Discover St Petersburg on a visa free holiday sailing overnight there and back from Helsinki on the cruise ship M.S Princess Maria. Russia’s one time imperial capital is as much a work of art as a city and a captivating cocktail of experiences:ornate palaces, onion domed cathedrals, majestic manicured gardens and of course, the Cruiser Aurora from which in 1917 the signal was given that kicked off the Bolshevik revolution.
For starters you enjoy the better part of 3 days in the city without the necessity, hassle & expense of a Russian Visa. Secondly the Czarist flavour to your holiday begins when you leave the quayside in Helsinki with on board Russian entertainment, food and atmosphere. And in St Petersburg you have an array of private excursions to choose from including ones to Peterhof, Peter the Great’s emulation of Versailles with its Palace, Gardens and Grand Cascade. And in the evenings you can take your pick from ballet, opera or exuberant Russian dancing performances.
Possibly the only hotel in the world with a 5 pillow menu: a unique choice of a synthetic filled firm one and medium & soft ones with either down or synthetic filings. A far cry from 1914 when the hotel in its second incarnation opened to plaudits for having running hot water and telephones in all rooms. Each advance though, speaks to the hotel’s timeless pursuit of elegance, style and occupant comfort which the most recent renovation in 2006 spectacularly continued, melding Carl Ludvig Engel’s neo classical legacy with contemporary style. Superbly central for a short stay, the hotel is opposite Helsinki’s landmark granite central rail station, 300m from the airport bus terminal and perhaps more importantly just round the corner from the Karl Fazer Café. All our rooms come with (of course) private WC/shower or a bath tub (your choice), LCD TV, security safe, hair dryer, coffee/tea set, WI-FI and a telephone updated from those in 1914. Not forgetting the pillows.
Each ship has 7 different restaurants, cafes and bars including one focused on traditional Russian cuisine including beluga caviar, Siberian Pelmeni (dumplings), Kotleta po-Kievski (Chicken Kiev) and borsch. There’s also a ’sweet & sour’ experience of a different sort with a hot sauna and chilling plunge pool, a beauty salon and Russian dance entertainment. Your air conditioned cabin is 8.5sqm with twin beds and private shower, W/C and hand basin and outside sea facing on either deck 4 or 6 (that’s above the water line). Both ships are British Lloyd Registered and managed by DFDS (familiar to us as Scandinavian Seaways); an AAA Nordic certified ship Management Company operating one of the largest ferry fleets in Europe.
Just off Sadovaya street, the Ambassador is opposite the Yusupof Gardens and within walking distance of St Isaac's cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt and Sadovaya (Sennaya Ploschad’) Metro station, so you couldn’t be more central. The chandelier overhanging the lobby and marbled staircase leading up from it are both auguries of what the hotel offers: modern standards with a genuflection to Russian opulence. The buffet/restaurant on the 9th floor has a panorama view of the St Petersburg cityscape & St Isaac's Golden Dome. The décor in our allocation of standard rooms is more Scandinavian than Russian with light pine bed heads and furniture, fawn and red fabrics and marbled bathrooms. Each has a coffee table & chairs, a desk with mirror, TV, telephone, WI-FI and wardrobe.
The hotel is located on the Moika River Embankment, only a walking distance from the majestic St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the famous Mariinsky Theatre, Palace Square, Hermitage and Nevsky Prospekt. The Domina Prestige has its own unique style and contemporary design and the concept of five dimensions: Nature, Family, Fantasy, Adventure and Romantic, which can be seen in the room’s atmosphere, decoration and service! The rooms are bright and cosy and amenities include king size, queen size or twin beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, writing desk, telephone, arm chairs, IP TV, air conditioning, spacious bathroom with WC, bathtub and shower, minibar, hairdryer, safe and a teapot.
The hotel, built in 1783, combines the charm of its history with modern comfort and service. Located in the Vladimirskaya square, the unique historical area of the city, the Dostoevsky faces the Cathedral of Our Lady of Vladimir. The superior rooms are from 21 to 24 m2 and the amenities include 24/7 room service, television with satellite reception, telephone with international direct dial, bathroom with WC/shower, hair dryer, safety box and a mini-bar.
fly direct to Helsinki, self-transfer to the city centre and check in at the Hotel Seurahuone just 300m or so from the city centre bus station.
take breakfast and then explore the city. Helsinki is an eclectic mix of east and west set on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland: a neo-classical gem but with an art nouveau quarter and here and there Alvar Aalto's spectacular modern architecture. There are smart pavement cafés on Esplanade and gourmet restaurants for lunch at less than London prices. In the late afternoon transfer to the south harbour for St Petersburg at 18:00 on the Princess Maria and an overnight passage to St Petersburg.
your ship docks after breakfast at 9.30. Disembark at 10.30 and meet your guide for a private city tour featuring some of St Petersburg’s most iconic sights (and sites) including the Admiralty, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Nicolas Cathedral, Palace Square, Peter & Paul fortress (inside visit) and Smolny Convent. Check in at your chosen hotel and afterwards explore the city on your own. In the evening you can enjoy dinner in one of our recommended restaurants or go to a folklore, ballet or opera performance.
as much a work of art as a city, Russia’s one time capital is a captivating cocktail of experiences which you can discover on one of our optional guided tours: the Hermitage with its unimaginable store of over 3 million works of art, Yusopov Place, Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin or Peterhof Summer Palace. Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin, otherwise known as Tsarskoe Selo, was Peter the Great’s wife’s summer holiday home: a staggering kilometre in circumference with blue-and-white facades decorated with gilded atlantes, caryatids and pilasters. Peterhof Summer Palace on the Gulf of Finland, built in the 18th century as the summer residence of Russian czars has as its centerpiece the Grand cascade of 64 fountains. On Day 5 transfer by private car to the ferry terminal for re-embarkation and departure at 19.00.
arrive in Helsinki at 09.30 with time for some last minute retail therapy for iconic design brands like Arabia and Iittala, self -transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Return scheduled flight(s) from the UK to Helsinki
All passenger service charges and airport departure taxes
Complimentary beverages & Pay on Board food service
Carriage of luggage (1pc cabin/1pc hold) 3 nights hotel accommodation as per itinerary
Lodgings in twin rooms with private WC/Shower
5 Buffet breakfasts & 2 dinners (on board ship)
Overnight return passage from Helsinki to St Petersburg
On board ship accommodation in an outside A class cabin
Privately guided orientation city tour on arrival
Private departure transfer from hotel to quayside in St Petersburg
Services of qualified English speaking excursion guides in St Petersburg
April 1st-May 31st from £899 June 1st-Aug 31st from £935 Sept 1st-Oct 31st from £899