Reviews › St Petersburg 3-day tour during Baltic Sea Cruise
Before we embarked on a Baltic Sea Cruise on a Crystal Symphony a close friend of mine suggested that we hire Alexei Volkov of MaxiBaltTours for our three-day stay in St. Petersburg. He said Alexei can work miracles and gets you to the front of any line. We decided instead to take the tours that were provided by our cruise line.
As soon as we boarded, while unpacking in our suite, my wife fell and hit both knees. It was clear we would have limited mobility for the tours. More serious was that our second port was three days in St. Petersburg.
The destination services on our cruise line emphatically told us we would not be able to manage the tours we selected. I asked them if they thought that we might be able to hire a private tour company I knew of. They responded emphatically, no one can get a visa in one day to visit Russia. No One!
I took a chance and called Alexi and told him of our circumstances. He said that he would try to get us a visa but it was Sunday and it would be very difficult, if not impossible. He normally asks for seventy hours notice for booking extended tours. Unbelievably Alexei pulled off his first miracle. He called back and said he had a visa for us and would meet us in the morning at 9:30 AM.
For three days, we are very pleased to report, we were able to visit every site we wished to see, and in ease and comfort in Alexei’s van. Maria was our expert guide for Catherine’s Palace. She was able to get us use of the restricted elevator. This permitted us to see both sides of the upper palace, something restricted to the general pubic.
The next miracle that Alexi performed was to get us last-minute tickets, and impossibility we are told, for the Gold room in the Hermitage Museum.
During our three-day tour of the famous sights such as the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, we asked Alexi if we might stop a minute at a Russian Orthodox Church and say a quick prayer. Alexi took us to the favorite church of Tchaikovsky that had the most beautiful frescoes and icons.
Icing on the cake was the hiring of a golf cart at Peterhof Palace so that we could see every fountain in the lovely gardens followed by a wonderful lunch setting in the back end of the garden. During our tour, I also learned a Russian tradition.
Every time Alexi would brag about his five-star tour rating he would spit over his left shoulder three times. Alexi deserves five stars! I am now also spitting over my left shoulder three times. Thanks for everything,
Don and Nancy Abraham