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mhb1757

SPB vs

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I have looked at 3 day tours of St Petersburg with both Alla and SPB. Both tours hit all of our “must see” sites and prices look about the same. Does anyone have a preference between them they could share or suggestions?

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We also did a 3-day St. Petersburg tour last May but we used Anastasia Travel. We loved everything about tour! We did not only see the "must-see" sites but we were also able to customize the tour to add the sites that fit our needs and preferences. We requested for some free time to walk around to really experience the city and we also did a Matryoshka painting class that both kids and adults in our group enjoyed. We also had an amazing guide, Venus, who seemed like a walking google! She knew everything and shared so many information. She was so fun to be with and made the whole tour very engaging and interesting!

 

I think all these local tour companies pretty much offer tours in the same price range and they cover all must-see sites as well. I just thought I share our wonderful experience with Anastasia Travel and how we were able to customize our tour. Good luck with planning your tour!  

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I doubt you'll find anyone who can provide personal comparisons, because few folk will have visited twice and used different tour operators.

Our Alla tour was excellent, but no doubt you'll also get others who say the same about SPB.

And since they are perhaps the two biggest you're likely to get more votes for them than the smaller operators, so numbers won't give you much of a clue either.

And all the St Petersburg operators get excellent reviews - a poor review is quite rare.

 

But the good thing about that is if you put all the names in a hat & pulled a name out at random, you're almost certain to be very pleased with your tour :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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I agree with JB—you are unlikely to find anyone who has done tours with both SPB and Alla.  But based on the many reviews of both companies that I have read, I don’t think you can go wrong with either. (FWIW, we chose Alla and were happy with our choice.) 

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9 hours ago, GradUT said:

I agree with JB—you are unlikely to find anyone who has done tours with both SPB and Alla.  

 

Well, here I am :classic_biggrin:.  In 2010 we were part of a small group touring with Alla.  In 2013 we did a group tour with SPB.  Then in 2016 DH and I did a private (just the two of us) with Best Guides as we wanted something different.  We will be on a Baltic cruise (our favorite itinerary) again in 2020 but have not decided what to do in St Pete yet.  The point is...any of the major tour companies in St Petersburg will give you a great tour.  All three companies we used were wonderful but each had some differences.  Look over their tours and pick the company that offers one closest to what you are interested in.

<<<Karen>>>

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Since fellow cruisers have repeatedly mentioned these agencies I believe they have proven themselves to be great for the touring in St.Petersburg.

We ended up choosing Anastasia Travel for the 2 full day excursion in St.Petersburg, as well as Stockholm and Berlin and we got some great deals. Besides that, the team in each country was more than organized, helpful and attentive. We have nothing but great memories that we will treasure our whole lives.

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We just returned from our Baltic cruise where we had four Alla tours.  We were very pleased and impressed with their service and professionalism.  Should we ever return to this area we would most definitely engage them again.  We’re just sorry that they don’t operate in other areas of Europe.

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I've been twice -- once on a small group tour with SPB and once on a private tour with Red Sun Tours -- and I can vouch for the fact that all of the St. Petersburg companies you'll see mentioned on these forums are very good and very professional. I didn't speak to anyone on either cruise who had a negative experience with any of them.

 

If I were to make a recommendation, it would be to consider a customized private tour, if your budget allows it or if you can form a group with others on your Roll Call, and include some sights that are *not* everybody else's "must see" sights. For example, on this last trip, we quite happily skipped Catherine Palace -- quite a drive from the city and always crowded (even if your guide gets you around the line). As much as I like palaces, Peterhof and the Hermitage is enough gilding for me. I'm fascinated by miniatures and absolutely loved visiting the Grand Maket Russia instead. Similarly, I preferred playing the vintage Soviet arcade games at the Soviet Arcade Museum (they supply the 15 kopek coins along with the historical background of the games!) to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Consider contacting one or more of the companies and having a conversation with them about your interests. (In our case, we wound up going with Red Sun Tours as I had the best communication with Elena, the owner.)

 

Going with a private tour also allows for a more personalized experience. For example, most of the people I talked to who were in the small group tours wound up seeing the Faberge Museum by audioguide, but our guide took us around herself.

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We used ALLA for all the ports on our Baltic cruise and were very pleased with the guides, transportation and sights seen.  I don't feel that we missed anything.  The price was much better than the ship's tour and there was only 12 of us on most tours and 15 of us in St. Petersburg.  

I joined a group I met on our Roll Call who had already booked ALLA.  We received a discount for booking all the stops as well as an early booking discount.  We were very pleased.

 

 

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