Day 8 - St Petersburg 2
Ashore at 7.15am for a 7.30am pickup. A couple of quick photo-stops before a very pleasant early-morning boat trip on the Neva river and around part of the extensive network of canals - it is just like Venice, but without the smells!
Then on to the Hermitage Museum. With our 10am tickets we just beat the massive queue that built up soon afterwards. Once again Olga was outstanding - you could spend days in there and still only see a tiny fraction of the exhibits, but she knew exactly which ones she wanted us to see, and brilliantly guided us through the rapidly-increasing hordes.
After another excellent high-class lunch (apparently the folk on the equivalent P&O tour only got sandwiches!) we visited two very different, but equally over-the-top ornate churches (St Isaacs and the Church of the Spilled Blood) before being let free on the Nevsky Prospekt (St Petersburg's equivalent to Oxford Street) for a bit of retail therapy. Then back to the Arcadia at 5pm, ready to set sail for Helsinki at 6pm.
An absolutely brilliant, but exhausting, couple of days!