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Tailored Tours - St. Petersburg

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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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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.

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

Edited by Got2Cruise

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

Edited by CintiPam

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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.

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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

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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

Edited by babes1102

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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 !!!

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we used "Guide-Guru Tours", www.guide-guru.com, in St Petersburg, and they were fantastic. Maximum 18 passenger van, with an outstanding guide, Yana, and they can tailor the tour to your specific wants.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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.

Edited by Pet Nit Noy

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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/Attraction_Review-g298507-d2257607-Reviews-or10-Tailored_Tours_St_Petersburg_Private_Day_Tours_and_Shore_Excursions-St_Peter.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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We are up against a frustrating situation with one of the major tour companies. We booked a tour for 10 people, agreed upon pricing and number of people 2 months ago. Now we discover that they filled their van up (16 people) and if we want the original 10 people, it will cost more per person and will not include lunches. I sent an email this morning requesting that they honor their original quote - hoping for a positive response by tomorrow. If not, I will be looking elsewhere. If that happens, I am curious what companies you had success with in putting together a smaller group (say between 4-10, realizing # will dictate price), and what kind of added price points you were quoted over their standard group pricing? So for instance, if you were taking a "Grand Tour" (upgraded tour) that runs $300/per person for two days, how much more would you expect to pay for this smaller group size? Thank you.

Edited by Vineyard View

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That would be frustrating, Vineyard. :mad::mad::mad:

 

Just to clarify, I had already received private recommendations about Timofey and Tailored Tours from NZ friends and colleagues who used him while on a SilverSeas visit. They were extremely complimentary, and that's the primary reason for reaching out. I should have mentioned this yesterday. The tripadvisor reviews are a bonus but yes, I agree its always healthy to be a tad sceptical about reviews which appear overly positive OR negative.

 

I'm happy to say he responded promptly overnight and we're all set for July 2016, even though it is still some way off!! :D:D:D

 

At this stage, its only my husband and I , and we would happily proceed on that basis but yes I have put together previous excursions based on roll calls and - happily - have never had a problem with the cruisers, or the companies for that matter.

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We are up against a frustrating situation with one of the major tour companies. We booked a tour for 10 people, agreed upon pricing and number of people 2 months ago. Now we discover that they filled their van up (16 people) and if we want the original 10 people, it will cost more per person and will not include lunches. I sent an email this morning requesting that they honor their original quote - hoping for a positive response by tomorrow. If not, I will be looking elsewhere. If that happens, I am curious what companies you had success with in putting together a smaller group (say between 4-10, realizing # will dictate price), and what kind of added price points you were quoted over their standard group pricing? So for instance, if you were taking a "Grand Tour" (upgraded tour) that runs $300/per person for two days, how much more would you expect to pay for this smaller group size? Thank you.

 

When we cruised to St P. we contacted SPB, Alla & DenRus. None would book two seats-on-bus for us, they all said that they had poor responses from our ship in the past & could only accept bookings at the advertised price for a minimum of 8 (DenRus it was 10). I don't recall the figures but for Alla the cost for six was just a few dollars - mebbe $20 pp more - but the price for 4 was very steep.

We kept in touch with all, found sharers via CC & another RollCall, and Alla had other direct enquiries. So when between us we totalled 10 we all booked with Alla. In fact we got further interest & ended up a total of 20. That worked out very well, we arranged one Grand & the other Comfort and everyone got their preference, neatly split into 2 x 10. All at the advertised prices.

If others had been added by Alla that would have been fine by us - remember we weren't travelling as a group of family or friends, we were assorted couples with similar objectives.

 

If your operator wants to add up to six others to your van, then that depends whether your booking was for exclusive use of a van or merely for 10 seats.

You can seek to negotiate with another operator for sole use of a van for 10 at the advertised price. But I do wonder whether the goalposts have been moved because it's a busy day - if so, you may find the others taking an equally-firm line.

Supply & demand. Low demand when we were there cost us the trouble of putting a group together, on the other hand for the operator two vans each with just ten and at standard prices is a lot more profitable than than two vans parked-up in the yard.

 

Hope this helps.

But it might just muddy the water. :D

 

JB :)

Edited by John Bull

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I totally get what you are saying. The tour company didn't expect a large response from our ship in Jan when we met their 10 number. We were told they would run our tour with 10 if we could pull them together - which we did. Then more signed up apparently and they added them to our group. Which we didn't know. But it is what it is and we just need to decide what we are going to do about it. The response that I received back was very aggressive - took me by surprise.

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