Crystal Cruises announced its latest Boutique Adventure – a shore excursion unavailable on any other cruise line and only available to a limited number of Crystal guests.
Offered with four Crystal Symphony Northern Europe cruises in summer 2014, the new outing affords rare, exclusive access to areas of St. Petersburg’s Fabergé Museum that are not open to the public, including Romanov family exhibits, former aristocratic domiciles, and Brothers Karamazov art collections. Precious bejeweled Fabergé eggs are, of course, the centerpiece of the “insider” tour, although more than 4,000 antique pieces of Russian decorative arts and palatial surroundings will also envelop guests in opulence during their visit.
Via special arrangements, the museum curator himself will guide guests through Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s impressive private collection of imperial Fabergé, which includes 15 of the world’s remaining 50 eggs elaborately designed by St. Petersburg’s own Carl Fabergé. Nine of the iconic eggs showcased belonged to Russia’s final tsarist family, the Romanovs, and are considered to be the jeweler’s finest works. These, combined with rare silver, religious ornaments, paintings and other objets d’art, are housed within 18th-Century Shuvalov Palace, itself a masterful work located in St. Petersburg’s historic city center, elegantly restored following partial destruction during WWII.
Tour participants will be taken into palace rooms typically off-limits, including the White Column Hall, once the city’s largest ballroom; the Cream Hall, encasing ornate silverware handcrafted by St. Petersburg and Moscow jewelers; and the private quarters of former palace owner, Count Shuvalov, now containing an exhibit dedicated to the last Romanovs. Literary enthusiasts will thrill to see the original illustrations for Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, created by Boris Grigoriev and displayed in the Walnut Drawing Room.
“Nothing epitomizes the grandeur of Russian luxury like its spectacular palaces, decorative arts, and, especially, Fabergé eggs,” says John Stoll, vice president of land programs. “This new Boutique Adventure offers guests not only an exceptionally rare encounter with some of the world’s most prized works of art, but also allows them to truly sense the lavish lives of the Russian nobility that walked the very halls they explore – an ultra-luxurious look at the culture, as can only be experienced through the World’s Best cruise line.”
The “Special Visit to the Private Fabergé Museum” is available for $229 per person with Crystal Symphony’s 10-day cruises from Stockholm and Copenhagen, departing June 24, July 4, July 28 and August 7. Guests who explore St. Petersburg with an organized Crystal Adventure avoid the need for a visitor’s visa within the city.
With at least two overnight stays on each sailing, the voyages call in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Berlin/Warnemünde and Berlin/Rostock, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia (double overnight on all four voyages). Until the June 30 “Book Now” deadline, cruise fares start at $4,340 per person.