul Fortress and 4 tour Peterhof Park and Fountains.

Now that Celebrity is playing around with the itinerary I know I will definately stick to Celeb sanctioned tours.
Ann
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  #8  
Old March 9th, 2005, 10:04 PM
ROXANNE ROXANNE is offline
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Default Century May 21

The tours that I am organizing for the two days in St. Petersburg with Red October are approximately $113.00pp for the 1st day and $134.00pp for the second day. They are full days, with pickup and return to the ship and include limited visas. As of now I believe that there are 10 of us.

Roxanne
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  #9  
Old March 18th, 2005, 10:28 AM
SUEB126 SUEB126 is offline
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We've been looking at Denrus too. They seem to be more ameniable to changing the tour for us. We want to do a boat cruise and RO said they needed a certain number. Denrus said they would buy tix once we got there. We did find out today that the other couple has decided to go thru the ship. Apparently Century just sent out a list of the tours with a note that said any people on independent tours couldn't get off the ship until 9:30. While Olga at Denrus said we just have to be pushy, I wonder if that will be a problem. Anybody looking for 2 more people for a small tour??

Has anyone once else recently had experience leaving the ship on an independent tour???
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  #10  
Old April 6th, 2005, 03:33 PM
charlemj charlemj is offline
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Default Mercury 5/21/05 Red October

Roxanne,

We are a family of four (53,50,22,20) and would like to avoid the large bus tours for St. Pete.

Red October looks pretty good. Are you booking through their American Agent or the St. Pete office direct?

I see a lot of messages with talk of port changes. How would this affect a booking with RO? Would they honor us on a different day?

Have you communicated with any past cruisers with RO experiece?

Thanks much.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ROXANNE
The tours that I am organizing for the two days in St. Petersburg with Red October are approximately $113.00pp for the 1st day and $134.00pp for the second day. They are full days, with pickup and return to the ship and include limited visas. As of now I believe that there are 10 of us.

Roxanne
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  #11  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 07:25 PM
LorieKeith LorieKeith is offline
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My husband and I are also on the Celebrity Century 5/21/05 Baltic sailing. I have been working through my shore excursion plans for St. Petersberg with DenRus and Red October. I have found the service to be much better with DenRus thusfar and their pricing is better.

Our tour includes
City Highlights by car
Metro Ride
Pushkin's Palace and Grounds
Peterhof Grand Palace and Grounds
Hermitage
Peter and Paul's Fortress
Walking along Nevsky Prospekt with a variety of shopping and stops at churches, including St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church of Spilled Blood, Alexandra Nevskovo Monastary, and a few others.

We are able to do all these sights from 8 - 6 the first day and 8 - 5 the second day. If we have two other couples join us, the price is only $332 per person. I think this is incredibly reasonable given all we will be able to see. We can also add evening entertainment, but I haven't decided on that yet. I have a feeling I will be very tired at the end of the day.

Anyone interested in joining?
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  #12  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:28 PM
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stanj stanj is offline
 
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Default Evening activities

Quote:
Originally Posted by LorieKeith
My husband and I are also on the Celebrity Century 5/21/05 Baltic sailing. I have been working through my shore excursion plans for St. Petersberg with DenRus and Red October. I have found the service to be much better with DenRus thusfar and their pricing is better.

Our tour includes
City Highlights by car
Metro Ride
Pushkin's Palace and Grounds
Peterhof Grand Palace and Grounds
Hermitage
Peter and Paul's Fortress
Walking along Nevsky Prospekt with a variety of shopping and stops at churches, including St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church of Spilled Blood, Alexandra Nevskovo Monastary, and a few others.

We are able to do all these sights from 8 - 6 the first day and 8 - 5 the second day. If we have two other couples join us, the price is only $332 per person. I think this is incredibly reasonable given all we will be able to see. We can also add evening entertainment, but I haven't decided on that yet. I have a feeling I will be very tired at the end of the day.

Anyone interested in joining?
This a good introduction to St Petersburg that would take a long time, weeks perhaps to see if on your own or never is on a ships tour. I would like to suggest that you plan on an evening event because when you get to port, you will be at the beginning of White Nights. White Nights is a special time in SPb with festivals, performances, events planned every day all over the city. What makes it special is the people have come out of our winter doldrums and slight depression to absorb the vitality and energy everyone feels. All of a sudden no one sleeps for fear of missing something and for some strange reason few people even feel tired. Take a romantic stroll along the Neva River at 2a.m. dusk and notice hundreds of people doing the same, with bands playing on the river bank, boat cafes full, vendor of flowers and ice cream doing fine business at 3a.m.
Visitors seem to be energized by it also and soon realize the city has barely woken up by the time cruiser are back on their ships at 5-6p.m. missing out on the remaining 10 hours of daylight. You will not want to go back even if during other seasons, you would have been worn out.
By all means take advantage of the world class performances that are staged 11 months of the year in each theater. If ballet is of interest to you, the programs at the Mariinsky theater are not to be missed.

You'll love the crew at Den Rus, the overall favorite of people who know St Petersburg. I know all the major tour companies and you could not do better.
Have a great visit, maybe I'll see you there. I am back in the US visiting and about return to my adopted home of St Petersburg.
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  #13  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 03:04 AM
Bollinge Bollinge is online now
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Hi Stan,

Any idea how far the cruise ship dock is from say, Nevsky Prospekt or the nearest Metro station?

How much for a taxi from Nevsky Prospekt back to the ship?

We are there overnight on the 27th May. Has the White Nights festival started by then?
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  #14  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 09:17 AM
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stanj stanj is offline
 
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Default Port distances

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bollinge
Hi Stan,

Any idea how far the cruise ship dock is from say, Nevsky Prospekt or the nearest Metro station?

How much for a taxi from Nevsky Prospekt back to the ship?

We are there overnight on the 27th May. Has the White Nights festival started by then?
There are 3 docks for passenger liners, one is within easy walking distance from the Palace Embankment but apparently you will be disembarking at the passenger terminal near LenExpo at the western end of Vasilevskiy Island. It is a heavy industrial area not known for services. There is a hotel out there near the terminal, the Morskaya so taxis ought be be available. There are two metros on the island, neither close to where you are landing. If you want to start exploring on the island, there is an interesting exhibit right at the terminal where the Naval Museum has an annex. It is the D-2 Narodovolets submarine from WWII and before. At the other end of the island, the eastern side, there are a great many museums and some of the best restaurants in SPb. From there, a short walk across the Dvortsoviy Most (Palace Bridge) places in standing in front of the Winter Palace and the Palace Embankment. The island is quite nice in some neighborhoods but the sea port certainly is not one of them. It is one of the bleaker areas of the city and most industral ports are.
By car, the distance to the Dvortsoviy Bridge and the Hermitage is about 3 miles straight on Bolshoy prospekt so a normal taxi should be about $4 but knowing you are stranded out there, commercial taxis might ask $10 or more. Offer 300 Rubles, about $3.40 and see if they take it. There are buses and mini-buses but you might now feel comfortable getting on a bus that goes who-knows-where. The mini buses, called Marshrutka, 8-9 passenger vans with 12 people cramed inside are very popular with locals and they all drive in routes that end up at a metro. They all have a route number is large letters in their front window or painted on the body. The ones you want are K47, K128, K129 or K183. When you see one coming you you can flag it down or simply wait at the side walk under the sign with a small siloutte of a bus and the "K" number of the buses that stop there. When you see one coming, about every 5 minutes or 10 minutes depending on the route, step out to the side of the road and look at the driver, he will pull over. Get in and find a place to sit but before getting in, notice the charge on a sign in the window or on a small sign on the inside. Probably 10-14 Rubles. After sitting in you seat, simply hand your money to the person in front of you and it is passed forward until the driver gets it and if change is required, it is passed back the same way. These listed Marshrutka all arrive at Nevsky pr in front of Gostiny Dvor shopping center, the center of everything. These also stop at the Hermitage and Palace Embankment. If others are on the bus, most will get off at the metro in Gostiny Dvor so just get out with them. But is no one is getting off, as your stop is approached call out "ostanavites pazhaluista" which is stop please. You can also say something like "Stop Please" but that is not as much fun on your first day in Russia;>)

White Nights comes in two forms. The offical season is right after the summer solstice, 3rd week of June to the end of the first week of July but since there are not enough days for all the festivals and celebrations, it really starts in late May. When the days get really long, people are in the mood for partying and celebrations and it finally slows down by the 3rd week of of July or beginning of August. It is considered a romantic time not just part central. It is often said that the person you watch the raising of the draw bridges on the Neva River with will be with you through out the year or longer. At about 2:00am, thousands of couples will be strolling along the Embankments, listening to music, or sitting in boat cafes or drinking Champagne in the dusk light that is as dark as it gets. The lights of the city, particularly the beautiful iluminated palaces, bridges and buildings along the Neva River, with many colored lights will convince you that it really is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Paris and St Petersburg have few rivals....by the way, both are thought of as having the most beautiful women anywhere....I fully agree, but lean toward perfering Petersburgers;>) It is fun being single in such a place sometimes.

If the taxi is your choice and you find none, call Den Rus or other contact and they will call the Russian only speaking taxi dispatcher who will have a car there quickly. These dispatched taxis are a lot cheaper (because they use their meters) than finding on at a hotel or passenger port.
Did I cover everything? Sometimes I write and get carried away....
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  #15  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 09:31 AM
Bollinge Bollinge is online now
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Thanks Stan for such a comprehensive reply!

And sorry, for now one more question. If we are out at midnight or 1 am enjoying the White Nights, how do we avoid being trapped on the wrong side of the river from the cruise port when the bridges go up, and do the Metro and taxis still run at that hour?
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  #16  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 09:51 AM
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stanj stanj is offline
 
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Default After midnight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bollinge
Thanks Stan for such a comprehensive reply!

And sorry, for now one more question. If we are out at midnight or 1 am enjoying the White Nights, how do we avoid being trapped on the wrong side of the river from the cruise port when the bridges go up, and do the Metro and taxis still run at that hour?
Yes, you will get trapped so you must enjoy it;>) Actually the the bridges are sequenced in opening and closing times and the time where there is limited access to Vasiliveovsky Island is around 2:30-4am. The metros stop at 12:30 and public transportation(buses, trolleys and trams) stop at 1 a.m. but taxis, private taxis run all night. Just to be safe if you do not want to stay out all night with the others, you should walk across the bridge in front of the Hermitage by 2:00a.m. and celebrate on the opposite side of the river. The area is dominated by views of the spectacular Palace Embankment on the other side of the river anyway. The north side of the rriver is where the St Petersburg University is so there will be lots of young people from all over the world joining you. My favorite restaurant (Old Customs House) is located a block away, and my favorite disco (Plaza ) is a block away the other direction towards Peter and Paul Fortress. So it is best to either consider the time and cross the bridge before the opening or plan to stay out with the others until about 4 a.m. I always ignore that triffle;>) and stay out all night in the warm twilight enjoying the festivities.
I used to live a few metro stops north and it was a problem occassionally but usually it was just fun. Later I ,moved back to the city center, around Fontanka and Nevsky pr. and got a lot less sleep because during the summer everyone assumes that they might miss out on something if they wasted their time sleeping! Winter is for sleeping, summer is for fun according to Russians. It IS fun to be in St Petersburg no matter what your interests are.
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  #17  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 01:37 PM
LorieKeith LorieKeith is offline
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Thanks for your input on our itinerary Stan. You have convinced me to head out again at night for a folklore show. DenRus has provided me with a couple options. Folklore at Nicholas Palace or Carnival Concert Hall or Folklore at Pulkovskaya Hotel Concert Hall. Any thoughts on these different venues?

Also any comments on visiting some of the metro stations? DenRus recommended. Not sure whether it is worth my time? I am thinking of starting a thread on the Baltic boards on the metro ride to see what experiences people have had.

We will be in the City on City Day. What is your experience with this holiday? Will we want to avoid the festivities or join them?
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  #18  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 01:54 PM
~Cruisenut~ ~Cruisenut~ is offline
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Stan:
Thanks for the wonderful introduction to St Petersburg. Most of us will not have passports so we will be very limited in our travels. Do any of the organized tour companies show us this part of life in your city?
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  #19  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:50 PM
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stanj stanj is offline
 
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Default Shows and metros

Quote:
Originally Posted by LorieKeith
Thanks for your input on our itinerary Stan. You have convinced me to head out again at night for a folklore show. DenRus has provided me with a couple options. Folklore at Nicholas Palace or Carnival Concert Hall or Folklore at Pulkovskaya Hotel Concert Hall. Any thoughts on these different venues?

Also any comments on visiting some of the metro stations? DenRus recommended. Not sure whether it is worth my time? I am thinking of starting a thread on the Baltic boards on the metro ride to see what experiences people have had.

We will be in the City on City Day. What is your experience with this holiday? Will we want to avoid the festivities or join them?
I think the convienence and program at the Nicholas Palace is a good choice. Pulkovskaya Hotel is in the southern suburbs close to the airport.
Have you considered some of the classical performances, even if you are not a fan of ballet, the true art form of St Petersburg is ballet and the best venue in the world in the spectacular Mariinsky Theater. There are so many choices during that time that decisions will not be easy.

Metros are facinating for those of us who grew up outside NYC. I am from California and always thought transportation was another word for "car". I never rode a bus until I was 23 years old, and the first time for an underground was in London. So getting around a city like St Petersburg using only public transportion was actually a treat. The metro system is fast, offers short waits, about 2 minutes on average, clean and many are beautifully decorated in glass, bronze castings, metal work, marble and plaster work.Each station is of its own design but some are merely interesting while some others are spectacular. The most popular due its the central change over point between major lines is Nevsky pr and Gostiny Dvor metros. Those are different names for entrances a block apart but as with all the metro, after passing through turnstiles with a magnetic card or an 8Ruble token called a Zhaton, you descend 200-300 feet below surface to the platforms, one track each for trains going in opposite directions. The platforms are where the most interesting decors are found. After all these years( most were completed right after WWII and pretty much finished by 1956), because of the materials used, they are is very good condition and kept clean. Marble and tile is pretty easy to keep clean but that central stations, the ones most seen by tourist are so busy they never look fresh and are generally not interesting to look at.
One thing people notice quickly is that at the top of the escalators are dozens of tiny kiosks that sell almost anything one would need on the way home from work, everything from pantyhose to batterys and CDs and DVDs.
Each kiosk has its own specialty either shoes or household cleaners or whatever.
The stations of most interest are on the 1st Line, color coded Red on maps. There are 4 lines and each changes direction so they all pass through a few interchange stations that allow switching lines. the single Zheton is good for travel anywhere in the 58 stations and for as long as you stay below gound. Taking the centrally located station across the plaza from Moscow Station on the southern portion of Nevsky pr. called Vosstanya ploshchad and down down the escalator to the platform and get on the train to Vladimirsky stsation. These two are very nice in their elaborate bronze castings and empire style. If you want to visit a market, get off here and go up to the street level and turn right and there is one of the better indoor farmers markets in the city. Across the street is Vladimirsky Church in the afternoon and listen to the beautiful sounding chior and collection of very old icons. If you continue on Line one, 6 stops later is Avtovo with is one of the best anywere, with Art Deco design with ectched glass, metal brightwork and beautiful details. Each of the stations on the way to Avtovo is different and very pretty in its own unique style.
One thing that intimidates visitors is there are no signs inEnglish as to station stops. You can count stations and get by very nicely or compare Cyrillic names with your Russian/English map. As each train approaches a stations, a recording announces the station it and then the station it will be going to. When the train stops, the door will open and all departing rider are supposed to get off before the waiting passengers board. There will be another announcement that basicly say"warning" because the automatic doors are about to close...with some force. There are no announcments heard on the platforms, only inside the carriages. When pulling into a station the only place that signs tell you the stations name in on the walls on the opposite side of the tracks from the train...that means when a station is in the station, you can not see the covered sign! For the first few days of using the metro, I found memorizing the unique designs was easier than remembering the names. After you do it once, the metro becomes a reliable resource allowing to explore the city at your own pace.

City day in many cities is a big deal but in SP Petersburg, there are so many festivals and events that it is just one of many going on at the same time. There will be a parade and special events but you will probably bypass as you go on your way.
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  #20  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 03:00 PM
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stanj stanj is offline
 
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Default Tours

Quote:
Originally Posted by C 2 C
Stan:
Thanks for the wonderful introduction to St Petersburg. Most of us will not have passports so we will be very limited in our travels. Do any of the organized tour companies show us this part of life in your city?
Sure, several tour companies can create personal tours based on your specific interests. I think most experienced visitors agree that Den Rus is best at catering to special programs for cuise passengers and providing the group visa.
The main problem is lack of time. St Petersburg is a very diverse city that appeals to many people on many different levels. For me it is the source of never ending discovery in the arts, social activities, history and science....and just plain fun.
What are your specific interests? Do you have hobbies or topics of study you would like to include?
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