St. Petersburg, Russia – The lovely Navigator docks right in the midst of the city as only a small ship is able to do.

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Have you thought about a cruise visit to the Baltics, territories that gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (from north to south). One of our clients offered this very interesting diary of a summer trip and we thought you might enjoy reading it.


Morning in St. Petersburg, Russia

We arrived at this very picturesque city in early morning. Our first shore excursion, departing at 9:30 am, was shopping. The city is similar to a miniature NYC – action everywhere and best of all, fabulous architecture from centuries gone by. The shopping is unusual – we went to several shops on the embankment of the Krukov Canal near the St. Nicholas Cathedral. Little painted lacquer boxes and Matyoshka dolls are among the most popular souvenir offerings. You also find a little marketplace selling prints and paintings from local artists. We visited a grocery store and they have very similar items to those in the USA (although many more varieties of vodka for you, comrade.) From Pepsi, baby oil and powder to yogurt …they seem to have it all, including some items we have never seen, such a pickled this-and-that. One of the highlights (being in this business) was a visit to the “Grand Hotel. The entrance is truly grand and the hotel filled with flowers and marble and beautiful furniture was a lovely sight. The shops there are really something – I recommend you visit Vanity House online at well as a little store we found at


Evening in St. Petersburg, Russia

After a little nap after the shopping expedition, we finished reading the wonderful Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry, (it really fills you in on Russian history around the time of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, with accurate details throughout most of the book). We then had room service (twin fillets with a crème’ sauce with peppercorns on toast points, absolutely scrumptious) as tonight we are going to the enjoy a spectacular evening at the Yussupov Palace located on the banks of the Moika River. The Yussupovs were the wealthiest family in Russia at the beginning of the 20th. Century. This is the home where Grigori Rasputin was assassinated. You climb down a very narrow staircase to the basement of the home and hear the amazing story surrounding the night of his assassination. The situation has been re-created and there is a very lifelike wax figure of Rasputin himself, sitting at the table at which he was first poisoned, then shot.

Exquisite ladies-in-waiting and gentlemen in ornate costumes greet you as you enter the palace. Small groups are guided through the museum and you observe some rooms that are unbelievably decorated. The “wow” factor (and a lot of precious metals and jewels, and ornate wood) is certainly present here. Russian champagne and black caviar are served in the music room while a classical balalaika orchestra plays beautiful music for you.

Following the reception you are invited into the Yussopov private theatre which was used for entertaining international guests. We enjoyed a gala performance of the St. Petersburg Opera Company which featured highlighted arias from some world-famous operas including the Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute, Don Juan, Giannio Schicchi and Eugene Onegin. This was truly a night to remember.


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