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Old February 13th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Default St. Petersburg's shore excursions.

We are visiting St. Petersburg on May 26 and 27th. We are wondering if we should purchase the shore excursions with Celebrity or from the online vacation center (where we purchased the cruise). We are doing the city tour, the Hermitage and both Peterhof and Catherine's palace. Has anyone experienced either company"s tours? If so, your feedback would be welcome. The pricing is similar, Celebrity's are longer but the vacation center's are smaller groups (we think) and include the gold room. Thank you
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Old February 13th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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pastcruiser,

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Originally Posted by You
We are visiting St. Petersburg on May 26 and 27th. We are wondering if we should purchase the shore excursions with Celebrity or from the online vacation center (where we purchased the cruise). We are doing the city tour, the Hermitage and both Peterhof and Catherine's palace. Has anyone experienced either company"s tours? If so, your feedback would be welcome. The pricing is similar, Celebrity's are longer but the vacation center's are smaller groups (we think) and include the gold room. Thank you
I would stick with Celebrity's tours. That way, Celebrity will protect you if the ship has to skip or change the hours of the port of call. The ship also will either await the tour's return or make alternate arrangements to get you back aboard if the ship's tour gets delayed. A "third party" tour package won't offer this protection, even if your travel agent books it for you.

I also would be very surprised if Celebrity's tour does not include something of significance, like the gold room, even if the description of the tour does not call it out explicitly.

Norm.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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The musuem tour is long with much walking and very little time in each room. If you are in awe of thing of yore the gold room is a must see.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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thanks to the two people who replied to my posting. The shore excursion with the travel agent is handled by them and is a fairly large booking. Do you feel it would be unwise to use them? Celebrity's tour that fits our schedule does not include the Gold room in the hermitage. thanks for the feedback.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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Do not worry about a gold room. There are so many beautiful places to see in SPb! Peter and Paul’s Fortress, The church of “Our Saviour on The Spilt Blood? and St Isaac Cathedral is must to see. All museums have English speaking guides if you decide go by yourself. Visit The State Russian Museum if you have a chance. Take a subway and enjoy walking on the streets of downtown.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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My husband and I were in St. Petersburg on this same cruise in 2003. It was a fabulous trip and we loved it. Do keep in mind that the ship docks well out of the city, as I recall it took about 45 min. from the pier to the heart of St. P. We were very pleased with all 4 of Celebrity's shore excursions in St. P and had excellent guides. Regarding the Hermitage and whether you see the Gold Room or not may depend on the Hermitage's guide (the Hermitage has their own guides, too as I recall) and how busy the museum is at the time you visit. I was there on in 1993 (not on a cruise) and although we were scheduled to see the very extensive Impressionist Collection, it turned out that we never got there ! Luckily I did see those rooms in 2003. The museum is enormous, there is plenty to see and you won't be disappointed. A suggestion, see if Celebrity has an evening music or dance excursion in St. P. We booked one in 2003 but it was cancelled at the last minute however I did see the Kirov Ballet in 1993, a real treat. Enjoy your travels ! Regards, Travel Annie
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Old February 19th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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We used Red October for our 2-day tour last year at about the same time you will be going. We teamed up with a group from another cruise forum and got a good price. Their tour coaches are small (about 20 passengers), so the tours seemed a bit more personal than with a much larger group. We had about 40 in our group, so we required two coaches. Everyone was very pleased with our tours, as we were. Here is their website if you want to check them out. http://www.redoctober.us/
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