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Anyone going on 2 day tour with SPB Tours? I see several people have booked with Alla Tours - is one company better than the other as prices seem to be similar? This is our first Baltic cruise and I want to make the best decision when it comes to shore excursions. 

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We will be using them in late August.  Look further down in the board and there are discussions about the main tour guide operators in Saint Petersburg.  One of our fellow travelers made a very nice spreadsheet comparing the various companies and what you will see.  It all comes down to what you want to see on your trip.  

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The reason we went with Alla over SPB is that we get two lunches in actual restaurants (not brown bag lunches) and I really wanted to see the Faberge Museum.  We booked a two day tour.  I don't necessarily think one is "better" than the other, I think it comes down to what you want to see and how you want to experience St. Petersburg.  We are going on our Baltic Cruise in July.

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We did the two day with TJ Travel last year and it was fabulous.  All of the tour providers you mentioned are the top companies and we saw them at all of the venues, so they are very similiar.  We had two restaurant lunches included that were both very good.  One was beef stroganoff and the other a chicken dish.  We also used TJ in Tallin, Berlin and Stockholm.  All of our guides were excellant--especially in Tallin!  It was a great discounted package when you booked in St Petersburg.  Enjoy your trip!

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All the top tour companies are very good. The differences between their small-group tours are minor and a matter of personal preference -- for example, do you want to spend more time at Peterhof or at Catherine's Palace? Do you want to save time with a packed lunch on a bus, or do you want a more relaxed (and hot) sit-down meal? There is no single correct answer to such questions. Last time, we flipped a coin and went with SPB and had no regrets: we very much liked our personable and professional guide and had a great two days with our group.

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14 minutes ago, trosebery said:

All the top tour companies are very good. The differences between their small-group tours are minor and a matter of personal preference -- for example, do you want to spend more time at Peterhof or at Catherine's Palace? Do you want to save time with a packed lunch on a bus, or do you want a more relaxed (and hot) sit-down meal? There is no single correct answer to such questions. 

Agree - the differences between the independent tour groups are minor. 

 

3 hours ago, Oakridge5298 said:

Anyone going on 2 day tour with SPB Tours? I see several people have booked with Alla Tours - is one company better than the other as prices seem to be similar? This is our first Baltic cruise and I want to make the best decision when it comes to shore excursions. 

I would suggest that you contact several of the top rated companies and see which is the best fit for you.

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3 hours ago, Oakridge5298 said:

Anyone going on 2 day tour with SPB Tours? I see several people have booked with Alla Tours - is one company better than the other as prices seem to be similar? This is our first Baltic cruise and I want to make the best decision when it comes to shore excursions. 

We will be using SPB this July for a 2 day tour in St. Peterburg plus the first evening for a folklore show and we also have booked with them for Berlin,Stockholm, Tallinn and Helsinki. Looked like a good fit for us but there are a lot of good choices it appears.

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I had the Baltic Cruise experience sometime ago myself and it was indeed one of my best cruises ever. I believe with the right agency to make the process seamless, you just might be in for the time of your life.

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I had the Baltic Cruise experience sometime ago myself and it was indeed one of my best cruises ever. I believe with the right agency to make the process seamless, you just might be in for the time of your life.

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Prices and itineraries seem very comparable among the major companies. I used SPB for a 2 day deluxe tour in 2013, and will likely use them again for a private 2 day tour this July (since it is private, I have quotes with a few companies right now). We did the small group tour and lucked out with just 6 guests! We had a hot sit-down restaurant meal both days; one of the above posters mentioned brown bags on the bus — we did not get that with SPB.

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Last year in April, we used TJ Travel - the tour guide was Nina - she was incredibly knowledgeable and congenial...Would highly recommend them.

eclue

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We were a group of 6 and had two days to spend in St. Petersburg with the Regal Princess in 2015. We booked out tours with Anastasia Travel, which turned to do tours in Tallinn, Warnemunde, Copenhagen and Stockholm. We didn't know about that.

 

They did an amazing job and organized our whole itinerary, (with the visa processing too) starting from restaurant reservations,  booking ballet performances, to guiding us to almost all St.Petersburg's highlights. The best thing about the whole experience was that our guide was able to get us to the front of the lines because we were a small group. I highly recommend them. There are many tour agencies and the best thing to do is do your own research. Let us know how it turned out and give feedback on agencies you booked with too. Best of luck and enjoy your first Baltic cruise!

 

If you want to check out their offers here is their link to their website  https://anastasia.travel/

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Thank you for including the spreadsheet link.  I really appreciated the nice summary and it helped me decide which company to use.

 

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I have booked a 2 day highlights tour with SPB in June. I considered P&O and Alla but there was no particular reason I went with SPB over the others, they all have good reviews and recommendations. Getting excited now!

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16 hours ago, maddocfamilyu said:

Do you think it is a good joke to multiply posts with the same name?

 

What on earth are you talking about? I have only posted once in this thread.

 

EDIT: Oops I see now you weren't addressing me, sorry!

Edited by Angie463
error

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we booked a private tour in St Petersburg with Dancing Bears for our group of 6. But, last time we were in the Baltic we used Alla and had a great time. Afterwards we talked to those who went with SPB, and Denrus and all of us had similar days and a great time. 

 

So - I booked SPB for Berlin. I'm not looking forward to the 3 hour bus ride but some in our group really wanted to see Berlin. If you do SPB for Berlin and St. Petersburg, they give you a discount on the Russian part. 

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Posted (edited)

Top rated companies are busy; we needed more individual approach. After some research we booked a 2 Day tour of St. Petersburg with Red Sun Tours. It was fantastic! The tour was tailored for us and we had really unique experience. I was surprised even by the personal touch and wonderful stories of our great guide.

Edited by warble

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I think any of the tour guides in the city will do a good job. I also think it depends on what you are expecting out of your tour. We were a group of 4, looking for a private tour.  We ended up booking with Anastasia's Travel , as they were best able to accommodate us. They did such a fantastic job with everything, from the visa process, to reservations, to skipping the lines because of our small group. We loved the fact that our guide was able to provide a bunch of extra history about the city that was not in the guidebooks. 

 

Do your research. Get in touch with several of the tour operators, and find the one that works best for you!

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On 3/3/2019 at 11:51 PM, warble said:

Top rated companies are busy; we needed more individual approach. After some research we booked a 2 Day tour of St. Petersburg with Red Sun Tours. It was fantastic! The tour was tailored for us and we had really unique experience. I was surprised even by the personal touch and wonderful stories of our great guide.

The top rated companies will offer a wonderful, individualized tour tailored to your specific requests. A  relatively new company's tours are NOT better or more individualized than the top rated companies who have tons of experience in both group and private, customized tours.

1 minute ago, cansas.piligrim said:

I can't believe it! Which company did you ask for a private tour and who refused ?

 

I had exactly the same thought.

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On 3/3/2019 at 10:51 PM, warble said:

Top rated companies are busy; we needed more individual approach. After some research we booked a 2 Day tour of St. Petersburg with Red Sun Tours. It was fantastic! The tour was tailored for us and we had really unique experience. I was surprised even by the personal touch and wonderful stories of our great guide.

Pretty sure this is a fake endorsement

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6 minutes ago, KittyloverCA said:

 

 

pretty sure that’s a fake endorsement

Ah, I see what you mean - almost all of their 20 posts are extolling the virtues of the same tour company.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, KittyloverCA said:

 

 

pretty sure that’s a fake endorsement

Maybe, - there has been quite a bunch of these here recently.

It doesn't necessarily mean it's bad - I'd say, a very similar user experience is to be had with any of the "top" 20 to 30 companies, out of which maybe five usually get mentioned on these boards. I've even used the company that usually provides the dreaded "cruise provided" tours - but in a small-group setting, and I have to say all of their guides were top-notch.

 

What I'm somewhat unhappy about is their dubious marketing techniques.

 

But then again, what else can all these companies do to promote their services? Unless and until they get a couple hundred happy cruise critic customers, any of their mentions will be totally lost in the flood of Alla, SPB, TJ, Best Guides, etc. endorsements.

 

In any case, things to look out for: new(ish) accounts; participation on any non-Baltic boards (if any) limited to very casual observations; posts on Baltic boards never failing to mention that ONE company; experience as described lacking details - just how great guides were and how awesome it was to skip the lines.

 

Hmmm.... come to think of it,  it actually describes my account pretty accurately :)

Edited by napoxoguk

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Napogx, fair enough, I just feel it’s a dubiousand disingenuous way to market. I’m sure it’s hard to compete against the big guys

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