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St. Petersburg really Small Group Tour


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I'm seeing some advertisement for "small group tours" in SPB, but then reviews state 14-16 passengers. The part I dislike is waiting on some of them to return from lunch, bathroom break, smoke breaks etc. I even read someone on a small group tour and an additional four passengers showed up they allowed in. Do you know of any tour guides that give tours to group 6 -8 passengers?

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Alla tends to be one of those who does 16 seater vans

 

others run smaller groups

In fact you could do a tour with just 2 of you but obviously will cost more

 

If you ask for a private tour rather than a company who fills on a seat by seat basis then you will have more control on group size

The onus will be on you to fill the van but most people attract tour mates from their roll call

 

several years ago we used Anastasia for just our group of 3

next year we have booked TJ tours for a 6 seater van

we have 5 in our party already from our roll call

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I would email some of the top 10 or so tour companies from Trip Advisor with your thoughts about a tour and get proposals. You will see the differences, the responses, the prices and get a feel for them. Some ask for deposits, others do not. We did this and chose one that seemed to best fit our needs and we are working on a trip for June. We have 4 and would like to add another couple but it may be that no one has the same interest. You will learn a lot and most of these companies are very helpful.

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We really loved our private tour for just our family. Since we were traveling with a 3 year old we needed to have the flexibility to control the itinerary and take extra breaks or stay longer when he was happy. I'd price out the difference and see if you can afford the private tour for just your family, or else hopefully you can put together something on your roll call that will work for you.

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We also did a small private tour with a group from our roll call, using one of the popular SPB tour companies. Luckily the group's interests very much aligned with ours, so planning our itinerary was quite easy. Since we were around 8 people, it actually still worked out cheaper than the ship's excursions.

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We were 6 with Ulko for 2 full days. 100% satisfied. They will customize a tour for you. ( I suggest going to Peterhof or Catherine's Palace but not both. Theybare very similar. Catherine's has the Amber room and Peterhof the gardens. All interior tours are busy so,youmwon't be able to enjoy any particular room as much as you would like.

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Linda,

check a spreadsheet I made to compare some of the City Highlights kind of tours offered by well-regarded local companies - what sights are on the itinerary, how many people in a group, rates, extras, etc. Here is the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7qPbaGB1wZ9LWFhektxV0w5UFVzaEdnU3dJd0tnSFh5S3hB/view?usp=sharing.

Thank you for this link - a very useful document!!!

Waggie

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  • 3 weeks later...
Linda,

check a spreadsheet I made to compare some of the City Highlights kind of tours offered by well-regarded local companies - what sights are on the itinerary, how many people in a group, rates, extras, etc. Here is the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7qPbaGB1wZ9LWFhektxV0w5UFVzaEdnU3dJd0tnSFh5S3hB/view?usp=sharing.

 

Thanks so much! I'm just starting to look at tours for our trip next summer. This is very helpful.

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We were 6 with Ulko for 2 full days. 100% satisfied. They will customize a tour for you. ( I suggest going to Peterhof or Catherine's Palace but not both. Theybare very similar. Catherine's has the Amber room and Peterhof the gardens. All interior tours are busy so,youmwon't be able to enjoy any particular room as much as you would like.

Sorry Earl but I loved both places and they are entirely different. How are they similar when as you said, "Catherine's has the Amber room and Peterhof the gardens. " The gardens are awesome and there's so much to see in Catherine's. I'd give up one of the churches, instead, if you must give something up!

BTW Alla tours does do small group tours. My family was on a small group tour with Alla.

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I'm seeing some advertisement for "small group tours" in SPB, but then reviews state 14-16 passengers. The part I dislike is waiting on some of them to return from lunch, bathroom break, smoke breaks etc. I even read someone on a small group tour and an additional four passengers showed up they allowed in. Do you know of any tour guides that give tours to group 6 -8 passengers?

 

All the tour companies will work with smaller groups. They may ask that your create your group and the per person price may be somewhat higher than the pp price of a larger group, but they probably won't refuse you. Some will even work up a price for a group as small as two as long as you stick to the standard tour.

 

Where you'll run into difficulty is if you try to drastically customize your itinerary for a very small group. Some of the most popular companies can fill all their seats without putting in extra administrative time for major customization. Minor tweaks, yes. But not major changes. Since I don't sense that you're looking for a tour with a group as small as two, you ought to be able to identify several tour companies who will work with you.

 

Creating your own group is easy if you work through your roll call. Work with a tour company to identify one that appeals to you and ask for a per person price for X or Y or Z number of participants. Advertise on your roll call.

 

FWIW, 14-16 is considered small compared to the ship's excursions which send out the big buses -- the ones that can hold 40 passengers -- fully subscribed.

Edited by Pet Nit Noy
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Linda,

check a spreadsheet I made to compare some of the City Highlights kind of tours offered by well-regarded local companies - what sights are on the itinerary, how many people in a group, rates, extras, etc. Here is the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7qPbaGB1wZ9LWFhektxV0w5UFVzaEdnU3dJd0tnSFh5S3hB/view?usp=sharing.

 

 

This is a great spreadsheet. Is the price listed for a 1 day tour? I know many offer 2 day tours.

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Thanks, pmnb29. good to know you find the spreadsheet useful. It needs and update, though, as those are 2017 season prices. I'm working on it now.

That spreadsheet is awesome! However, travelers should know that the prices are NOT set in stone. Many of the tour companies are willing to give you a discount, if you ask them and work with them. "Doesn't hurt to ask" is one of my favorite Mottos! :D

As a matter of fact, Alla Tours was advertising a discount, on FB, recently.

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UPDATED SPREADSHEET FOR TOURS OF ST.PETE done by top local operators can be seen at https://drive.google.com/file/d/10RvUWbFYfbgt9BzuA5NaKU-RhYTJIPNp/view?usp=sharing

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND EXCITING TRAVELS TO EVERYONE :)

Awesome! Thank You, I could have used this. You are doing a great service to people planning to travel next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hi everybody.

We toured in St. Petersburg last year. So i have already had some experience.

That day when our ship arrived, the city was so busy! 7 cruise ships ! By the Hermitage museum there were crowds ( Spb Tours, Alla and TJ groups mostly). Majority of tourists select those 3 companies. Our guide told us they have 5 -7 hundred people a day. My God! I was just happy i didn't do that as i really wanted to have different experience. That had been a dream for years - to come to Russia.

So, magic, we entered the Hermitage museum without any waiting in the line! We felt as Royalty!

Fortunately we booked with the small family company what was recommended by our friends - Red Sun Tours ( www.redsun-tours.com)

We loved them!

I think if you need really a small group tour focused on your needs ( not mass production) it is better to book a tour with a smaller company.

I must disagree with your assessment - the tour companies that you mentioned (Alla, SPb, TJ) are all excellent and provide both group and private tours. They pre-purchase your entrance tickets and you arrive at your appointed entrance time so I don't understand your comment about waiting in line - all independent companies must abide by the same rules. I have never heard of redsun tours and I have been to Russia multiple times. Furthermore, I notice that all of your posts mention this same tour company (at this point, you have only 7 posts) - seems suspicious to me.

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UPDATED SPREADSHEET FOR TOURS OF ST.PETE done by top local operators can be seen at https://drive.google.com/file/d/10RvUWbFYfbgt9BzuA5NaKU-RhYTJIPNp/view?usp=sharing

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND EXCITING TRAVELS TO EVERYONE :)

I notice an error on your spreadsheet - the 2 day Comfort tour DOES include a visit to Peterhof Grand Palace (it is included in lieu of Catherine Palace). Alla also offers a 2 day "Must See" tour at $250 with lunches and $210 without lunches - I can't find that on your spreadsheet.

Other than that, looks good.

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Hi everybody.

We toured in St. Petersburg last year. So i have already had some experience.

That day when our ship arrived, the city was so busy! 7 cruise ships ! By the Hermitage museum there were crowds ( Spb Tours, Alla and TJ groups mostly). Majority of tourists select those 3 companies. Our guide told us they have 5 -7 hundred people a day. My God! I was just happy i didn't do that as i really wanted to have different experience. That had been a dream for years - to come to Russia.

So, magic, we entered the Hermitage museum without any waiting in the line! We felt as Royalty!

Fortunately we booked with the small family company what was recommended by our friends - Red Sun Tours ( www.redsun-tours.com)

We loved them!

I think if you need really a small group tour focused on your needs ( not mass production) it is better to book a tour with a smaller company.

 

Thanks for this note!

That's what I was looking for.

We are booking a tour with this company.

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I would contact the top 3 plus some of the other smaller companies who provide wonderful individualized services. We were particularly impressed by our communication with Best Guides and White Night Travel(we chose the latter) and there are others as well. Send out several requests and find someone that impresses you especially if you want to do something other than the standard tours.

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We just organized a private tour for three. We are not doing a standard tour since two of us have been to St. Petersburg before. I think I contacted 7 different companies. All of them were willing to accommodate the itinerary we chose. The prices varied with the lowest to highest having a $300 pp difference. We decided to go with TJ Travel.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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