St Petersburg with Thomsons

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1 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Hello All.

We are off to the Baltic 10th May on the Thomson Spirit out of the Tyne, been on this ship many times.
A few questions please.
Are the local tours cheaper / better than Thomsons ?
Do we have to pre book a local tour before sailing ?
What currency can we use in St Petersburg / Helsinki / Stockholm /Estonia ?
Can you recommend any local tour company in St Petersburg ?

thanks in advance.
Fox Point, WI, USA
3,629 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We were very happy with Red October.

IIRC, you need to get a Russian visa in advance if you want to go off on your own. The tour companies arrange this for you.
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
29,466 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Welcome to Cruise Critic!

There is a huge volume of info here, you just have to look in the right places. In your case, to answer your questions, I would be looking at the Thomson board, here:

and the Northern Europe Ports board, here:

where you will find lots of recommendations for your excursions.
Romsey England
11,552 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Unusually, in St Pete's, local tours are not a lot cheaper than ship's tours - esp bearing in mind Thomson tours are generally cheaper than the identical tour via other ships.
But the experience with local operators will be much better - groups are normally a max 16, early admission to Hermitage, etc..
Might be a problem getting a group together - needs 8 to get a tour at the standard price, & local operators don't always offer individual bookings for all ships- esp comparative tiddlers like Spirit.
Contact Alla, SPB, Red October, Anastasia & TJ Tours (just google them) - they're pretty efficient at getting back to you. You'll probably find they already have folk from your ship registered for tours & your choice of operator may be dictated by who is offering a tour that you can join. But no worries, they all have excellent reputations.

Don't delay, you've left it a bit late & life will be complicated trying to sort out St Pete's once you're at sea .For instance they will need your passport details to organise your visa-waiver, which you'll have to print-off.
Also payment - they generally price in US dollars & although other currencies are accepted payment in USD avoids grief over exchange rates, so you'll need to take US dollars. Credit cards are accepted, but I think they all add the commission charge. Payment is on-the-day (start of day 2 if you're on a 2 day tour). My reference to US dollars is for paying for a tour only - USD are no use for anything else on your cruise.

I expect you're aware that unless you take a pre-booked tour either with the ship or with one of those accredited local operators, you'll need a personal visa - which is expensive & complicated, & you're probably too late to organise that anyway.

Chop, chop