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Master thread of St. Petersburg advice and recommendations from cruisers who've been!


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47 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

For those of you familiar with Toms Port Guides, I see that he has now added his Saint Petersburg guide to his free PDFs. Lots of useful information - we used his port guide to Lisbon several years ago and it was an invaluable source of information - spot on. I will check to see if he has added the port guides for the other Baltic ports as well.

Link to Saint Petersburg guide:

https://www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/st-petersburg-russia-port-guide.pdf

We were lucky enough to meet Tom on a transatlantic.  We always check his guides when planning a cruise.  

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On 10/4/2019 at 2:34 AM, Balticdream said:

How far ahead is it sensible to book?

Some travel companies offer very good discounts if booking a few months in advance. We are strategists and love planning everything ahead, so we did book a tour 8 months prior to our arrival and got 50% discount which I think is a great bonus.

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2 hours ago, Lagerta said:

Some travel companies offer very good discounts if booking a few months in advance. We are strategists and love planning everything ahead, so we did book a tour 8 months prior to our arrival and got 50% discount which I think is a great bonus.

What company was that with Lagerta? 50% discount is amazing!

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2 hours ago, Danamis said:

What company was that with Lagerta? 50% discount is amazing!

 

Careful: an advertised 50% discount is not the same as an actual 50% discount. For example, I received an email from one tour company (not naming any names here) just the other day that was advertising 50% off 2020 tours if I book now. Out of curiosity, I checked the pricing: A standard 2-day tour was priced at $287, marked down from $478. But they never actually charge $478. Even if you wait to book until the month before, you won't pay $478. $287/pp is a pretty standard price for a standard small group (15-16 people) 2-day tour. Take your time to email a few companies, weigh your options, etc.

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27 minutes ago, trosebery said:

Careful: an advertised 50% discount is not the same as an actual 50% discount. 

Agree - check carefully as tours with similar/same itineraries with lunches included are priced about the same regardless of with whom you book.

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23 hours ago, Danamis said:

What company was that with Lagerta? 50% discount is amazing!

Every year we try to go somewhere and explore new things. We were booking that discounted tour a few years ago while we were taking tours in Moscow and in a couple of other Baltic ports with several tour operators. I would be glad to share this info with you as back then we had a wonderful tour for a decent price. However, I am afraid that I can't remember the name of the company which provided us the discount but I believe almost all local operators have similar conditions and after some research you find anything to your liking. Good luck!

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4 hours ago, fluffybunny22 said:

I'm paying $299pp including restaurant lunches for a private 2 day tour. The place that gives you a 50% discount wanted more plus was going to charge extra for lunches.

Would you mind sharing what company you are using for this tour? We are still looking for private tours in St. Petersburg. 

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6 hours ago, schmerl said:

Would you mind sharing what company you are using for this tour? We are still looking for private tours in St. Petersburg. 

 

Most of the companies recommended here -- SPB, Alla, TJ, etc. (our private tour, as I mentioned in a previous post, was with Red Sun Tours) -- would be able to arrange a private tour. With all of them, the cost will depend on the number of people in your party and what you would like to do. I would scroll through this thread for some names and then email a few companies with your preferences and ask about suggested itineraries and cost.

 

ETA: By "private tour" I am assuming you mean a tour for just your party? If you just mean a small-group tour with a private company, you can just collect the names from this thread and visit their websites for more details.

Edited by trosebery
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15 hours ago, trosebery said:

 

 

ETA: By "private tour" I am assuming you mean a tour for just your party? If you just mean a small-group tour with a private company, you can just collect the names from this thread and visit their websites for more details.

Yes, Looking for  "private" tour just for us. My sister and I both have some mobility  issues and want to go at our own pace. 

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I’ve been to St. Petersburg three times. First two times - in 2013 and 2015 - we were on cruises. The third time was in early spring 2019. My DH had some business in Helsinki and we went to St. Petersburg by ferry for a weekend. According to their rules, we didn’t need visas as we were arriving via ferry for less than 72 hours. All three times we booked tours with Best Guides. Initially I was choosing among 4 companies  most frequently mentioned on this forum: Alla tours, SPB tours, TJ and Best Guides. I signed with Best Guides as they offered a range of child-friendly tours. My daughter, who was 5 yo then, just loved all the activities! By the way she still remembers St. Petersburg and wants to return 😊 Each time we had different guides but honestly speaking all of them were excellent. I mean not only knowledge and fluent English, but they were very friendly, very nice to communicate with and very passionate about their native city. Best Guides truly live up to their name. I don’t want to say that other companies are not good, probably they are but Best Guides are just excellent. Jess

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  • 3 weeks later...

I booked a two day small group St. Petersburg tour for our upcoming cruise with TJ Tours. The tour takes no more than 14 people. The price for two days is $220, but telling them I belong to Cruise Critic and booking early got us a discount to $200 for a two day tour. My sister and I have mobility issue and they are including wheelchairs and assistants at NO extra charge!

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I got a quote from TJ Tour for $249 pp for a 10 people group for 2 day tour, not including lunch. That's after 5% discount. I guess the pricing depends on what you want to do. Also, TJ Tours wants a 20% deposit and nonrefundable if I cancel less than 72 hours before tour starts. Is this normal?

Edited by Biris
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3 minutes ago, Biris said:

I got a quote from TJ Tour for $249 pp for a 10 people group for 2 day tour, not including lunch. That's after 5% discount. I guess the pricing depends on what you want to do. Also, TJ Tours wants a 20% deposit and nonrefundable if I cancel less than 72 hours before tour starts. Is this normal?

We booked Standard St. Petersburg Small Group Tour with TJ Travel. Tour for two days was listed as $220. With the CC discount and booking early it is costing us $200 per person. Our tour includes lunch. No more than 14 people will be on the tour. 

We didn't have to pay any deposit. We pay when we meet them for the tour. 

Maybe because yours is considered a private tour the terms are different?

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10 hours ago, Biris said:

I got a quote from TJ Tour for $249 pp for a 10 people group for 2 day tour, not including lunch. That's after 5% discount. I guess the pricing depends on what you want to do. Also, TJ Tours wants a 20% deposit and nonrefundable if I cancel less than 72 hours before tour starts. Is this normal?

Yes, pricing definitely depends on what you want to see and do. The less you see (guided tours inside sites), the less you pay. Visiting more sights within a longer touring day(s) would, naturally, be more expensive. Lunch venues are also a consideration.

The Standard tour mentioned by schmerl misses guided visits to several of the heavy hitters that many visitors consider must see sights in Saint Petersburg (Catherine Palace, St. Isaac Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress & Cathedral, Yusupov Palace and Faberge Museum) - your tour most likely includes these sights.

Deposits are the norm on private tours afaik. 

Edited by dogs4fun
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3 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Yes, pricing definitely depends on what you want to see and do. The less you see (guided tours inside sites), the less you pay. Visiting more sights within a longer touring day(s) would, naturally, be more expensive. Lunch venues are also a consideration.

The Standard tour mentioned by schmerl misses guided visits to several of the heavy hitters that many visitors consider must see sights in Saint Petersburg (Catherine Palace, St. Isaac Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress & Cathedral, Yusupov Palace and Faberge Museum) - your tour most likely includes these sights.

Deposits are the norm on private tours afaik. 

 

 

Yes...the tour we chose does not include guided tours of some places, just photo stops. However, my sister and I have mobility issues and can not do a tour that includes intense walking or standing for long periods of time. This tour is perfect for us and they will even provide wheel chairs at no extra charge. 

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Just now, schmerl said:

Yes...the tour we chose does not include guided tours of some places, just photo stops. However, my sister and I have mobility issues and can not do a tour that includes intense walking or standing for long periods of time. This tour is perfect for us and they will even provide wheel chairs at no extra charge. 

Yes, totally understand - you must do whatever makes you most comfortable & your booking sounds like the perfect tour for you. Simply pointing out the differences between the less expensive tour that you booked and the more expensive tour booked by Biris. One must compare apples to apples. A big plus for you is that they provide wheelchairs - most do not.

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On 9/24/2019 at 10:06 PM, cwatts15 said:

Just back from Baltic cruise on NCL Getaway this month. Great cruise. We booked our tours through TJ Travel. There were several people on our Roll Call that were getting people together for the different tours they offered. We did the 2-day All Highlights St Petersburg Excursion and received a cruise critic discount.

We had 13 people on our tour with a max of 16. We rode in a van that sat 2 on 1 side- 1 on the other. It was very clean, and they had plenty of water.

 

When I signed you for the tours with TJ travel they sent me the paperwork necessary-Visa to present to immigration. NCL had some of there tours off first. They had independent travelers sign up for groups to get off ship, but when it came time to disembark they never even looked at your key card with your assigned time. Line was very long but we were able to get off ship and through the immigration by 08:30 am. The tour company waited.

 

As for the tour, it was by far the best tour I have had in a long time. We saw the many sites listed and we were never really hurried. They were able to get us into different places like the Hermitage before the crowds came. They provided lunch for us at local restaurants that was very good. We took 2 different boat rides and even a subway ride in their beautiful subway system. Our guide was great. I am so happy I went with TJ travel. It can be scary to book with local companies, but rest assure, this company is on the up and up, and treat you very good.

 

We also booked a Berlin and Tallin tour with them. They did not require any down payment at all when I booked. I took those tours before SPB and I didn't pay for them until our SPB tour was completed. Now that is trust.

 

Anyway, had a great trip. Hope any of this helps.

 

Edited by JoAnnaBullhead
redo
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KarenPV and all I just booked this with Viator for St. Petersburg. .  2 people all day tour 9 AM start ( flexible .. will wait for us to get off the ship ), lunch, pick up and delivery to and from the ship, all visa stuff, all entrance fees ... $290.00 total for the 2 of us. I have attached the pdf with all the info. the tour # is 21901P4 you can call them toll free and they will book it all, or you can self book online. Karen please drop me from the other tour we were  trying to get. Thank you. Hope this helps... max people on tour would be 18. Jo-Anna

 

St. Petersburg Shore Excursion_ One Day Highlights Tour 2019 - St Petersburg.pdf

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1 hour ago, JoAnnaBullhead said:

I just booked this with Viator for St. Petersburg

Viator does not provide any tours - they are simply a consolidator. We always recommend booking directly with the tour company. Do you know the name of the tour company that is providing your tour?

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1 minute ago, dogs4fun said:

no I do not... it was on TripAdvisor and linked to Viator.. when I get me confirmation I will post it.  this is what my email said.. I have dealt with both before and am totally comfortable..

 

Amount paid:   USD $290.00
Your statement will list "Viator/TripAdvisor" as the merchant for this transaction. This email is your receipt. Pending transactions have been authorized and will be charged once they have been confirmed.

 

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Hello everyone! Have been back from the NCL Baltic cruise Sep 2019 for awhile. It was a lovely trip. We did outside ship tour with Denrus when we were in St Petersburg and Berlin. We did a 2 day St Petersburg tour and we were 8 people in a van. I thought it was more personalized and we got in first in line in the museums. They will also try and let you personalize your itinerary. They picked us up right after the passport control inn the next two days. Just get out of the ship as soon as you can ( you know there is a line for everything) and the Denrus ppl will be out there with a sign. There are small shops at the waiting area where you can shop. But part of the tour is a shop also where you can taste and buy vodka. The tour included lunch, they were cozy lunches, and plenty of stops for bathrooms. The guide and drivers spoke English well and very helpful with information. I actually have used Denrus before and had the same guide Ludmila. She was very helpful and provided lots of background infos. I actually seen new stuff and had a different metro stop this time. Beautiful metros and clean. We had a boat ride included also. Weather was cool, need your fleece jacket  and layers and maybe scarf/gloves for end of September.

No need to get visas, your ticket and passport are the only thing you need to get through the passport control. I did not need to get Russian money, everything included with lunch and all. The small shops that we went into accepted credit cards. Oh, they also provide a walkie talkie so you can hear them while wandering around. Don't forget the Hermitage, that is one beautiful museum.

By the way, note your visas paper have your name in the Russian language, I thought that was cool.

We also did the Berlin your with Denrus. This time we joined a large bus in Berlin, long story with missing the bus at the port. We took a taxi to Berlin and joined them at the first stop.All went well after that. Berlin also a great city, some old, mostly new places. We had a warmer than usual weather for September on that day. Time did not permit us to look ito the museums more. Must see Berlin separately from a cruise.

I think you get a discount for multiple bookings from same company. I think that  goes for all the other companies. I like Denrus for their small personalized itinerary. Hope you enjoy the Baltics.

 

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Just wondering if anyone has used a company called Russian Adventures?  They are highly recommended on Tripadvisor.  I have some mobility issues, can't walk far, problems standing for very long.  So I am thinking we might do a private tour.  She advertises that she can provide a wheelchair. 

 

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