The journey from St. Petersburg back to Stockholm takes about 25 hours so we were pretty grateful to discover that the newly refurbished Princess Anastasia boat had a bit more to offer than the Princess Maria—the duty free shop is bigger and the restaurants offer better quality food. I was even prepared to fork out 10 euros for the Wi-Fi this time, until I was informed that the boat did not have Wi-Fi at all. So there is one advantage of the Princess Maria.
After two nights of unfruitful searching for drinks in St. Petersburg we did not have high expectations of a night on board the boat but we headed to the show and ordered a couple of White Russians anyway. The show itself was enjoyable, offering the usual spectacle of gorgeous girls in teeny-tiny outfits and way-too-young boyish dancers grinning insanely like the Cheshire cat. The most entertaining part of the evening was not the dance show itself, however but the people who took to the dance floor during the interval. A group of cougars on the far side of the dance floor were seriously getting into their groove and some kids were bursting some funky moves, albeit sporting some dodgy haircuts.
Before long we had taken to the dance floor to join them but by the 4th playing of ‘Daddy Cool’ we had had enough and so headed off in search of further entertainment. Up on the 8th floor we found a bar which had just hosted a stripper show and was full of guys following around girls in short, tight dresses. There were a few youngish-looking people swaying around on the dance floor and so we hung around hoping that some good music might come on. It didn’t so we went back to our cabin.
The next day I went to the salon to get a much-needed haircut as they are far too expensive in Sweden. I did have my reservations about getting my hair cut on a Russian cruise ship (the mullet is still very much alive and present in Russia) and the stylist spoke limited English. I pointed to the back of my head and said ‘short’ and then ‘long’ for the front. She nodded and furiously set about her work, chopping at my hair with wild abandon. Fortunately it turned out well and I am very happy with the result.
On the whole, I have been really impressed with my visit to Russia through St. Peterline. I don’t think I would go from Stockholm to St. Petersburg for the day as getting through customs may not always be quick and will take time away from your sightseeing, but the 72 hour option (currently only available from Helsinki) is plenty of time to see the main sights of the city.
We sailed directly back to Stockholm and spent a day sailing through the beautiful archipelago…