Unless you obtain a Visa for Russia, you are required to use a licensed guide when leaving the ship. Two days we toured with the ship's shore excursions, and the third we used a private guide, Alla Ushakova. Although we thought all of the ship's tours were excellent, having a private guide was a special treat. We learned so much about St. Petersburg and its culture and people from Alla. It was like having a good friend show you around her beloved home city!
If your cruise ship docks in St. Petersburg, these are a few of the places that you must see:
- The Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
- Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral
- Cruiser Aurora
- St. Isaac's Cathedral
- Church on Spilled Blood
- Palace Square and the Alexander Column
- Peterhof Palace and Park
- Catherine Palace
- Yusupov Palace
- The Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Smolny Monastery
We also did two special evenings ashore from the Silver Cloud. The first was an evening at the ballet, where we saw Swan Lake. The second evening was at the Hermitage Museum, where 40 of us were treated to a performance by the State Hermitage Orchestra and a private guided tour of the museum.