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0 Beautiful Day at Catherine Palace Gardens @ St Petersburg

21 Aug 2016 | 09:16:00

Baltic Cruise (St Petersburg) . 2015 . Aug 9


This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

The tour of the Catherine Palace today includes an outdoor tour of the Catherine Garden which forms part of a larger Catherine Park.



Being so used to spending significant amounts of time exploring the beautiful Catherine Palace indoors, we could not get used to having to spend the late morning under the blazing Russian sun!  But the walk in the gardens was absolutely worth it.


In comparison to the Rosenborg Gardens,  the Catherine Palace Garden is much larger and well maintained.  You can almost see the deliberate effort to make this place grand and beautiful.


There is even a lake and a little pavilion within the gardens, which according to our tour guide was one of the most scenic places in the garden.


Our personal favourite is the Cameron Gallery which I thought was one of the grandest architecture in the whole of the Catherine Garden.



The Cameron Gallery is also the place where many bronze statues were situated, and is said to offer the best views of the gardens.  Unfortunately, our tour group was in a hurry and we did not have time to explore the views at the Gallery.


The Cameron Gallery as seen from the pond.  Wished I could picnic here….


The best place to see the Chapel of Catherine Palace is actually from the gardens.  The chapel is out of bounds to visitors.


The Catherine Palace was built to rival the Versailles in Paris, and therefore, snippets of scene here actually reminds me very much of Versailles.


I recall sitting at a similar pond at the Versailles many years ago with a hot drink and a pizza in hand.  Of course back then, we had the privilege of time in our hands, unlike the tour now where we had to follow the group closely.


Some of the lovely views from the gardens.


And to bring across the point of why we could not leave the group for even a step, look at the sheer number of tourists!  In fact, we had tourists from other Princess Cruises groups insisting that they join our group simply because they were lost from theirs!


Our tour guide did warn us of the stalls (also known as tourist traps) set up outside the Catherine Palace on our way back to the bus.  Amazingly, some of our group members who grumbled about the long hours exploring the Catherine Palace suddenly could find the energy to argue about why there was no time allocated to walk the shops here.


Some people are just strange creatures - given that this is a Catherine Palace tour and not a shopping tour.  It’s another reason why we always preferred free and easy tours on our own to avoid having to listen to the wimps of others.


Join us next as we experience an authentic Russian lunch.

This post is part of our Baltic Cruise + Southampton 2015 Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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4 Baltic Cruise + Southampton Trip Report and Itinerary

Baltic Cruise + Southampton . 2015 . Jul 29 - Aug 16

Baltic cruises may not be as popular as Alaska cruises, but they are definitely ideal cruise options for those who are looking for an unique cruise experience. Baltic cruises are filled with interesting destinations in Northern Europe to explore. On our trip on board the Caribbean Princess, we woke up every day - ready to explore a new and exciting destination.


On board this cruise, we visited Bruges in Belgium and tasted some delicious chocolates. Docked in the wonderful port of Copenhagen, we were welcomed by the world famous 'Little Mermaid'. We were amazed by the spectacular Vasa Museum in Stockholm and were fascinated by the unique Chapel of Silence and Rock Church in Helsinki.

In St Petersburg, the highlights of the Baltics, we visited the Hermitage Museum, enjoyed a night of ballet and visited the Catherine Palaces and Peterhof Gardens.

Last but not least, the ports of Tallinn and Gdansk in Estonia and Poland also gave us some new insights to destinations that we might not have considered if we were travelling on land.

Here's our itinerary with some photos and links to our reviews for our trip.

Updated 21 Aug 2016


Day 0  Singapore -> London (Jul 29)

2100 - Check in at Singapore Changi Airport
2330 - Flight to London Heathrow Airport

Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 1  Southampton F & E  (Jul 30)

0555 - Arrive at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2
0700 - Clear Customs
0800 - National Express Coach FK203 to Southampton Coach Station
1015 - Reach Southampton Coach Station
1045 - Check-in Ibis Southampton Centre
1130 - Early Lunch
1300 - Visit West Quay Shopping Centre & IKEA
1600 - Walk around Southampton City
1730 - Early Dinner @ Chicago Rib Shack
1830 - Back to Hotel


Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 2  Southampton F & E (Jul 31)

0800 - Rise and shine
0830 - Breakfast @ Mc Donalds
0900 - Visit Toy "R" Us
0930 - Visit Sea City Museum (Titanic Story), Dino Fest / Gateway to the World
1300 - Lunch @ Sprinkles Gelato
1400 - Shopping @ Marlands Shopping Centre
1600 - Shopping @ Primark
1500 - Walk around Southampton City
1900 - Early Dinner @ TGIF
2000 - Back to Hotel


Visiting London? Check out the best London Hotel Deals, Compare Rates, and Read Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Day 3  Baltic Cruise starts (Aug 1)

0900 - Rise and shine
0930 - Breakfast
1045 - Check out Hotel
1115 - Taxi to Cruise Terminal
1200 - Embark on Caribbean Princess
1400 - Lunch on Board
1600 - Cruise departs London (Southampton)
1630 - Explore Ship
2200 - Bedtime

Day 4  Bruges - Belgium (Aug 2)

0800 - Arrive Bruges
0845 - Princess Cruises Shore Excursion (Bruges & Time On Your Own)
0915 - Walking Tour of Bruges + Church of Our Lady
1100 - Bruges Canal Cruise
1130 - Time on Our Own in Bruges
1300 - Chocolate Shopping @ Walplein
1430 - Souvenir Shopping
1645 - End of Excursion
1800 - Depart Bruges
2100 - Bedtime

Day 5 At Sea (Aug 3)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime


Day 6  Copenhagen - Denmark (Aug 4)

0800 - Arrive Copenhagen
0840 - Visit Little Mermaid
0911 - Walk around Rosenborg Castle Garden
1000 - Explore Rosenborg Castle
1030 - Explore Rosenborg Castle Treasury
1045 - Visit the Round Tower
1116 - Canal Tours' Grand Tour of Copenhagen (from Gammel Strand)
1230 - Visit Christiansborg Palace
1330 - Shopping @ Stroget (Shopping Street)
1544 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1700 - Depart Copenhagen
2200 - Bedtime

Day 7  At Sea (Aug 5)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 8  Stockholm - Sweden (Aug 6)

0900 - Arrive Stockholm
0954 - Visit Vasa Museum
1126 - Visit Royal Palace
1310 - Shopping with Lunch
1525 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1700 - Depart Stockholm
2100 - Bedtime

Day 9  Helsinki - Finland (Aug 7)

1000 - Arrive Helsinki
1051 - Visit Chapel of Silence
1201 - Visit Rock Church (Temppeliaukion Kirkko)
1253 - Visit Senate Square and Surroundings
1400 - Shopping
1500 - Walk around Market Square
1556 - Walk back to Cruise Ship
1800 - Depart Helsinki
2100 - Bedtime

Day 10  St Petersburg - Russia (Aug 8)

0630 - Arrive St Petersburg
0900 - Princess Shore Excursion (Hermitage Museum & St Petersburg On Your Own)
1600 - End of Excursion
1845 - Princess Shore Excursion (Evening at the Russian Ballet)
2315 - End of Excursion
0000 - Bedtime

Day 11  St Petersburg - Russia (Aug 9)

0630 - Rise and shine
0730 - Princess Shore Excursion Part 1 (Catherine Palace & Gardens)
1300 - Princess Shore Excursion Part 2 (Peterhof Palace)
1715 - End of Excursion
1800 - Depart St Petersburg
2200 - Bedtime

Day 12  Tallinn - Estonia (Aug 10)

0800 - Arrive Tallinn
1000 - DIY Walking Tour
1400 - End of Excursion
1700 - Depart Tallinn
2200 - Bedtime

Day 13  At Sea (Aug 11)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 14  Gdansk - Poland (Aug 12)

0700 - Arrive Gdansk
0800 - Princess Shore Excursion (Gdansk On Your Own)
1500 - End of Excursion
1600 - Depart Gdansk
2200 - Bedtime

Day 15  At Sea (Aug 13)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 16  At Sea (Aug 14)

0900 - Rise and shine
1000 - Explore Ship
2100 - Bedtime

Day 17  London -> Singapore (Aug 15)

0700 - Arrive London (Southampton)
0730 - Princess Shore Excursion (Stonehenge - Disembarking Heathrow)
1345 - Reach Heathrow Terminal 2
1245 - Lunch at Airport
1730 - Check in Flight @ Heathrow Terminal 2
2050 - Board Flight to Singapore

Day 18  Reach Singapore (Aug 16)

1655 Arrive Singapore



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Do check out our Flickr photos & Youtube videos too!
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