Good choice of cruise - we did this one in May 05 and it was the best holiday I have ever had - EVER! We looked at getting a visa for St Petersburg so we could go off and do our own thing - but the cost of it put us off. The ship docks about 15-30 mins away from the centre (from what I remember - it wasn't far). In the end we opted for two shore excursions through Royal Caribbean - Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace one day, and a guided tour around St Petersburg the second day. We got to see loads, and learn loads as the guide was so informative. I'd definitely do this again. St Petersburg is such a big place I wouldn't have known where to start if I was tackling it on my own! This cruise was out of this world and I recommend it to everyone. I'm sure you'll have a great time.
I have booked with Alla who charges $300pp for a full 2-day package tour which is a lot better value than when you add up the individual RCI tours. You also get to visit a lot more places. Added benefits of early entry into Hermitage, and a tour group limited to only 20 pax. No need to get a visa either. Have been very impressed with the quality of info she provides and the promptness of her replies.
Thank you for your help Mr/s Harrison & Aldrich - have contacted Alla & Red October can you remember what cost via RCI tours was so I can compare ? also did you both travel independently at other ports if not what did you do ? Thank you.
Will Alla's Complete Tour for $300pp you get to see City sightseeing tour, Hermitage museum (early entry), Peter and Paul Fortress, Church of the Blood, St Isaac Cathedral, Catherine’s palace, Fountain Park, Yusupov’s palace, and two lunches. That is approx £150pp for all this. On RCI website it is £93.84pp just for a city tour and Hermitage! So I know what works for me