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St. Petersburg Private Tour Excursion Reviews

St. Petersburg Private Tour cruise excursion
Overall Rating
A private tour is the best way to see St. Petersburg, moving at your own speed with your own guide. Prepare to see it all, from the world famous Hermitage Museum to the impressive variety of palaces and cathedrals that bespeckle the former Russian Capital.
Member Image pchase1
1 review
Not Rated
Aug 2014

TJ Tours EXCELLENT. The only way to go. They handle everything including visa, driver, English speaking guide, etc! Look no further.

Read pchase1's full Eurodam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image Mum2boysx6
1 review
Aug 2014

We booked our 2 day Grand Tour with Alla Tours for two main reasons – 1) much cheaper than tours from the ships & they covered more places 2) much smaller groups.
The ship’s tours can have 50 people on them, whereas Alla has a maximum of 20 & we had 14 on our tour. It cost $300 each for 2 days +$45 for tips. Alla arranged it so that we didn’t leave until after the main rush so that it didn’t take us ages to go through immigration on the first day. The second day there isn’t that problem, so we started at 7.30am the second day. The first day we looked at St Isaacs church on the outside & then took a ride on the subway. Yusupov Palace, beautiful, travelled by hydrofoil to Peterhof & walked around the lower fountain gardens & Upper Gardens which were spectacular. Continued to The Tsars Village (Tsarskoe Selo) & Catherine’s Palace & the fabulous Amber room.
Day two we visited a little farmers market, stopped by Kazan cathedral, took an hour’s boat ride on the canals which was delightful, 2 hours in the Hermitage, lunch at the Metropole hotel, visited the Church of the Spilled Blood where the wall paintings were breath-taking & then St Isaac’s cathedral. The latter is huge in every way & the decoration is fantastic. Last stop was St Peter & Paul Fortress, cathedral & Mint. It was a very full 2 days, but so good. Excellent guide named Marina.
I did buy some attractive wooden Christmas tree decorations like onion dome churches.
Total spending per person for 2 days was $345 = £215 in August 14.

Read Mum2boysx6's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image bz
3 reviews
Not Rated
Jul 2014

wonderful

Read bz's full Azamara Journey cruise review
Provider: tj tours
Member Image lagottogal
1 review
Not Rated
Jul 2014

As a former travel agency owner with 20 years experience in group travel and tour operators I know a good tour company and good guides. Alex's Tour & Travel is SUPERB! Alex arranged 3 entire days for us and there was not a single misstep or problem. We saw everything as promised, with personalized service, flexibility, fun and had the most knowledgeable and amazing guide! Everything was perfect and beyond our expectations. Our group left the city with greater knowledge of and a deeper appreciation for the city than we ever could have acquired as part of a large group on a motorcoach. All the pre trip planning and communication was extremely timely and responsive. I can't imagine seeing St Petersburg any other way. And our 3 day tour with private guide and car/driver was no more expensive than the 3 day tour offered by the cruise line! Don't let the company name fool you; Alex's Tour & Travel is THE BEST.

Read lagottogal's full Azamara Journey cruise review
Provider: Alex's Tour & Travel
Member Image YoungDubFan
1 review
Not Rated
Jun 2014

we arranged for a private 3-day group tour through Alla Tours. It was wonderful. There were a total of 10 of us from the ship, which was a perfect number. The ship was scheduled to dock at 8:00 am. We met our guide at 8:45 am the first day. Because we did a private tour, we did not have to get Russian visas. We only had to show our tour tickets and passports. Immigration was very quick – less than 5 minutes. We started the day with a tour of the city. Some things on the itinerary had to be changed a bit because they were running the SPB marathon this day and there were road closures and more traffic than expected. We had a photo stop at St. Isaac’s cathedral then went to the Church of the Spilled Blood. Amazing. We were there right when it opened and our tour guide expertly put us at the front of the line. We had lunch included and the service was horrible. We were the last table served, when food came out, it was not hot. We were supposed to have 1 hr for lunch but it took between 1:30 – 1:45. After lunch we went to the Russian Museum for 1.5 hours. Then it was to the Peter and Paul fortress, with a visit inside the church and a 45 min boat ride to wrap up the day. We then went to a souvenir shop to shop and pay for the tour. We had 35 min here. We were a bit late due to traffic issues and were back at the boat at 5:40 pm. I should note there are some nice souvenir stores in the pier. Prices here were very similar to what we found throughout the city. Sunrise was at 4:39 am, sunset 11:24 pm. Some passengers went to the ballet or a folk show this night. There was a very nice hot buffet in the Crystal Cove that started at 11:30 for those returning since they missed dinner on the ship to do this.
Day 2 – started at 8:00 am. We drove to Peterhof for a tour inside and a 1 hour walk through the fountains / gardens. We were there right as they turned the fountains on. We then had lunch. It was much better than yesterday with much quicker service. Then we drove to Catherine’s Palace for a tour inside and a walk through the gardens. We were back at the pier at 5:00 pm. Sunrise was 4:40 am, sunset was 11:23 pm. Many ship passengers went to Moscow this day. For those who went, they left the ship at 7:15 am and returned at midnight. The ship had a very nice hot buffet in the Cove that started at 11:30 pm or midnight for those who went to either Moscow or to the Ballet.
Day 3 – We left the ship at 9:00 am and the day started with admission to the Hermitage. We had about 2.5 hours to tour. Even with the special early admission, the museum was very busy and crowded. We then had a very nice lunch right next to the square outside the Hermitage. After lunch we went to St. Isaac’s cathedral for our inside visit, since we were not able to get in the first day. Then we went to Yusupov palace. We made our guide cut our visit short here because we were nervous about getting back to the ship, given the traffic, and most of us wanted to do some more shopping. We were back at the pier at 4:40 pm. All aboard was 5:30 pm and we sailed at 5:50 pm (early – scheduled at 6:00 pm). Sunrise was 4:41 am and sunset was 11:22 pm. We sent clocks back 1 hour.

Read YoungDubFan's full Crystal Symphony cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image George Elliot
1 review
Not Rated
Jun 2014

Our TJ Travel guide was knowledgeable, spoke good English, answered all our questions

Read George Elliot's full Rotterdam cruise review
Provider: TJ Travel
Member Image DnJDorset
2 reviews
Not Rated
May 2014

Wonderful local guides, different on each day, who supplied visa without effort and gave wonderful experience of this gem of a city.

Read DnJDorset's full MSC Opera cruise review
Provider: Lentina Travel
Member Image TrnrMom
5 reviews
May 2014

Fantastic two days with Maria of SPB Tours. St. Petersburg is not a city where you can go it alone, so an independent tour is highly recommended. Although we were three hours late arriving, which threw off the scheduling, we saw everything we had been promised on SPB's Deluxe Flat Rate Tour, and also had a subway ride as a bonus. Maria was excellent in reorganizing the schedule, shepherding us through crowded palaces, while giving us the background & history of the site, yet we never felt rushed as she always let us know what time was available and what was coming up next. We always knew where the bathrooms were and when the shopping and meals would be coming up. The only minus to the two days were the meals were not what we were used to. Perhaps, they were considered good quality, but the dishes were watery and salty, and barely enough for the group. We had hoped for piroshki and blini and other typical Russian dishes.

Read TrnrMom's full Royal Princess cruise review
Provider: SPB Tours
Member Image cs94wahoowa
1 review
Sep 2013

I'd give St. Petersburg a 3+. I was expecting it to be my favorite city, because it was the reason we booked the cruise. I think it wasn't for several reasons.

1. You really have to do a tour. Even with a private tour, we would have rather gone on our own. But with Visas and language barriers, it's just not feasible.
2. St Petersburg is opulent. Beautiful. Almost too much. And with all that opulence, it's still a cold city. It's Soviet past is hard to shake. Much is being rennovated, and our tour was awesome, it's jut it lacked, well, heart.
3. There's a lot to see and take in. It's almost too much.

Read cs94wahoowa's full Norwegian Star cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image andrefs
1 review
Not Rated
Sep 2013

Words do not describe this city. Two days were definitely necessary. Do not book your excursion through NCL. SPb Tours are not only better, but much cheaper. Small vans with private guides. No more than 15 people. We opted to go to the evening Russian Folklore Show through SPb as well. They take care of ALL immigration requirements. DO NOT let NCL try to scare you that you need a visa from the Russian government if you do not go on the NCL excursions. SPb maintained email contact with us in perfect English.

Read andrefs's full Norwegian Star cruise review
Provider: SPb
Member Image mhedge
2 reviews
Aug 2013

We took the 2-day Russian Treasures tour. Tatiana (Tania), our tour guide gave us excellent information and the schedule was just right. We went to the Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Peterhof Palace, Yusupov Palace, and the subway. Everything was awesome, all the gold, the paintings of the masters, the gardens, and the architecture.

Read mhedge's full Norwegian Star cruise review
Provider: SPB
Member Image sheree
1 review
Not Rated
Aug 2013

very well educated guide-she packed a lot into our short time with her

Read sheree's full Silver Whisper cruise review
Provider: Silversea Cruises
Member Image LadyCookie
1 review
Aug 2013

Maria at SPB. BEST TOUR EVER!!!

Read LadyCookie's full Crown Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image RobTexas
3 reviews
Not Rated
Aug 2013

It seems all cruises spend two days at St Petersburg. I have heard that the Russian government requires they stay overnight, but in any event you can easily spend two days there. We treated ourselves, and booked a private two day tour with Alla tours. It was well worth the money. We had a guide and driver for the two of us. We were able to avoid the crowds, stop for a break whenever we need it, and got to chat about ordinary life as well as the history etc. Our guide was very knowledgeable, not just about the history, but also the art in the Hermitage. Our driver was more of a chauffeur - he always seemed to have the car just where we needed it. I would recommend Alla Tours to anyone visiting St. Petersburg.

Read RobTexas's full Celebrity Constellation cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image musiclovingmom
2 reviews
Jul 2013

This was a two-day tour for our group of six. We booked through an agency called Red October. I would not hesitate to recommend them, although I know that the ship and many other tour agencies have these tours and I would think they are probably similar. I would recommend the private tours over a large bus full, however. I would just think it is easier to get around when you are not trying to coordinate the needs of an entire bus full of people. We saw so much in 2 days; the Catherine Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral,Yusopov Palace where Rasputin was killed, Peterhof Palace, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the Hermitage, a hydrofoil ride, and many photo stops along the way, again easier with only six people in a van. My one thought is if the main thing you want to see is the Hermitage, try to go as early in the day as they will let you, even if there are other things you don't see. We arrived at the Hermitage in mid-afternoon and it is just silly to try to appreciate great works of art when you are being herded through a room like cattle in a feed lot. All the other beautiful palaces and cathedrals more than made up for this disappointment, but if your heart is set on the Hermitage, look into other options than one stop on a whirlwind tour.
St. Petersburg is a beautiful city steeped in history, but big, busy, and crowded nonetheless. It was an exhausting couple of days, but worth it to see so much.

Read musiclovingmom's full Brilliance of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Red October
Member Image SJDMD
1 review
Jul 2013

Great van, Great guide, saw every major site and had a nice sit-down lunch both days. Only complaint was some confusion on the 1st day in organizing the groups on to the buses which didn't make sense because we had pre-arranged our groups on cruise critic before the trip. Anyway, I'd highly recommend this tour and Masha our guide.

Read SJDMD's full Brilliance of the Seas cruise review
Provider: SPB tours
Member Image vanilla1207
1 review
Jul 2013

UlkoTours was wonderful. I booked them months in advance and they customized a tour for us. They were quick to respond to emails, were waiting for us at port with our guide and car, sent us a wonderful guide who was knowledgeable and humorous, and took us to a local restaurant where we had delicious chicken Kiev. I recommend UlkoTours very highly.

Read vanilla1207's full Viking Rurik cruise review
Provider: Viking Cruises
Member Image beachluver9
2 reviews
Jun 2013

Exactly as described by SPB Tours. Our guide was waiting for us when we disembarked from the cruise ship. We were the first ones off (long day...much to see!) and sailed right through immigration.

We were able to see twice as much using a private tour rather than a large ship excursion. We only had one day in town so the pricing difference was well worth it.

Our guide (Helen) was personable and professional, her car new and clean, and everything well planned and organized.

Read beachluver9's full MSC Musica cruise review
Provider: SPB Tours
Member Image shirleyuk
1 review
Not Rated
Jun 2013

In St. Petersburg we used Alla Tours for a 2 day tour and cannot praise them highly enough, or fail to recommend them. We communicated by email on their site and every time we posted a question, a reply came through usually within 24 hours. Every step of the way was very easy to follow, including printing off our tour tickets and our invoice. Unusually, no prepayment was required. In fact, we didn't have to pay until the second day of our tour.

Our tour guide Tanya was a lovely, friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable person, who made our tour so interesting, fun and very worthwhile. They have a maximum of 16 people. On our first day we had 12 people and on the second we had 10. We did the Comfort Tour and saw so much. Lunch on both days was included and the choice of restaurants excellent and although set meals, the food was very good..

The driver of the mini bus was also exceptionally helpful. Always there to lend a hand to everyone getting on and off the mini bus and loading and unloading my mobility scooter.

Read shirleyuk's full Celebrity Eclipse cruise review
Provider: Alla
Member Image skihowie
1 review
Jun 2013

We toured with SPB tours which we booked ourselves. It was $300 each for 2 full days. They are a very well run company. We had 2 different guides and each was excellent. They had a lot of tours going on at a time of extreme traffic because of an economic forum, and they handled it great.
The guides know their history-for sure.
The museums and Cathedrals are nothing short of amazing.

Read skihowie's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Kinbell
1 review
Jun 2013

We did a 2 day city tour with Alla Tours. We were really impressed by them and would highly recommend them to anyone. We were met off the ship by Nada (our tour guide) who was excellent and we travelled on a minibus with 8 other people and this was much better than a Royal Caribbean tour. The itinerary was much better than Royal Caribbean and they were very prompt at getting us around. We had no waiting in lines as Nada was able to take us to the top of the queue for all the main attractions. This was a great advantage, especially on the first day when it rained very heavily.

Read Kinbell's full Adventure of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image Smathtravel
1 review
Jun 2013

Excellent tour company and can't say enough about our guide Ana....A+. We booked a private tour for the 5 of us and included everything we wanted to see. TJ Tours.

Read Smathtravel's full Norwegian Star cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image kre8ive
1 review
Sep 2012
This tour company came highly recommended and I would concur. We were able to cover so much ground and accomplish much more than we could have done with a large tour group.
Read kre8ive's full Viking Ingvar cruise review
Provider: Dancing Bear Tours
Member Image At sea days
10 reviews
Not Rated
Aug 2012
Excellent experience with our beautiful guide Nellie....she is so smart....this was the high light, and we were together for 3 days....the very best you can book...very helpful in setting up the itinerary well...answered all my questions promptly....
Read At sea days's full Crystal Symphony cruise review
Provider: TJ travel
Member Image MissyF3486
1 review
Aug 2012
We really looked forward to St. Petersburg, and paid over $600 to do the 2-day deluxe tour with SPB Tours in a group of 16. To be perfectly honest, we were completely and totally underwhelmed by the tour and the guide. After hearing such rave reviews of this company on Trip Advisor, we were very disappointed. Our guide was dry and scripted, and at times, even smug. We were hoping that going with a local guide would give us some insight into modern Russia, but so little time was spent talking about anything current we felt like we were stuck in 1919! Any questions that were asked about modern Russia were answered briefly and without much insight. The palaces were grand and all, but all of them had been destroyed in WWII and rebuilt in the 70s. It felt like all the grandeur was fake and for tourists, as much of it was not even replaced with the real thing -- even some of the Amber Room was actually made of enamel! Our itinerary with SPB was supposed to include a subway ride, which ended up just being a walk into the subway station to hear about its historical significance. And the "local lunch" on the second day was at a tourist restaurant -- there wasn't a "local" to be found. At the end of the trip, instead of giving us a survey to fill out, the guide had one of the ladies in the front read out questions about our satisfaction with the tour and the guide (she was right there!) over the bus microphone and have us yell out our answers! And then, we got a speech about how we should go home and give them good ratings on Trip Advisor! Not so much. The absolute highlight of St. Petersburg was the Church of the Spilled Blood -- I have never seen anything like it and it was truly amazing.
Read MissyF3486's full Norwegian Sun cruise review
Provider: SPB Tours
Member Image StLucia
3 reviews
Aug 2012
We went on the Grand 2 day tour with Alla in August and have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone visiting St Petersburg. The tour was co-ordinated by a friend we met on the cruise's roll call, though we each had to book and communicate our booking directly with Alla so they could arrange a group visa. The cost for the 2 days was $300 (£200), paid direct to Alla at the beginning of day 2, we paid by visa others by cash, clean unused notes only. We were met in the cruise terminal and after a brief discussion to decide who should be in each mini bus we were taken to meet our guide for the 2 days, Svetlana, and driver Uri. We were soon on our way. We were each issued with headphones that were used when we were on the tour to ensure we could hear Svetlana's commentary and bottles of water. This is a very intensive tour, the first day we had a packed lunch that we ate on the hydrofoil, the second day we went to a lovely restaurant for the traditional Russian lunch. We visit everywhere that was covered by the ship's tours including a boat trip, early entry to the Hermitage, St Catherine's Palace, Peter and Paul Palace gardens, Church of the Spilt Blood, Yasalov Palace, a metro station, etc, etc.... Svetlana was amazing, she got us into all the buildings quickly, cleverly bypassing the long queues, we never queued! Her commentary was informative and interesting. We all loved her! We also went to the ballet in the evening once again with Alla, an extra $110 but worth it for the experience. St Petersburg is a beautiful city and not at all what we expected, its vibrant and busy very European.
Read StLucia's full Arcadia cruise review
Provider: Alla
Member Image aliandy
1 review
Aug 2012
Fantastic 2 day tour worth every penny (lots of pennies!). We saw so much with a superb guide whose English was excellent and her knowledge immense. Booked on friend's recommendation who had used DenRus the previous year. Definitely saw more privately than we would have done using the ship's excursions.
Read aliandy's full Black Watch cruise review
Provider: DenRus
Member Image sailing1001
1 review
Jul 2012
All the palaces and historic area visited were very busy with tourists as there were 4 other cruise ships in port with ours. All locations were well presented and anyone with an interest in Russian History and paintings should endeavour to visit all the ones we saw.
Read sailing1001's full Norwegian Sun cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image Boz12
2 reviews
Jul 2012
We took a two-day tour. There were eight of us in a van and with an English-speaking, knowledgeable guide. We saw it all and had lunch at typical Russian restaurants. The food was excellent and not expensive.
Read Boz12's full Celebrity Constellation cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image catloverinhightown
2 reviews
Jul 2012
We booked a 2 day private tour which was a bit alternative as we didn't want to spend our time in queues. We told the operator the sort of things we were interested in and then had the flexibility to tweak the itinerary as we went along. We went on the Metro, visited the main Post office, supermarkets,the Eliseyev Emporium a farmers' market and a street market. We went to the Kazan Cathedral and were fortunate enough to be there whilst there was a service. We also visited the Church of our Saviour on the Spilled Blood, the Yusopov Palace, the Museum of Political History and the Space Museum at Peter and Paul Fortress. We were shown residential areas where there were traces of Soviet influence. We had a private power boat tour but unfortunately it rained so we couldn't see the sights properly. We ate in Russian cafes, including the one at Peter and Paul Fortress which isn't usually frequented by tourists. We learned about Russian and Soviet history and what it was like to grow up in Soviet Russia. This was a brilliant way to see St Petersburg. We took Roubles but most places accepted Euros, Dollars and Credit cards
Read catloverinhightown's full Jewel of the Seas cruise review
Provider: I Travel SPB
Member Image Cruizer Bill
2 reviews
Jul 2012
The centerpiece of any Baltic Cruise. The scale of St. Petersburg is dramatic to say the least! We took the Grand Two-Day tour with Alla Tours and loved every minute of it! The palaces and cathedrals were ENORMOUS and decorated to the point of being gaudy ! You can see the Russian people were slaves until the 1860's and much of their effort supported the insane lifestyle of the Czars. Same thing with the cathedrals - they are all gold mosaics and grand/dramatic in scale. Catherine's Palace and the Fountains of Peterhof Palace are in a league of their own - jaw dropping! Bring your passport, your tour ticket (provisional visa), and a LOT of patience with you to get on and off the ship to go through the passport controls.
Read Cruizer Bill's full Prinsendam cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image flcruiser3
1 review
Jul 2012
We scheduled a private (just our family), 2 day comfort tour with Alla Tours. We also planned our own evening excursion for Friday night with Alla's driver escorting us. I will first review Alla Tours and then review the port of St. Petersburg.. Alla was very responsive and easy to deal with through her web-site message service. Both mornings and Friday evening we had no trouble disembarking the ship and showing our tour ticket to customs in place of a Visa. Both mornings our guide, Kate was standing just beyond the customs booth waiting for us. Kate was very personable, spoke very good English, and knew a great amount about Russian history and culture. Our driver, Alexander (he went by Sasha), was great! He was a retired military pilot and an excellent driver. I am glad that I used a private company over the ship's tour and had a great two days. I do however have several complaints regarding Alla Tours: The 2nd morning we were taken to Alla's souvenir shop to pay for our tours. Alla was not there when we got there, so us along with many groups had to wait for her arrival to pay for our tours. There was then a very long line to pay when she arrived. We were picked up from our ship at 8:00am and did not leave her shop until 10:30am. So basically we lost 2 1/2 hours of our very short time in St. Petersburg! Our guide did not have our tickets to many of the attractions we toured (the Hermitage, St. Peter and Paul Fortress) and we had to wait for either Alla's husband or another guide to bring us our tickets. We were a a small group and moved very quickly, so I did not appreciate waiting outside an attraction 20 minutes for another guide to bring us our tickets. Our one hour boat tour of the city was terrible! The seats were very uncomfortable and the boat was so loud that we could not hear ANY of the guide's audio. It was very disappointing because in Copenhagen the canal boat tours were so great. I had e-mailed Alla several times about our dinner on Friday night and she assured me that she had made a reservation and that everything was set. However when we arrived at the restaurant, the Maitre 'd did not have our reservation. Luckily, despite the small restaurant being almost full, he quickly added 2 places to a lovely table that was set for 2 and accommodated us. I will never know if the mistake was on All's part or the restaurant. Despite my complaints we had an awesome 2 days and I would use Alla or perhaps another private tour company again.
Read flcruiser3's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image flcruiser3
1 review
Jul 2012
I had seen a program on the travel channel about the Grand Hotel Europe and it's Caviar Bar and L'Europe Restaurant. I was trying to decide if it would be a better experience to dine at this restaurant or attend a Russian Ballet. I then read that the major ballets would be on vacation while we were in St. Petersburg. I then discovered that we were lucky enough to be in St. Petersburg on a Friday night and that every Friday evening L'Europe has "Tchaikovsky Night". This is from the hotel's website: "Paying tribute to the great Russian composer, who spent his honeymoon at the Grand Hotel Europe, this is an unforgettable evening of classical music, ballet and fine dining. Enjoy timeless classics from Swan Lake and other great works performed by local dancers and a 13-piece orchestra while dining at L'Europe." I was not disappointed. We enjoyed the best meal of our lives and thoroughly enjoyed the orchestra, ballet dancers and 2 opera singers!
Read flcruiser3's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image rmgjg
1 review
Jul 2012
Booked the "Comfort Tour". There were only 6 of us on this tour. Our guide Natalia was a history major, and was excellent. She was passionate about conveying the history of Russia to us. We saw all the main sites of St. Petersburg as was possible is such a short time period. A recommendation would be to research Russian history before arrival as there is too much to learn & remember in such a short time frame. It was easy to book with this company online-they responded quickly to all questions, and dealt with all the paperwork needed to proceed through Russian customs. The cost was very reasonable for such an extensive tour-$270 USD including all admissions and 2 meals.It was suggested another 10% be divided between the guide & driver, and we were happy to pay a little more than that. We would highly recommend dealing with this company.
Read rmgjg's full Celebrity Constellation cruise review
Provider: Alla Tours
Member Image DawgVoyager
1 review
Jul 2012
Prior to our cruise, we had made contact through Cruise Critic with two other couples interested in sharing a small group private tour of St Petersburg. We chose SPB based on other reviewers' recommendations and it was a good choice. We made arrangements ahead of time, but did not have to pay anything until the end of the first day of the 2-day tour. If we had wanted to pay cash, we could have waited until the end of the 2nd day, but we elected to use credit cards and SPB needed to make sure the cards processed over night. SPB provided us tour tickets by email and we only needed to present those when we were going through Russian immigration in order to gain permission to the country. We did not purchase visas. On the other side of the Immigration lines, we were met by an SPB representative who directed us to the guide who would be with us for the two days. We ended up with Elena Volkova, who was a very friendly and knowledgeable guide, who spoke excellent English. She directed us outside to our private van with our driver, Alexander, who would be our excellent chauffeur for the two days. During the first day, we visited Smolny Cathedral, Isaac's Square, the Winter Palace and the Hermitage. We stopped for lunch at a local pie place where I had an egg and onion pie, a bowl of cold borscht soup and a cup of tea. Some had a meat pie. We continued with a visit to the Churchof Our Savior on Spilled Blood, the Peter and Paul Fortress and the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, St Isaac's Cathedral, Yusupov Palace and finally a subway station. We could have ridden the subway, but our group was interested only in seeing one of the stations and we visited one with one of the longest escalators, taking you down 120 meters to go below the Neva River. The second day began with a 40-minute canal boat city tour, followed by about a 1-hour drive to Pushkin to visit the Catharine Palace. Today's lunch was at restaurant in an old mansion and included tea or coffee, hot borscht, beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes and ice cream with a good caramel sauce for dessert. Another hour drive took us to Peterhof Palace and gardens. After walking through the gardens, we took a hover craft back to St Petersburg. Our group had requested time for a short shopping stop to pick up some souvenirs, so our driver took us to a place that had lots from which to choose. We were then returned to the ship after a very busy but interesting two days.
Read DawgVoyager's full Marina cruise review
Provider: SPB
Member Image LovetoSkiCopper
1 review
Jun 2012
Best shore excursion we've ever taken. Our guide, Anna, was friendly, helpful and answered all our questions timely. She took into account our needs and wants and developed a detailed itinerary so that we could see as much of St. Petersburg as we could while we were there in port. She devoted time to asking our kids questions, telling them stories and legends and taking us to landmarks & attractions that she thought the kids would enjoy along with the parents. As a result, our kids stayed engaged the entire day in spite of the fact that the shore excursion was 11 hours long.
Read LovetoSkiCopper's full Vision of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Best Guides
Member Image TylerRose
8 reviews
Jun 2012
nconsistant and irritable customs agents not withstanding, St. Petersburg was my favorite port! Our SPb guide, Maria, shared with us 2 days of Russian treasures. We arranged a private 2-day deluxe tour. She brought us around the crowds, to the city's high points, avoided delays, and seemed to know just when and where to be for easiest access. After an exciting, but utterly exhausting, day, she dropped us off at the Marinsky theatre. After helping us pick up our repurchased ballet tickets, she helped us get a table across the street for dinner and left us to dine on our own. SPb then picked us up after the ballet. It was magical, and worth the cost & exhaustion. Next day we started with early entry to the Hermitage & were out the door before the worst of the crowding.
Read TylerRose's full Eurodam cruise review
Provider: SPb
Member Image ivanchemist
2 reviews
Jun 2012
Only way to optimize your time is with a private tour. We could add a side trip on the subway, have dinner at an authenic restaurant, plus the guide could get us around large crowds in many places. We used Alla tours and would book them again if going to another city they handle.
Read ivanchemist's full Azamara Journey cruise review
Provider: Azamara Club Cruises
Member Image movinmama
1 review
May 2012
Alla Tours with Ellena as guide was incredible! We saw: subways lavishly decorated, a city tour,the Hermitage view from across the river, early morning (less crowded) tour through Hermitage, had a lovely lunch in a restaurant,took a boat ride, saw The Church of the Spilled Blood, Yusupov Palace, and St. Issac Cathedral on 1st day. The 2nd day we saw the St. Peter and Paul fortress and Cathedral there,had a warm sandwich lunch on board the hydrofoil, the Peterhof gardens and fountain park, the amazing Catherine palace with the dazzling Amber (all made of amber!)Room, and the beautiful blue, gold, and white St. Nicholas church. All the while our guide is telling us about the history, the art, the economy of historic times as well as the present - her knowledge and ability to answer any question was superb. She also had a knack for figuring out how to route us around other tour groups for the best views and smooth passage. You do NOT need a visa for this - being on any organized tour (not justs the ship's which is twice as expensive) gives you a blanket visa for all members of the tour. This city was a major highlight of all of our 35+ years of travel experiences. The opulence and beauty of the palaces and churches is a must to experience!
Read movinmama's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Alla
Member Image cruiselovebirds
1 review
May 2012
St. Petersburg was the highlight of our trip. Against the advice of the cruise line, we did not take the excursions offered by them. Instead, we followed the useful review of the fellow cruisers in this forum and took the private tour. There was NO problem at all to go through the Russian immigration control with the tickets issued by DenRus. Following the instructions of the travel agent, we were among the first to leave the ship. The process was very smooth -- took us less than 10 mins. The ship docked at 6.30a.m. but the gangway was not ready until 7a.m. We were allowed to leave the ship at 7.20a.m. By 7.30a.m., the entire group (15 of us) were ready to go. We were very happy that we could sit in a comfortable and spacious coach (which can actually take 30 people but there were only 15 of us). The 2-day tour went very well as per itinerary. Our travel guide (Ms. Lana) speaks excellent English and has great sense of humour. She is also very experienced and scheduled every activity nicely. We did not spend too much time of waiting, even for the Hermitage. Instead of queuing in the main entrance, our group could enter the Hermitage from other entrance. We noticed in the entrance tickets that our group booked a specific time to enter the museum. This could explain why we did not have to line up with other 'walk-in' visitors. Unlike the cruise line excursions, this private tour included lunch. This saved us the efforts of looking for eating places and the need of exchanging Russian rouble. We dined at decent places on both days. The dining venue on the 2nd day was particularly impressive, as it is designed like a palace near Peterhof. Talking about Peterhof, it was a MUST. The fountain gardens are marvellous. Of course, you cannot miss the Catherine's Palace and the Amber Room. On this, we would like to give credit to Ms. Lana again. When we visited Catherine's Palace, we entered from the main gate. Then, after visiting the Palace, we went to the outdoor garden. Ms. Lana nicely arranged the bus to pick us up from the backdoor of the garden. This saved us the time and efforts to walk back to main gate. I noticed that many other visitors had to walk back. Another highlight of the tour is the Nevsky River cruise, which brought us to Peter and Paul Fortress as well as close-up to the ship Aurora. It was another seamless itinerary planned by the tour. Ms. Lana also bought us to take the Metro, which was a very interesting experience to see the beautiful decorations of the subway station and take the long escalator to 120m below the ground. We also visited the souvenir shops on both mornings. Yet, we were not forced to buy anything but encouraged to use the clean toilet facilities. We are seasoned travellers around the world. We reckon that Ms. Lana is one of the best travel guides we ever had. We are very satisfied with the 2-day tour, though very exhausted. If you visit St. Petersburg, please make sure that you are energized and with good walking shoes.
Read cruiselovebirds's full Eurodam cruise review
Provider: DenRus
Member Image secfan1
2 reviews
Apr 2012
We chose a small group private tour to avoid the large crowds on the cruise line buses. St Petersburg is the highlight of the Baltic cruise.
Read secfan1's full Emerald Princess cruise review
Provider: Anastasia Tours
Member Image rgarick
1 review
May 2011
Best tour company we used along the cruise----highly recommend Victoria and her staff of enthusiastic, knowledgeable tour guides and drivers....prompt, courteous, met our every need of small group
Read rgarick's full Eurodam cruise review
Provider: spb tours

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