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Customer Reviews for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage

An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage

The Hermitage Museum will open at night for an evening viewing exclusively for you and your fellow Holland America guests. Located within the Winter Palace, on the banks of the Neva River, the Hermitage Museum is a work of art in itself. Explore the museum, created by Czarina Catherine the Great in 1764 and now ranking among the world's finest museums. Her original purchase of 225 canvasses by Dutch and Flemish masters provided the nucleus of today's collection, which consists of almost three million exhibits and represents many cultures. Today, 353 rooms are filled with masterpieces by Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and others. Pay special attention to the spectacular staircases, marble structures, malachite columns and highly decorated floors and ceilings in this former residence of the mighty Russian Czars.Notes:Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience. The Hermitage requires considerable walking and stair climbing. Tour requires extensive walking. Not available on all sailings. The exact route of the tour is determined by the Hermitage authorities and may vary. Holland America Line pre-pays the required fee for you to use your camera and video camera inside the Hermitage, so there is nothing additional for you pay upon arrival at the museum. This is a convenience and a courtesy we are pleased to extend to all our guests on this tour. Flash photography is not allowed at the Hermitage. The departure time for the Garrison Keillor charter on August 15 is 7:00pm.
Average Customer Rating:
4.136 out of 5
4.1
 out of 
5
(22 Reviews) 21
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (22 reviews)
5 stars
11
4 stars
7
3 stars
1
2 stars
2
1 star
1
18 out of 22(82%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Review 1 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fast paced overview.

Date:July 19, 2014
Ontariotrekker
Location:Ontario
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
After reading about the crowds and the speed of the guides in other reviews, I booked this and am very glad I did.
The guide walked very fast indeed but thankfully we were wired to whisper microphones so I could still hear her commentary whenever I paused to admire something or take a picture. The tour tends to double back a lot so that gives you a further chance to see things you may have missed. The pace is very fast and it's a little disconcerting and frustrating to see so all the artwork flying passed but I was able to get thisclose to 2 DaVincis that would have otherwise been too crowded to see.
** there are wheelchairs and an elevator if needed.
** very warm in museum after closing so take a fan since water is not allowed.
** several chairs and benches to sit and take a quick breather if needed.
** photo fee is included in price.
I talked to several other pax who did the museum in the daytime for a longer period and we saw as much or more in a shorter period of time with less traffic and congestion.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 2 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

No crowds great time to go

Date:June 20, 2014
Sweet206
Location:Sun City West, AZ
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We had less then 5 bus loads of tourist in to see the Hermitage at night. No lines, no wait, able to see everything up close. You aren't allowed in all of the rooms you would be able to see during the day but not having the crowds was wonderful.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 3 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

High light of the whole trip - Hermitage

Date:August 7, 2013
Bambie
Location:Canada
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The exclusive evening visit to the Hermitage is the best, no crowds, no rush, we had plenty of time to appreciate the palace and art works, the sun set time was around 11 pm, so it was like day time visits. Only Holland America guests are privileged with this special arrangement, I hope the cruise line will keep this deal with the Museum.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+17points
18out of 19found this review helpful.
Review 4 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

An Evening at the Hermitage

Date:July 30, 2013
boblap
Location:Texas
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The excursion is devoted primarily to art including many masterpieces. Our guide was very knowledgeable and provided background information on both the art and the artists. The tour transits rooms from the Winter Palace which are also impressive. Time only allowed seeing a small part of the collection, but I am glad we took the excursion just to have an understanding of what the “Hermitage” is about. The advantage of the evening session is it is supposed to be less crowded. However, it was still crowded although not oppressively so.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 5 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Evening @ Hermitage

Date:July 28, 2013
george0000
Location:Boston Massachusetts
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Great choice for first timers wanting to view the Great Masters of European Art. Guide mentioned that this tour would be fast paced and keyed to identifying the best known works hidden among galleries that contained lesser known contemporaries beside them. The evening tours are much less crowded than during the day but the gift shop is closed as are many areas. The late hour of sunset provided ample daylight in galleries where skylights provide the principal illumination. The 5.00 U$D camera fee is worth it. The audio headphones provided adequate listening especially when two or three other groups were present in the same gallery.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 6 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Shore excursions in Saint Petrsburg

Date:July 13, 2013
Picker1
Location:California
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Do not spend you money. One of the worst experience, with a Russian guide who could not wait to run away, did not have the time to wait fro strugglers, went from room to room as though he is running away from a fire. And, why go to Russia to see Dutch, Italian, French and Spanish artists? I came to see Russian art, and they did not have any in the Hermitage. So, we spent time to look at another gaudy palace in a hurry. MY recommendation, skip this visit.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+4points
12out of 20found this review helpful.
Review 7 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

If you are smart...do this!

Date:July 4, 2013
The1Wanderer
Location:Sayre, PA
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was well worth the time, you have time to do an excursion beforehand and it is still completely bright out when you arrive.
I highly recommend paying the paltry $5 fee for a camera as nowhere else can you get as close to the artwork.
This provides a good sample (note truly only a small sample) of the museum.
We had others who went in the daytime and they saw far less than we did as they had to fight the crowds.
A small note the gift shop closes before your arrival.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 8 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Highlight of the cruise

Date:June 27, 2013
amlyd
Location:Princeton, MA
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Hermitage is stunning. The building alone - Catherine the Great's winter palace - even without the unbelievable artwork, is jaw-dropping. Best part: We were the first group there in the evening, when the museum opened at 8 pm. By the time the other groups arrived (and I don't think there were many behind us), we were already up the stairs and into the museum. 28 of us had the whole place to ourselves! It was amazing. We had a fabulous guide - Anatoly - very knowledgeable, funny, and personable. With only 2 hours in the museum, he picked out the highlights in each room (3 paintings in an entire room of Rembrandts, for example) and talked to us about each one. There's a fair amount of walking and some stairs, but not a big deal for most. As Anatoly said, if you really want to see everything you need 2 weeks. We had 2 hours, but they were an amazing 2 hours. We want to go back!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+10points
10out of 10found this review helpful.
Review 9 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Hermitage is remarkable, but

Date:June 21, 2013
Micksey
Location:AZ
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The artwork and the building are remarkable and
wonderful to see. Our guide allowed street bums to approach and
whiz around our group on bicycles and skateboards. They approached
elderly guests pushing into our group. Our guide just watched when
we could have walked steadily to the bus. Was not safe.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 10 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unexpected Gem!

Date:June 15, 2013
GlamMa
Location:Connecticut
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enthusiastically recommended! This is a 'must do' and 'do not miss' lifetime opportunity! We were fortunate to get tickets, and it was an unexpected highlight of our cruise! With no crowds and a well-informed guide, the tour was a delightful, elegant way to tour the Hermitage. Lots of walking but it was slow-paced with minimal staircases - an elevator was an available option. Our group was the last in the building, and doors were literally locked behind us as we strolled the halls. Since the tour is after official hours, the gift shop was closed - which disappointed a few guests - but we preferred the attention to artworks without other distraction. There was sufficient lighting for photos - no flash allowed - with our compact Canon camera and iPhone camera. Bonus: We were also booked on a day tour of St Petersburg and with a short time to dress and depart for this evening visit; HAL surprised us with sandwiches and dessert in our stateroom between tours to avoid a rush for dinner.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
10out of 11found this review helpful.
Review 11 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Hermitage....Well worth an Evening Out!

Date:June 14, 2013
merlinsrevenge
Location:Aberdeen, Scotland
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
An outstanding excursion!!
I truly believe this is the best way to see the Hermitage highlights (given the time available).
Unlike the daytime excursions we did not have to fight through the general public crowds - the Museum was only opened for the excursions, which meant a few hundred visitors - HAL people (Eurodam & Ryndam were in port) and whoever else was in town, instead of thousands of daytime tourists.
We had an excellent guide - excellent English language skills and a true knowledge and love of the Museum. Always a help - not always guaranteed!
There is a lot of walking through the various rooms and a few flights of stairs to negotiate, so please bear this in mind. The pace was not fast - but it was constant - and some on the tour did feel the pace a bit towards the end. There are places to catch your breath for a minute - but remember that not all of the furniture is for sitting on!!
You work from a headset to get your commentary so you need to stick fairly close to the guide to get the "feed". Lose your group and you lose your commentary.
The building interior is a work of art on its own, from the moment I stepped onto the grand staircase I was mesmerised, and then there are the paintings and sculptures to inspire and delight. I could have spent days rather than hours just standing and staring.........
I hate to think what I failed to see in so short a time (about 2.5hrs inside), but what I did get to witness will live with me for a long time to come.
I would do this excursion again......and again (just need to get someone to pay for the cruise first)
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 12 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Review of Hermitage - "exclusive" evening

Date:June 13, 2013
Arnold
Location:Wisconsin
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Although rated as an "exclusive" evening, with over 2100 people on the ship, the term did not apply; it was cheek to jowl for over two hours.
The guide was totally bored, often on the other side of the room from the picture she was describing and made no effort to keep her group together
Of course, the art and the building were stunning, but I had the feeling of being herded from one room to another
Fortunately, I read "The Madonnas of Lenningrad" before the tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
6out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 13 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A run through the museum

Date:June 12, 2013
squeaky1
Location:Baltimore
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Barely had two hours inside the Hermitage mostly because the guide "ran" us through room after room on a tight schedule; wouldn't take questions; insisted that everyone use the rest rooms; and chastised anyone that couldn't keep up with her. There were many steps to climb, but at a reasonable pace, could have been accomplished easily. I believe it was the luck of the draw. Some groups had better experiences; some far worse like the daytime tours. Didn't have much time to peruse art, but the architecture and floors were incredible too.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
6out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 14 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

One big rush

Date:June 8, 2013
Victoria216
Location:Washington state
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I was so disappointed in this tour. I was looking forward to seeing some of the art in this magnificent museum, but our tour guide rushed us through so fast, we never had a chance to examine even one painting. The building itself is beautiful, and seeing it is a definite must, but if you are interested in the art, forget it. As a footnote, others who went on the tour said they were not so rushed, so maybe it was just our particular guide who said he was there three times a week. Also, the building is not air-conditioned, so the heat and the crowds can be uncomfortable.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+5points
6out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 15 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Evening at the Hermitage

Date:September 14, 2012
pals2go
Location:Missouri, USA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I loved this tour. If you want to be able to view the many exhibits, choose the evening tour. The Hermitage draws 10 to 15,000 people a day according to our tour guide. The days we were in St. Petersburg there were 11 ships. The evening tour for HAL guests is the way to see this fabulous museum. You won't be pushing and shoving trying to see the beautiful structures. Our table mates did the day tour and said it was very crowded and difficult to see the exhibits. Our tour guide was excellent. I would recommend this tour to everyone.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+35points
36out of 37found this review helpful.
Review 16 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Expense = no crowds = worth it!

Date:September 7, 2012
Susieque
Location:Denver
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I am a museum professional and I LOVED this tour. The Hermitage was empty of everyone save our groups, guides, and some security. You could see everything, take pictures with no one in front of you, and move very quickly through spaces. You will know just how amazing this is if you participate in any of the day tours.
It is true we were rushed, but I would rather spend less time in order to see more, than take more time seeing less. Our guide was as astonished by the freedom of movement, the lack of crowds and ability to speak to people without feeling like you’re in a crowded bar. So when your guide is awestruck, you know you’re doing/seeing something special.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+32points
33out of 34found this review helpful.
Review 17 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Tour but lots of walking!

Date:August 6, 2012
AlbertaQuilter
Location:Canada
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
We were very fortunate in that our ship, the Ryndam, was the only ship overnighting in St Petersburg on the evening that we took the tour. There were about 200 people from our ship on the tour (in four groups), and we were the ONLY 200 people in the Hermitage that night besides the staff! It was wonderful to be in the museum and not be crowded, and have room to see the exhibits. The next day, on our private tour, we had "early entrance". Oh my, was it packed wth people and tour groups.
Our guide, with the HAL tour, was not the best. She did not like to answer questions that people had. And, as another reviewer remarked, we were rushed through some exhibits and lingered too long at other exhibits. But what is too long to me might be very short for you. I understand that the people in the other groups enjoyed their guide so they're not all bad.
One thing to note is that there is a great deal of walking and stairs in the Hermitage. If I remember correctly, the tour involves walking the equivalent of three miles. This was quite a bit for many of the seniors in our group. There are not many places to sit down; we were on our feet most of the time. I also think there were only two public elevators in the entire complex so it is not conducive to people in wheelchairs or using walkers.
Also note that flash photography is not allowed in the Hermitage. I did pay the camera fee but most of my pictures did not turn out.. So make sure that you know how to take good pictures in dim light. Or don't take any pictures and enjoy the sights. It is an amazing museum.
The guide does follow a set route through the museum. I believe it is a route that shows the most popular exhibits. You certainly won't see everything in the time allocated for the tour. But, you will be exhausted from what you have seen and probably can't take in anymore. On our private tour the following day, we followed the same route almost exactly. But we saw some of the rooms that we were rushed through the previous evening and skipped some other parts, like the third floor paintings.
I highly recommend this tour, especially if your ship is the only one in port that evening. The only reason I rated the value as good is because the tour was expensive, in my opinion.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+29points
29out of 29found this review helpful.
Review 18 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Best Tour of the Cruise

Date:July 6, 2012
TravelDappler
Location:Atlanta, GA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
The night was magical -- our tour guide was very informed and spoke excellent English. She answered questions, attended to our needs, and provided knowledge on the city's history during the ride and the art when we arrived. We walked at a leisurely pace and got insight into the museum's rooms we toured and background on many of the artists and their paintings -- which was both insightful and amazing . The night turned into beautiful weather, so the guide had the bus stop for photographs as we drove back to the ship. This tour was the highlight of our trip and highly recommended.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+26points
26out of 26found this review helpful.
Review 19 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A magical experience

Date:July 5, 2012
salsadancer
Location:Kansas
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
The opportunity to visit this magificent building when it was practically empty was wonderful. Our guide was knowledgeable about the building and the art, and very pleasant and personable. Of course there were many things I would have liked to spend more time with, but I thought the pace hit a good balance standing in one place too long and racing through the whole thing. Highly recommend.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 20 for An Exclusive Evening at the Hermitage
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A great evening

Date:November 16, 2011
Tommy34
Location:Canada
Cruise Date Year:2011
Cruise Date Month:August
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a very nice way to see the Hermitage. Of course you cannot see and ponder very item in the allotted time you would need to spend the winter in St. Petersburg for that. The evening tour was an excellent way to get an overview of the treasures and paintings. The evening tour has only 5 or 6 busloads of Holland America guests in the entire building. On daytime tours the entire building is crammed with tourists. Our guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+31points
34out of 37found this review helpful.
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