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The Edinburgh Tattoo: Front Corner Seating

South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, United Kingdom

Activity Level

Excursion Type

Wheelchair Accessible

Starting At

Minimum Age

Information Not Currently Available

Approximately 5¼ Hours

Meals Included

Meals not included

Traditionally, the 'tattoo' was the signal given by drumbeat that warned British soldiers to return to their quarters for the night. Innkeepers promptly turned off their liquor taps, and the drums continued to beat for a half hour -- the grace period during which the soldiers were allowed to return home before being reported AWOL. The custom eventually developed into a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands held a few hours after sunset.

This evening, you will transfer into the city of Edinburgh for the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo . Against the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the world-renowned Massed Pipes & Drums, together with the impressive Massed Military Bands and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, are among those who will gather for Scotland's sensational Edinburgh Tattoo. The Tattoo concludes with that most moving of all Scotland's performances -- the lone piper, floodlit on the battlements, haunting tones reaching out across the darkened arena to echo in your heart long after the music stops. The tattoo will leave you with lasting memories of your Scottish evening out.

After the show, you'll walk back down the Royal Mile to your waiting motorcoach for the transfer back to South Queensferry.

Evenings are cool, and the stands are often breezy; wear long pants, bring a warm jacket or sweater, a warm hat and a scarf. Wear comfortable walking shoes. This excursion is available only on select sailings and is not available on Sundays. In this category, seating zones range between 6, 7, 10, & 11 in different categories and are priced accordingly. Not all categories are available on all sailings. Not advisable for guests with mobility limitations. Participants must walk 20-30 minutes, partly uphill, from the coach park to the castle. The actual performance is 1.5 hours, but it is necessary to leave plenty of time for the journey into central Edinburgh and for settling into your reserved seat.

Dates and Prices

Accommodation, cruise the british isles during the edinburgh military tattoo (31 jul 2023).

  • history DURATION 12 nights
  • history DURATION DAYS
  • history DURATION NIGHTS 12 nights
  • Travel at 60 bonus: Book with us to secure extra onboard spending money!

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Inclusions/Exclusions

Your fare includes:

  • Princess Dining (breakfast, lunch & dinner), accommodation and entertainment
  • Medallion Class experience
  • Room Service (24 hours)
  • Casual Dining Venues
  • Beverages (Iced Tea, Lemonade, Water, Tea varieties, Non-Specialty Coffee)
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  • 31 Jul 23 - Depart London (Southampton), England 5pm
  • 1 Aug 23 - Guernsey (St. Peter Port)
  • 2 Aug 23 - Cork, Ireland (Cobh - for Blarney Castle)
  • 3 Aug 23 - Dublin (Dun Laoghaire), Ireland
  • 4 Aug 23 - Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • 5 Aug 23 - Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland - Overnight Stay
  • 6 Aug 23 - Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland
  • 7 Aug 23 - Orkney Islands (Kirkwall), Scotland
  • 8 Aug 23 - Invergorden, Scotland
  • 9 Aug 23 - Edinburgh (South Queensferry), Scotland
  • 10 Aug 23 - At Sea
  • 11 Aug 23 - Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France
  • 12 Aug 23 - Arrive 6am London (Southampton), England

This cruise departs from Southampton 31 July 2023

  • Inside from $2,595 per person twin share
  • Balcony from $3,401 per person twin share
  • Mini Suite from $4,795 per person twin share
  • Suite from $8,195 per person twin share

Call our local travel team on 1300 414 198 to secure your cabin today!

* Please note: Advertised fares are available until allocation is exhausted and prices may fluctuate without notice.

edinburgh tattoo cruise

Regal Princess

Enjoy sweeping views from one of more than 1,400 balconies on Regal Princess or stroll on the SeaWalk®, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship! From the tranquil Sanctuary, a retreat reserved for adults, to the dazzling Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show and more, you'll find diversions for every mood.

Make your vacation truly yours on a Princess MedallionClass® cruise that features next-level technology, now on all ships. Enjoy fast, reliable Wi-Fi, TrulyTouchless™ experiences, food and drinks delivered wherever you are and so much more.

The cabins:

Interior - These staterooms are the perfect place to recharge your batteries. The most affordable option, featuring two twin beds or a queen-size bed. Other amenities include a refrigerator, hair dryer, TV, closet and bathroom with shower.

Balcony - This impressive stateroom offers the added indulgence of a balcony and gives you more space than a standard stateroom. Enjoy your own private outdoor space with a table, two chairs, and a relaxing view of the inspiring scenery surrounding you, whether a beautiful sunset over the ocean or a new city to explore. It’s also perfect to enjoy cocktails before dinner or a leisurely breakfast.

Mini-suite - Choose a luxurious Mini-Suite with balcony which is substantially larger than a Balcony stateroom and receive a complimentary welcome glass of bubbly. Mini-Suites include a separate sitting area with sofa bed and two flat-panel televisions. For families or groups needing a little extra space, Mini-Suites offer an appealing and affordable option.

Suite - Surrounding you with deluxe accommodations, a spacious Suite with balcony includes all the amenities of a Club Class Mini-Suite, plus incredible premiums. Enjoy more living space, a sofa bed and separate seating areas, and wonderfully enhanced amenities that range from priority embarkation and disembarkation to a complimentary mini-bar setup in suite and so much more.

Our experienced Travel Advisors can provide you with information on all available cabins and which is best for you.

Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply.

*Edinburgh Military Tattoo shore excursion available at extra cost

*Fares are per person, in AUD, in complete twin accommodation based on the lead category foreach stateroom type at time of publication, inclusive of all discounts, taxes, fees and port expenses (which are subject to change). Campaign period commences 00:01 AEST 28 September 2022 and ends on 23:59 AEDT 11 October 2022. Fares based on specific departure dates only. Higher fares may apply to other departure dates. Supplements apply for other stateroom categories. Some oceanview staterooms have obstructed views. Princess Cruises has set aside a reasonable number of staterooms which are available at these fares. Once these staterooms are sold, fares may vary. Valid for new bookings and not combinable with any other offer unless specified. All offers are subject to availability. Charges apply for shore excursions and specialty dining. To be read in conjunction with the Passage Contract which passengers will be bound by.

Vaccination requirements apply. Government guidelines may result in a requirement to quarantine during or after your cruise and may restrict your ability to participate in shore tours or disembark the ship at ports we visit during your cruise. See our Health Protocols for more information. Guidelines are subject to change without notice and as such, our actual cruise offerings may vary from the descriptions provided and images displayed. Cruise itineraries are not guaranteed.

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Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

Tabs view st. petersburg cruises, st. petersburg port guide.

St. Petersburg Shore Excursions

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There’s no destination on a Scandinavian cruise that’s more mysterious and enduring than St. Petersburg, Russia. An enigma of historic and religious sites and the birthplace of of some of literature’s greatest works, here you’ll explore museums housing some of the biggest and best art collections in the entire world. St. Petersburg is an intellectual city, a cultural capital where arts, music, and creativity thrive despite the bitter winters. May to July brings about the White Nights, a short time in St. Petersburg where the sky is completely lit up throughout the entire day, making late spring and early summer a prime time to visit St. Petersburg.

Make a day of museum hopping from the Hermitage Museum onto the Dostoevsky Museum, finishing the afternoon off at the Russian Museum. If church tours are more your thing, check out the ornate domes of the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, or take photos of the beautiful Nikolsky Cathedral. Vodka tastings? You bet Russia’s most famous export is alive and well in St. Petersburg, too. Whatever you fancy, Russia’s cultural capital will captivate you on your St. Petersburg cruise.

With the safety of our guests and crew always our top priority, we are removing St. Petersburg, Russia from upcoming itineraries in 2024, due to the current situation in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all who are impacted by this conflict.

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Top sights & attractions for cruises to st. petersburg, hermitage museum.

There are over 350 rooms in the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, so you’ll find it impossible to see everything in the short time you have there. When you cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia, come here with a plan on how to see your favorite artists and time periods on display here.

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

Elaborate and breathtaking, this Russian Orthodox cathedral is one of the most recognizable sights in all of St. Petersburg. The mosaics and colorful domes are what the cathedral is famous for, along with it being the site of an assassination attempt of Tsar Alexander II. Beauty and Russian history collide as you explore the church.

Russian Museum

Even if you were previously uninformed about Russian art, the Russian Museum is the perfect primer for the local art scene. Spend the day perusing the museum at your leisure, then bring all sorts of art history tidbits back to the ship with you.

Peterhof Palace

This set of palaces and gardens is yet another example of St. Petersburg’s opulence. Meant to invoke a similar reaction as the Palace of Versaille, Peterhof stands up to the hype. It’s open from 9am to 7pm Sunday through Friday, and closed Mondays.

Learn More About St. Petersburg Shore Excursions

Top things to do in st. petersburg, tour the palace of rasputin’s famous murder.

The elaborate Yusupov Palace along the Moyka River was built for Russian aristocracy in the late 1700s, and it encapsulates the art and culture of Russia at the time. Don’t miss a tour through the very castle where Rasputin was assassinated. It’s a harrowing place where you’ll quickly get a taste of the wealth and status of the day.

See the Winter Palace

The Winter Palace also comprises part of the Hermitage Museum, but you could easily spend your entire time there simply walking the colorful grounds, where the palace glitters in gold and teal blue. Russian emperors lived in the Winter Palace from the 1700s until the 1900s.

Explore the Dostoevsky Museum

Famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky lived in St. Petersburg for much of his life, and the Dostoevsky Museum was erected in the apartment where he lived from 1878 to 1881. Today, you can walk in his footsteps and experience his apartment for yourself. It’s a must-see for literary types and fans of Russian literature.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

Address: Nevsky Prospekt 47, St Petersburg

Classic Russian cuisine comes with a side of history at Palkin, which was also the site where famous Russians like Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, and others once sat and broke bread together. Try the fried foie gras, the salmon caviar, or the boar and venison dumplings. Adventurous, filling dishes are the name of the game here. 

Address: Petropavlovskaya St., 4, St Petersburg

You might not have tried truly authentic Russian food before, but Chekov is the place to change that. Inside, you’ll feel transported back to the 19th century, though the menu is decidedly modern. Try the marinated brandy trout fillet or the chicken liver pate. Delicious dumplings, called pelmeni , are stuffed with meat and made in-house daily.

L’Europe Restaurant

Address: Mikhaylovskaya Ulitsa, д. 1/7, Saint Petersburg

Located within the Grand Hotel Europe is a fine dining experience like no other in St. Petersburg. It’s one of Russia’s oldest restaurants, which only adds to the charm of getting to spend an evening here. Sunday brunch is a favorite. Every Wednesday, dancers and performers move to the classical sounds of Tchaikovsky during the dinner service. There is a wine-pairing menu as well as an elaborate seven-course menu including dishes like duck confit, salmon tartar, red caviar, and a four-cheese tortellini.

Culture & History of the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

Tsar Peter the Great founded the capital city of St. Petersburg in 1703. Ever since, St. Petersburg has become a cosmopolitan hub for arts, culture, and style. Famous authors like Nikolai Gogol and Dostoevsky were inspired and influenced by their times living in the city, which is immortalized in their literature. Though the climate was harsh and the winters almost unbearable, St. Petersburg remained a place where immigrants and visitors flocked to for hundreds of years. Today, it’s the second-largest city in Russia behind Moscow, home to a population of over 5 million people.

St. Petersburg Port Facilities & Location

When your cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia docks in port, you’ll have to quickly go through immigration before continuing on to explore everything the city has to offer. The port, called the Marine Facade, is a passenger port equipped to handle wide berths and plenty of cruise traffic.

Transportation in St. Petersburg

The metro system in St. Petersburg is comprehensive and runs daily until midnight. Otherwise, biking and taking a taxi or shuttle bus from the port into the center of town are great bets for getting around during your St. Petersburg cruise stop. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the cruise port to the city center, or around 45 minutes to get to the Hermitage Museum.

Shopping Near the St. Petersburg Cruise Port

You won’t be hard-pressed to find some of Russia’s enduring souvenirs, from famous nesting dolls to Russian vodka, chocolate, and other goods that tourists love to take back home with them. These souvenir shacks and stands are scattered throughout the city, making it easy to shop when you feel like it. But St. Petersburg isn’t all kitschy wares. There’s also a growing boutique shopping scene here, like the impressively large Galeria or a smattering of vintage shops selling clothes dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The local currency in Russia is the rouble (stylized as R), and you’ll find credit and debit cards are used all over the place here. Still, it’s handy to have a little bit of cash in case you need it. ATMs are widely available, too. Tipping your taxi driver isn’t expected, but you can round up or leave behind a few R if you’re particularly happy with the service you received. At restaurants, leaving 10% is customary.

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Frontal view of the Saint Isaac cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

Cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia

St. petersburg shore excursions, amazing experiences coming soon., sorry, there are no excursions for this port at this moment., things to do in st. petersburg.

Front of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

Czars and Saviors

Front of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

Located near the waterfront and housed in the former Romanov Winter Palace, the Hermitage Museum sits due north along Nevsky Prospekt from the Church of the Savior on Blood, St. Petersburg's other most iconic attraction.

View of Saint Isaac's square in St. Petersburg, Russia

Discover the Unusual

View of Saint Isaac's square in St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg's city center is overflowing with history — why not choose museums that offer something a little different? Visit the quirky Faberge Museum, dedicated to the work of Russian jeweler Carl Faberge. Or enjoy an interactive experience at the Museum of Emotions.

Close up of the fountains at the front of the Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

Imperial Excursion

Take a drive to some imperial palaces outside the city center. Under an hour away by car lies exquisite Peterhof, whose fountains alone are worth the price of admission. Cruise to St. Petersburg and go by train to the Baroque-style Catherine Palace — can you guess which Russian ruler often stayed here?

A bowl of boiled vareniki with cherry stuffing

Local Cuisine

Russians flock to St. Petersburg because of its cosmopolitan vibe, but use your stop here to discover local cuisine. Head to the restaurant-rich Nevsky Prospect to sample borscht beet root soup (the cold version in summer), dumplings of meat ( plmeni ) and sour cherries ( vareniki ) or hearty beef stroganoff — yes, that's a Russian dish!

Wooden dolls in St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg's shopping options are as grand as its architecture. The luxurious Gostiny Dvor mall is an essential stop with your St. Petersburg cruise. If you're looking for a more down-to-earth experience, try your luck (and your Russian language skills) at Udelnaya Flea Market and bargain for one-of-a-kind antique samovars or imperial porcelain.

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Visiting st. petersburg on a cruise: the ultimate guide.

Get the lowdown on how to visit St. Petersburg on a cruise, from Russian visas for cruise passengers to choosing shore excursions to city highlights that you cannot miss.

St. Petersburg has also become an increasingly popular stop on  Baltic Sea cruises . But with a plethora of enticing places screaming out to be visited, how do you make the best of one or two days there?

And do you need a visa when visiting Russia on a cruise?

To help you plan and to have the very best experience, here is all you need to know about visiting St. Petersburg on a cruise .

buildings along riverfront in st petersburg at sunset

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases . Read the full disclosure here .

Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation, travel to Russia is not currently recommended. For current travel advice, check the advice of the UK FCO here .

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IN THIS ARTICLE

Why Should You Visit St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is a city that makes you think in exclamation marks. Built on the network of islands, crisscrossed by 65 rivers and canals, its  beauty  is equalled only by its  rich history . Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years. One year after the Russian Revolution in 1917, the capital moved to Moscow. After the death of Lenin in 1924, the city was renamed from Petrograd, the name it had adopted during WWI in an attempt to make it sound less German, to Leningrad. In 1951, 54% of those voting in a referendum chose to revert the city’s name to St. Petersburg. Over these years St. Petersburg has witnessed several uprisings, assassinations, sieges and is closely associated with the lives and fate of the Romanovs, Russia’s Imperial family, and notable residents such as Pushkin and Dostoevsky. Today, it is a  vibrant city  stuffed full of museums, some of Europe’s most glorious palaces  and has an extraordinary performing arts agenda, particularly during the summer White Nights.

Which is the Best Cruise Line to Visit St. Petersburg?

Choosing your cruise  line is a little like choosing your perfect partner. In a sea of choice (!), you have to pick your perfect match, deciding if your personalities match and if he/she will meet your expectations. Each cruise line has its own character – and budget –  and you will need to do a little research to decide which will be the right fit for you. Therefore, to a certain extent, the choice of operator of a Baltic Sea cruise to St. Petersburg will depend on whether, for example, you want a more traditional cruising experience or an emphasis on fun. And, of course, how much you wish to spend. But first and foremost, I urge you to look closely at the  cruise itinerary . I would rule out any cruise that gives you just one day in St. Petersburg. Instead, look for a cruise that docks in St Petersburg overnight, giving you two full days to explore the city. You are going to need it. I sailed with  Celebrity Cruises  on the Silhouette in May 2019

two women crossing the road seen whilst visiting st petersburg on a cruise

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit St. Petersburg?

The best time of year to visit St. Petersburg is between June and September, which coincides with most cruise departures. Due to nearly 24 hours of sunshine and famous White Nights celebrations, June is widely considered the best month to visit St. Petersburg.

Do Cruise Passengers Need a Visa to Visit St. Petersburg?

As long as you have booked your  shore excursion  with an operator approved by the Russian authorities, and you will be in the city for less than 72 hours, you will not need a visa to visit St. Petersburg on a cruise. However, if you choose to visit St. Petersburg  independently , most visitors will need to apply for a visa before leaving on their cruise.  Where  reciprocal visa agreements  are in place, citizens of some countries do not require a visa. Russian visas can be costly. For UK citizens you are looking at between £100 and £200. But the cost is not the only consideration. The visa application process for Russia is notoriously cumbersome and for this reason, I recommend that you use an agency to streamline this process.  Real Russia is a reputable London-based agency that I have used in the past. In my view, if you are visiting St. Petersburg on a cruise for a few days, it isn’t worth the hassle of applying for a visa. I’m an independent traveller at heart but even I could see the sense in using an organised tour in St. Petersburg.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock in St. Petersburg?

Most ships berth at the modern Marine Façade Complex, 5 km northwest of the city centre.

Getting from St. Petersburg Cruise Terminal to the city centre

If you have a Russian visa you can walk or take bus #158 to Primorskaya, the nearest metro station, 2km away. The fare is approximately 30 RUB.

You can also arrange a taxi at the Marine Façade Complex. Prices are listed on a board. It helps also to have your destination written in Russian as many drivers do not speak English.

cruise packing checklist cold climate

St. Petersburg Shore Excursions

If you decide to visit St. Petersburg with an authorised tour operator, the next decision you will need to make is whether to take one of the shore excursions offered by your  cruise company  or make your  own arrangements .

Should you book a St. Petersburg shore excursion from the ship?

Let’s consider the advantages of the ship’s shore excursion first. Firstly, they will guarantee to get you  back on board the ship on time .  If the tour is delayed for any reason, they guarantee that the ship will not sail away without you on board. Great for peace of mind, yes? Secondly, if you are booked on one of the ship’s St. Petersburg shore excursions you will be one of the  first off the ship  (day one only). Celebrity Cruises told us that this was a mandatory process, enforced by the Russian Marine Façade. But do these factors really matter?  In my experience, they don’t. I booked the two-day “Must See” tour with  Alla Tours , an established tour operator authorised by the Russian authorities. In their 13 years of operation, they have never left any passengers behind. Also, if they fail to make it back to the ship on time, they assume responsibility for getting you to the next port of call. When you  disembark  the cruise ship at St. Petersburg on day one, local tour operators are aware of the time that those who have made independent arrangements are allowed to leave the ship. Consequently, they set pick-up times accordingly. Independent operators were not allowed in the terminal before the agreed disembarkation time. Having said that, to avoid potential delay, be ready to disembark as soon as you are given the signal that you can do so. At least you will amongst the first of those who have made independent arrangements to get off the ship. It’s interesting to note that feedback on disembarkation from people who had bought the ship’s shore excursion was not positive. They reported a very early assembly time, followed by a long wait in the ship’s crowded main theatre before being allowed to disembark the ship.

How much do St. Petersburg shore excursions cost?

Celebrity’s shore excursions were relatively expensive. For example, two-day St. Petersburg shore excursions from the ship were priced from 419 USD for the cheaper tours by bus (larger groups). A smaller group size, using a minibus, increased this cost. By contrast, my two-day tour with Alla Tours cost 250 USD. Our tour group numbered 13. Other passengers who used alternative companies – for example,  SPB Tours  – reported positive experiences similar to mine. Given the choice again, I would not hesitate to book a shore excursion to St. Petersburg with an independent operator.

candy pink and white exterior of chruch in st petersburg russia

Clearing Russian Immigration at St. Petersburg’s Cruise Terminal

Once granted permission to disembark, clearing Russian immigration at St Petersburg was surprisingly quick and painless. Just don’t expect banter from the officials.

You’ll need to hand over your passport and shore excursion ticket. In exchange, the officer will stamp your passport and you’re good to go.

On day one, you will also be given a printed receipt. Keep this safe as you will need to hand it back to immigration when you return to the ship. You will not receive this receipt on day two when this process is significantly quicker.

On your return to the ship, you will need to clear Russian security and immigration, where you will need to show your ship’s sea pass and passport. Queues can be lengthy.

Best Things to See on a Cruise to St. Petersburg

Your ‘must-sees’ in St. Petersburg will, of course, depend on your interests and preferences. For me, these included  The Hermitage, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood  and riding  St. Petersburg’s metro .  Outside of the city, the  Catherine Palace  and  Peterhof Summer Estate  were on my list. In including all of these places on their itinerary, the independent tour operator trumped what was on offer from the ship. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of my St. Petersburg tour, starting with the sights inside the city itself.

St. Peter & St. Paul Fortress

The birthplace of St. Petersburg, St. Peter & St. Paul Fortress was originally constructed from wood in the early 18 th  century as a defence against Sweden. Subsequently rebuilt in stone as a military fortification, it later became political prison.

Today, the grounds of the fortress house the  Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul , which is the burial place of many Russian emperors and empresses, starting with Peter the Great (1672-1725) and ending with the last Tsar, Nicholas II (1894-1917).

The Hermitage

The Hermitage , the beating heart of St. Petersburg, is not exactly a well-kept secret.

On an average summer day, it hosts between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors. Therefore, to beat the crowds, make sure that your tour operator offers  early entry . It will still be busy, but not nearly as rammed as the crowds snaking around the building in the early afternoon would suggest.

a hermitage 3

The building is as jaw-droppingly extravagant as the Hermitage’s collection of three million exhibits. And that’s saying something.

Second only to the Louvre in Paris in size,  the complex comprises five interconnected buildings, the most famous of which is the former  Romanov Winter Palace .

The Hermitage’s collection was started by  Catherine the Great  and grew over the generations into one of Europe’s most important art collections. All of the major European schools are represented here with a particularly fine Renaissance collection.

St Isaac’s Cathedral

Designed by the French architect Auguste de Montferrand and built between 1818 and 1858, St Isaac’s is St. Petersburg’s biggest cathedral . Highlights are its mosaics and monumental columns carved from lapis lazuli and malachite.

mosaics on dome of St Isaac Cathedral in st petersburg

Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood

Officially known as the  Church of the Resurrection of the Christ , this is the site of the 1881 assassination of Emperor Alexander II. A canopy made from rhodonite and jasper marks his assassination spot.

With its unmistakable brightly coloured onion domes piercing the sky, this is a St. Petersburg landmark. Sadly, the main dome was encased in scaffolding during my visit.

Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg

The interior of the church is equally stunning, with its 700 m² intricate mosaic panels created by a who’s who of artists of the time.

St. Petersburg canal cruise

Thanks to its labyrinthine network of rivers and canals, St. Petersburg is known as the “Venice of the North”. Gently gliding along the city’s waterways gives you a different perspective on its magnificent architecture.

At least, that’s what’s the marketing material will tell you.

In reality, this one-hour boat ride left me underwhelmed. Although the weather didn’t help – it was grey and wet – the trip concentrated on St. Petersburg‘s main waterways rather than the smaller canals. But under bright blue skies, this may have been a different experience.

Taking a ride on St. Petersburg’s metro

This was a St. Petersburg “must-do” for me and it was one of my highlights of this cruise stop.

St. Petersburg’s metro is relatively young – it started operating in 1955  – and is beautiful. It’s not often that a functional means of transport is turned into multiple works of art.

We started our one-stop journey at  Sportivnaya , next to St. Petersburg Stadium. In keeping with its location, it had a sports theme, its murals depicting Olympic athletes and Greek gods. Even the lamps along the station are created to resemble the Olympic flames.

man in escalator in Sportivnaya station, St. Petersburg with background mosaic

The next stop was  Admiralteyskaya , one of the newest and also deepest stations. Located next to the Admiralty, this station has a nautical theme.

The second day of my St. Petersburg tour focused on the sites outside the city: Catherine Palace and Peterhof Gardens.

Catherine Palace

Located in the town of  Tsarskoye Selo , 30 km south of St. Petersburg, the Catherine Palace is a glorious fake.

This was the summer residence of the  Russian Tsars . Originally presented by  Peter the Great  to his second wife, Catherine I, in the early 18 th  century, it was rebuilt in the more flamboyant rococo style around 40 years later.

blue and white exterior of Catherine Palace st petersburg

When the  Siege of Leningrad  was lifted in 1944, the retreating German forces destroyed the residence, leaving a hollow shell. Only 10 of the palace’s halls escaped destruction. Therefore, although magnificent, what we see today is a reconstruction.

Even the famed  Amber Room  is a facsimile.

Due to the fragility of the amber panels, it was not possible to remove these to a safe location along with other precious artefacts in Leningrad. When the German forces reached St. Petersburg, their soldiers disassembled the Amber Room’s panels, foiling the Russians’ attempt to hide their splendour beneath mundane wallpaper.

Hence, the Amber Room which draws visitors from near and far is the result of an extensive and expensive 24-year reconstruction that was started in 1979.  The fate of the original panels is not known.

  • Coats are not allowed to be worn in the Catherine Palace. Wrap up warm.
  • A free cloakroom is available
  • Photography is not permitted in the Amber room

Peterhof Gardens and fountains

29 km west of St. Petersburg, this  UNESCO World Heritage site  was built by Peter the Great in the 18th Century. Rebuilt after the ravages of World War II, like the Catherine Palace, Peterhof Palace is largely a reconstruction.

long fountain in fornt of peterhof palace near st petersburg

The star of the show is the  Grand Cascade , a collection of more than 140 gravity-fed fountains and canals, engineered by the great man himself. The most spectacular of these are the gilded fountains in front of the palace.  It’s easy to understand why Peterhof is known as the “Russian Versailles.”

Useful information for St. Petersburg cruise passengers

  • Language  – Russian.
  • Currency  – Rouble. Credit cards are widely accepted. I did not bother getting local currency and used my card instead.
  • Tipping  –  The etiquette in Russia is to tip 10 – 15% of your bill in cash, giving this directly to the waiter. The suggested tip for guides is 10%; drivers 5%.

Is it Worth Visiting St. Petersburg on a Cruise?

Visiting St. Petersburg on a cruise was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whilst I stand by my decision to see the city on an organised tour, this did come at a price. Visiting Russia without a visa curtails your freedom. If, like me, you like to set your own pace and agenda, being rapidly shuttled from one site to another with barely an opportunity to take a photo was, at times, frustrating. Part of the difficulty was that there was a lot to see in two days, which meant that I had to be pragmatic and accept that visits were going to be brief through necessity. Also, on an organised tour, you can only move as fast as the slowest person. That said, I was lucky. We were a group of 13, all great people and despite two of the group pushing 90, there were no issues with a few members holding others up. I only hope that I have half of these older ladies’ energy and  joie de vie  at their age! But this did make me question what it would be like visiting St. Petersburg in a group of 50 or 60. If I was returning to St. Petersburg on a cruise, I would consider a private guide. Yes, this will come at a price, but it should provide more of an opportunity to set the agenda and pace of the visit. In common with other tour groups, on both days we were shepherded into a government-run souvenir shop. Prices were high, and I got a better deal on souvenirs onboard the ship a few days later. Finally, whilst two days is nowhere near enough time to see Russia’s Imperial Capital, visiting St. Petersburg on a cruise gives you an enticing taster of this glorious city. Accept that you are not going to be able to do it all, expect it to be busy and enjoy your visit.

Plan your Baltic Sea cruise stop in St. Petersburg

Packing a good guidebook to allow you to explore the ports of call on a Baltic Sea cruise independently is a wise move. I can recommend the excellent  Lonely Planet Cruise Ports Scandinavia & Northern Europe  that I used when I was visiting these ports.

  • One Day in Rostock & Warnemünde, Germany: A Perfect DIY Cruise Excursion
  • One Day in Stockholm: Visiting Sweden on a Cruise
  • One Day in Tallinn: A Cruise to Estonia
  • One Day in Helsinki from a Cruise: A Walking Tour
  • One Day in Copenhagen: 6 Best Things to Do On a Cruise Stop

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at [email protected] or follow her on social media.

3 thoughts on “ Visiting St. Petersburg on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide ”

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Thank you this was very helpful! Hopefully, my cruise will take off in July and I’ll be there! I’ll look for this tour guide online.

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Delighted that you found it useful and hope that your cruise goes ahead. The Baltic Sea cruises are good’uns!

Pingback: Best Cruise Destinations for Every Type of Cruiser – World Travel Blogger

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edinburgh tattoo cruise

The Edinburgh Tattoo - Front-Corner Stands

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Description

edinburgh tattoo cruise

Points of Interest

Be sure to read the Special Notes further down this page for important requirements and restriction.

Indulge in an escorted excursion via motorcoach to Edinburgh Castle to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As the sun sets, take your place in your reserved seats in the Esplanade seating area and join thousands of spectators gathered to experience Scotland's most popular attraction. Enjoy a breathtaking 1.5-hour performance that features military precision drills with massed bands, bagpipes, and drums, all representing various international Scottish Regiments. Marvel at traditional Scottish dancing, and enactments of historical events. Take in the wonder of guest performers from all over the world. Be awed by a finale that includes the most moving of all Scotland's performances - a lone piper, floodlit on the castle battlements, his haunting music reaching out across the historic setting and into your memory forever.

Special Notes:

Child price:.

Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.

Depart from ship for the Edinbugh Military Tattoo ceremony and performance

Re-board your motorcoach and return to your ship.

  • Holland America Line

Edinburgh Tattoo Excursion ??s

janmcn

By janmcn , July 3, 2020 in Holland America Line

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1,000+ Club

Assuming we will cruise next summer, if we want to get the HAL Excursion to the Tattoo, will we have an option to choose what "area" we want to get our tickets in? Last time we went I think we just were given them with no choice...but can't remember. Hoping for no rain the next time!

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10,000+ Club

There were different price point options available when we took our British Isles cruise.

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For what it is worth.....My experience has been that a seat higher up in the stands gives a much better view of the performances. The lower seats were looking between the horses' legs....but the sound may have been better, although I doubt it. IMO

Reagan0712

I went in 2016 during the Northern Isles cruise on the Koningsdam.  Our tickets, however, were part of the package as we were on a AAA tour.  The seats we were given were on the right side facing the castle fairly high up, gave us a great view of the entire field, and we were able to hear everything fine.

4836FAD5-399A-490F-9F23-2BCE3A8E6140.jpeg

The-Inside-Cabin

Here is a link to my blog post when we attended the Tattoo in 2017. We didn't use the ship but arranged fir everything on our own.

https://www.theinsidecabin.com/day-9-edinburgh-scotland/

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

The link to the video is no longer working. But you can search on you tube and probably find others.

250+ Club

We did it last year and opted for the Premier seats. The seats were convenient to the entrance, you didn't climb hundreds of steps up, performers usually exited the area right underneath your seat, you had a great view of the other end of the castle ramparts ( https://www.edintattoo.co.uk/the-venue) , and it was well worth the additional cost.  Purchasing the HAL package was also worth it for the transportation convenience. Buses dropped us off near the main entrance and picked us up about three blocks away at the end. Only issue for us was a torrential downpour at the very end of the tattoo, everyone was drenched but they had hot cocoa, coffee and sandwiches waiting for us at the dock. A memorable experience.

Storylady

3 hours ago, janmcn said: Assuming we will cruise next summer, if we want to get the HAL Excursion to the Tattoo, will we have an option to choose what "area" we want to get our tickets in? Last time we went I think we just were given them with no choice...but can't remember. Hoping for no rain the next time!  

We been twice. We purchased the premium tickets both times. Your seating is facing the castle. I believe in the regular seating you are facing the bleachers on the side, thus sideways to the marching bands. Our seats both times were perfect despite not being able to pick them out. We were hug enough and very close to the center.

We knew someone who purchased their tickets, but they had to leave early to catch the train as it didn’t run after 12 AM. But that was on the Prinsendam which docked at Rosyth across the Firth of Forth. I really think getting the tour was better as it wasn’t easy navigate at night. HAL had people stationed at every corner directing the way to the buses.

40,000+ Club

We were supposed to go next month while on an Island Princess cruise.  The deal from HAL was overpriced and we did not like their excursion which was basically round trip transportation and the Tattoo.  So we simply purchases our own tickets directly from the Tattoo (we could choose the type seats we wanted for a lot less money then the excursion) and joined a private small group tour (about 10 people) which included some touring in Edinburgh (we have been there a few times).  Our tour ended around 6 which gave us plenty of time for dinner (we booked a reservation at one of the best restaurants in town located close to the Tattoo).  All that planning was for nothing since both the cruise and Tattoo were cancelled.  The Royal Tattoo refunded our ticket cost within 2 months.

drowelf

31 minutes ago, Storylady said: We been twice. We purchased the premium tickets both times. Your seating is facing the castle. I believe in the regular seating you are facing the bleachers on the side, thus sideways to the marching bands. Our seats both times were perfect despite not being able to pick them out. We were hug enough and very close to the center.    

When we attended in 2018, there were 3 tiers of tickets. The cheapest put you on the sides, next was on the curve, and the highest at the back facing the castle. We opted for the middle and were quite pleased. On the curve you got a good view of the bands for their entire performance. We were about 2/3rds the way up. It was a bit of a hike up the stairs, but well worth it. Maybe only the last few minutes as they were marching out was out of our view. While you can do the Tattoo much cheaper on your own, we opted for the HAL prices as we had oodles of OBC to burn. If you do it on your own, I would recommended that you do a hire car for the roundtrip, that way you get dropped off and picked up close by the entrance. I wouldn't want to chance taking the train back and end up missing the ship. 

KirkNC

Thank you all for the seat location information. We've sat on the sides before, so wondered about the ability to get others. We were too close to the bottom (4 rows back) so wanted to try another location, so that’s why I wondered if we had the ability to choose. We will only use the HAL bus for assorted reasons so other suggestions were appreciated but not for us. We’ve been to Edinburgh several times ( my gg-grandmother worked in the castle), so are looking forward to another trip we hope! Supposed to be in S. Queensferry which we love....but know that, the cruise, and the ship could change 😩 .

Roger88

36 minutes ago, KirkNC said: We went in 2019 and sat in the premier seats facing the castle, the seats were great and the show was fantastic.  The challenge with a non-ship tour is getting back to the ship as every time we are there the ship leaves around 11:00 pm.

what kind of show was it? Also I heard thatits like of the most famous castles in Scotland. Isnt it the one portraited exclusively in premium style whiskeys? in any case I think you got best seats my friend. I mean, the perspective is so nice. You can see everything including the castle itself 

38 minutes ago, Roger88 said: what kind of show was it? Also I heard thatits like of the most famous castles in Scotland. Isnt it the one portraited exclusively in premium style whiskeys? in any case I think you got best seats my friend. I mean, the perspective is so nice. You can see everything including the castle itself 

The castle in the background is Edinburgh Castle.  Its military bands from all over the world, they are excellent.

Holiday Sharing

1 hour ago, KirkNC said: We went in 2019 and sat in the premier seats facing the castle, the seats were great and the show was fantastic.  The challenge with a non-ship tour is getting back to the ship as every time we are there the ship leaves around 11:00 pm.

We had much less of a challenge when we did it on our own on a Princess cruise; the ship did not leave until the next day. But, we did miss the train back (kind of made buying round trip tickets instead of one way a waste.) We had to take a cab back.

1 hour ago, janmcn said: Supposed to be in S. Queensferry which we love.  

I loved South Queensferry also. Had a tour of St. Andrews scheduled before the Tattoo so I left the ship super early to check out the town and grab lunch. Such a nice town in which to wander around.

I was there the same night as Reagan0712 in 2016 with the same HAL package seating experience as Oceanmom.  We were lucky it did not rain as is quite common but was quite chilly as the evening went on.  HAL made it very easy with guides directing along the way back to buses and refreshments back onboard ship.  It was more expensive than DIY but well worth it for convenience.   The show is wonderful.  Hope you get to enjoy it soon.

Wow, so glad they now have HAL guides back to the buses. We did this ship tour from the Prinsendam some years ago and there was no choice of seating. We were all in one group and the seating was quite good. I believe they have changed the seating arrangements since we were there. Fortunately, we had nothing but a very light drizzle at the very end of the show and finding our way to the bus.

Yes, it was very crowded finding our way in the and it wasn't a problem for us, however, there was an older couple who were missing. We were about to leave without them after some time and somehow just as we were preparing to leave, they somehow found the bus. Hopefully, they asked someone for guidance, but it was a rather tense time for all.

Great show! See it if you can.

We were so looking forward to this tour next year, but we are there on a week end, no show. This is one of my bucket list items.

Our visit was part of a DIY train trip through Scotland beginning and ending in Edinburgh.  We were in Edinburgh for a week to enjoy the Fringe Festival, held along with the Tattoo. Scotland is the "other woman" in my life after Ireland. I love that country and its wonderful people.

It is fun to read about other CCers experiences with the Tattoo. It hard not to have a great time there.

36 minutes ago, DFD1 said: Our visit was part of a DIY train trip through Scotland beginning and ending in Edinburgh.  We were in Edinburgh for a week to enjoy the Fringe Festival, held along with the Tattoo. Scotland is the "other woman" in my life after Ireland. I love that country and its wonderful people.   It is fun to read about other CCers experiences with the Tattoo. It hard not to have a great time there.    

And it is also hard not to have fun with the Fringe Festival.

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edinburgh tattoo cruise

COMMENTS

  1. Excursions

    Your amazing evening to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo begins at the pier. Board your motorcoach for a comfortable drive through the Scottish landscape en route to Edinburgh. Located between the Highlands and Lowlands, this capital of Scotland boasts a dramatic skyline, classical architecture and over 1,000 years of Scottish history.

  2. Excursions

    Indulge in an amazing evening of guided excursion via motorcoach to Edinburgh Castle to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As the sun sets, take your place in your comfortable reserved seats within the exclusive VIP seating area and join thousands of spectators gathered to experience Scotland's most popular attraction. Enjoy a ...

  3. The Edinburgh Tattoo: Front Corner Seating

    The Edinburgh Tattoo: Front Corner Seating. Traditionally, the 'tattoo' was the signal given by drumbeat that warned British soldiers to return to their quarters for the night. Innkeepers promptly turned off their liquor taps, and the drums continued to beat for a half hour -- the grace period during which the soldiers were allowed to return ...

  4. Excursions

    The Edinburgh Tattoo - Premium Front Stands The Edinburgh Tattoo - Premium Front Stands. 8 hours | Glasgow (Greenock) | GR3-870 G R 3 - 8 7 0. Avg. Guest Rating Average Guest Rating. From $ 589.95. Book Now. Exceptional Value. Book shore excursions with confidence! We offer competitive pricing, friendly service and unmatched destination expertise.

  5. British Isles

    I went in 2013 and 2015 on the British Isle cruises. Edinburgh was a tender port so Glasgow was used to see the Edinburgh Tattoo. Glasgow port the ship left late around 2am so people could travel to Edinburgh to see the Edinburgh Tattoo. I was looking at Aug/Sept 2024 and 2025 British Isles cruis...

  6. Edinburgh Tattoo Independently from S. Queensferry

    On the August 16,2011 cruise, I think will be going to the Tattoo from Glasgow since we dock at 7am and leave at 2am the next day which they say is about 2-2 1/2 hours away from Edinburgh. We will taking the Princess tour.

  7. Heart of Scotland: A One-Week Stay Featuring the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

    9 days from $4,990. Settle into medieval Stirling and spend a week ensconced in Scotland's history and culture. Trace the legends of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots; cruise Loch Lomond; visit the country's oldest distillery; then head to Edinburgh to experience the thrill and pageantry of the Military Tattoo. Request a Brochure.

  8. Cruise the British Isles during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

    Below pricing based on 31 July 2023 cruise: Inside from $2,069 per person twin share / $2,904 pp sole use* ... *Edinburgh Military Tattoo shore excursion available at extra cost-available on the night of the overnight stay *Fares are per person, in AUD, in complete twin accommodation based on the lead category for each stateroom type at time of ...

  9. Has anyone attended the Edinburgh Tattoo with Private ...

    We are planning to attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. We will have seats in the Royal Gallery and attend the reception following the program. According to the Princess website, this excursion is called the Edinburgh Tattoo with Private Seating & Reception. The cruise website excursion description doesn't answer my specific questions.

  10. Edinburgh Tattoo & The Highlands

    Experience the spectacular Edinburgh Tattoo, with pipes and drums resonating from the castle's elevated setting. Based in charming Dunblane, peacefully situated in the Perthshire highlands, enjoy a heritage steam train journey, visit picturesque Pitlochry, and tour the Kinrara Gin Distillery with a tasting. View Dates & Pricing.

  11. Transportation to and from Military Tattoo

    We are going to attend the Military Tattoo next summer in Edinburgh and are trying to figure out best transportation options from the Cruise port. As usual, cruise ships transportation expensive. We tender into Hawes Pier at Leith. Hoping someone can help with best way to go into Edinburgh early in the day (maybe walk if not that far) but more so how to get back as Tattoo ends around 11:00 pm ...

  12. Cruise the British Isles during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (13 Aug

    24 August 2025. E xplore Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Liverpool, Orkney Islands, Edinburgh & Normandy. Extended stay in Glasgow. Cruise on the Regal Princess. S outhhampton roundtrip. U p to USD$150 onboard credit per cabin*. On a British Isles cruise, fairytales come to life as you explore storybook castles and enchanting countrysides.

  13. Cruise the British Isles during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (31 Jul

    Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply. *Edinburgh Military Tattoo shore excursion available at extra cost *Fares are per person, in AUD, in complete twin accommodation based on the lead category foreach stateroom type at time of publication, inclusive of all discounts, taxes, fees and port expenses (which are subject to change).

  14. Edinburgh...Tattoo do-able?

    The tattoo starts after dark (9 pm or so in August) and finishes with fireworks around 10 or 11. There's lots of congestion afterwards. The Edinburgh festival is a huge event in August. Suggestion to HAL: why don't some cruises start or finish at Edinburgh? There are hourly plane connections to London Heathrow.

  15. Excursions

    Description. Be sure to read the Special Notes further down this page for important requirements and restriction.. Your amazing evening excursion to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo begins at the pier. Board your motorcoach for a comfortable and scenic guided two-and-a-half drive through the ruggedly beautiful Scottish landscape en route to Edinburgh.

  16. Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

    Discover St. Petersburg with Celebrity Cruises. View top itineraries and shore excursions. Book your award-winning cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia today! Visiting from {country-flag} {country-name}? Go to site . Favorites. 0344 493 2043 CONTACT 0344 493 2043. Need help? 0344 493 2043 0344 493 ...

  17. St. Petersburg Cruise: Best Cruises to St. Petersburg

    Tour the Palace of Rasputin's Famous Murder. The elaborate Yusupov Palace along the Moyka River was built for Russian aristocracy in the late 1700s, and it encapsulates the art and culture of Russia at the time. Don't miss a tour through the very castle where Rasputin was assassinated. It's a harrowing place where you'll quickly get a ...

  18. Cruises to St. Petersburg, Russia

    Enjoy the relaxing charm of the Baltic Sea as you stroll along it. Cruise to St. Petersburg and hop on a boat and see the colorful variety of the city's sights and architecture on a canal tour. Or spend the day meandering the action-packed 3.5-mile stretch of Nevsky Prospect, where you'll find the can't-miss Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and ...

  19. Cruise or Land Vacation for British Isles/Edinburgh Tattoo

    Another option would include flying to Edinburgh after your Baltic cruise, spending a few days in Edinburgh for the Tattoo etc then taking a small group tour on Rabbie's or similar to places you really want to see in Scotland. You could head back towards London by train, stopping for a day or two in York.

  20. Visiting St. Petersburg On A Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

    St. Petersburg is a city that makes you think in exclamation marks. Built on the network of islands, crisscrossed by 65 rivers and canals, its beauty is equalled only by its rich history. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years. One year after the Russian Revolution in 1917, the ...

  21. Edinburgh Military Tattoo

    14.2k. January 7, 2003. #17. Posted July 6, 2008. We have taken two Princess excursions to the Edinburgh Tattoo, once from the port of Greenock and once from Edinburgh. No matter where you dock it's going to be a bit of a hassle getting to and from the event, but it is definitely worth the effort.

  22. Excursions

    The Edinburgh Tattoo - Front-Corner Stands The Edinburgh Tattoo - Front-Corner Stands. 8 hours | Glasgow (Greenock) | GR3-865 G R 3 - 8 6 5. Avg. Guest Rating Average Guest Rating. From $ 419.95. Book Now. Exceptional Value. Book shore excursions with confidence! We offer competitive pricing, friendly service and unmatched destination expertise.

  23. Edinburgh Tattoo Excursion ??s

    Our visit was part of a DIY train trip through Scotland beginning and ending in Edinburgh. We were in Edinburgh for a week to enjoy the Fringe Festival, held along with the Tattoo. Scotland is the "other woman" in my life after Ireland. I love that country and its wonderful people. It is fun to read about other CCers experiences with the Tattoo.