St Petersburg up close

St Petersburg For a truly unique introduction to St Petersburg, Russia’s imperial capital, visiting incentive groups can enjoy their first few hours aboard the historic Krasin.

The massive icebreaker has more than a 90-year of existence, which covers diverse missions from rescue operations, as part of Russian military convoys during World War II and beyond to being a scientific vessel involved in Artic explorations.

Now permanently moored at the southern bank of Vasilyevsky Island, the 6,048-tonne vessel is now a floating museum, displaying its equipment and memorabilia from its colourful career.

“It’s a different way to open up an incentive programme in St Petersburg,” Anna Belyakova, chief of sales and incentives of OLTA Travel, told Mix. “Groups can have a tour of Krasin and we can organise a cocktail at the end of the session.”

The company has put together a 4-day, 3-night St Petersburg package for groups of 20 people costing from US$1,155 per person. The price is valid until March 2013.

A St Petersburg experience is not complete without a visit to the art galleries of The Hermitage and its collection of majestic buildings dating back from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the Winter Palace and the Menshikov Palace. There’s also your customary troika ride, a visit to the Catherine Palace and its surrounding parks and a matrioska painting master class.

Highlights of the programmes are:

  • A visit to a ballet school where incentive participants can talk to students and teachers to learn more about the history and art of Russian ballet. OLTA Travel can arrange for students to stage an exclusive performance for the visitors.
  • A classical performance at the Mariinsky Theatre followed by a backstage visit
  • Participate in a specially designed city rally, where the group – armed with a map – the teams are instructed to go to specific points in St Petersburg where they will have their “road book” stamped by a waiting coordinator.
  • A gala dinner at Nikolaevsky Palace.

“The programme is very flexible. We can tailor the activities depending on a group's specific requirements,” said Belyakova.

For more on St Petersburg, check out the “Off the Map” story in the latest issue of Mix.

For more information about OLTA Travel, visit

Gigi Onag


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