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We're thinking about booking Best of the Best tour with Best Guides. We still haven't decided. Does anybody know what kind of lunches are included? My DW has very serious food restrictions and I'm not sure she will be able to eat anything at all.

 

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3 hours ago, DNJ66 said:

My DW has very serious food restrictions and I'm not sure she will be able to eat anything at all.

If this is a big concern you might consider a packed lunch provided by your ship.

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On 11/4/2019 at 11:26 AM, DNJ66 said:

We're thinking about booking Best of the Best tour with Best Guides. We still haven't decided. Does anybody know what kind of lunches are included? My DW has very serious food restrictions and I'm not sure she will be able to eat anything at all.

 

Based on my experience, traditional food is usually served for lunch on tours in St. Petersburg. In most restaurants, gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available. However, I am not familiar with this particular tour operator and I would probably suggest contacting them directly with your concern. Good luck!

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Lunches were not included in our tour although we had a private guide for four of us so their set tours could be different.  We had fairly quick stops in restaurants, either at a museum (Hermitage) or a local restaurant. If that is the case you should therefore have some flexibility in what and where you eat. 

And we had an excellent experience overall with Best Guides. 

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On 11/6/2019 at 7:25 PM, Lagerta said:

 I would probably suggest contacting them directly with your concern. Good luck!

 

I absolutely agree.  Why don’t you ask them directly? Questions are free of charge 😊 If they can accept  all those food restrictions that’s great. If not – you can always take a packed lunch from the ship.

Jess

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I asked Best Guides about the menu, regarding food restrictions and they wrote me it's not a problem for them. Thanks everybody!

 

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We are a family of 8 people, 6 adults and two kids, we have booked a private tour with Best Guides in September 2019 to get the best price. My parents visited St. Petersburg 8 years ago,  booked with them and  they were happy with the result.
My sister living in Europe tried to visit Russia (St. Petersburg ) for the New Year with her husband and 2 kids. They booked a hotel, restaurant for the NY night, sightseeing tour around the city, tickets to Mariinski theater. They applied for e-visas, got them for the whole family and... were stopped at the Russian border because of a minor mistake in the documents. They got some refund, but they had  to celebrate the New Year in Helsinki 😥
Is there any chance of having problems with tour tickets provided by the Best Guides? Has anybody heard about such a problem? I asked the company and they told me nobody had ever been stopped on the border because of tour tickets. I asked my cruise line and they advised me to book  through them.
I'm in two minds, which to choose. If there is a danger to be stopped, I'll cancel with Best Guides and book a tour from the ship.

 

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48 minutes ago, FiNiCheck said:

Is there any chance of having problems with tour tickets provided by the Best Guides? Has anybody heard about such a problem? I asked the company and they told me nobody had ever been stopped on the border because of tour tickets. I asked my cruise line and they advised me to book  through them.
I'm in two minds, which to choose. If there is a danger to be stopped, I'll cancel with Best Guides and book a tour from the ship.

There is no chance that you will have an issue. You are arriving via cruise ship and your sister was not. It is an entirely different procedure for cruise line passengers - cruise passengers are allowed 72 hours of visa free touring provided that they are accompanied by a licensed tour company/guide. Your tour tickets (provided by Best Guides) and your passports will allow each one in your group to clear Russian immigration in the cruise terminal. Relax - you have no worries.

FYI - your cruise ship uses the same procedure as the local tour companies - they provide you with a tour ticket to clear immigration. The difference is that the cruise ship provides tours through a local company from whom they purchase tours at a discounted price and add their profit margin on top of that price. This makes the ship tours  more expensive & the groups larger and more impersonal (and usually not as comprehensive). Of course the ship would encourage you to take their tours - they make a big profit on the shore excursions that they sell.

Edited by dogs4fun

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We had a different experience since we were on a Viking river cruise and had a few days in St P beforehand. We needed a regular tourist visa and had no issues with that. As for Best Guides itself we could not have happier - guides In both St P and Moscow were great, they helped with theater tickets and restaurants and other advice. 

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3 hours ago, FiNiCheck said:

We are a family of 8 people, 6 adults and two kids, we have booked a private tour with Best Guides in September 2019 to get the best price.

Edited to add; you will have no problems provided you are arriving and departing via ocean cruise ship (not river cruise ship).

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3 hours ago, FiNiCheck said:


Is there any chance of having problems with tour tickets provided by the Best Guides? Has anybody heard about such a problem? I asked the company and they told me nobody had ever been stopped on the border because of tour tickets. I asked my cruise line and they advised me to book  through them.
I'm in two minds, which to choose. If there is a danger to be stopped, I'll cancel with Best Guides and book a tour from the ship.

 

 

The tour tickets/visas are garbage in/garbage out.  Give the proper info to the tour group, and double-check the tickets when you get them.  Ensure dates are correct, names are EXACTLY as on passport, with proper last/first order.  If not, they will correct them before you go.  Your sister's situation is apples/oranges, as she had to supply and validate all the info herself.  Don't overpay for an overcrowded cruiseline tour.

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Well, check I did and all is correct. But my concern is why would they ask for passport number and all the details and after I sent them all as required, I see none of it on my tour tickets. Look what I got after all. Is this right?

I had also some problems loading them.

CCE31012020.pdf

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5 hours ago, Romalia said:

But my concern is why would they ask for passport number and all the details and after I sent them all as required, I see none of it on my tour tickets.

Our tour tickets did not include our passport numbers, dates of birth, etc. - only our names and the date/time of the tours.

You are fine - your tour company must provide your passport number, date of birth, & citizenship to immigration prior to your arrival - immigration will already have you in their computer system at the port terminal so that your passport and your tour ticket will get you through immigration in Russia. You are fine - don't worry. 

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On 9/24/2019 at 12:24 AM, diane.in.ny said:

We used Best Guides this month. Our guide was excellent. The tour was first class all the way. Highly recommend.

Hi Diane, 

which tour did you book? Was it this Best of the Best? I wonder what this hydrofoil is - is it comfortable enough? 

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2 hours ago, Fran2020 said:

Hi Diane, 

which tour did you book? Was it this Best of the Best? I wonder what this hydrofoil is - is it comfortable enough? 

 

 

Yes, it was that tour. We kept it private for 8 of us but you can also just book it and have up to, I think, 16 people

 

The hydrofoil is fine.  Nice smooth ride

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3 hours ago, OlympicGirl said:

Hi Diane,

did you have meals included in the private tour too? We have requested seats in an open group already but maybe it is a better option to make it private for six of us,  so I am trying to understand the difference in price if we go for it.  I wonder if it is in general possible to have a proper lunch with an agenda like this 🙂 

 

Yes, meals were included. We had two very nice sit down lunches. No choices but we liked everything. 

 

At the second lunch, the office manager came with a handheld charge card gizmo and that's when we paid. At the end, we tipped the driver and guide in US $.

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On 2/2/2020 at 12:09 PM, Romalia said:

 

 

Well, check I did and all is correct. But my concern is why would they ask for passport number and all the details and after I sent them all as required, I see none of it on my tour tickets. Look what I got after all. Is this right?

 

I had also some problems loading them.

 

CCE31012020.pdf 525.91 kB · 5 downloads

 Hi Romalia

Your tour tickets look good for me. As far as I remember we had something very similar to it.

We also provided our passport numbers, date sof birth, & citizenship etc. to Best Guides :) No problems.

Jess

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On 2/18/2020 at 10:30 PM, diane.in.ny said:

 

 

Yes, it was that tour. We kept it private for 8 of us but you can also just book it and have up to, I think, 16 people

 

The hydrofoil is fine.  Nice smooth ride

Thanks Diane, 

yes, the open group we are currently booked at is up to 16 people but I am fine with that. I am also looking at their evening events - have you taken any? A folk show for example? I remember I saw a video of a Russian folk dance called Beriozka and it was fantastic 

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2 hours ago, Fran2020 said:

Thanks Diane, 

yes, the open group we are currently booked at is up to 16 people but I am fine with that. I am also looking at their evening events - have you taken any? A folk show for example? I remember I saw a video of a Russian folk dance called Beriozka and it was fantastic 

 

No. Didn't go to any of the evening program s . Long days and didn't think we could handle it

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On 2/2/2020 at 5:12 PM, dogs4fun said:

Our tour tickets did not include our passport numbers, dates of birth, etc. - only our names and the date/time of the tours.

You are fine - your tour company must provide your passport number, date of birth, & citizenship to immigration prior to your arrival - immigration will already have you in their computer system at the port terminal so that your passport and your tour ticket will get you through immigration in Russia. You are fine - don't worry. 

Thanks for comforting me. And I also asked my manager and the explanation was exactly the same. So I am really fine. No worries and thanks again 😀.

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On 2/28/2020 at 5:25 PM, CrazyJess said:

 

 

 

 Hi Romalia

Your tour tickets look good for me. As far as I remember we had something very similar to it.

 

We also provided our passport numbers, date sof birth, & citizenship etc. to Best Guides 🙂 No problems.

 

Jess

 

Thank you as well 😀

 

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On 3/11/2020 at 12:11 PM, OlympicGirl said:

Hi Diane, 

forgot one thing - what would be in your opinion an acceptable amount to tip a guide/driver? I am not that familiar with such group tours so would appreciate any recommendation 🙂 

 

I honestly don't remember exactly what we tipped. Since generally we do $10 for a full day pp, we probably tipped our guide $50 because she was very accommodating to the needs of the group. And we would have given the drive $20 or $25.

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On 3/11/2020 at 12:11 PM, OlympicGirl said:

Hi Diane, 

forgot one thing - what would be in your opinion an acceptable amount to tip a guide/driver? I am not that familiar with such group tours so would appreciate any recommendation 🙂 

 

According to their web sites, Best Guides, as well as other popular tour companies in St. Petersburg, recommend 10% to the tour guide and 5% to the driver.  They ask for clean unmarked bills.

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