Booking private tours in St. Petersburg and Gdansk

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Viking Ocean
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#21
New Hampshire
563 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
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?

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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#22
4 Posts
Joined May 2017
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.
Definitely recommending booking a non-Viking tour. We just returned from Viking Homelands 8/26 Stockholm to Bergen. Took a 2 day St Petersburg tour with TJ. It was wonderful. There were 5 in our group (us and another family from a Costa cruise). Our guide and driver were professional and fabulous; van was modern, comfortable and WiFi equipped. Our printed (from home) tour vouchers were our visas and immigration was no problem. We booked about 2 months in advance. We spoke to others on different TJ and Alla tours - everyone was pleased. We got back to the Sky with plenty of leeway before sailing.
#23
Arizona
133 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We are currently on the Sea on the Homelands cruise. We were in St. Petersburg for 2 days the other day and toured with Alla Tours. I made all the arrangements a few months in advance and found the representative very easy to work with. All of my questions and requests were answered within a day. As others have said re: the tours with Alla and TJ, you must have your printed ticket with you when you go thru immigration (with passport and your room key/boarding card).
Oxsana was our guide and she was fantastic. She had lived in the US for 5 months, spoke fluent English, and was an amazing font of knowledge and information. The van was comfortable and the wifi was a blessing; the driver (Dmitri) was very good.
We have been taking a mix of Viking tours and private tours and have been very satisfied so far. On to Copenhagen tonight.
#24
New Hampshire
563 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
If possible check at the explorers desk and see if optional tour Roskilde Viking Ship Museum & Cathedral has openings. It was a fascinating tour.
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Uniworld Portugal, Spain & Douro River Valley June 2018
Viking Forseti Chateaus & Bordeaux September 2017
Viking Sea Viking Homelands May-June 2017
Viking Lofn Switzerland to Amsterdam October 2016
Silverseas Silver Spirit Mediterranean September 2015
Viking Buri Portraits of Southern France April 2015
Viking Freya Romantic Danube September 2014

#25
North Carolina
20 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Krisval, Enjoy your cruise and keep the information coming! PhilW - We appreciate the Copenhagen tour suggestion and welcome information about tours in other ports. We have eight months to plan and are enjoying hearing others' suggestions. Have you heard any opinions about the Jazz Cruise in Copenhagen? Carol
#26
New Hampshire
563 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
Wife LOVED the Marlboro castle tour in Poland.
I loved the viking ship museum tour and the Cathedral where all the Danish Royalty are interred.
In Estonia the Palmse Manor House & Upper Town tour was very nice. Beautiful country home and tasty country lunch plus a trip to the seaside national park through the forest.
Did 2 day private tour of St Pete with other Viking folks organized on our Cruise Critic roll call. TJ tours was excellent. Wife also did Swan Lake with them. Our 14 person rate was half what it would have cost with Viking, but more mobile and hit more sights.
Vasa Museum in Stockholm was nice but you could do it yourself at a fraction of the cost.
In Eidfjord we took the full Day to Flam tour with its train rides. Gorgeous mountain scenery including the bus ride through amazing tunnels with roundabouts inside the mountains.
We didn't but definitely do Pulpit Rock on your own. Again a fraction of the price and right where the ship docks.
In Bergen we took the tram up the mountain by ourselves. Wife rode down while I hiked the 3 Km trail (~2 miles) down back to town and the ship.
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Uniworld Portugal, Spain & Douro River Valley June 2018
Viking Forseti Chateaus & Bordeaux September 2017
Viking Sea Viking Homelands May-June 2017
Viking Lofn Switzerland to Amsterdam October 2016
Silverseas Silver Spirit Mediterranean September 2015
Viking Buri Portraits of Southern France April 2015
Viking Freya Romantic Danube September 2014

#27
7 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
We booked TJ' 2 day SP tour and it was great, small group on mini bus, your ticket has the special cruise visa, you can not just get off the boat in SP without a visa so everyone needs to be booked on a tour where you get the cruise visa. TJ' s was half the price of the Viking tour smaller group and TJ ' s will get you to the next port if you miss the boat but not to worry plenty of time, we also took them for a small tour of Berlin.
#28
North Carolina
20 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
We have booked a 2-day customized private tour in St. Petersburg for 4 of us with TJ, because we wanted to see some things that are not on the usual tours. We are skipping Peterhof and Catherine Palace and will instead stay in the city both days. We are considering booking private tours in a couple of other ports and will look at TJ and other companies. The descriptions of food tours that some cruisers have taken are really appealing, but the timing in some ports may make it difficult to schedule those on our cruise. (Viking Homelands). We're looking for some off-the-beaten track things to do in addition to seeing some major sights.
#29
Tucson AZ
1,970 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
We did Alla Tours in St Petersburg for 6 of us...looked at the group tours with them but doing it for 6 of us was not much more at all. They personalized it for us and we had the whole van to ourselves! Could pick where we wanted to go to lunch, what we wanted to do....loved it. She also gave us choices along the way as to if we should stop somewhere, or not...and how much time we wanted to stay. I had a question regarding a charge from a store that she took us to on the first day (my credit card company notified me of a different charge than I had). Anyway, she wanted to go by the store and make sure that it was taken care of before we did anything. So we did. My memory could be wrong but I am going to say it was less than $50 pp than going with a 16 person tour. And MUCH less than doing Viking's. They took care of our blanket visa. A very enjoyable 2 days!!!!