Our friends on the Viking Cruise said that only got to visit the outside of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. What a shame when the interior is so magnificent. I can't imagine traveling thousands of miles and then feeling the frustration of someone telling you that the group didn't have time to go inside. I am soooooo glad we had a private guide who took us inside, secured photo permits, and then also gave us a guided tour of the interior, including the spot where Alexander II was killed, which served as the inspiration for the structure.
Constantine Palace Rating:
Very interesting architecture!
Hermitage Museum Rating:
We opted for the "Behind the Scenes" Hermitage tour. Be forewarned that this must be booked more than 30 days in advance through the cruise line and it is an extra-cost option. But it was worth every penny. We had access to the Hermitage before it opened to the general public. We also were able to visit their off-site vaults and storage facilities. Lunch was included. This was an excellent tour that I would highly recommend.
Pavlosk Palace Rating:
This is my favorite palace and in my opinion outranks Peterhof and Pushkin. We had this site virtually to ourselves and walked the grounds on a gorgeous fall day. I would HIGHLY recommend this venue to other visitors to Russia.
Private Tour Rating:
This tour company came highly recommended and I would concur. We were able to cover so much ground and accomplish much more than we could have done with a large tour group.
Russian Ballet Show Rating:
The ballet company that Viking took us to see was interesting but I would have gladly paid more to see one of the highly talented companies such as Marinsky or Alexandrinsky. The company we saw seemed semi-professional and the theatre was clearly in need of renovation, but the performance of "Sleeping Beauty" was entertaining
St. Isaac's Cathedral Rating:
Beautiful cathedral and surrounding area equally interesting. On a previous tour we had to be content with a drive-by, and this time we were determined to tour the interior. Gorgeous!
Stroganov Palace Rating:
We only viewed this from the outside but learned a great deal about the palace's history and captured some stunning photos.
Yusupov Palace Rating:
Very interesting tour with wonderful commentary from our private guide.