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0 Exploring the city of Saint Petersburg on our own

24 Jul 2016 | 13:38:00

Baltic Cruise (St Petersburg) . 2015 . Aug 8


This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

After a most awesome morning at the Hermitage Museum, we embarked on the next part of the shore excursion - exploring the city of Saint Petersburg on our own for 3 hours.   This part of the shore excursion was unguided, unlike at Bruges, and all we had was a city map given out by our guide, and instructions on the meeting place after the 3 hours on our own.


Nevsky Prospekt is the main shopping street in Saint Petersburg, and this is what it looks like - the equivalent of our Orchard Road.


Anichkov Bridge that crosses the Fontanka River. This kind of river cruise seems to be a norm in almost every Baltic city we had been to, but nothing beats the experience at Bruges.


The Horse Tamers are a series of bronze sculptures along the Anichkov Bridge.   They rank among Saint Petersburg’s most recognizable landmarks.



Side walk restaurants are everywhere at Nevsky Prospekt.  With colourful flower boxes and outdoor seatings, they are a wonderful place to sit down for a meal and people-watch.  This shore excursion with Princess Cruises did not include lunch, so we do needed to find lunch for ourselves.


We chose the more affordable option of a coffee-house for lunch.


Don’t you think the logo of this coffee house looks so much like that of a certain American coffee-chain.  My impression of Russian coffee did not go well at all - first of all, it lacks robustness and aroma, secondly,  the beverage was just too dilute to be called a coffee.  The same goes for their food, which is relatively tasteless and bland.


Our simple lunch of sandwiches and puffs.


About SGD 15 for a simple meal for 2.


Nevsky Prospekt is a wonderful place to shop, with a good mixture of luxury departmental stores, Russian designer boutiques and a good selection of small souvenir shops.  In fact, there were so many souvenir shops, we were spoilt for choice!



What to buy when you are in Russia? 

Top of the list, obviously, has to be the Matryoshka, or what we usually term the Russian Doll.  It is the symbol of Russia, and had its origins from long ago, where artisans created these dolls which open to give up to 60 smaller versions inside them.  The price of a set of Russian dolls can range from SGD 20 to as much as a few thousand dollars, and its actual price will depend on whether it is a mass-market production, the number of dolls inside each piece, the material used, and the artists who created these pieces. 



On board the Caribbean Princess, a wide range of Matryoshka of different price ranges are sold in their shops.  But nothing beats shopping for one yourself in Russia.  They are readily available everywhere, from small souvenir kiosks in the underground subway station, to the up-market departmental stores.


Replicas of the Faberge Easter Eggs are worth a look.  These pretty looking eggs usually opens up to reveal a miniature model inside, and even though they are a replica of the real ones which are encrusted with fine gems and jewels, they still sell at a most expensive price.


Palekh and other kinds of painting.  The Russians had a tradition with arts and crafts, and this old Russian tradition of painting on wood are one of the most splendid pieces of art.  The painted and lacquered boxes are famous all over the world.  Like other pieces of art, these do not come cheap at all.


Join us next as we experience a Russian Ballet.

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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4 Baltic Cruise + Southampton Trip Report and Itinerary

Baltic Cruise + Southampton . 2015 . Jul 29 - Aug 16

Baltic cruises may not be as popular as Alaska cruises, but they are definitely ideal cruise options for those who are looking for an unique cruise experience. Baltic cruises are filled with interesting destinations in Northern Europe to explore. On our trip on board the Caribbean Princess, we woke up every day - ready to explore a new and exciting destination.


On board this cruise, we visited Bruges in Belgium and tasted some delicious chocolates. Docked in the wonderful port of Copenhagen, we were welcomed by the world famous 'Little Mermaid'. We were amazed by the spectacular Vasa Museum in Stockholm and were fascinated by the unique Chapel of Silence and Rock Church in Helsinki.

In St Petersburg, the highlights of the Baltics, we visited the Hermitage Museum, enjoyed a night of ballet and visited the Catherine Palaces and Peterhof Gardens.

Last but not least, the ports of Tallinn and Gdansk in Estonia and Poland also gave us some new insights to destinations that we might not have considered if we were travelling on land.

Here's our itinerary with some photos and links to our reviews for our trip.

Updated 24 Jul 2016


Day 0  Singapore -> London (Jul 29)

2100 - Check in at Singapore Changi Airport
2330 - Flight to London Heathrow Airport

Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 1  Southampton F & E  (Jul 30)

0555 - Arrive at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2
0700 - Clear Customs
0800 - National Express Coach FK203 to Southampton Coach Station
1015 - Reach Southampton Coach Station
1045 - Check-in Ibis Southampton Centre
1130 - Early Lunch
1300 - Visit West Quay Shopping Centre & IKEA
1600 - Walk around Southampton City
1730 - Early Dinner @ Chicago Rib Shack
1830 - Back to Hotel


Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 2  Southampton F & E (Jul 31)

0800 - Rise and shine
0830 - Breakfast @ Mc Donalds
0900 - Visit Toy "R" Us
0930 - Visit Sea City Museum (Titanic Story), Dino Fest / Gateway to the World
1300 - Lunch @ Sprinkles Gelato
1400 - Shopping @ Marlands Shopping Centre
1600 - Shopping @ Primark
1500 - Walk around Southampton City
1900 - Early Dinner @ TGIF
2000 - Back to Hotel


Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 3  Baltic Cruise starts (Aug 1)

0900 - Rise and shine
0930 - Breakfast
1045 - Check out Hotel
1115 - Taxi to Cruise Terminal
1200 - Embark on Caribbean Princess
1400 - Lunch on Board
1600 - Cruise departs London (Southampton)
1630 - Explore Ship
2200 - Bedtime

Day 4  Bruges - Belgium (Aug 2)

0800 - Arrive Bruges
0845 - Princess Cruises Shore Excursion (Bruges & Time On Your Own)
0915 - Walking Tour of Bruges + Church of Our Lady
1100 - Bruges Canal Cruise
1130 - Time on Our Own in Bruges
1300 - Chocolate Shopping @ Walplein
1430 - Souvenir Shopping
1645 - End of Excursion
1800 - Depart Bruges
2100 - Bedtime

Day 5 At Sea (Aug 3)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime


Day 6  Copenhagen - Denmark (Aug 4)

0800 - Arrive Copenhagen
0840 - Visit Little Mermaid
0911 - Walk around Rosenborg Castle Garden
1000 - Explore Rosenborg Castle
1030 - Explore Rosenborg Castle Treasury
1045 - Visit the Round Tower
1116 - Canal Tours' Grand Tour of Copenhagen (from Gammel Strand)
1230 - Visit Christiansborg Palace
1330 - Shopping @ Stroget (Shopping Street)
1544 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1700 - Depart Copenhagen
2200 - Bedtime

Day 7  At Sea (Aug 5)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 8  Stockholm - Sweden (Aug 6)

0900 - Arrive Stockholm
0954 - Visit Vasa Museum
1126 - Visit Royal Palace
1310 - Shopping with Lunch
1525 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1700 - Depart Stockholm
2100 - Bedtime

Day 9  Helsinki - Finland (Aug 7)

1000 - Arrive Helsinki
1051 - Visit Chapel of Silence
1201 - Visit Rock Church (Temppeliaukion Kirkko)
1253 - Visit Senate Square and Surroundings
1400 - Shopping
1500 - Walk around Market Square
1556 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1800 - Depart Helsinki
2100 - Bedtime

Day 10  St Petersburg - Russia (Aug 8)

0630 - Arrive St Petersburg
0900 - Princess Shore Excursion (Hermitage Museum & St Petersburg On Your Own)
1600 - End of Excursion
1845 - Princess Shore Excursion (Evening at the Russian Ballet)
2315 - End of Excursion
0000 - Bedtime

Day 11  St Petersburg - Russia (Aug 9)

0630 - Rise and shine
0730 - Princess Shore Excursion (Catherine & Peterhof Palaces)
1715 - End of Excursion
1800 - Depart St Petersburg
2200 - Bedtime

Day 12  Tallinn - Estonia (Aug 10)

0800 - Arrive Tallinn
1000 - DIY Walking Tour
1400 - End of Excursion
1700 - Depart Tallinn
2200 - Bedtime

Day 13  At Sea (Aug 11)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 14  Gdansk - Poland (Aug 12)

0700 - Arrive Gdansk
0800 - Princess Shore Excursion (Gdansk On Your Own)
1500 - End of Excursion
1600 - Depart Gdansk
2200 - Bedtime

Day 15  At Sea (Aug 13)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 16  At Sea (Aug 14)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 17  London -> Singapore (Aug 15)

0700 - Arrive London (Southampton)
0730 - Princess Shore Excursion (Stonehenge - Disembarking Heathrow)
1345 - Reach Heathrow Terminal 2
1245 - Lunch at Airport
1730 - Check in Flight @ Heathrow Terminal 2
2050 - Board Flight to Singapore

Day 18  Reach Singapore (Aug 16)

1655 Arrive Singapore



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Do check out our Flickr photos & Youtube videos too!
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