Church of Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg, Russia Christ the Savior Moscow, Russia

The Tsar’s Ball

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

If you know your Tolstoy, you will remember the vivid scenes he painted of Imperial Russia’s social scene. The premier of an opera at the Mariinsky, a new symphony at the Philharmonic, a ball that everyone who was anyone would attend.... you can opt to read about it, or you can choose to relive the experience when you travel with us. 

Fashions may have changed and the carriages may be parked in museums, but the era of the Stroganovs and the Yusupovs still exist, and there’s no better time to be a part of it than at New Year, and no better place than St. Petersburg.

The Basics
• 7 nights in extraordinary, deluxe hotels in the center of each city
• Expertly planned small group touring with top local guides
• Entrance Fees to all the sites mentioned in the program
• 24-hour, English-speaking local assistance in case of emergency or changes

Highlights of Exeter’s Tsar’s Ball Tour
• View the snow-covered gardens of Pavlovsk Palace from your private troika sled (weather permitting)
• Walk the uncrowded halls of the Hermitage with an expert guide
• Attend the event of the season – the Tsar’s Gala Ball at Catherine Palace
• Experience privately guided tours of the Diamond Vaults and the Armory Museum 
at the Kremlin

Easy to Combine with:
• Copenhagen or Stockholm • Berlin or Munich • Vienna, Prague or Budapest

Download Itinerary PDF Here

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

December 28, 2016 to January 4, 2017 $6,900 per person, based on double occupancy Single Supplement: $1275 No airfare is included.  

Day 1
Arrival | St. Petersburg

Upon arrival into St. Petersburg you will be met by your private driver, who will transfer you to your hotel, the Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg, located in the center of the city.

En route to your hotel, you will see one of the last remaining statues of Lenin and the Stalinist-era buildings.

After some time to rest, meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel for an overview city tour of St. Petersburg, including Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg’s main avenue. Continue to visit Vasilevsky Island for the best views of the city, the "prep school" to Russia’s noble class and St. Petersburg’s beautiful Grand Synagogue. 


You will have the opportunity to visit the Peter and Paul Fortress: the birthplace of St. Petersburg. Cross the gates, bridges and moats that date back to the 18th century. You will discover how it served as Peter’s bastion against the Swedes. Your guide will regale you with stories of the various members of the Romanovs who are buried within its walls.

Continue to St. Isaac’s Cathedral with its columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. If you feel strong enough, climb up to the pinnacle of its massive golden dome for some of the most gorgeous views over St. Petersburg.

Evening
This evening enjoy a warm welcome to Russia over dinner. Dinner consists of three courses, mineral water, and coffee or tea.

Exeter Services: Transfer, Half Day Guide
Hotel:
 
Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2
Faberge Museum | Faberge Museum

This morning meet your guide in the hotel lobby and take a fascinating tour into the stately Yusupov Palace, including its gorgeous theater and the dramatic Arabian Room, but the true drama lies in its story.

Take a step back in time into the world of Grigori Rasputin and the last Tsars of Russia. A Russian peasant and mystic who was extremely close to Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra, Rasputin was ultimately murdered by those who despised him and the monarchy.

The palace is only opened by special request and you will be able to tour the entire palace with one of the museum’s on-staff curators. This tour is by appointment only and cannot be moved to another time or day.

You can then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Your next stop takes you to Canal Griboyedova, where Alexander II was assassinated. Today the extraordinarily exotic and beautiful Church on Spilled Blood marks the spot of his assassination. Completely covered inside and out with semi-precious stones and mosaics, its design was originally inspired by St. Basil’s Cathedral, but has a remarkable beauty of its own.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
You will also visit the Shuvalov Palace which houses Viktor Vekselberg’s private collection of Faberge objets d’art. By far the finest collection of these prized pieces in the world today, this tour is limited to very few people and is by special appointment only.

Exeter Services: Guide, Vehicle & Driver

Hotel:Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 3
Pavlovsk Palace | Pavlovsk Palace

This morning your guide and driver will take you out into the Russian countryside to see one of the city’s most elegant and beautiful palaces - Pavlovsk, in the nearby village of the same name.

Built by Paul I and his wife Maria, this understated and elegant edifice was the original summer palace of the Tsars. Started by Catherine the Great’s favorite architect, Cameron (a Scot), the palace was later finished by Paul and his wife Maria’s preferred architect, Andrei Voronykhin - a Russian serf who later became one of the greatest architects ever to work in Russia.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
From Greek and Roman collections to Dutch Masters, to Matisse, Van Gogh and da Vinci, the Hermitage Museum, housed in the former Winter Palace of Catherine the Great, holds the single largest collection of art in the world!

Optional Evening Event
Enjoy a night at the theater and experience one of St. Petersburg’s finest performances, depending on schedule. Theater schedules for this event will be available approximately 60 days prior to departure. This evening includes premier tickets to a performance at the Mariinsky Theater (opera, ballet or concert) as well as round trip theater transportation. Please inquire for cost.

Exeter Services: Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel:
 Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4
Tsar’s New Year’s Eve Ball | Tsar’s New Year’s Eve Ball

Today is at your leisure to prepare for the evening event.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
This evening ring in the New Year at the Tsar’s New Year’s Eve Ball at Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. Dance the night away to the accompaniment of exquisite music and haute cuisine for an unforgettable New Year's Eve Gala (black tie).

Exeter Services: Half Day Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel:
 Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg
Meals Included: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 5
To Moscow | To Moscow

This morning is at your leisure to rest after the gala evening.

Transfer to the train station for your afternoon journey on the high-speed Sapsan train to Moscow, through the picturesque Russian countryside. Business class seats are confirmed and a hot meal will be served at your seat.

Upon arrival in Moscow, your guide will meet you to transfer into the city center. Enjoy an overview city tour en route to your hotel, and pass by sights of historical significance, including Tverskaya Street, the Bolshoi Theater, the Lubyanka KGB Building and the Kremlin.

This evening is yours to explore Moscow on your own.

Exeter Services: Transfers (St. Petersburg & Moscow), Half Day Guide (Moscow)
Hotel:
 Four Seasons Moscow
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch on the train

Day 6
Pushkin Museum | Pushkin Museum

This morning your guide will take you to visit the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Pushkin is best known for its French Impressionist collection - originally acquired by two famous Russian industrialists who lost their collection after the Revolution. 


Afterwards, stop in the enormous and only recently completely renovated Cathedral of Christ the Holy Redeemer. Demolished during Stalin’s rule, it was completely rebuilt by Mayor Luzhkov of Moscow in 2001 to its turn of the century splendor.

Your guide and driver will return you to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Half Day Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel:
 Four Seasons Moscow
Meals Included: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 7
The Kremlin | The Kremlin

This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to walk you across Red Square to the Kremlin Complex.

You will visit the Armory Museum with its antique collection of Faberge Easter Eggs, the prized Cap of Monomachus, as well as several other vestiges of Moscow’s imperial history. Continue to the magnificent Diamond Vaults whose treasures include the scepter of Catherine the Great and the legendary Orlov Diamond.

As you continue to explore the Kremlin’s vast complex, your guide will show you the world’s largest bell and the world’s largest canon – neither one has ever been used, but they stand as proud testimony to the might of Russia’s empire. If you are interested, your guide can also take you to visit the Kremlin churches – our favorite one is the Assumption Cathedral.

Exit the Kremlin grounds to enjoy a light lunch at a neighborhood restaurant.

As you walk back across Red Square, don’t miss the church and Imperial Gates. Destroyed during the Stalin era, they have been completely rebuilt and restored to their original splendor. As you walk along with the formidable walls of the Kremlin to your right and the glittering designer store windows of GUM to your left, St. Basil’s Cathedral’s majesty dominates your view. Commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1500s, legend claims that Ivan had the architect blinded so that he would not be able to replicate it. While the beauty of the Cathedral lies in its imposing façade, each of the eclectically colored domes houses a small chapel within it.

Note: All services today are on foot. Please wear comfortable walking footwear.

Evening
This evening enjoy a special farewell dinner in one of Moscow’s finest restaurants. Dinner consists of three courses, mineral water, and coffee or tea.

Exeter Services: Full Day Guide
Hotel: Four Seasons Moscow
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8
Departure | Departure

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Exeter Services: Transfer
Meals Included: Breakfast at your hotel

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