Second Impressions Of Russia: Azamazing

Earlier today in First Impressions Of Russia: No Surprises, Plenty of Intrigue, we mentioned that visiting Russia was pretty much what we expected.  Cold. Dark. Gloomy.  We teased readers with a few images of some wonderful places visited on tour, promising to return with more later in the day.  We’ll have that shortly.  First, we need to talk a bit about one of the selling points for Azamara Club Cruises that those unfamiliar with the brand may or may not be excited about…but should be nonetheless.

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Staying late in port was once described to me by Azamara President in a very interesting way.  At a press conference where a number of Florida residents were on hand, he asked “What if you never saw the nightlife in Miami?  Do you think you might have missed some of the experience?”  An obvious question for a vibrant city with an active nightlife, most agreed:  You bet!

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But taking that point out on the street over the last couple of years, some readers were excited at the notion of staying late in port, if not overnight while others could take it or leave it.  “I’m not really all that much of a night person” commented frequent reader Roger C from Tulsa.  “I like the shows on the ships, that’s enough nightlife for me”, chimed Sally R from Omaha, among others with similar responses.


It was one of the elements of most Azamara sailings we did not entirely do on our Croatian Islands sailing earlier this summer, staying late often but not overnight.  We moved right along in the Adriatic, hopping from one fabulously wonderful island to the next, enjoying amazing sunrises and sunsets along the way.

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But last night in St Petersburg we did indeed stay overnight.  Not booked on a tour, I did not leave the ship but stayed onboard and happened to wander into the ships Navigation Lounge later that night.  What I found was a totally different scene from what was witnessed earlier in the day.

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Gloomy skies cleared after the sun went down and the city lit up.  As guitarist Simon Belair played From Russia With Love of 007 film fame, the mood was captivating and it got better.


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A bit later, fireworks went off ashore to further illuminate the evening and add an additional bonus bit of dreamline wonder to the atmosphere.

Staying overnight too, allowed a wonderful tour the next day that provided some of the most unique local connections of the trip so far.  Replacing the doom and gloom of the cloudy, cold day of our first impression, the sun was out full and so were the tourists.  Locals seemed in a better mood, eager to help and guide us.  We’ll have more on that tomorrow from a my kind of tour: shopping with plenty of free time.

Right now, scroll down for images from our Panoramic St Petersburg tour on day one of two in the Russian city.

Our first photo stop was at the St. Isaacs Square dominated by the majestic Saint Isaac Cathedral.  We passed Palace Square to have a look at the Alexander Column, an important focal point for this architectural ensemble.  On the squares northern side stands the picturesque Baroque Winter Palace, a former imperial residence.  We drove across the Neva River to view the Spit of Vasilievsky Island and the Peter and Paul Fortress.

In the centre we enjoyed seeing the Cathedral designed by Domenico Tresini then continued to drive, stopping again at the Church of the Ressurection on the Spilled Blood which was the highlight of the tour.  While we had abundant free time (to my delight), we were efficient Azamara Travelers and moved right along, allowing bonus time and abundant photos from this signature landmark so often associated with St Petersburg.

Just joining us?  Catch up here, a number of ways:

Complete Journal– From pre-cruise planning to after sailing reflection and every step in between, right here, updated daily as we sail in our Engaging Azamara Summer Baltics Cruise Journal

Individual Day Posts During Sailing– day by day, in the order written

Pinterest Photo Boards – one for each port and more

Flickr Photo Albums- all our photos for each place, free to use

Facebook Photo Albums

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