May 16, 2001
Maybe it IS a trend: In our previous item on Seabourn’s new Signature Series, announcing a shore excursion program designed for the super-active, super-inquisitive sightseer, we lamented that mass market companies hadn’t caught on yet. Well, maybe. Renaissance just announced the first of what it hopes will be “boutique-style” sightseeing opportunities. With this one, cruisers traveling on the line’s Northern Europe and Scandinavian itineraries (that stop in St. Petersburg) will have the option to take a private tour of St. Petersburg’s famous The Hermitage – before it opens. Prices of this pre-opening shore excursion to the “Louvre” of Russia haven’t yet been determined (a spokesman says the trip will probably cost between $61 - $71, including transportation) and are somewhat higher than museum admission (300 roubles or about $12) itself but it's hard to put a price tag on a private viewing in such a spectacular setting.