We opted for a private tour here, using Spb. We had all heard horror stories of the problems getting off the ship in Russia for private tours. Enough people went to talk to the excursion folks, and the ship worked out a great system for us. Of course, they could not do a thing about the sour faced Russian immigration folks. Be advised-if in a group, go through immigration one at a time. They are not polite about couples entering the area together. Also, be sure to have a TICKET from your private tour, not just a verification from the company. What a marvelous, busy, two days. Our guide was fantastic; his English was very good; the headphones allowed us to move with him at our own rate, except at the end of the second day when the master went out. We had selected the Deluxe tour, which was PACKED with stops! We were exhausted at the end of the first day, partly from the schedule and partly from the heat. It was in the high 80's, and most of the places had no AC. We had the "pies" for lunch the first day which were great; the meal the second day was so so-I think they need to pick another place. OUr group of 16 rated the guide and driver very high. Again, we had a boat ride included. What a great way to get off the feet, and see another aspect of the city. I know they have many guides, but I think we got the best. I think the St. Petersburg stop could be three days, and you still would not see everything that is there.