Stephen and I have been selected as the Virtuoso Hosts for the brand new Seabourn Ovation sailing on July 28th, 2018,
from Stockholm to Copenhagen, with three entire days in St. Petersburg! The Seabourn Ovation will be brand new (almost!),
making its Inaugural cruise on the 5th of May, 2018. Like the rest of the Seabourn fleet, the Seabourn Ovation will
maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, along with highly personalized service for each guest on board from an
exceptional crew. Like the Seabourn Encore before it, the 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and
new expanded public areas, and will carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature
a private veranda.
This is a typical Baltic itinerary, with one exception: three entire days in St. Petersburg! If you have never been there,
or if you have not been there in the last 2-3 years, you will be amazed at the fantastic things to be seen there, vying for
top attractions world-wide! The Russian Czars and their Empresses were determined to make St. Petersburg into as beautiful
a city as Paris, their role model, and fill their palaces with both art and object d'art: treasures beyond compare. Therefore,
they hired the finest architects, designers, landscape architects, artists, and jewelry designers of their day to build and
decorate their dwellings. They had their art imported from Europe, securing the works of the most popular artists. Perhaps
the most famous collection is that of the Romanovs, the Faberge Eggs, especially since the Malcolm Forbes Collection has been
added to the Russian one, and there is a new museum just for these exquisite jeweled eggs. We will have private tours of
these most special treasures all three days we are there, with an expert guide, and our own car and driver. We will also
see a couple of palaces (one has fountains similar to Versailles), the historical places, and the Impressionism which has
recently been unpacked from their World War II trove. And we will see the Diamond Room (better than the Gold Room!), and
the Hermitage, which is filled with Old Masters!
I have been busy planning our itinerary: one day in the lovely town of Stockholm before the cruise begins, staying in the
lovely Grand Hotel, right in the middle of everything, where they feature the best example of the true smasgosbord than any
other restaurant in Northern Europe! And we will have a day of private sightseeing with a guide, car and driver in Stockholm,
with such interesting things to see before boarding the ship, my favorite being the Nobel Museum! We have also added one day
at the end of this seven day cruise, to enable us to see the highlights of Copenhagen, at La Grande Dame Hotel d'Angleterre
(rooms are almost sold out here!). Intriguing canals, Tivoli Gardens, and many more interesting things are to be found in
this Danish Capital. This will be my fourth trip to see the fabulous treasures in St. Petersburg, and I cannot wait! From
the palaces, to the Faberge Eggs, to the art and jewels in the Hermitage, it is truly incredible!
Here is an excerpt from a 1994 NY Times article about the newly announced Impressionistic Collection that we will be seeing
at the Hermitage, along with the Rembrandt's and other masterpieces. Our agent in St Petersburg notes that if cruise passengers
take their tours they don't need to obtain Russian visa (duration of their arrangements only).
After many years of enforced silence, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has announced that it has been
holding a major trove of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings from German private collections that were taken
to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and have not been seen since. The paintings, many of which were widely believed
to have been lost, are to be shown at the Hermitage in March. The paintings, more than 70 works by such artists as Degas,
Cezanne, Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and van Gogh, were sent there by the Soviet military authorities
in Germany, and consigned to the Hermitage, where they remained a strictly guarded state secret until after the regime fell in
1991. Even after that, their existence was known to only a very few people until a brief news item about the exhibition appeared
last week in the St. Petersburg News.
We should also note that if cruise passengers take our tours they don't need to obtain Russian visa. Our tour tickets will
cover you for duration of our arrangements only.
I have been working on itineraries with my On-Site Suppliers, and will include the very top sites, with an excellent guide.
I was in all these places in 2016, with private tours, and in St. Petersburg twice before that, so I am very familiar with the
sights. Stockholm is also very interesting. We added a night in Copenhagen at the end of the cruise, so we would not miss
that city, as well as making it easier to get home. We will stay at the d'Angleterre Hotel, the lovely old Grande Dame Hotel
that has just been renovated this year. Our tour includes walking around the colorful Nyhavn area, on the waterfront,
surrounded by canals, a canal cruise, and tickets to the wonderful Tivoli Park, and of course, airport transfers.
Stockholm has so much to offer! Our touring will include the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, City Hall, where the Nobel awards
are given, the old town (Gamla Stan), and Storykan, the old, beautiful church of the Lutheran Reformation, possibly the oldest
remaining Protestant Church in the world. We will also take a scenic cruise down the river the afternoon we arrive. Our lovely
Grand Hotel is renown in Stockholm for its smorgasbord dinners! Location is excellent, surrounded by beautiful shops!
Now, unparalleled treasures in St. Petersburg highlights of tour:
July 30, 2018 | Monday
- 09:00 Meeting with the private guide at the pier.
- 09:05 City Tour: On this tour you will get acquainted with the history of St. Petersburg and see the most magnificent
sights of the city: The Spit of Basil Island, Peter and Paul's Fortress, Palace Square, Michael's Castle, Spilled Blood
Church, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Peter I Statue ("Bronze Horseman"), Fields of Mars, the Summer Gardens, palaces and mansions
of Russian tsars and nobles, Nevsky Prospect (the main thoroughfare), Art's Square etc.
- 10:30 Russian museum. The world's largest museum of Russian art which is in the former Mikhailovsky Palace, a monument
of Empire architecture. The collection of the museum numbers some 400,000 works and covers the entire history of Russian
fine art from the 10th century to the present day. It reflects every form and genre of art in Russia, including a unique
collection of Old Russian icons, works of painting, graphic art and sculpture, decorative and applied art, folk art and
numismatic, as well as the world's finest collection of Russian Impressionists and avant-garde.
- 12:00 Faberge Museum. The museum is a centerpiece for some of Fabergè's most famous creations, such as the Imperial
Coronation Egg which was created in 1897 by Fabergè work masters Mikhail Perkhin and Henrik Wigstrom.
HIGHLIGHTS Introducing Russian Rhapsody Team & St. Petersburg's News
This past November, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg opened a museum to display his glittering collection of Faberge
eggs, once owned by the tsars, in the former imperial capital of Saint Petersburg. The new Faberge Museum located in the
Shuvalov Palace in the city centre put on display nine of the eggs, once given as Easter gifts by the royal family, as well
as thousands of jeweled objects d'art from icons to cigar cases.
Vekselberg bought the collection of eggs from the estate of the late Malcolm Forbes, the US publisher of Forbes magazine
in 2004, vowing to bring them back to Russia. "We started this project more than 10 years ago, and we are happy to present
the result to you," Vekselberg said at the opening.
The 18th-century mansion housing the museum originally belonged to Ivan Shuvalov, a favorite of Tsarina Elizabeth Petrovna.
It was used for welcoming international delegations in Soviet days. "The inauguration of this museum is a great event for
all of Russia," said Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky at the opening. "Now we have the chance to see this beautiful and
precious collection in Saint Petersburg."
- 15:30 Visit to Tikhvin Cemetery at Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
- 16:30 Time for shopping.
- 18:00 Return on board.
July 31, 2018 | Tuesday
- 10:30 Hermitage: The five buildings of the Hermitage museum, including the opulent Winter Palace, the former Imperial
residence, hold one the world's most spectacular art collections featuring works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens,
Rembrandt, Rodin, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, and Matisse, among others. Ancient world exhibits
hold treasures from ancient Egypt and Troy, to name a few
- 12:00 Special visit to the Gold Room, which contains gold and jewelry treasures from 7thcentury BC to the late 19th
century. You will have a chance to view the renowned collection of Scythian gold from the 7th-4th centuries B.C. from the
recently uncovered burial mounds in the Crimea region. In the next hall you will see a staggering array of decorative objects
and jewelry, adorned with countless diamonds, rubies and sapphires, all commissioned by the Russian Imperial family and
courtiers from the leading European jewelers of the time. Among the refined luxury items are watches and clocks, bouquets,
rings, brooches and snuffboxes, as well as masterpieces made in the renowned Faberge workshop. The visit to the Gold Room
is by special request to be confirmed by the Hermitage in the presiding month. acc. to the confirmed time some minor
alternations to the order or timing of the other visits might be made. The visit to the Gold Room will be firmed up upon
receipt the final confirmation from the Hermitage only. There may be up to 15 people confirmed to enter the Gold Room at
the same time.
- 13:30 Lunch on clients' own
- Tour of the Impressionists' Gallery at the General Staff Building
- 14:30 SS Peter and Paul Fortress. SS Peter and Paul Fortress, where we are going on this day, became a birthplace of
St. Petersburg in 1703. It was founded to protect the lands from invaders, but for a long time was used as a political
prison until in 1924 when it was turned into a museum. On the grounds of the Fortress there is SS Peter and Paul Cathedral,
where you can see the Royal Tombs of Russian Regents from Peter I to the last emperor of Russia Nicolas II.
- 17:00 Return on board
August 01, 2018 | Wednesday
- 09:00 Meeting with the private guide at the pier
- 10:00 Early admission to Grand Palace of Peter the Great. Petrodvorets, formerly Peterhof, is an immensely luxurious
royal estate, lying on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, known as the "Russian Versailles".
- 11:15 Walking tour in the Low Park. What awaits you outside the Palace shall fascinate you. You might be even misguided
geographically owing to the striking resemblance of the Lower Park grounds with Versailles with over 150 fountains functioning
over there. The Main water cascade is decorated with golden and marble statues of gods and heroes. On a bright sunny day the
gold of statues and silver of water are all fire and glare in the rays of the sun
- 12:00 Lunch on clients' own
- 14:00 Catherine Palace in Pushkin, facilitated admission, Amber Room. Upon approaching Catherine's Palace you will be
first struck by the ornate baroque architecture and, if the day is sunny, an almost blinding glimmer of the golden cupola of
the palace chapel. Bypassing the crowds via a VIP entrance arranged by ESPERANCE, enter an arcade of palace rooms featuring a
collection of paintings, exquisite decorative objects, porcelain and arms. The Palace is home to the Amber Room known
throughout Europe as "the eighth wonder of the world".
- 17:00 Return on the board
Prices to be determined by number of people in group.
Seabourn Ovation cruise is July 28th | Details
Stephen and I are cruising for 7 days, but you can stay onboard for 21 days if you like!
Set sail to celebrate our 30th Anniversary with us! Book select voyages by November 14, 2017 to take advantage of our 30th
Anniversary Event. Special Offers may include:
- Complimentary Three Veranda Suite Category Upgrade*
- Complimentary Veranda for Ocean View Category Upgrade*
- Complimentary 300-Minute Internet Package per Person*
- $300USD per person Air Credit*
- $300USD per Suite Shipboard Credit*
- 50% Reduced Deposit*
- Up to 30% Savings on Select Combination Cruises*
Book Penthouse and Premium Suites and receive:
- Complimentary Unlimited Internet Package per Suite*
- $1,000USD per Suite Shipboard Credit for Penthouse and Premium Suites*
Call to book!
Linda Young (864-232-8880)