We boarded the ship in St. Petersburg, specifically so that we could spend two full days with a private guide and driver before the cruise. After doing a lot of Internet research I settled on Best Guides (www.bestguides-spb.com). From the beginning we dealt with Dariya via email and she was wonderful. Not only did they plan a custom tour for you, but they were able to quickly respond to your requests for changes and even provided visa support.
We were to leave Washington Dulles Airport on June 3, 2019, but our flight was delayed for over 3 ½ hours. This caused us to miss the only non-stop from Dulles to St. Petersburg for the day. We were able to reschedule, but we ultimately did not arrive at our hotel until 2am. Fortunately, to reach Dariya via email from Zurich. She quickly rearranged our schedule so that we would not be meeting our guide and driver until 1pm (giving us some time for a little much needed rest). She did this all without penalty and even discounted the charges base on the actual hours we used instead of the time we had contracted for.
Our guide, Elena Gumennaya, was wonderful. Her English was perfect and she was extremely knowledgeable about St. Petersburg and Russian history. We particularly enjoyed hearing about the changes since 1991.
Wonderful, bucolic ride through the Estonian countryside. Very knowledgeble guide.
Bus tour of the city with an hour and a half to explore Tivoli. Excellent guide.
Took the "Hop on, Hop off" boat to the Vasa Museum. It houses a spectacular 17th centruy ship which was recovered and restored. It is over 90% original. The presentation is spectacular, and you can get close enough to almost touch the original ship. For the best experience, we recommend you watch the movie and they take the elevator to the top (7th floor) and work your way down. Definitely worth the trip!
Great, in town, exposure to Oslo. Excellent guides.