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NCL excursion in St. Petersburg


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Has anyone taken the 2 days and an evening in St. Petersburg excursion through NCL? If so, can you please give me your reviews/insight on it?

 

Are there any other excursions that anyone has taken in St. Petersburg and highly recommends? We're traveling with children (10, 9 and 6) and two senior citizens.

 

Thank you!

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Has anyone taken the 2 days and an evening in St. Petersburg excursion through NCL? If so, can you please give me your reviews/insight on it?

 

Are there any other excursions that anyone has taken in St. Petersburg and highly recommends? We're traveling with children (10, 9 and 6) and two senior citizens.

 

Thank you!

 

Hi,

I did not avail myself of any of the NCL tours. Have you considered independent local tours? Most of us on this board have used independent local tour companies in Saint Petersburg (which is the highlight on the Baltic itineraries). The local tour companies offer smaller groups (max 16), more comprehensive tours, are more flexible and responsive to your needs and are more affordable than the ship excursions. (Note: the local companies take care of the Visa requirement for you)

There are several tour companies in Saint Petersburg that are highly regarded by members of our cruise critic community. Some of them also offer package tours for other Baltic ports such as Berlin, Warnemunde, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn & Schwerin (which are a very good value if you prefer not to DIY).

There are several companies that consistently receive glowing reviews from their customers that have toured with them. Most of us on these boards, myself included, have only toured with one company thus making meaningful comparisons between the major operators in Saint Petersburg impossible.

The best advice I can offer is to contact several companies and decide for yourself which company is the best “fit” for your particular wants and needs. Here are a few websites to get you started:

Alla Tours - http://alla-tour.com/

TJ Travel - http://st-petersburg-tours.ru/

Anastasia - http://anastasia.travel/

Best Guides - http://bestguides-spb.com/

We booked our tours with Alla Tours. We contacted all of the major tour companies in Saint Petersburg and Alla (the owner of Alla Tours) was, by far, the best “fit” for us. Her extra special attention to our “wants” and “needs” was unsurpassed. She was extremely flexible, patient and very kind. Alla genuinely cared that our specific “wants” were met and she modified our tour to include our requests to see the Grand Choral Synagogue in Saint Petersburg and the Pergamon museum in Berlin.

Additionally, we received the best price for our tours in both Saint Petersburg and Berlin from Alla … none of the other companies that we contacted matched the price we were quoted from Alla. Price is always a consideration for us as our European cruises with extended land excursions tend to put a “strain’ on the budget … but even though we seek an affordable price, we still want excellent service. Alla delivered on both counts. Our tours, as well as our guides, were simply outstanding!!

I found our tours with Alla to be truly exceptional and, in my years of travel, have not found a comparable tour company that catered so diligently to client satisfaction via their exemplary customer service. I highly recommend Alla Tours. http://alla-tour.com/

Enjoy your cruise to the Baltics! J

jill

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Ditto to Jill's post as well! We are visiting St. Pete's early June and have booked our tour with Alla! She is wonderful and very accommodating especially if you need some special accommodations which traveling with 3 young children may be warranted in your case! :) Enjoy your cruise!

 

 

Dolfans from Miami

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A private tour will be your best "bang for your buck" without a doubt....TJ Travel provided an active 2 day tour for just the two of us, guide & driver...We saw and did more than could have ever expected and the flexibility to move at our pace and to add things on the spur of the moment was priceless...Don't short change yourself in this amazing city and all it has to offer under the right circumstances !

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Has anyone taken the 2 days and an evening in St. Petersburg excursion through NCL? If so, can you please give me your reviews/insight on it?

 

Are there any other excursions that anyone has taken in St. Petersburg and highly recommends? We're traveling with children (10, 9 and 6) and two senior citizens.

 

Thank you!

 

Here is a post from scubacruiserx2 on another thread on this board that you may find useful as well considering you are traveling with little ones...

 

Originally Posted by scubacruiserx2

 

Have you considered Best Guides tour for children in St. Petersburg ? This is the one we booked for our grandson and us (until our daughter cancelled) in May. http://www.bestguides-spb.com/children-page.html

 

 

 

 

Dolfans from Miami

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Has anyone taken the 2 days and an evening in St. Petersburg excursion through NCL? If so, can you please give me your reviews/insight on it?

 

Are there any other excursions that anyone has taken in St. Petersburg and highly recommends? We're traveling with children (10, 9 and 6) and two senior citizens.

 

Thank you!

 

You have gotten some good info so far. All the tour groups in St Petersberg do an outstanding job on showing you their city.

 

Dogs4fun listed several already, but one was left out which you should think about. SPB Tours is the one we used and they are currently rated as the #1 tour company in St Petersberg by Trip Advisor.

As I said, we used them for our time in St Petersberg and we just couldn't have been happier with them. Email them at http://www.spb-tours.com/st-petersburg/en/node. tell them exactly what you are looking for and Viktoria will design a tour that will accommodate your entire group.

You should also go to your Roll Call for your ship and see what some of the others are doing also.

 

Take all of our advice and forget any of the ships tours and book privately. The ships tours are just a mass of people, all trying to see the exact same thing. You have young ones, and older ones and that simply will not be easy on any ships cattle call of a tour. All private tours take a max of 18 people and will accommodate any and all wishes.

 

 

But don't just take any one's word for which tour is best. We all loved the company we used. You need to contact each one and see which one you feel most comfortable with and who will help you see St Petersberg the way you want to see it.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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We are on this cruise in June. Contrary to the other posters, I LOVE taking NCL excursions. I love the easy and lack of worry.

 

We booked the two days separately because the activity level was higher then the two day combined (2 vs 1). With 3 teenage boys we like the additional walking and moving about. I thought the excursion you are referring to looked nice and seemed like it saved a little money, just not right for my family.

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There are all levels of excursions when booking though one of the well established tour companies recommended by fellow CC'rs. The main difference is the price, and if you compare apples to apples you will save more than a"little" money. When we booked the moderate 2 day tour with Spb, the price was almost the same for the 2 day tour as 1 day tour through NCL. But the biggest difference is the size of the group. NCL tours with large coach buses. If you have a private tour you can make it as small as you wish, but a reasonably priced tour as ten people on board, and you travel in a van. There is no worry or fuss involved when booking with these private companies. The owners oversee each and every detail and make certain that the consumer is happy. There is no stress whatsoever, you have your visa in hand when going through emigration and your tour guide is waiting for you directly on the other side.

We are on this cruise in June. Contrary to the other posters, I LOVE taking NCL excursions. I love the easy and lack of worry.

 

We booked the two days separately because the activity level was higher then the two day combined (2 vs 1). With 3 teenage boys we like the additional walking and moving about. I thought the excursion you are referring to looked nice and seemed like it saved a little money, just not right for my family.

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Not to mention you have a tourguide who gets to know the 5 of you AND is looking out for each of you -- both to make sure you don't get lost in a sea of 50 people on a bus, as well as to make sure you are all getting something out of the tour.

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Such great information here and I'm really wanting to book through one of the sites that was mentioned above. I like the fact that they'd get to know us and show us around in a more personal setting - and that the price is better than the ship's!

 

I have to admit....I am a bit apprehensive. How can you help me overcome this side of things? I know we're in SPB overnight but I worry that something may happen and we'd not make it back to the ship after each day or even in time to leave. Or even something that I'm not even thinking about would occur. With so many CCr's taking these tours I do feel better about it but I'm still apprehensive.

 

Another thought - someone mentioned to me (while on our last cruise) that while we are in port that the ship holds our passports....? I thought we were not supposed to let those out of our sight?

 

Thanks for everyone's help!

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Such great information here and I'm really wanting to book through one of the sites that was mentioned above. I like the fact that they'd get to know us and show us around in a more personal setting - and that the price is better than the ship's!

 

I have to admit....I am a bit apprehensive. How can you help me overcome this side of things? I know we're in SPB overnight but I worry that something may happen and we'd not make it back to the ship after each day or even in time to leave. Or even something that I'm not even thinking about would occur. With so many CCr's taking these tours I do feel better about it but I'm still apprehensive.

 

Another thought - someone mentioned to me (while on our last cruise) that while we are in port that the ship holds our passports....? I thought we were not supposed to let those out of our sight?

Thanks for everyone's help!

 

Hi,

Don't worry. Nothing to be apprehensive about. None of the companies mentioned above have ever missed getting their clients back aboard ship in time for sailing. And, when I emailed Alla Tours about this same concern before our stop in Saint Petersburg, she assured me that if it ever happened that we missed the ship, she would fly us to our next port at her expense.

 

You MUST have your passport with you in order to clear Russian immigration. The ship will definitely NOT keep your passport.

 

I had tons of questions & concerns prior to my first visit to Saint Petersburg, so you are not alone in your concerns. We were all "newbies" at some point. Alla was wonderful in answering all of my questions & allaying my concerns. Don't be shy in posing questions to your tour operator.

 

Hope this helps. :)

jill

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Such great information here and I'm really wanting to book through one of the sites that was mentioned above. I like the fact that they'd get to know us and show us around in a more personal setting - and that the price is better than the ship's!

 

I have to admit....I am a bit apprehensive. How can you help me overcome this side of things? I know we're in SPB overnight but I worry that something may happen and we'd not make it back to the ship after each day or even in time to leave. Or even something that I'm not even thinking about would occur. With so many CCr's taking these tours I do feel better about it but I'm still apprehensive.

 

Another thought - someone mentioned to me (while on our last cruise) that while we are in port that the ship holds our passports....? I thought we were not supposed to let those out of our sight?

 

Thanks for everyone's help!

 

I as well shared your concerns but Alla has reassured me (over and over again), that in her many years of conducting her tours, she has NEVER had an incident where someone missed their ship! She also reassured me that IF this ever were to happen, she would ensure that we arrive to the next port of call assuming all costs in getting us there! She carefully plans her itineraries so our last touring spot is fairly close to the port and also works with a large team of skilled guides who have contingent plans in place in case it is needed! Trust me when I say that I asked every question imaginable and then some prior to choosing Alla! Best of luck and enjoy your cruise!

 

 

Dolfans from Miami

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I have to admit....I am a bit apprehensive. How can you help me overcome this side of things? I know we're in SPB overnight but I worry that something may happen and we'd not make it back to the ship after each day or even in time to leave. Or even something that I'm not even thinking about would occur. With so many CCr's taking these tours I do feel better about it but I'm still apprehensive.

 

!

 

It won't happen. However, in the extremely extremely extremely unlikely event that a calamity occurs and you do miss the boat, you just get on a plane and go to the next port.

 

One other thing - the cruise companies say that you will never miss the ship if you take one of their tours and they will hold it for you until the group gets back. Read the fine print in your cruise contract. They will hold the ship as long as possible but if they have to leave - they will. The cruise company agent at the port will mane arrangements to get you back on the ship but they may leave. Check out this post - http://en.mercopress.com/2005/02/24/stanley-draws-up-plans-for-stranded-cruise-passengers.

 

No big deal.

 

DON

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It won't happen. However, in the extremely extremely extremely unlikely event that a calamity occurs and you do miss the boat, you just get on a plane and go to the next port.

 

One other thing - the cruise companies say that you will never miss the ship if you take one of their tours and they will hold it for you until the group gets back. Read the fine print in your cruise contract. They will hold the ship as long as possible but if they have to leave - they will. The cruise company agent at the port will mane arrangements to get you back on the ship but they may leave. Check out this post - http://en.mercopress.com/2005/02/24/stanley-draws-up-plans-for-stranded-cruise-passengers.

 

No big deal.

 

DON

 

Thanks for that information Don. I have never read the fine print & as I never take ship tours I had just assumed that the ship waits for all passengers on their sponsored shore excursions.

Makes sense that in some instances it would be impossible to wait. :) Geez... after reading the post, it appears that those passengers were the recipients of another cruise ship "mess up". Should not have been taken to shore.

jill

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Thanks for that information Don. I have never read the fine print & as I never take ship tours I had just assumed that the ship waits for all passengers on their sponsored shore excursions.

Makes sense that in some instances it would be impossible to wait. :) Geez... after reading the post, it appears that those passengers were the recipients of another cruise ship "mess up". Should not have been taken to shore.

jill

 

Thank you, Don, for sharing the article. I agree with Jill's comments that it appears to be another cruise ship "mess up". With this said, IMHO, it would appear that your chances are greater in missing the ship on one of their own approved excursions as opposed to a private one! LOL!

 

 

Dolfans from Miami

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Don't worry, the private tour companies have it down to a science.:D It was pointed out, that if you look at the itinerary, they go the farthest away from the ship on the first day. On the second day, you are very close to the ship. Also, the guides and drivers are in constant communication by cell phone with each other, giving each other tips as to wait times, traffic, crowds in shops restaurants, etc. The cruise pax are these tour companies bread and butter, if they get pax back late, just once, they know it will be all over Cruise Critic within 24 hours.:eek:;) Yes, always mention you are from Cruise Critic when corresponding with the various companies. Always choose a tour company that several folks on Cruise Critic have come back raving about. Every once in a while someone throws out the name of a company people have never used, Why take that risk?

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