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St Petersburg - P&O excursions or DIY

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Hi all, We are off on a Baltic cruise this year and we’re wonder if it’s best to book P&O excursions or diy? Is it a long way into the centre from the cruise terminal etc etc. What are best excursions in people’s experiences. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks in advance

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Definitely need to book an excursion whether P&O or a local tour company as it will include your visa... also, you will need a form of guided excursion to get the most out of St Petersburg.

 

We had an excellent P&O small group minibus 2 day tour called 'Simply St Petersburg ' with a brilliant guide, but the local companies like Alla are also excellent and reliable and are probably cheaper than P&O as I am sure people will be along to say.

 

These smaller ones all go to the same places, all professing to be outside the normal public opening hours, and all tend to follow each other around in reality.

 

Ours included a trip down the Metro on a Friday evening at rush hour, which was the highlight of my husband's trip to St Petersburg!!!

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Either or. Plenty of choice if you go private, you can then have a much smaller group and have a more tailored experience. Official tours will always end up in one of the many huge souvenir shops.

 

I would recommend a tour which gives you time alone in the centre. We were dropped off close to Nevsky Prospect and left for three hours to do as we pleased.

 

The cruise terminal is 30-60 minutes from the centre, depending on traffic and its a similar time to Catherine Palace which is in Pushkin.

 

The port has announced that from this year official tour parties will get priority disembarkation. Private companies won’t be permtted inside the cruise port until 60-90 minutes after the ship docks to allow official tours to depart first.

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The port has announced that from this year official tour parties will get priority disembarkation. Private companies won’t be permtted inside the cruise port until 60-90 minutes after the ship docks to allow official tours to depart first.

 

Well, our official small group mini bus tour group started at 07 00 am on both mornings, so everyone will still get away early I should think.

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We had an excellent P&O small group minibus 2 day tour called 'Simply St Petersburg ' with a brilliant guide, but the local companies like Alla are also excellent and reliable and are probably cheaper than P&O as I am sure people will be along to say.

 

Ours included a trip down the Metro on a Friday evening at rush hour, which was the highlight of my husband's trip to St Petersburg!!!

 

I booked the same tour on my June 2017 sailing on Arcadia. The price for the P&O tour was comparable to the private operators but with two fewer passengers. Our brilliant guide got us to the front of the line every time, and we always got little perks like sitting in the front of the hydrofoil. She was so good, other groups were heard complaining about her.

 

We weren't on the same tour, were we?

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As others have said you can't do diy unless you have bought a visa for the 2 days you are there. We did tours with pando but don't try to pack everything in in 2 days , just not possible. Pick exactly what you would like to see and book either with pando or with a private company online , Alla , Red October there are several. Not a lot of difference in price.

Enjoy.....

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Well, our official small group mini bus tour group started at 07 00 am on both mornings, so everyone will still get away early I should think.

 

If the new rules are enforced this simply won’t be possible anymore. The private tour buses will be held outside the port gates.

 

“only after 1.5 hour after the start of the disembarkation procedure (when the accredited tourists have been out), vehicles of independent travel agencies get a right to enter the port”.

However the info also states this only applies on the first day of the ship’s visit. On day 2 and 3 no restriction.

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We went with P&O because of the Visa. All I would add is be security conscious, pick-pockets are rife at the tourist spots especially in the grounds of the palaces.

 

 

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We went with P&O because of the Visa. All I would add is be security conscious, pick-pockets are rife at the tourist spots especially in the grounds of the palaces.

 

 

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If you are booking a private tour you do not need a Visa, they just need your passport details in order for them to complete paperwork for your arrival (and no charge) :cool:

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Definitely need to book an excursion whether P&O or a local tour company as it will include your visa... also, you will need a form of guided excursion to get the most out of St Petersburg.

 

We had an excellent P&O small group minibus 2 day tour called 'Simply St Petersburg ' with a brilliant guide, but the local companies like Alla are also excellent and reliable and are probably cheaper than P&O as I am sure people will be along to say.

 

These smaller ones all go to the same places, all professing to be outside the normal public opening hours, and all tend to follow each other around in reality.

 

Ours included a trip down the Metro on a Friday evening at rush hour, which was the highlight of my husband's trip to St Petersburg!!!

 

Thanks v much - very helpful

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Thanks very much :)

We went with P&O because of the Visa. All I would add is be security conscious, pick-pockets are rife at the tourist spots especially in the grounds of the palaces.

 

 

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The cost of a visa is around £100 and you would have difficulty getting around unless you speak Russian. All tours with an approved tour guide are visa exempt. This applies to both ships tours and land based tour companies.

Brian

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We did the Baltic last year and loved the whole trip. St Petersburg is just amazing with so much to see and do - we did the P&O Simply St Petersburg trip. Only words of caution - it’s a hugely popular destination for thousands of other tourists too so be prepared for long queues (often no seats) and slow walking at some of the palaces and museums, and be ready for the weather too as you won’t be undercover all the time. If you’re not good at being on your feet for long spells, perhaps consider a less intense tour. And pickpockets are rife - one of our party had his wallet taken from a zipped jacket pocket coming up out of the underground trip and felt nothing, so a cross body bag is best, no bling jewellery, minimal cash etc. just in case... But you’ll love the sights, the history and jaw dropping glitz of the palaces. Enjoy it!

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We used Alla Tours. They organised Visas and took us to all the amazing places. Lunch included both days. All’s herself met us just before we returned to the ship to check we were happy with the tour. We saw the palaces, had a boat trip, ride on the underground and even had a private room where monks sang to us at Peter and Paul Cathedral. Small group in a minibus.

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We also used Alla Tours on our trip last year. We took the 2 day tour with them, excellent service from our guide (Anya) and driver, also from the office staff when booking. As has been stated they organise visas. Both days were full on, very well organised and included priority entry to the Hermitage and the Church of the Spilt Blood as well as a trip on the Metro, a boat trip to the Peterhof Palace gardens, lunch at a restaurant on one day, packed lunch on second day, just to name a few things included. We travelled in an air conditioned mini bus which would accommodate a maximum of 14 people. Would certainly use them again if we return to St Petersburgh. Enjoy your trip, we certainly did.

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Yes Thejuggler I have also heard this will start this year so a 7am start is not possible. That may have been last year or several years ago Scriv

 

 

Yes, it was 2014 - and it was an official P&O excursion. My point was that if the official excursions start really early as they used to do, then even if the others have to wait until they have gone, they might not have to wait too late before they will be off.

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Thanks to all for the really helpful information and recommendations - we will certainly not be getting our own visas:)

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We used Alla Tours. They organised Visas and took us to all the amazing places. Lunch included both days. All’s herself met us just before we returned to the ship to check we were happy with the tour. We saw the palaces, had a boat trip, ride on the underground and even had a private room where monks sang to us at Peter and Paul Cathedral. Small group in a minibus.

 

Totally agree, they were excellent. Stopped at their office on way back to ship where Alla got on to check everything OK.

 

Alex our guide warned us about pickpockets and reckoned, from his experience over the years, could spot potential problems. You certainly got the impression that he was monitoring our surroundings all the time whilst, at the same time, being a very informative and interesting guide.

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Hi all, We are off on a Baltic cruise this year and we’re wonder if it’s best to book P&O excursions or diy? Is it a long way into the centre from the cruise terminal etc etc. What are best excursions in people’s experiences. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks in advance

 

 

 

We used SPBTours and they were outstanding. We had tours with them in all the ports. Small groups, headsets, and priced way below the cruise line prices. They are highly recommended

 

 

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We also booked with Alla and they were excellent. There were only two other passengers from our ship booked on the tour, so was the same as a private tour.

 

We saw a lot more than our dining companions who'd booked a ship's tour.

 

 

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If you are booking a private tour you do not need a Visa, they just need your passport details in order for them to complete paperwork for your arrival (and no charge) :cool:

 

 

I found that out after!

 

 

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