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26th May, 2020

Behind the scenes cruise experiences

The trips we book are often reflections of the experiences we most desire. What makes those experiences even more special is when we feel as though we are getting something more authentic than the average passenger – an insider’s encounter perhaps. This could be a tour that only locals know about, or a visit to somewhere that usually has restricted access. These kinds of experiences enrich your travels and form the backbone for some great stories to be shared – exclusive stories that few others may have witnessed.

In this blog, we take a look at some of our behind the scenes experiences on our ocean cruises, and share with you some of the wonderful things you can do, to create your own exciting travel stories.

Exclusive Hermitage Museum 'after hours' experience - St Petersburg, Russia

The stunning Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg

Visit the Hermitage Museum, the largest art and cultural museum in the world, and enjoy a private evening of exploration, wine and an exclusive performance.

On this special after-hours tour, climb the opulent Jordan staircase in the Winter Palace and follow in the footsteps of the Imperial family through elegant state apartments, past an art collection that includes Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son and Canova's first sculpture of The Three Graces. When you’ve finished exploring, enjoy sparkling wine as you listen to a performance by the Hermitage Academy Symphony Orchestra in a magnificent room hung with great works of art.

Available on all Baltic cruises.

Exclusive concert set in beautiful fjordland surroundings – Geiranger, Norway

Geiranger Church

Norway is renowned for its astonishing nature, beautiful fjords, timber architecture, art, and much more, attracting millions of tourists, every year.

Set in Geiranger’s beautiful fjordland surrounding, you can find Geiranger Church, a timber octagonal church built in 1842. It's thought that the current church is the third of its kind, with the original structure dating back to around 1450. The first church was demolished in 1742, and a new cruciform church was built in 1744, however, after suffering irrecoverable damage in a fire, today’s structure was built in its place.

We have prepared an exclusive experience, where you will get to enjoy a private concert of Norwegian classical music inside Geiranger’s 19th century church. This octagonal white wooden church is a small and intimate location, perfectly situated amongst Gairanger’s famous fjordland scenery and is the perfect blend of what Norway has to  offer.

Available on our Melody of the Fjords cruise.

Vatican behind the scenes experience

St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

St Peter’s Basilica is internationally recognisable both as a place of revered architecture and of religious significance. As the title suggests, this experience offers a look behind the scenes at Vatican City.

After driving approximately one and a half hours, arrive at the Vatican Museum. Here you will enter a world of baroque and Renaissance fine art and be led out into the pope’s private gardens. The green space boasts unique views of the basilica and plenty of exquisite fountains. You then continue to the Sistine Chapel. Its interior is simply astonishing – featuring famous frescoes created by Michelangelo during the 16th century. It is said that in the chapel, a great sculptor became a great painter. Enjoy a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica followed by a photo opportunity in Vatican Square. It is here that the guided part of the tour ends. You will then drive to People Square for free time to independently explore before returning to the ship.

Available on our A Venetian Voyage cruise and Italian Charms cruise.

Backstage at the Ballet - St Petersburg, Russia

Inside the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg

Book one of our Baltic cruises and you can enjoy an exclusive behind the scenes visit to this majestic venue.

The Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, has been the setting for many world-class performances, featuring ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Anna Pavlova and operatic singers Nikolai Figner and Fyofor Chaliapin. It’s also where the very first performance of The Nutcracker, took place on December 18 1892, featuring the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Hosted by one of the knowledgeable theatre staff, you’ll be taken on a guided tour of this fascinating theatre, visiting areas that are usually closed to the public. Get a sneak peek behind the curtain at the grand stage and you may also see the royal box, the theatre workshops or costume storage rooms, and feel the magic of this prestigious theatre.

Available on selected Baltic cruises depending on the venue’s schedule.

Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House - Stockholm, Sweden

Royal Opera House, Stockholm

Immerse yourself in the theatrical mystery and merriment of the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, with a private tour and wine.

Often described as ‘one of the world’s most perfect theatres’, the Royal Opera House is beautifully perched on the waterfront overlooking the Norrström river. It’s Sweden’s national stage for ballet and opera and played host to the Gustavian Opera and Oscarian Opera.

Embark on a backstage tour visiting the King and Queen’s Royal Suite, and many of the Opera’s hidden rooms. Learn how and why King Gustav III was assassinated here at a masked ball and enjoy an included glass of sparkling wine as you reflect on the heritage and international fame of Stockholm’s Royal Opera House.

Available on selected Baltic cruisesdepending on the venue’s schedule.

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

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.