Jump to content

St. Petersburg Local Tour Operators


Recommended Posts

In one of the old chains on this very forum I found an interesting link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BgxA9lzzPpaV58Rhh-11N-JrsPu9vya7/view  I saved it on my computer. A few years ago it really helped me to plan my tours. The link is still alive but it seems the table has been recently updated. Of course not all  local tour operators are represented in there but only the most popular and the most frequently mentionned on this very forum. Despite of this  I very much hope this table will be of help to those who are currently choosing  their tours with local operators. Good luck to all of you, I hope you will find excellent tours!

Jess

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool link.  

My only comment is, I would would use this for ballpark ideas and verify information once choices are narrowed down.

As I found one selection incorrect.; the grand tour by Alla does include lunches, on both days.   The link says "no, at additional cost".

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be great if someone would produce an updated version that included more companies -- for example, it doesn't include Red Sun Tours (which used on our last St. P. trip and which I'd recommend). Nor does it include White Nights, Dancing Bears, ULKO, etc., all of which I saw well-represented at the private tour meet-up location. Also, as Jnsplace1 noted, the companies adjust the tours every year based on what worked and didn't work the previous year.

 

But I would also remind people that sometimes even those plans have to be adjusted. I remember, a couple of seasons back, when some companies were warning people who'd booked the flat-rate group tours with them that they might not be able to tour Catherine Palace because of excessive crowds. If you want full control of your itinerary, I would recommend arranging a private tour?

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, trosebery said:

I think it would be great if someone would produce an updated version that included more companies -- for example, it doesn't include Red Sun Tours (which used on our last St. P. trip and which I'd recommend). Nor does it include White Nights, Dancing Bears, ULKO, etc., all of which I saw well-represented at the private tour meet-up location. Also, as Jnsplace1 noted, the companies adjust the tours every year based on what worked and didn't work the previous year.

These are precisely the reasons that conducting your own research will best serve your personal wants and needs. There are many companies and their tours change on a yearly basis - it is best not to rely on a single source for your information.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information. It is a good place to start.  We are on the SKY Princess and the Princess tours offered are no way near as comprehensive as these.  Not to mention the prices.  Are there any recommendations for a private tour?  Not sure I can afford that, but will look into it I guess.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, milolii said:

Thanks for the information. It is a good place to start.  We are on the SKY Princess and the Princess tours offered are no way near as comprehensive as these.  Not to mention the prices.  Are there any recommendations for a private tour?  Not sure I can afford that, but will look into it I guess.  

 

Try this thread:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2696545-master-thread-of-st-petersburg-advice-and-recommendations-from-cruisers-whove-been/

 

As I noted above, on our last trip last season, we did a private tour with Red Sun Tours and would recommend both them and a private tour. The first time we were in St. Petersburg, we did one of the must-sees tours listed on the table in the OP's link, and while we enjoyed it, we found it very heavy on palaces and cathedrals and Imperial Russia in general. Doing a private tour let us mix it up -- for example, two of my new favourites were the Grand Maket (I'm fascinated by miniatures) and the Soviet Arcade Museum (which we could play with the vintage 15 kopek coins provided). We also loved being taken around the Faberge museum with a personal guide instead of an audio guide. If you can swing it, I'd find a couple of like-minded people on your roll call and set up your own tour!

 

Eta: I should add that we still did our Imperial Russia favourites! I happily skipped Catherine Palace a second time, but I love the fountains of Peterhof.

Edited by trosebery
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/6/2019 at 7:43 AM, Jnsplace1 said:

Cool link.  

My only comment is, I would would use this for ballpark ideas and verify information once choices are narrowed down.

As I found one selection incorrect.; the grand tour by Alla does include lunches, on both days.   The link says "no, at additional cost".

There are more errors than just one and I stopped looking after finding two errors. Also, Alla does not offer a Happy Tour.

If a tour is required for a specific port of call, we contact several individual tour companies and find the tour that is the best fit for us. For most ports of call, we prefer to DIY. St. Pete is a special case due to the visa requirement. Berlin is another special case due to its distance from port.

3 hours ago, milolii said:

Thanks for the information. It is a good place to start.  We are on the SKY Princess and the Princess tours offered are no way near as comprehensive as these.  

Totally agree - the independent operators offer a much more comprehensive tour with smaller group sizes and more reasonable prices. Most of the top operators will offer private tours as well.

Edited by dogs4fun
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/7/2019 at 8:58 PM, milolii said:

Thanks for the information. It is a good place to start.  We are on the SKY Princess and the Princess tours offered are no way near as comprehensive as these.  Not to mention the prices.  Are there any recommendations for a private tour?  Not sure I can afford that, but will look into it I guess.  

 

Hi, we have been lucky enough to visit the Baltic twice. When I first started researching the tour options I found Anastasia Travel. When they were talking to me about the tour options, I remember thinking, I can always ask how much a private tour would be. I am so glad I did!! surprisingly it was not crazy expensive. We had such a good time, that the second time we visited St Petersburg, we contacted them again!!  

So why not just ask when you are researching the tour options? And if you would contact them and you are thinking of booking more tours in the Baltic cities, ask about their options (they give discount if you book more tours with them) And I love discounts, so I can spend that money somewhere else 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Sorry, I have no access to this table and can’t change anything.  I just posted a link which I hope will be of help to many of you. Yes, it looks like Alla tours has lunches in its Grand tour. That’s correct.

 

Happy tour is provided by Best Guides as it’s indicated in the table. It’s one of their most popular tours, as the cost of a two day tour is only USD 199. This cost doesn’t include lunches, which you can book at an additional cost of USD 12. A few years ago we were thinking of booking Happy Tour but after all made a choice in favor of a more comprehensive tour Best Of the Best. By the way, Happy Tour doesn’t include lunches but includes vodka and ice-cream tasting 😉 Wow! I think it was the main reason why my DH was so much interested in booking exactly this tour 😁😁😁

Jess

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/7/2019 at 1:58 PM, milolii said:

Thanks for the information. It is a good place to start.  We are on the SKY Princess and the Princess tours offered are no way near as comprehensive as these.  Not to mention the prices.  Are there any recommendations for a private tour?  Not sure I can afford that, but will look into it I guess.  

 

The tours seem expensive but I would look at taking a private operator for 2 days.  I am pretty sure that you can arrange to go as part of a group that they put together.  

 

I would DIY in other ports and splash out in St P. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
On 12/17/2019 at 5:52 PM, angie7911922 said:

 

Hi, we have been lucky enough to visit the Baltic twice. When I first started researching the tour options I found Anastasia Travel. When they were talking to me about the tour options, I remember thinking, I can always ask how much a private tour would be. I am so glad I did!! surprisingly it was not crazy expensive. We had such a good time, that the second time we visited St Petersburg, we contacted them again!!  

So why not just ask when you are researching the tour options? And if you would contact them and you are thinking of booking more tours in the Baltic cities, ask about their options (they give discount if you book more tours with them) And I love discounts, so I can spend that money somewhere else 

We also used Anastasia Travel but only because it was recommended to us. However, we didn't do a private tour of just us 2, but a small group of 8 of us did the 2-full day excursion. Nonetheless, it was well worth it, together with the discounted offers we got for 2 more excursion we did in Stockholm and Berlin. Since then we always book tours with less than 10 people, and usually the ship tours come with a bus full of passengers 🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2020 at 9:42 PM, Nok977 said:

Hi Jess

I am curious about vodka and ice-cream tasting.  We are unfortunately just one day in stp but we are also booked with Best Guides and maybe we skip lunch and take this one instead. Where does it take place? I can hardly imagine one can eat ice-cream and drink vodka to it 🙈

Sorry! I don’t know. We signed for Best of the Best Tour.  Just ask Best Guides…. And check their website – you can book Happy Tour with and without lunches…. Russian vodka is great  but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have vodka  (even with ice cream) instead of a lunch :)))

Jess

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our ship will stay there all day till 9 pm. I checked the mentioned  link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BgxA9lzzPpaV58Rhh-11N-JrsPu9vya7/view but I didn't find any long-day tour. Then I asked several local tour companies and got a proposal which I considered suitable for me https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/topic/2618338-msc-meraviglia-rollcall-20062020-15-nights-norway-and-baltic-sea/ I'm pleased to share the link with you.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...
On 12/20/2019 at 3:41 PM, CrazyJess said:

 

Sorry, I have no access to this table and can’t change anything.  I just posted a link which I hope will be of help to many of you. Yes, it looks like Alla tours has lunches in its Grand tour. That’s correct.

 

 

 

Happy tour is provided by Best Guides as it’s indicated in the table. It’s one of their most popular tours, as the cost of a two day tour is only USD 199. This cost doesn’t include lunches, which you can book at an additional cost of USD 12. A few years ago we were thinking of booking Happy Tour but after all made a choice in favor of a more comprehensive tour Best Of the Best. By the way, Happy Tour doesn’t include lunches but includes vodka and ice-cream tasting 😉 Wow! I think it was the main reason why my DH was so much interested in booking exactly this tour 😁😁😁

 

Jess

 

 

 

Hi Jess

What did you normally get for lunch? I mean - are you offered any choice if you book a tour with a company like Best Guides, Anastasia, Alla? Or is it always a fixed menu? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I’m not sure about group tour arrangements but when you have an individual tour you are provided with some options to choose or you can ask them to book any restaurant of your desires. Last time we chose Stroganoff Steak House and appreciated it much. My husband discovered there a Museum of Russian Vodka as well

http://en.stroganoffgroup.ru/restaurants/stroganoff-steak-house/?roistat_visit=415737#menu 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Lagerta, this is already second time I hear positive reviews about Stroganoff, seems to be a nice place indeed. Actually as it looks now me might end up with an individual tour too, at least for Saint-Petersburg, as we already have a list of things not included in standard tours we would love to do. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I have only one recommendation for St Petersburg and that's:

TJ Travel...we did a private tour just the two of us with a guide & driver.

One of the most VIP memorable 2 day tours we've ever done !!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ashland said:

...we did a private tour just the two of us with a guide & driver.

One of the most VIP memorable 2 day tours we've ever done !!!!!

I wonder how the independent operators are faring during this trying time in Russia. Have you heard anything? There have been no Baltic cruises for the 2020 season. I am concerned because we shifted our 2020 Celebrity cruise to 2021 and I am not confident that the 2021 Baltic cruises will be a "go". I wonder how long many of the independents can survive without an infusion of tourist $$. This pandemic has been tragic for so many in the USA and abroad!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/16/2020 at 7:24 AM, dogs4fun said:

wonder how the independent operators are faring during this trying time in Russia. Have you heard anything?

For what it's worth - I have a bunch of friends in the industry.

Yes, most have been hit pretty hard - but they were able to switch to domestic tourist flows (Russia was more or less completely open for domestic tourism between I think June and until recently). Not sure about corporate financials - but I think it's safe to assume they don't look too good, - but for individual entrepreneurs (and most of individual guides are IPs by definition), it has been a trying time financially. That said, looking on the bright side, they were able to switch from the top 5 "must sees" to more interesting places, and some found it refreshing.

 

Another thing to remember - for a good number of guides, it was a seasonal job, they have another profession or two to fall back to. Once it's back to business as usual, they can all come back, even if the landscape of top 10 preferred companies changes.

Edited by napoxoguk
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/16/2020 at 2:19 AM, Ashland said:

I have only one recommendation for St Petersburg and that's:

TJ Travel...we did a private tour just the two of us with a guide & driver.

One of the most VIP memorable 2 day tours we've ever done !!!!!

Thanks.  Looking at TJ fir August.  Now to take a look at the difference in cost between the private tour and the group.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

Thanks.  Looking at TJ fir August.  Now to take a look at the difference in cost between the private tour and the group.

Private tours are excellent - they offer the most flexibility and are designed for your particular needs/tastes. This is true for all the private operators in Saint Petersburg.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/16/2020 at 7:24 AM, dogs4fun said:

I wonder how the independent operators are faring during this trying time in Russia. Have you heard anything? There have been no Baltic cruises for the 2020 season. I am concerned because we shifted our 2020 Celebrity cruise to 2021 and I am not confident that the 2021 Baltic cruises will be a "go". I wonder how long many of the independents can survive without an infusion of tourist $$. This pandemic has been tragic for so many in the USA and abroad!

And what happens to them if the cruise lines persist in enforcing if you want to get off at a port you must use our excursions rule?

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
      • Q&A with Chris Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises!
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Royal Caribbean
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...