Booking private tours in St. Petersburg and Gdansk

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#1
North Carolina
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
To those of you who have booked private tours in St. Petersburg, how far ahead did you book your tour? We are on Viking Homelands departing Bergen 5/26/18. Should we book a private tour soon? We are also considering booking a private tour from Gdansk and wonder if any of you have done that. We would like to have time to ourselves to wander in Gdansk and maybe have a meal in a restaurant, but we think it might be wise to book a tour for at least part of the afternoon. How is the Viking tour in Gdansk? We are there from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Thanks so much to all of you for your valuable information. I have copied and pasted so many of your tips to print and take along.
#2
Littleton, CO
973 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
I probably booked 5 or 6 months out for St Petersburg. We used Alla Tours. They are outstanding. For Gdansk we took a Viking excursion to Malborg Castle which we enjoyed the drive to it and the castle itself. We didn't take the included. I did hear great things about the included.
#3
Arizona
126 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We will start the Homelands cruise in a few days. We are booked with Alla tours in St. Petersburg. I don't remember when I started the booking, but probably 3 or more months ago, I have been very impressed with their customer service- very quick responses to questions, clear instructions for things that need to be done, sensitive to special needs.
We signed up for the Malbork castle excursion after I checked to be sure we'd actually get into the castle (it is normally closed for tours on Monday). I was assured we would be going inside. The timing is such that we will exit the ship, go to the castle, and return to the ship in times for the departure.
I will post our experiences as we go along.
#4
North Carolina
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Originally posted by jiminyC_fan
I probably booked 5 or 6 months out for St Petersburg. We used Alla Tours. They are outstanding. For Gdansk we took a Viking excursion to Malborg Castle which we enjoyed the drive to it and the castle itself. We didn't take the included. I did hear great things about the included.
Thanks for the information! We are interested in the Malbork Castle tour and would like to see it plus spend time in Gdansk. After your tour to Malbork, was it possible for you to spend time in Gdansk on your own and get a shuttle back to the bus?
Carol
#5
North Carolina
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Originally posted by Krisval
We will start the Homelands cruise in a few days. We are booked with Alla tours in St. Petersburg. I don't remember when I started the booking, but probably 3 or more months ago, I have been very impressed with their customer service- very quick responses to questions, clear instructions for things that need to be done, sensitive to special needs.
We signed up for the Malbork castle excursion after I checked to be sure we'd actually get into the castle (it is normally closed for tours on Monday). I was assured we would be going inside. The timing is such that we will exit the ship, go to the castle, and return to the ship in times for the departure.
I will post our experiences as we go along.
Have a great time, and I'll look forward to following your posts during your cruise! I will be especially interested in your opinion of any included tours you take vs. private tours. We want to do a mix of private, included, and time on our own, but we haven't made any of those decisions yet other than planning to book in St. Petersburg. Thanks in advance for posting as you go along. Carol
#6
San Antonio,Texas
628 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by frenchhorn
Thanks for the information! We are interested in the Malbork Castle tour and would like to see it plus spend time in Gdansk. After your tour to Malbork, was it possible for you to spend time in Gdansk on your own and get a shuttle back to the bus?
Carol
You are going the opposite direction than we did so you time in port is longer than ours was and now that they are actually docking in Gdansk you should have time to do both. With your time in port, the castle tour will only be offered one slot and if you do that, the included tour may not be offered at that time but you should be able to do a little exploring on your own when you return.

As for you SP tour, which we did with Alla as well. I think you should probably book as early as possible to get the word out about the tour, especially if you are not traveling with a group. People may be slow to join but the sooner they know of the option, it gets their mind thinking about it. Our group wound up with 12 but the van holds 16
#7
North Carolina
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Originally posted by Dauntless
You are going the opposite direction than we did so you time in port is longer than ours was and now that they are actually docking in Gdansk you should have time to do both. With your time in port, the castle tour will only be offered one slot and if you do that, the included tour may not be offered at that time but you should be able to do a little exploring on your own when you return.

As for you SP tour, which we did with Alla as well. I think you should probably book as early as possible to get the word out about the tour, especially if you are not traveling with a group. People may be slow to join but the sooner they know of the option, it gets their mind thinking about it. Our group wound up with 12 but the van holds 16
Good information. Thank you!
#8
New Hampshire
484 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
14 of us from Cruise Critic got together and booked TJ Tours for a private Mercedes van absolutely excellent and complete 2 day tour of St Petersburg. Guide was a PhD student working at The Hermitage Museum. Very easy to book online and get any questions answered by email. Print out your tour ticket and it is your Visa. No problem at customs. You pay at the end of the tour by credit card. They request that you tip driver & guide in US $ or Euros. They also took my wife to Swan Lake ballet. Same premium seating as those on the more expensive Viking optional tour.

My wife absolutely loved the Malbork Castle tour in Poland.
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#9
North Carolina
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Originally posted by philw1776
14 of us from Cruise Critic got together and booked TJ Tours for a private Mercedes van absolutely excellent and complete 2 day tour of St Petersburg. Guide was a PhD student working at The Hermitage Museum. Very easy to book online and get any questions answered by email. Print out your tour ticket and it is your Visa. No problem at customs. You pay at the end of the tour by credit card. They request that you tip driver & guide in US $ or Euros. They also took my wife to Swan Lake ballet. Same premium seating as those on the more expensive Viking optional tour.

My wife absolutely loved the Malbork Castle tour in Poland.
Thanks for those specifics - very helpful.
#10
NSW
200 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Does anyone have the prices of the Viking Tours in St Petersburg?
Is the included tour offered at more than one timeslots?

I am thinking we shall probably do Alla 2 day tour but would like to compare with the Viking offerings. We very seldom do tours and much prefer to make our own way to a few carefully researched destinations rather than try to see every possible sight in a city. I realise that this really isn't a possibility in SPB but would like to consider whether to do, for example, the 3 hour included tour, an evening at the ballet or a folk show and a full day tour the next day.

we don't go until June 18 so have a while to wait before our tour information is available
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#11
Pennsylvania
64 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
We took the Viking Homelands cruise leaving Stockholm on July 15th. So our stay in Gdansk was shorter than yours will be. In St. Petersburg we took the 2-day Grand Tour with Alla Tours. As stated by others, it was outstanding. They state a maximum of 16 in a group, and we had 12 people in the van. Our tour guide, Dmitri was excellent, and his English was perfect - no communication problems. My husband and I wanted to attend a Folk Show in the evening, and we were the only 2 of our group to do so. They arranged for us to meet another of their associates at a café, and he brought our tickets to us and walked us to the door of the Folk Show. Then a driver picked us up after the show - seamless! We saw so much, and our tour was $270 per person which I believe is about $200 less than Viking's tour (their itinerary looked very much like ours). We paid an additional charge for the Folk Show. And as stated in another post, we paid with our credit card in St. Petersburg, and we tipped our guide and driver with Euros; others tipped with USD.
#12
Littleton, CO
973 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Originally posted by frenchhorn
Thanks for the information! We are interested in the Malbork Castle tour and would like to see it plus spend time in Gdansk. After your tour to Malbork, was it possible for you to spend time in Gdansk on your own and get a shuttle back to the bus?
Carol
You're welcome. We did NOT have enough time to enjoy Gdansk on our own. I do wish we did, however. It seems that port times vary between cruises. You might be lucky.

Alla Tours were easy and quick to communicate with them online. No questions went unanswered past 24 hours. We were lucky to only have 3 couples on our tour. The van was new and comfortable. They kept us on schedule so that we could maximize all the sights to see.
#13
South Carolina
100 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
We also did a two-day private tour in SP with Alla tours and loved it! We did the one that visited the Faberge Museum and rode the canal boat. We made a reservation a few months ahead of the cruise, but you don't have to pay anything until the end of day 1 (and can charge to credit card). The guide was one of the best I've ever seen.
We did the included tour in Gdansk and thought it was good.
#14
184 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by frenchhorn
To those of you who have booked private tours in St. Petersburg, how far ahead did you book your tour? We are on Viking Homelands departing Bergen 5/26/18. Should we book a private tour soon? We are also considering booking a private tour from Gdansk and wonder if any of you have done that. We would like to have time to ourselves to wander in Gdansk and maybe have a meal in a restaurant, but we think it might be wise to book a tour for at least part of the afternoon. How is the Viking tour in Gdansk? We are there from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Thanks so much to all of you for your valuable information. I have copied and pasted so many of your tips to print and take along.
We had an opposite direction on our July, 2017 cruise. We took an included tour of Gdansk that was lovely. The old (re-build) town is small and we had plenty of time to wonder around. As I remember correctly the castle tour is 5 hours long. Count in these hours and see if you will have time. Keep in mind that it will be dark by the time you are back from the tour. I wanted to see a castle but the tour started at 7 am and no way we would enjoy anything at that time
It's approximately 10-15 min drive on a bus from the ship to the town.
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#15
1,604 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
We booked with TJ several months in advance. They even let me cap it at 8 people...which I gathered on our role call. Highly recommend TJ. They were professional, knowledgeable, efficient, extremely kind, and it was an amazing 2 days. Was so much better than the large bus loads!
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#17
24 Posts
Joined May 2017
We are going on the Star in a few days. One the recommendation of people from Cruise Critic (who are on our tour as well), we booked the 2 day Allah in St. Pete. As we all booked as a cruise critic group, we got a great price ($270/per person). they ave been great wit correspondence, and even was able to speak w/ someone from All here in the States today. Definitely wot=rth checking out, and try to get a group, as the price is less with a group.
#18
184 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Datmkx5, enjoy your trip!
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#20
184 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by Midnight1717
Did I understand that if you booked a private tour in St. Pete - you did not need to apply for a separate visa?
Yes, that's correct. There are several very reputable agencies there that cover visa.
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