Quarter to eight this morning, we are beginning to recover. The
weather is not so sunny today; we picked the right day for the canal trip.
We were last out at breakfast, again very attentive service. Carol used
the morning to catch up with her photographs. Today is the St Petersburg
marathon and to avoid problems they had re-arranged many of the excursions to happen on
the first rather than the second day. Because of that, and that many people
would be getting back late, they had arranged anytime dining last night; so now we know.
Just before lunch the marathon runners started to come past, right opposite
where we were docked, so no coaches could get in or out during that time. While we
were at lunch we saw the last runner come through, followed by the pick up coach, ready to
pick up the drop outs. We had a substantial lunch in the buffet today so that
we can have a snack in our room and not miss the sail away. Princess do not do the commentaries as they do
on HAL, but otherwise we have found the experience better; better docking, more attentive
service in the restaurants, better rewards (500 free Internet minutes each for platinum on
a 28 day cruise), on board folkloric show and better mustard drill. Now that HAL
have introduced better excursion leaving organisation, they perhaps just have the edge there,
if they decided the experiment was succesful and have kept it.
The sailaway should have been a big event for us this year. We so enjoyed the
sail past the flood defence and the fortress island last year, but we only caught the tail
end of it after dinner, and Carol did not have her camera with her. This year
we were all prepared. First we went up to the steak house at 5:00 for canapes
(free) and cocktail of the day (not free). Another perk of platinum.
That would keep us going until after Krondstadt. We watched them pull up and
stow the gangplank from deck 5. Such a lot of effort seeing it is never
used. Then we twigged, it is part of the emergency equipment. If
there is a fire on board in port, and it is decided to evacuate then the gangplank will be
opened and we would be evacuated via that from our muster stations. Obviously the
lifeboats are not launched when docked.
We settled down on our balcony and it started to spit with rain. It was interesting passing
through all the docks, dockyards and factories on the way out to the Gulf of Finland, (it reminded me
very much of when I worked in Dagenham at the Ford plant), but decent photography was out, though
we did the best we could in the rain. Just after we left our berth we passed the museum
submarine S189. We would
have liked to visit this, but it would require a visa and we found the
Pampanito in San Francisco hard enough, and we were
Kronstadt was still interesting, despite the weather, it would be worth a visit to see the Cathedral up
close and see around the naval shipyard and the old Napoleonic defenses. You can see me
looking out for the flood barrier, which is just coming up. It is difficult to get a decent
picture of the barrier itself as it is so close that it whizzes past before you have time to compose a
Some serious planning with a detailed map would be needed. My map only gives the sailaway as
far as Krondstadt Island, the full track to Helsinki will appear at the start of day 9.