I was slightly surprised that St Petersburg was very much like many other European cities. Yes it has some great palaces, but there are better around. Yes it's big & bold, but there are bigger & bolder cities. Yes the Hermitage is a great gallery, but the Louvre in Paris is better. I was also expecting to get a feeling for the communist era, but in reality this only had a small impact on the architecture of St Petersburg. What it did have was traffic. We ended up sitting in a hot bus for 2.5 hours going a distance of about 3 miles. Of the 4 ports we visited on our cruise, this would rank in third place. Their rather draconian visa rules also don't help.