Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Oakridge5298

St Petersburg Tour

Recommended Posts

On 3/4/2019 at 9:51 AM, warble said:

 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.

We booked a tour with the same company for our 2 days in St. Petersburg.  we are very much looking forward to our long waited visit to St. Petersburg. Can hardly wait 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I contacted the bigger agencies for a private tour, it wasn't a great experience either. I sent a specific email with what I wanted to see, what I wanted to skip, and noted unusual pieces like wanting to go to the Hermitage late on Wednesday to see the peacock clock winding. All three of the more popular agencies responded with what looked like a form email listing their standard 3 day itinerary and didn't customize it for my requests. I ended up booking through a smaller company that's rarely mentioned here but well reviewed on other sites, mainly because they were the ones who actually read my request and sent me info that matched what I was looking for and were fantastic throughout the customization process.

 

Don't feel like you have to pick from the companies that are recommended here the most frequently. It seems some companies pay for these recommendations in the form of discounts, so there will always be a bias toward those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, DennStann said:

Warble: I'm sure your disappointment is due to bad luck and nothing else.

We contacted three of the top rated companies - Alla, SPB-Tours and Best Guides - and all three were friendly, patient, and willing to tailor a tour for us. Their customer service couldn't have been better and tour plans they produced were excellent.

Try again!


I had absolutely no problem booking a private tour with one of the well known companies, SPB-Tours.  Including having them accommodate our low level mobility issues.  I don't see how the fact that they do big groups as well would affect us.  This seems like a made up issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, DennStann said:

Warble: I'm sure your disappointment is due to bad luck and nothing else.

We contacted three of the top rated companies - Alla, SPB-Tours and Best Guides - and all three were friendly, patient, and willing to tailor a tour for us. Their customer service couldn't have been better and tour plans they produced were excellent.

Try again!

 

42 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:


I had absolutely no problem booking a private tour with one of the well known companies, SPB-Tours.  Including having them accommodate our low level mobility issues.  I don't see how the fact that they do big groups as well would affect us.  This seems like a made up issue.

Agree - we had the same experience with Alla Tours - our customized tour catered to our wishes and was a perfect fit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family will be enjoying a 9 day cruise in the Baltic this summer.  I understand that tipping in Europe is generally not necessary.  Is the same true in the Baltic in regard to tipping of tour guides and drivers?  SPB is suggesting 10% for guides; 5% for drivers.  What are your thoughts and practices?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, jemz1949 said:

My family will be enjoying a 9 day cruise in the Baltic this summer.  I understand that tipping in Europe is generally not necessary.  Is the same true in the Baltic in regard to tipping of tour guides and drivers?  SPB is suggesting 10% for guides; 5% for drivers.  What are your thoughts and practices?  

I'm seeing the same 'suggestion' from several companies.  I've booked on SPB for this coming June, but as others have suggested, the only reason was that their itinerary was what I most wanted to see/do, and they had lunches included.  All the companies seem to have good reviews.  I would suggest asking this question on your roll call to see what others are doing on your cruise.  6 of us have booked a private tour that none of us would have wanted to pay for on our own.  I like private tours where everybody can hear and nobody is likely to wander off and hold up the whole group.  I think all the companies have a discounted price if you book more than one city tour with them.  Be sure to ask, and also ask if there is a cruise critic discount.  Our tour is less than their quoted price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, jemz1949 said:

My family will be enjoying a 9 day cruise in the Baltic this summer.  I understand that tipping in Europe is generally not necessary.  Is the same true in the Baltic in regard to tipping of tour guides and drivers?  SPB is suggesting 10% for guides; 5% for drivers.  What are your thoughts and practices?  

Tipping your guide and driver is common practice in St. Petersburg. 10% for guides & 5% for drivers is the accepted norm - of course, tipping is always discretionary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 5:56 PM, ubarpants said:

Don't feel like you have to pick from the companies that are recommended here the most frequently. It seems some companies pay for these recommendations in the form of discounts, so there will always be a bias toward those.

I agree. 

Edited by Tikki1946

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 5:56 PM, ubarpants said:

When I contacted the bigger agencies for a private tour, it wasn't a great experience either. I sent a specific email with what I wanted to see, what I wanted to skip, and noted unusual pieces like wanting to go to the Hermitage late on Wednesday to see the peacock clock winding. All three of the more popular agencies responded with what looked like a form email listing their standard 3 day itinerary and didn't customize it for my requests. I ended up booking through a smaller company that's rarely mentioned here but well reviewed on other sites, mainly because they were the ones who actually read my request and sent me info that matched what I was looking for and were fantastic throughout the customization process.

 

Don't feel like you have to pick from the companies that are recommended here the most frequently. It seems some companies pay for these recommendations in the form of discounts, so there will always be a bias toward those.

Following the recommendations of our friends we used Red Sun Tours for our 2 day visit to St. Petersburg. They are not frequently mentioned here, although their rating on Trip Advisor is high. They customized a tour for us, as we wanted a private tour. But as i know they arrange group tours as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 5:32 PM, jemz1949 said:

My family will be enjoying a 9 day cruise in the Baltic this summer.  I understand that tipping in Europe is generally not necessary.  Is the same true in the Baltic in regard to tipping of tour guides and drivers?  SPB is suggesting 10% for guides; 5% for drivers.  What are your thoughts and practices?  

is the company quoting in USA dollars?

if so they are aiming at American market which is used to high tips levels

coming from UK I find this expectation excessive

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I had no qualms tipping this amount for our private tour guide as she was so great, and I doubt she makes much money. We went with the suggested amounts 

On 3/10/2019 at 10:32 AM, jemz1949 said:

My family will be enjoying a 9 day cruise in the Baltic this summer.  I understand that tipping in Europe is generally not necessary.  Is the same true in the Baltic in regard to tipping of tour guides and drivers?  SPB is suggesting 10% for guides; 5% for drivers.  What are your thoughts and practices?  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, cansas.piligrim said:

... but they have less than hundred reviews on Trip Advisor. Meanwhile the leaders have thousand or more.

 

I'm a believer in the power of reviews, too - but when it comes to St.P,  that proverbial grain of salt should be replaced with at least a bucketful. For instance, there is a Spb-based company that must have served at least a couple hundred thousand customers over the past decade or so - and they don't have a single review, good or bad, on TripAdvisor. At the same time, some much smaller operators have hundreds of cookie-cutter glowing reviews.

 

4 hours ago, fabnfortysomething said:

coming from UK I find this expectation excessive

 

Travelling in the US, I find it cringeworthy when I have to tip some teenage DuckBoat tour "guides", who deliver a 30-minute memorized speech and can't answer most basic questions about their city.

 

I'm not a big fan of generalisations, but St.P guides are usually from a different league altogether, typically with a couple of degrees under their belts, as well as a couple of foreign languages, lots of mandatory certifications with individual museums, etc.

 

What's more important, most of them are pretty amazing and a pleasure to deal with. In a cruise tour kind of setting, you are your guide's captive audience - for hours on end. Ultimately, it's your guide that can make or break your tour experience. 

 

So yes, I'm totally OK with leaving a 20-dollar tip at the end of the day. If I have any issue with my guide's performance, I will adjust it accordingly. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...