Cosmopolitan St. Petersburg pulses with culture and color that is sure to delight Royal Holiday Cruises guests. A relatively young city, St. Petersburg is sometimes known as “Russia’s window on the West.” It is a stunning mix of neoclassical and baroque architecture from its imperial past, scattered with hints of its Soviet history and scars of World War II. It is also an important international city, with a major port, numerous global offices, and many consulates. As a world-class cultural center, St. Petersburg has spawned many influential Russian poets, artists, and composers over the centuries. It also boasts top ballet schools, immense art collections, fantastic dining, brilliant nightlife, and much more. No matter what interests a Royal Holiday Cruises member might have, St. Petersburg is sure to please.
First opened to the public in 1852, this famed art museum today rivals the Louvre in splendor, both in terms of its 3-million-piece collection as well as in its stately architecture. The main museum occupies six buildings, four of which contain exhibitions that Royal Holiday Cruises guests can visit. One of these, Winter Palace has an especially rich history. The former residence of the Tsars, it was stormed by revolutionaries in 1917—an event that became a compelling symbol of the Russian Revolution.
Often called the “Russian Versailles,” Peterhof is actually a complex of several palaces. The elaborate buildings and grounds reveal the fanciful resplendence of Tsar Peter the Great. With vast parks, concealed water features, sweeping staircases, and more, the palaces are a true testament to the grandeur of the old Russian Empire. Perhaps more astonishingly, most of the complex was destroyed during World War II, but has since been largely and faithfully restored.
Surrounded by exquisitely manicured gardens, Catherine Palace is unmistakable with its turquoise, gold, and brilliant white exterior. A fine example of baroque architecture, Catherine Palace may be most famous for the Amber Room lined by panels of carved panels of amber.
Nevsky Prospekt or Vladimirskaya
The famous Nevsky Prospekt is the main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg. Once the place to see the grandest of Russian aristocracy and lordliness, today it is primarily a retail zone with countless opportunities for Royal Holiday Cruises members to shop for souvenirs, dance in the nightclubs, or simply do a little people-watching.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
This beautiful church was commissioned in 1818, but its architectural intricacy required over three decades to complete. Perhaps its most striking feature is the vast golden central dome, one of largest in the world.
The Mariinsky is home of one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, as well as host to a world-class opera company. One company or the other is always in St. Petersburg, so the Theatre always has a stunning show ready for Royal Holiday Cruises enthusiasts of opera or dance.
Guild of Masters
Operated by the Russian Union of Artists, this association of artists and craftspeople produces fine objets d’art, ceramics, jewelry, and all manner of traditional Russian arts and crafts.
This spacious, traditionally-styled restaurant offers Royal Holiday Cruises guests an upscale menu of Russian classics such as sturgeon in horseradish and lamb pelmeni (dumplings), as well as a wide selection of house vodkas.
Peter & Paul Fortress
The burial place of many of Russia’s tsars, including Peter the Great, the imposing Peter & Paul Fortress was erected in the first half of the 19th century as St. Peterburg’s original defensive citadel.