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St. Petersburg- Grand/Deluxe vs. Faberge Tour


hobbess
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I'm looking at 2 day excursion tours for St. Petersburg, and I'm trying to decide between choosing the grand/deluxe tour vs the faberge tour.

 

Different companies call the same itinerary with different names like grand or deluxe but they all call it the faberge tour for the second option.

 

So, what I did was print out the itinerary for the two choices and put them side by side as I crossed out anything the two tours had in common and circled any differences between the two until I found the following:

 

The Grand/Deluxe tour uses a hydrofoil to get to Peterhof in half an hour, visit the Yusupov Palace, and visit St Issac Cathedral.

 

The Faberge tour drives to Peterhof in a hour, visits the Faberge Museum, and has time to walk on Nevsky prospect.

 

Which option would you choose?

 

Which is better, St. Issacs Cathedral or Faberge Museum?

 

f it was a choice between Faberge or Yusupov Palace, I would have chosen Faberge because I doubt Yusupov Palace would be on all these tours if Rasputin hadn't been murdered there.

 

And, my ship is docking on a night where the Faberge museum is closed so I

can't do that for a evening excursion.

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For those who went on a shore excursion in St. Petersburg, do you remember how long you were in Yusupov Palace?

 

The tour schedules say they'll spend 1.5 hours in Yusupov Palace, but that seems like a lot of time for something not that strong. That's more time than the Church of Spilled Blood or St Issac's Cathedral.

 

For the 1.5 hours, does that include transportation time from Church of Spilled Blood to Yusupov Palace and transportation time from Yusupov Palace to St. Issacs Cathedral?

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... So, what I did was print out the itinerary for the two choices and put them side by side.... until I found the following:

 

The Grand/Deluxe tour uses a hydrofoil to get to Peterhof in half an hour, visit the Yusupov Palace, and visit St Issac Cathedral.

 

The Faberge tour drives to Peterhof in a hour, visits the Faberge Museum, and has time to walk on Nevsky prospect.

 

Which option would you choose?

 

Kudos for your detailed thorough approach to solving your problem. I'll point out a few more issues you might want to think about, but you're really at a place where only you can make the choice.

 

Are you more interested in over-the-top architecture and furnishings of a nobleman's palace or in the famous jewelry of Faberge? The Yusupov Palace is quite ornate and it has the added bonus of being connected with Rasputin. (The exhibit about Rasputin is only accessible during the Russian-language guided tours or by special arrangement.) Faberge museum contains the world's largest collection of Faberge items in the world and it has the added bonus of being located in the beautiful Shuvalov Palace. (The Shuvalov isn't as over-the-top as the Yusupov, but to my eye, it's more pleasing.)

 

As for your match up between St. Isaacs Cathedral and Faberge Museum, I can only ask, "Have you visited Italy?" St. Isaacs was built at a time when St. Petersburg was copying everything Western. If you've visited Rome, you'll look at St. Isaacs and say, "That looks familiar." St. Isaacs is a pure Baroque church -- suitably impressive -- but it should not be confused with one of the onion domed Russian churches that you might see in Moscow.

 

The hydrofoil ride is very pleasant and, above all, faster. On a previous visit to Peterhof, we took a bus ride out to the palace and the hydrofoil ride back. I preferred the hydrofoil ride. On the other hand, I liked the destinations better for the tour that uses bus transportation.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Pet Nit Noy
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For those who went on a shore excursion in St. Petersburg, do you remember how long you were in Yusupov Palace?

 

The tour schedules say they'll spend 1.5 hours in Yusupov Palace, but that seems like a lot of time for something not that strong. That's more time than the Church of Spilled Blood or St Issac's Cathedral.

 

For the 1.5 hours, does that include transportation time from Church of Spilled Blood to Yusupov Palace and transportation time from Yusupov Palace to St. Issacs Cathedral?

All 3 are great and well worth visiting but if I could only do one it would be the YP over CSB and SIC. You may be right in saying that but for Rasputin it would be just another palace but there's physically more to see there than at the others and the legend of the mad monk makes it (to me) very special.

 

All the best, Tony

 

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hobbess have you thought about "tweaking" one of the existing tours? We have done that with the "Grand" tour of one of the tour companies and they were most amenable. We have taken out Yusupov Palace and replaced it with the Faberge Museum. We still have St Isaacs, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood, the hydrofoil ride to Peterhof and all the other inclusions. There has been so much interest in this bespoke tour on our roll call that the price has now been reduced to less than the original Grand tour. Just a thought :)

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hobbess have you thought about "tweaking" one of the existing tours? We have done that with the "Grand" tour of one of the tour companies and they were most amenable. We have taken out Yusupov Palace and replaced it with the Faberge Museum. We still have St Isaacs, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood, the hydrofoil ride to Peterhof and all the other inclusions. There has been so much interest in this bespoke tour on our roll call that the price has now been reduced to less than the original Grand tour. Just a thought :)

 

Which tour company was this flexible? Is it a private excursion where you needed a certain number of passengers to bring the cost down?

 

I'm looking at a private excursion but an excursion to Faberge has become more trouble than I thought it would have been. The Faberge museum only sells tickets for private tours for groups up to 15 people at a fixed price, regardless of how many people are in the tour. So, if its just two in a private excursion, you're paying the same price as if there were 15 people.

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Which tour company was this flexible? Is it a private excursion where you needed a certain number of passengers to bring the cost down?

 

I'm looking at a private excursion but an excursion to Faberge has become more trouble than I thought it would have been. The Faberge museum only sells tickets for private tours for groups up to 15 people at a fixed price, regardless of how many people are in the tour. So, if its just two in a private excursion, you're paying the same price as if there were 15 people.

 

I'm not sure if I am allowed to name the company as we are yet to take their tour but it's just a statement of fact not a recommendation. We're using Alla Tours. I just put it up on our Roll Call a few months ago and we've just started a third minibus it's been such a popular option. They did one full bus for the same price as their Grand Tour and a further reduction when we filled the second.

Edited by TasKaz
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I can understand your dilemma, as I struggled between the two as well, but then I thought of it like this. On the Faberge tour I still got to see a palace (Catherine), the gardens of Peterhof , a Church (Spilled Blood) , the Peter & Paul Fortress, the Hermitage and 10 of the Faberge Easter Eggs.

Quite frankly, if you see too many Russian palaces they may start to run together.

Of course I am biased as I chose the Faberge Tour.

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Our tour company is combining our small group of 8 with another small group to visit the Faberge museum. We will be combined for that time only. Talk with your tour company. We are using one different from previously mentioned.

Edited by krillsister
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Yusupov Palace is not high on the list of most requested destinations but is thrown in on many standard tours.

Faberge has become a hit with visitors, the palace is gorgeous, after an extensive restoration. This year, finally more of the tour operators picked up on it. Only one had contracts with their first year.

Most of the standard tours are pretty rushed so if you want to add Faberge in the day, you will have to drop something, unless you forgo to standard evening folklore shows and just extend your day to include Faberge after 6pm when the 15 ticket rule ends and you can just get a ticket for 300 rubles($6)

There are a lot of options that increase the enjoyment and lowers the cost.

An extended private tour ranges from $300-650 for basically the same tour. A small group tour would be a lot lower. Don't just accept the first itinerary offered, the trend has been to offer just what is most convenient for the company and no customization. The prices being charged considering the ruble value, is very high with the standard tours. You ought to get what you want if you are willing to pay those prices.

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