Relive the luxury of the 18th-century Imperial Russian court on an evening visit to one of the most amazing Royal Palaces.
Following a 17-mile journey south, you will be greeted by Royal Guards in front of the lavish Catherine Palace. The palace's stunning aqua blue and white facade that stretches 984 ft. in length,is adorned with a profusion of atlantes, columns, pilasters and ornamental window framings. This summer residence is renowned for its splendid interior with the finest of furnishings and china.
Once inside the palace you will view an exhibition of the Romanovs' portraits and private rooms before entering the Golden Suite of Rooms where the world famous Amber Room is located. The Amber Room of the palace was once considered to be the "Eighth Wonder of the World". The amber wall panels were presented to Peter the Great in 1717 by King Friedrich Wilhelm. The original panels were too short for the high ceilings in the Catherine Palace but Rastrelli found a simple solution. He set 24 narrow pilasters faced with mirrors between the panels and installed a canvas freize above them painted to match the amber. The panels were made of small pieces of amber, decorated with moldings in amber and weighed 800 kg. The panels were too heavy to dismantle and evacuate to safety when the Second World War broke out and they were looted by the Nazi army, dispatched to Germany and never seen again. Preserved photographs and archives from the time helped Russian art experts to fashion thin amber pieces so that they exactly match the original in shape and color, thus recreating the legendary work of art. Once again, the eye is mesmerized and blinded by the wealth and warmth of the amber tones, from lemony yellow to a deep red.
You will then proceed to the Grand Hall where you will be served a glass of Russian sparkling wine to the sounds of classical music. The arrangement of large windows and mirrors in the spaces of wall between them, as well as the multiple reflections in the mirrors, gilded carvings and the vast ceiling painting - all combine to create the illusion of infinite space. As in days gone by, Catherine II will mix with her honored guests while the orchestra provides musical accompaniment.
Following the reception you will descend the Main staircase with your fellow Oceania Cruises guests to the courtyard where the pageantry continues. The Imperial Guards will parade to the music and a carriage will arrive with a courtly couple that will dance one last time before departing. Next, a short transfer by coach will take you to the Imperial Carriage Museum. Here, enjoy a guided inspection of the 23 coaches by well-known Russian and Western European masters of the 18th and 19th centuries, that once carried Russia's highest nobility.
Afterwards, you will proceed to a local restaurant, where you will be treated to traditional Russian cuisine and a performance by a Russia folkloric group. When your exciting and magical evening comes to a close, you will return to the pier where your ship awaits.
Please note: The dinner is a set meal dependent upon the restaurant venue used. Vegetarian meal requests should be made with the Destination Services Desk.