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St Petersburg Day 2

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

19th September, 2012

Well today was day two of our time in St Petersburg, and once again the passengers of Saga Sapphire had the opportunity to take in the wonders of the great Baltic city. There was no dip in the enthusiasm and excitement of all on board, as the morning tours set off with gusto.

The first to depart was the tour of ‘Catherine Palace and Tsarskoye Selo’. This lavish and imperial building is recognised as a masterpiece of world architecture. Famed for its gilded gold roof, passengers were left dazzled and spellbound. Another tour of note was the ‘St Petersburg Highlights’ part two. Broken up over the two days, it took in such sights as the Winter Palace, the Aurora Cruiser and the Kazan Cathedral at leisurely easy pace, with minimal walking.

Following that there was the chance to spend a day on the Royal Palaces and Parks of Peterhof tour. Featuring over a 140 fountains, multiple places and overlooking the Gulf of Finland it was a stunning tour admiring the opulence of the Russian Tsars. In the ‘Peter and Paul’s Fortress and Canal Cruise’, those lucky enough to be on the tour took in the oldest structure in St Petersburg the impressive cathedral of the aforementioned name. Finishing with a cruise along the Moika River, the comfortable boat passed the Yusopov Palace where infamous Rasputin was murdered.

Back on board the ship there was plenty of activities to while away the day if you decided to not go out into town. Starting off with a morning game of Connect Four, closely followed by that traditional nautical favourite of shuffleboard, passengers were thoroughly entertained.

To get the grey matter working there was a pre-lunch quiz, with Cruise Host Resty and in the afternoon there was a bit of interactive fun with a game of virtual golf on the Nintendo Wii. Not forgetting the famous afternoon tea, a great day was had by all, on and off the ship.

We were all prepared to sail, and were all singled up when the harbour master decided to let the other cruise ship in the port, away first. And as we watched this ship move with frustrating slow speed, we all wondered what was going on. It took over 45 minutes for this ship to leave her berth, and it got so ridiculous and slow, that the pilot on the cruise ship, phoned my pilot to pass his apologies to me as they were taking an unacceptable length of time. So patience certainly is a virtue here on ships as the Master. Anyway once this slow coach was away, we slipped our lines, and swung the 90 degrees to get us in the middle of the channel and we sailed out.

It took us about 2 ½ hours to negotiate the channel, and the chicane through Khronshtadt until we disembarked our pilot. Then we turned westards and started the return leg of our cruise towards Tallin and the passengers were happy this evening as we started to give them back the hours they had lost on the way eastwards!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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