Tailored Tours - St. Petersburg

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#1
319 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Has anyone used Tailored Tours (Timofey) to tour St. Petersburg, Russia?
I know I read a review somewhere which was quite positive but I'd like some other reviews before deciding on whether to use them.
I've read a lot about Alla, Red October, TJ Tours and a few other larger companies. Tailored Tours is a smaller outfit with better prices and has put together a personalized itinerary for us which covers everything we want to see and nothing we don't.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
#2
Long Island, NY
7,459 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
All of the companies are quite competitive and are almost exactly the same price when comparing apples to apples. If you wish to tailor a tour any of the reputable companies spoken here on CC will tailor a tour anyway you wish. The issue is if you want to add people to lower the cost, they need to agree to your personal tailoring. If you want a tour just two or four people it is going to be expensive, no matter with whom you book because you will have your own guide and driver and vehicle. If something seems too good to be true, than it probably is. I would not trust Trip Advisor reviews as the sole judge. It is easy for "anyone" to post a positive review on TA. Even the owner of the company or hotel.
Originally posted by duckman715
Has anyone used Tailored Tours (Timofey) to tour St. Petersburg, Russia?
I know I read a review somewhere which was quite positive but I'd like some other reviews before deciding on whether to use them.
I've read a lot about Alla, Red October, TJ Tours and a few other larger companies. Tailored Tours is a smaller outfit with better prices and has put together a personalized itinerary for us which covers everything we want to see and nothing we don't.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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#3
West Hempstead, NY
5,886 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Frankly, in the few years I have posted here, I have never heard of this company. That is not saying they aren't reputable, but why take that chance??> Did you read the thread about tour comapnies in St Petersberg, where one poster complained about the company really ruining their stay there. Another tourist trying to save a few pennies, but at what expense??
As was said, ALL the independent tour companies in St Petersburg will tailor a tour to exactly what you want to see and what you do not. They ALL do it.
I just do not understand the fascination of using companies no one has heard of, but some one on TA said they were good. That could be the owner of the company, and their 5 employees.
Take the advice, or not, at least contact some of the major players in St Petersberg, tell them what you want and get some quotes. it is probably your one time there, so make the best of it. With companies like SPB Tours, you know for sure you will have the best time possible, so that's the way you should go.

Cheers

Len
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#4
Lancashire, England
66 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Having just returned from The Baltic (1st Sept) I cannot recommend too highly the services of SPB tours they were truly fantastic from our first contact by email through to being met by Viktoria who had taken time out to bid us farewell at the end of our two day tour. The knowledge of our personal guide Andre was first class. Alexi our driver was a expert at getting us to where we needed to be safely. I have both driven and been driven in most major cities and I was never worried to have Alexi at the wheel. Both are excellent ambassidors of their company. Viktoria is delightful to meet.
I can only hope that you make a good choice when chossing your tour company and have a super cruise, enjoy St Petersburg it is a beautiful City.
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#5
Portland, Oregon
1,076 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by Giantfan13
Frankly, in the few years I have posted here, I have never heard of this company. That is not saying they aren't reputable, but why take that chance??> Did you read the thread about tour comapnies in St Petersberg, where one poster complained about the company really ruining their stay there. Another tourist trying to save a few pennies, but at what expense??
As was said, ALL the independent tour companies in St Petersburg will tailor a tour to exactly what you want to see and what you do not. They ALL do it.
I just do not understand the fascination of using companies no one has heard of, but some one on TA said they were good. That could be the owner of the company, and their 5 employees.
Take the advice, or not, at least contact some of the major players in St Petersberg, tell them what you want and get some quotes. it is probably your one time there, so make the best of it. With companies like SPB Tours, you know for sure you will have the best time possible, so that's the way you should go.

Cheers

Len
I absolutely agree. I suppose some are confused by TripAdvisor rankings wheresomehow Insider Tours and Ulko Tours are ranked numbers 1 and 2. Not sure how TA does its ranking, but I found the recommendations and advice given here much more detailed and reliable, leading us and seven other tour groups on our sailing to choose SPB. Each had an exceptional tour. I have heard similar rave reviews about Alla, TJ Tours, and one or two others, but not a word about Tailored Tours or Insider Tours. I agree with Len, why take a chance on an unknown who may have found a way to manipulate the Trip Advisor ratings?
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#6
West Hempstead, NY
5,886 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
another couple of 'one post' wonders. After being on this board for 3 years, all of a sudden we get TWO, count them, TWO new posters who just happened to have used a tour company no one has ever heard of.

WOW


Now you know how Trip Advisors rankings can get a bit off kiltered.

Again, it's your choice, but like I said before, at least get quotes from some of the reputable companies who you KNOW will make it their business that you have a great time in St Petersberg..

Cheers

Len

PS maybe the Mods can do something about these tour people (one post wonders) who come here to push their agenda.
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You have seen bits and pieces of our Baltic adventure, now see the entire album.
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Check us out touring the great Northwest and then our marvelous cruise to Alaska. Again, any questions, just ask away
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#7
Portland, Oregon
1,076 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by Giantfan13
another couple of 'one post' wonders. After being on this board for 3 years, all of a sudden we get TWO, count them, TWO new posters who just happened to have used a tour company no one has ever heard of.

WOW


Now you know how Trip Advisors rankings can get a bit off kiltered.

Again, it's your choice, but like I said before, at least get quotes from some of the reputable companies who you KNOW will make it their business that you have a great time in St Petersberg..

Cheers

Len

PS maybe the Mods can do something about these tour people (one post wonders) who come here to push their agenda.
My thoughts exactly!
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February 2014 - NCL Sun - Southern Caribbean
January 2015 - NCL Star - Panama Canal
February 2016 - NCL Sun -South America Valparaiso to Buenos Aires
February 2017 - NCL Star - Australia and New Zealand

#8
9,967 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by Giantfan13
another couple of 'one post' wonders. After being on this board for 3 years, all of a sudden we get TWO, count them, TWO new posters who just happened to have used a tour company no one has ever heard of.

WOW


Now you know how Trip Advisors rankings can get a bit off kiltered.

Again, it's your choice, but like I said before, at least get quotes from some of the reputable companies who you KNOW will make it their business that you have a great time in St Petersberg..

Cheers

Len

PS maybe the Mods can do something about these tour people (one post wonders) who come here to push their agenda.
Not every one post wonder is a fake user posting about a tour company. We do look into those and even talk about it in our guidelines. But some are legitimate people looking to share what they know. Unfortunately, that means you have to be extra vigilent in deciding what tour to go with because there are some fake recommendations.

If you see these, use the alert feature to report them. Thanks!
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#9
Cincinnati, OH
5,780 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
I just posted on another thread but will repeat here: tripadvisor is notorious for one-off posters and, unfortunately, Destination Experts for some locations who work for tour companies or are paid off to promote certain outfits. The St. Petersburg forum there in particular is a disgrace because the posters never indicate their conflicts of interest when posting responses. For their opinions on sights to visit in St. Petersburg, fine, but not for their opinions on tour companies. Use this forum for tour company recommendations because it is much less prone to TA's downfalls.
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#10
319 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
My thanks and appreciation to all who have taken the time to reply. Actually the review I read was not on Trip Advisor but I have since read that one as well and have contacted several previous customers of this firm. I do not have a problem with trying someone new but will take your advice and research several companies before making a decision. Again, my thanks for your postings.
#11
42 Posts
Joined May 2011
Has any one use this company .on there
Website they have unique tours that I would love
Do you know how for a private tour of 2

They really seem to cater the discriminating
Client that does not want to spend all day going to
Just palaces
#12
caribbean
1 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Just got back from our Sliversea Baltic Cruise with three days in St Petersburg (June 2012). While researching tours, Tailored Tours of St petersburg popped up and having read the reviews, decided to contacted Timofey. I also wrote to five other well established tour compaines and after several emails to all of them, I decided to go with Tailored Tours. With each email, his responses always came out on top. One company, replied with the incorrect port dates.
Our program was what we requested and more, and we were able to make changes on a daily basis.
Timofey was quite knowledgable about all the sites (being a history and culture lecturer) and we did not have to wait around for tickets or for the driver to pick us up at the many stops.
We were 4 in our party and the van was adequate.
In addition to the usually tourist attractons, we were taken to the local market - quite interesting, and had lunch in a typical russian restaurant, savouring not only the food but the beer, wine(yes wine) and
many flavoured vodka.
Our tour included a canal tour with vodka tasting on board and although I knew it was a private tour with just us and Timofey, I never imagined the same large canal boat as the bigger tours used. Was a nice touch having so much space to ourselves. His daughter was on board and she served the vodca and caviar canapes. What a way to spend a summer's evening in St.Petersburg!!!!!!!

The tour was well priced and was less than half the price we would have paid to the ship for going with a bus load and seeing less without the flexibility and slightly less that the bigger tour companies, but we got more for our money.
I would definite recommend any one going to St Petersburg to use this small individual tour operator over the bigger ones who have a large group following a guide holding a paddle so the can be seen among the crowds.

Visited June 2012
#13
Southern California by way of Kentucky
22,097 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
You would be best equipped to have communications (e-mails) from all the major companies you are considering...We did this and just went with a good feeling we had with TJ Travel (a wonderful experience for us and the trip of a lifetime on our 2 day private active tour)...Enjoy this amazing way to see this beautiful city with whatever you decide will work out best for you !!!
#15
Canada
1 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
We used Timofey of Tailored Tours when we traveled to St. Petersburg when we took a Baltic Cruise this past summer.

We can’t stop thinking and talking about the incredible 3 days we spent with Timofey in St. Petersburg. We were a group of 6 and Timofey provided us with a wonderful introduction to the history, art and culture of St. Petersburg. He shared his knowledge with passion and enthusiasm, and was patient with all our questions.

We appreciated how flexible he was with our itinerary and kept adding very moving and unforgettable sites, like the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad and the personal cathedral of Nicholas II near Catherine’s Palace. When we arrived, he suggested changing the itinerary so that we could visit The Hermitage while it rained and were able to visit Peterhof with its wonderful parks and fountains when it was sunny.

We loved all the interesting explanations, stories and anecdotes he shared with us, and we wish we could have spent more time with him exploring St. Petersburg.

Timofey had efficiently arranged our visas, and always responded promptly to our emails with helpful and thoughtful suggestions and comments. We would love to return to St. Petersburg one day, but before we book our trip, we shall check with Timofey to make sure that he will be available.
#16
1 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
We just finished a Baltic Cruise with 3 days in St. Petersburg. We arranged a private guide and car/driver for all three days. The results were beyond our wildest dreams.

We booked the guide through Timofey (Tim) Kruglikov http://www.tour-petersburg.com. He does tours himself and has several guides on his staff. He was already booked and suggested Ekaterina (Kate) Skvortcova.

First about Tim: He designed a tour based on our wishes, responded to all our emails either instantly or within 24 hours, and arranged for our visa, entrance tickets and camera passes. Everything was done professionally and every request and question we had was dealt with quickly and completely. I worked for ten years in the tour department onboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship, and I have never dealt with a better guide.

Now Kate: By the end of the three days we were calling her “Catherine The Great”. Kate is a professor of Russian Art and History at the University of St. Petersburg (PHD). Her English was excellent and naturally her knowledge of Russian art and history was impressive. With so much to see and do at the many museums and sites, it would be impossible to see/do everything. Kate “cherry-picked” the best, most important, or must see items at each place. Her running commentary put everything into its place in history building one experience on the next so everything fell in place both in a timeline and context (her talents as a professor). She quickly learned what our interests were and tweaked our tour to include those things. Everything was at our own pace allowing more time at things that interested us and moving on when we were not interested. We were never rushed. Kate dealt with every request including finding an out of the way shop to get the things we wanted for the grandkids and a non-tourist Russian café for lunch. In the Russian Museum of Art, Kate really stepped into professor mode and we came out feeling like we got a degree in Russian Art. As I said, Catherine The Great.

The Tour: Thanks to Tim’s excellent planning and Kate’s execution of that plan we covered all the must do things and a few extras. Peterhof and grounds with hydrofoil ride, Catherine’s Palace with Amber room, The Hermitage including the Treasure Gallery, St.Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral, the Church on Spilled Blood, the Russian Museum plus we had a nice walk down the main street of town and a compressive city tour with lost of photo stops. We were met on schedule at 9 am each morning and returned to the ship on schedule. Our driver was excellent and the car was a new mini van. The driver stayed with the car the entire time and we were able to leave items there without fear.

The cost of the tour was actually cheaper (and far more enjoyable) than trying to visit the same places on a ships bus tour with the crowds.

Bottom line: Book ahead with Tim.
#17
Wellington, NZ
779 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
I've just reached out to Tim for a Celebrity Silhouette cruise in 2016 and am eagerly waiting to hear back from him.

Can someone tell me how it works to book a two day tour with Tim or a similar sized company in St Petersburg, do we still return to the ship at night? I notice on the website it makes mention of hotel stays but perhaps that is for non cruise ship clients?

In any case, he certainly gets good reviews. I'm hoping it works out.
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#18
North East England
3,670 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by astrocat
I've just reached out to Tim for a Celebrity Silhouette cruise in 2016 and am eagerly waiting to hear back from him.

Can someone tell me how it works to book a two day tour with Tim or a similar sized company in St Petersburg, do we still return to the ship at night? I notice on the website it makes mention of hotel stays but perhaps that is for non cruise ship clients?

In any case, he certainly gets good reviews. I'm hoping it works out.
just a word that the original thread is quite old and the 3 latest posts praising Tims company come from people where this is their first post

it is unusual if not suspicious that the very first post on cruise critic is to praise a company which none of the regular posters have heard of

in answer to your question about 2 day tours all of the tour companies will return you to the ship at the end of the first day-

I would contact several of the well known companies reviewed on here-eg Alla SPB Anastasia TJ tours Best guides and compare those to the responses and prices from Tim so you can make an informed choice whether his little known[on here] company is right for you
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#19
1,754 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by Giantfan13
Frankly, in the few years I have posted here, I have never heard of this company. That is not saying they aren't reputable, but why take that chance?? ... As was said, ALL the independent tour companies in St Petersburg will tailor a tour to exactly what you want to see and what you do not. They ALL do it.
I want to qualify your claim that all independent tour companies will tailor a tour to exactly what you want to see and what you do not. I've discovered that the biggies are happy to customize a tour with a couple of tweaks but are not willing to offer an entirely new tour. My husband and I have been to St. Petersburg before, staying three days. During those days, the only standard destination we missed is the Church on the Spilled Blood.

For an upcoming visit, we wanted to visit completely new places such as Shuvalov Palace/Faberge Museum and the Yusupov Palace, behind the scenes tour of the Mariinsky Theater, and the Cottage Palace on the grounds of the Peterhof. We approached some of the big tour companies, but they were not interested in creating an entirely new itinerary for a two-person group. The contact in SPB recommended White Nights, newer tour company begun by a friend of SPB founder Victoria. This company was happy to design a unique tour. When we booked, we did so primarily on the strength of Victoria's recommendation, although we were pleased to see positive reviews on Trip Advisor.

For first-time visitors, it's reasonable to claim that ALL tour companies will do exactly what they want. Sure, some want to add a Jewish dimension to their list of places, but by and large, first time visitors are working off a set list of top destinations. But, return to St. Petersburg and want to visit second-tier places, you'll find the situation is quite different.

As to the worry that the posters on this board haven't heard of X Company or Y Company, please remember that all the biggies started small at some time. (I've forgotten the lineage of Alla and SPB, but I believe an employee of one went off to start her own company and now both are equally trusted and admired. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a similar "family" connection among Denrus and Red October.)

I recommend cruisers user common sense when choosing a tour company, but if you are really intent on taking an atypical tour and your group is small, prepared to be flexible and give a lesser-known company a chance.

I'll definitely report back on White Nights after our cruise.
#20
Lee-on-the-Solent, England
12,577 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The two posts about Tailored Tours earlier (much earlier) in this thread do look very suspiciously like "plants". Both one-post wonders, both gushing about the operator & nothing about other factors.

So I took a look around TripAdvisor (who do have a reputation for planted recommendations), with the intention of proving the point.
Quite the opposite.
Many of Tailored Tours' reviews are from TA regulars who have hundreds of posts about a wide range of places & who are clearly genuine.
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attract...r.html#REVIEWS

I'd not come across Tailored Tours before on Cruise Critic, but that's often the way - a tour operator gets a couple of good reviews on one community or the other & it builds from there without crossing into the other community. I've seen that sort of division between CC & TA about organisations in my home town. It kinda shows the power of forums.

I think I'd still place my trust in organisations recommended by plenty of frequent posters on Cruise Critic, we used Alla & were very happy. But Tailored Tours do have a decent reputation, albeit on a smaller scale.

JB
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