Posted August 20th, 2004, 05:32 PM
This was our second cruise on the Crystal Symphony and we chose it over other options because we were very pleased with everything on our first one.
On the first day we started with a tour of the city highlights which also took us into St. Peter & Paul Fortress. Then the Hermitage (immediate entry here as well as at other sites). Lunch at the Rzjevsky restaurant. Wonderful visit at the Yusupov's Palace. On to the Peterhof, tour of gardens and a visit of Catherine's Block. We stopped for photo shoots of the Aurora and statues of Peter the Great and several others.
The second day we were starting with Catherine the Great's Palace but since we got an early start, on the way we saw a pink and white confection of a church, Chesme, which was used as a hospital during WWII and had a cemetary in back of it. Then the war memorial to the 900 Day Siege, and the statue of Lenin in Moscow Plaza. Catherine's Palace was very crowded but since we were just 4 and a guide we had a wonderful tour. We stopped for souvenirs, half an hour. Lunch at Our Petersburg followed by visit of The Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral, visit to St. Isaac's Cathedral and on the way back to the ship an unscheduled visit to the Jewish Synagogue. (By visit I mean we went inside and toured the facility.) We had to be back at the ship by 3:45pm.
Prior to sailing Crystal did not offer small private tours and that is why we went ahead and made our own arrangements.