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mkolbicka

Independent Tour Guide in St Petersburg, Russia

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We are on the 16 May sailing on the Silhouette leaving Southampton.  Would someone please recommend an independent tour guide.  thank you

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Check your Roll Call and the ports of Call board.  There are many companies to chose from.  We used Anastasia but lots of options.

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If you go the Ports Board for Russia you will see a number recommended https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/116-northern-europe-amp-baltic-sea/

 

I would also ask your roll call as it works much better if you book a guide as a group.  I used Red October a few years ago and we were very happy.  They adjusted their standard tours to accommodate a couple requests with no issues.

Edited by RickT

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Advice: book with one of the three major tour companies....they will handle all your visa requirements, but more important, some of the smaller guide companies do not get priority entrance to some of the sites and you can be stuck in a (very) long line.

 

We used best guide group- Spb and had a good guide who actually knew too much (she was a history teacher)...and she gave us more information than anyone would want...but it worked out ok.

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Highly recommend Anna from https://itravelspb.com/

 

She helped put together a 2 day private tour for six that included the Faberge egg museum which other tours didn't offer. It was one of the highlights of our visit. She provides the visa requirement. Excellent communication via email. And her office is in the cruise terminal so payment was very easy.

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We have used Alla in the past and they were wonderful!  Very professional, beat the line, got to see EVERYTHING NOTED ON THE ITINERARY with no rushing.

 

Donna

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SPB tours, we had Luba, who taught the other guides during the winter.

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4 hours ago, mkolbicka said:

We are on the 16 May sailing on the Silhouette leaving Southampton.  Would someone please recommend an independent tour guide.  thank you


Hi @mkolbicka,

 

Come on over to the roll call for this cruise: 

 

There’s plenty of people taking part and discussing the options for St Petersburg, with some of the companies already mentioned.

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If you want to go with an independent tour guide, I'd recommend selecting one of the companies that can arrange for visa-free tours and can get you skip-the-line access . . . but are a bit smaller and focus more on their private tours than trying to coordinate a large number of group tours. I went with Red Sun Tours last season and was really happy with them -- not only were their private tours very affordable, their communication was great (they were happy to do a lot of back-and-forth emailing about my itinerary with me) and our guide was wonderful. (And we never waited in a single line.)

 

Have fun! St. Petersburg is wonderful. I do encourage you, if you're making arrangements for a private tour, to feel free to leave off some of the so-called "must-see" sights if they don't especially interest you and find sights that do interest you. (For example, I have a fascination with miniatures and loved the Grand Maket. And everyone in our family loved the Soviet Arcade Games Museum. Also, try some Georgian or Uzbek cuisine)

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We had a small group tour with Red Sun Tours and it was fantastic. Very reasonable price. Getting off the ship was surprisingly easy

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Another thumbs up for Alla. And our Alla guide from 2002 now owns SPB tours, and given how good she was and everything I have read since, I can also recommend them.

 

Our tour was put together from our roll call; it had 10 people.

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On 1/31/2020 at 3:30 AM, mkolbicka said:

We are on the 16 May sailing on the Silhouette leaving Southampton.  Would someone please recommend an independent tour guide.  thank you

I am very happy to add to the praises of Alla Tours. Small groups, air conditioned coach. Lunch in a very nice hotel first day and a delicious packed lunch for the second all part of the price which is so much cheaper than the large group tour groups you pay so much more for with others. 

Also, along with guaranteeing an on time return to the ship, once you book for St Petersburg, you get really good discounts on any tours you do with them at other Baltic and Scandinavian cities. 

Highly recommended. 

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I vote for a private tour for St.Petersburg too! Booked ours with Anastasia Travel in a small group of just 8. Guide spoke great English and was quite a history genius! Anastasia was able to modify the tour for us, since we all wanted different things! At the end it all turned out well, even the kids had fun 🙂

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We had a tour with Red Sun Tours and it was the best tour we have ever had. I would highly recommend them. Look at their reviews!

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looking to do Alla Grand tour next July in St. Petersburg.  It is a very intensive tour and I was wondering if anyone has taken this tour in the past and can advise as to how strenuous it was.  Are there alot of stairs to climb?  What did you think of the restaurant they used as well as the packed lunch.  We are used to walking every day about 10-12 thousand steps on  our fitbit and would like to prepare as best as we can ahead of time. Thanks

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, catz0026 said:

looking to do Alla Grand tour next July in St. Petersburg.  It is a very intensive tour and I was wondering if anyone has taken this tour in the past and can advise as to how strenuous it was.  Are there alot of stairs to climb?  What did you think of the restaurant they used as well as the packed lunch.  We are used to walking every day about 10-12 thousand steps on  our fitbit and would like to prepare as best as we can ahead of time. Thanks

Excellent choice - I believe that you will love the Grand Tour. We enjoyed Alla's Grand Tour - it is fantastic and offered a wonderful overview of the major sights in Saint Petersburg (we returned the following year with a visa)! The tour is well balanced in that there are times of rest between sights when traveling from one venue to another (especially the suburban estates at Pushkin & Peterhof). As I recall, the most steps that you would encounter on the Grand Tour are found in the Hermitage - the Grand Staircase (gorgeous). If you currently walk 10-12,000 steps you will have no problem with the Grand Tour. We are booked again for 2021 on the Reflection (going with friends) and have again booked the Grand Tour with Alla. Our friends want to see as much as possible & maximize their time in port, just like we did on our first visit.

Regarding the lunches, the lunch at the Metropole was absolutely fabulous. The boxed lunch consisted of sandwiches, drink, snacks (can't remember everything in the boxed lunch) - it was filling & allowed us more time for sightseeing as we consumed our lunches enroute to the Catherine Palace. We also took some snacks & extra water packed in our daypacks.The packed lunch is certainly not up to the standards of the restaurants that Alla utilizes but we wanted to maximize our time in the city so the boxed lunch was a great option for us. Alla's other options all offer restaurant lunches on all days - just be aware that the restaurant lunches will consume over an hour of your valuable time. 😎

If you email Alla, she will tell you exactly how many steps are covered at each venue on the tour.

Edited by dogs4fun

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On 2/8/2020 at 8:18 PM, Kate P.C said:

I vote for a private tour for St.Petersburg too! Booked ours with Anastasia Travel in a small group of just 8. Guide spoke great English and was quite a history genius! Anastasia was able to modify the tour for us, since we all wanted different things! At the end it all turned out well, even the kids had fun 🙂

 

Toured with Anastasia Travel too! Loved everything about the tour plus the customer service right from the booking phase is just excellent. The whole tour is just beautifully prepared and executed. I could honestly say that it was one of the best, if not the best private tour that we have ever booked.  

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