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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 28th, 2004, 11:14 AM
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Default Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and 7/26? I

My wife and I desire to schedule a two day tour of St. Petersburg with others cruisers on the HAL Noordam on 7/25 and 7/26. Attached below is the info that I received from Red October. Please email me at mtn.high@comcast.net if you are interested in joining us. In order to get visas arranged through Red October, you need to sign up about a week before these dates at the latest.

Regarding non-visa participation in tours:
Since we are a professional travel agency and you do not plan to travel or venture on your own and buy all services from us, you do not need individual Russian visas.
The procedure for non-visa participation in tours is the following –
To go ashore without visas you will only need to have our excursions tickets which will be your permit to participate in shore excursions organized by our company. Thus when you take your decision to acquire our services and confirm that to us, I will send you the required tickets by mail. For that I would request your home address.
You will need these tickets each time you go ashore and you will have to show them to the immigration officers along with your passport. Please kindly do not leave them in your cabin and keep them with your passport each time you go ashore.

All other passengers who are buying excursions from shore excursions office on board will also have their tickets for excursions but those tickets are printed by Cruise Lines on board the ship and consequently will differ from ours. Your tickets are printed by our company. To settle down this permit (non-visa participation in shore excursions) with our local immigration authorities I will need all your group members' passport details: Full name, Date and Place of Birth, Passport numbers, Passport Dates of issue and expiry, Nationality and Citizenship. I will have to submit them to the Immigration authorities 5 days prior the ship's call at St Petersburg.

To summarize the above said: if your decision to acquire our services is firm I will send you a number of tickets by mail one month prior your departure from the States and you will give them to your fellow travelers on board. You have a chance to find another couple or two to join you for the tours when you are on board the ship at sea. Definitely the prices for 4 and 6 people are much better than for only two of you. If you do not find other people to join you then you will return us the left tickets when we meet on your arrival date.

Please kindly remember that we need the names and passport details of the new people joining you 5 or 4 days before your arrival. You may send us this information via email from board the ship. As for meeting our clients we meet them at the terminal area. You will see me or another representative of our company with RED OCTOBER LAND SEA TRAVEL sign immediately after you pass the immigration formalities. There is no need for us to come on board because we shall send you excursions tickets to your home address well in advance before you leave from the States.

DAY ONE – 9 ½ hours
July 25, Sunday

07:00 AM Ship’s arrival

08:00 AM Departure for Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), drive 25km/15 miles south of St. Petersburg

09:00 AM Arrival in Tsarskoye Selo, official residence of Russian Tsars.

09:30 AM Visit to the Catherine Palace founded by Peter I for his wife Catherine I and re-built and enlarged for their daughter Empress Elizabeth by Italian architect F.B.Rastrelli; the striking luxury of the interior decoration of the palace was created by the best artists of XVIII and XIX centuries. The most famous Amber Room with the walls paneled with amber was completely lost during the WWII is restored completely. (Early admission to the Catherine’s Palace on special arrangement included in the cost)

010;30 AM Stroll in the beautiful Catherine park with its numerous pavilions and small palaces, ponds and canals, marble statues and monuments.

11:00 AM - Drive back to St. Petersburg

00:00 PM - Lunch at the “Adamant” Restaurant located on Moika River Embankment within a short walking distance from Astoria Hotel and St Isaac’s Square -

Menu suggestion: Ø Fish Salad “Ladoga”, Ø Russian Soup “Rassolnik” (with pickled cucumbers) or Russian Cabbage soup “Schi”, Ø Fried Pike-Perch or Beef-Stroganoff, Ø Dessert of the day Price = $ 21 p.p.

01:00 PM - A city orientation drive (city highlights): St. Nicholas’s Church, Theatre Square with Mariinsky Theatre, St. Isaac’s Square, majestic St. Isaac Cathedral, “Bronze Horseman” – the most famous monument to Peter the Great, Shmidt Bridge, Vasilievsky Island with Arts Academy, Menshikov Palace, University, Kunstkamera, “Strelka” with Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns and with the most beautiful view of Neva Embankments Winter Palace and other buildings of the Hermitage Museum, Twelve Colleges, Palace Bridge, Palace Square with Winter Palace and Alexander Column, Admiralty, Nevsky Avenue, the central street of the city, Smolny Cathedral and Smolny Institute, “Field of Mars”, drive by the Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral, Troitsky Bridge, Peter’s the Great Cabin, Cruiser “Aurora”.

03:00 PM - Tour of the Hermitage Arts Museum . Excursion to the West-European Masters’ collection (Rembrandt, Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Murillo, Van Dyck etc.)· Living and gala halls of the Winter Palace,· French Impressionists and art of XX century.Optional visit to the Gold Rooms (Treasury) of the Winter Palace for additional $ 15 per person (min 10 persons in a group). This visit should be reserved well in advance.

05:30 PM - Return to the ship

The per person cost of the program without lunch and Gold Room:
If you are 2 is $ 232 pp, if you are 4 is $ 161 pp, if you are 6 is $ 131 pp, if you are 8 is $ 124 pp, if you are 10 is $ 114 pp.

The above costs include car transportation, highly qualified English speaking guide services, entrance fees to the museums and early admission to the Catherine’s Palace on special arrangement as mentioned in the program.

DAY TWO – 8 ½ hours
July 26, Monday

08:30 AM Departure for Peterhof. Drive 30km/19 miles west of St. Petersburg.

10:00 AM Arrival in Peterhof: “Russian Versailles”, official Summer Residence of RussianTsars.- Stroll through the wonderful “Lower Park” with its 150 fountains, cascades and various pavilions, palaces, among them the small and cozy “Monplaisir” of Peter the Great on the very coast of the sea.

10:30 AM Visit to the Monplaisir Palace (small palace), the favorite of Peter I on the very coast of Baltic Sea preserving the memory of the greatest of Russian Tsars and illustrating his private life style.

11:45 AM - Drive to the city center for lunch

00:45 PM - Lunch at the city restaurant “Our Petersburg” Menu suggestion: USD 17 ppØ Greek Salad, Ø Russian beet root soup "Borsch", Ø Stroganoff "Russian style" with rice or Pike-perch "a la Polonaise" with sauce and boiled potatoes, Ø dessert.

01:45 PM Shopping opportunity at the biggest and best souvenir shop of St. Petersburg – Red October (wooden dolls of various dimensions and quality, authentic lacquer boxes from Palekh, Mstera etc., splendid amber, china, Russian shawls etc.)

02:30 PM Inside visit of Peter-and-Paul Fortress, place where the city was founded in May of 1703, incl. the Peter-and-Paul Cathedral (1712 1733), burial place of the Romanovs

03:15 PM Visit to the Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral built in 1907 as memorial church to honor Russian Emperor Alexander II murdered on the spot by the terrorists. It is a sample of "Russian style" architecture and decorative art of the edge of the XIX-XX centuries. Mosaic attire of the church (over 7.000 sq. m) was created by the most famous Russian artists of the epoch.

04:00 PM - Visit to St Isaac's Cathedral (architect Montferrand), one of the finest architectural monuments of the XIX century, the former principal Cathedral of the Russian capital, the largest cathedral in town able to accommodate about 10,000 audience. The cathedral is beautifully decorated inside: marble of 13 colors, malachite, lapis-lazuli, paintings and mosaics made by the most famous Russian artists, impressive stained-glass image of Christ seen through the open doors of the magnificent Icon-Stand etc.

04:30 PM - Drive back to the pier

05:00 PM - Return on board

06:00 PM Ship’s departure

The per person cost of the program without lunch:
If you are 2 is $ 259 pp, if you are 4 is $ 172 pp, if you are 6 is $ 138 pp, if you are 8 is $ 129 pp, if you are 10 is $ 117 pp.
The above costs include car transportation, highly qualified English speaking guide services, entrance fees to the museums as mentioned in the program.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 30th, 2004, 11:47 AM
sharleen maese
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Default Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and 7/2

Myself and a fried will be on the same ship. I am very interested in a separate tour through Red October and NOT thru the cruise lines. I like this itenarary. As I am just beginning to make my arrangements, I will get back to you quickly to arrange this with you. It will be great to know this part of the cruise will be taken care of in advance.

Second question, have you heard how well maintained the Noordam is? I have read some pretty scary stuff, but liked the itenerary. Also, we will be taking a 2 day pre-cruise package in Copenhagen prior to sailing.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old April 30th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and

From what I have reviewed, the Noordam is very well maintained in terms of its "soft" wares (carpet, linens, etc.), however, the age of its "hard" wares (plumbing, air conditioning) has caused problems on occasion. This is a classy, intimate ship with good food and great service.

We picked this cruise because of the itinerary and not solely because of the ship. As we are only at sea for two days and will be in ports all the other days, I am less concerned about the amenities of the ship. This cruise is an excellent value and I am willing to put up with a few problems as long as they do not significantly affect what I really want to get out of the cruise; relaxing, sightseeing, and celebrating our anniversary. I think if you focus on the positive aspects and be grateful that you are able to take any type of cruise, the small, yet annoying incidents that occur just will not matter in the grand scheme of things.

I am pleased to hear that you are also interested in the Red October two day tour. We have plenty of time to make arrangements as I hope to lock in our order by July 1 at the latest and possibly sooner if we have enough people. I would hope we could keep the group between 4 to 8 people. Look forward to your response.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25

Thanks for your comments. I think we have made the committment as the only other real choice is through the Grand Princess and neither one of us want a large ship. Hopefully, we won't SINK!!! or STINK! Please consider the two of us as tour mates in St. Petersburg. I am sure a private tour will be far more enjoyable than a large ship tour. Please keep me informed. Thanks again.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and 7/2

I have conflicting information concerning the necessity of a Russian Visa if we tour with the Red October Tour Company. Can you tell me if you have gotten a visa or if this is done by the Tour Company? Our information from the cruiseship stated we would need one. From what I have read from Red October, we do not-- they provide it.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and

I also noted the discrepancy in what the cruise ship states. Red October is a tour company that is "licensed" by the government to provide tours and arrange for group visas for tourists. For this reason you do not need indiviudal visas which take time and money ($200) to obtain from the Russian government.

If you read other threads about Red October, they indicate that there is no problem with embarking the boat if you have arranged for a tour with Red October. I believe the cruise ship is honoring the law in stating that people leaving the ship cannot disembark and tour on their own unless they have a visa. As long as you can show that you have a tour with Red October and you stay with them the entire time, then you can disembark the boat. Please review my first post above from Red October which discusses the visa policy.

I am relying on the information given by Red October and from the various posts about Red October to make this determination. We need to give them the information that bthey reques one month in advance. I was hoping we could find one or two more couples to reduce the costs before I sent them the information.

Let me know what you think.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and 7/2

We would very much like to join you. I will get in touch with Red October and give them our information. Hopefully, they and you are correct and we will not require individual visas. I will let Red October know that we wish to tour with you. Thanks and I will be in touch.
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Old May 13th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Re: Share Red October 2 day tour for Noordam on 7/25 and

Red October also offers a Folklore Show which is supposed to be really good. It's Russian dancers, full piece orchestra etc. I have inquired about attending this show through Red October on the evening of 7/25. I do not know the cost for this show. RO also offers a canal boat ride if you have 8 people in the group. It will cost about $15 each and you may have to grap a bag lunch from the boat and give up a lunch at a restaurant to make the time for the canal tour
Are you interested in any of these add ons to the two-day tour? If so, let me know.
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