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I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cruise. I knew it would be nicer then an average Russian cruise, but our experience went above and beyond our expectations. The food was fantastic, the service fabulous, the tours interesting. Having lived in St. Petersburg for the last two years, we were just looking for an interesting way to see Kizhi, the Golden Ring and Moscow. Instead, we had one of the best weeks here in Russia.
United States - Russia
Russia Cruise: Cultural Diamond
I had never expected that for such an experienced traveler I am, St. Petersburg could turn out to be a chest with unique treasures and diamonds! I was delighted at seeing broad streets and spacious squares with impressive architectural complexes! I had heard before that St. Petersburg was otherwise called "the window to Europe" and Peter the Great had built his city after the fashion of the European cities of his century, but I have never seen in Europe such spacious squares as I saw in St. Petersburg!
Actually it wasn’t my first time in Russia, but first time in St. Petersburg. The Russia cruise with Volga Dream was really a dream that came true, moreover reality exceeded expectations! The Russia cruise program was planned by the organizers perfectly!
We arrived on the board of a boat equipped at the state-of-the-art level and enjoyed every moment of the cruise. The staff was very skilled and attentive. Each of them was always on guard of our comfort. I must admit that we never had to wait our turn to start excursion due to the highest level of service during the whole Russia cruise. I appreciate such professionalism a lot!
We started our city tour fr om visiting Peter and Paul Fortress and Nevsky Prospect. The city is clearly different from Moscow and other Russian cities and towns. Peter the Great had managed to build the city in the marshland and till now it’s the second biggest megacity in Russia!
St. Petersburg is a place that tells us about different period of the Russian history than Moscow. The guest speaker happened to be a very friendly and a real expert in the history and modern life of St. Petersburg and our not big group seemed to learn much more than during a whole curse in the history of St. Petersburg.
I was greatly impressed by a walloping collection of world painting masterpieces in the Hermitage Museum. There was no chance that we could visit all the halls of the Museum! I even tried to walk to the end of its building outside in the street and failed.
In the evening we checked in one of the best hotels in the center of the city. It was a true example of a 5-star rating service hotel. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming.
I’d like to highlight that now I adore the Russian food! We were lucky to be invited to the Podvorie Restaurant wh ere we tried the Russian national food. It’s very nourishing and delicious!
The air in St. Petersburg is remarkably different from Moscow’s. maybe it’s due to the European style in architecture or slower tempo of living or due to the fact that people who live there try to correspond to the name of the citizens of "the cultural capital".
Unfortunately we failed to miss the rainy weather, and it started raining the day we directed to the St. Isaac Cathedral. Perhaps that was the reason why the Cathedral produced a very gloomy and sacramental impression on me. That day I thought that this city was a place of contrasts and rapid change of weather and mood.
The day in Peterhof became one of my happiest days: it was built by a person who really adored life and knew a lot about balls, entertainment and great architecture with park territory and fountains. Two fountains with statues of ancient heroes were constructed in Roman style and called Roman fountains. If you go along the fountains you can find yourself in the end on the picturesque embankment of the Gulf of Finland.
In spite of the fact that during our cruise we visited many excursions we always had leisure time. Such change of activity prevent us from boring and monotonous pastime. Besides walks and dinners in the surroundings of the 18 and 19 centuries are an overwhelming experience!