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Thank you Visitorstpetersburg and Danlchilton for the detailed reviews. Both of them are really very helpful. I plan to return back to St. Petersburg next season. I obviously will book with the Best Guides again. I hope to see the sights I haven’t seen before – the Faberge, the Usupov palace, the Diamond room and the Malachite room (we have seen the Amber room). I plan to visit Peterhoff once again. It’s just fantastic! I deem to see it again. Any other suggestions/ideas? What shall we see on our second visit? Thank you all! Jess

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We went to St.Petersburg twice and the first visit was an on-land visit and it was longer than the ships usually stay. So we did see a bit more than just the standard first choice tour would show you. And according to my experience I would recommend you to see the Chinese palace in Oranienbaum the Russian Museum and the Usupov Palace. I think Faberge Museum must be an interesting option as well. Unfortunately when we were in St. Petersburg this option did not exist yet.

 

If you choose a cruise with three days in St.Petersburg you can also use the second day to go to Novgorod. It is a charming little town about 200 kilometers from St. Petersburg which has authentic Russian architecture to see. We just loved it.

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Thank you all for the info. I’ve been to St. Peter a year ago and spent fantastic two days with the Best Guides. This year I plan to return back. Our ship will dock for 3 days. On our second day I plan to go to Moscow. I will obviously book St. Petersburg and Moscow with the Best Guides. My question is concerning Berlin. I know this tour will be exhausting but I really want to see Berlin. What is better to do – to book Berlin trip with the Best Guides (in this case they give a discount for a package tour) or with a local company (Berlin City tour for example)? Thank you.

Jess :)

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Hi, Cansas Piligrim

I’ve just finalized my booking with the Best Guides.

We’ve booked an individual 3 day itinerary in St Petersburg with Moscow on the second day, We also booked a tour to Berlin. Not sure it’s within the rules of the forum to give the exact price but it was not expensive. More over we got a package discount which was a nice surprise. The cost included transfers Warnemunde/Berlin/Warnemunde. Altogether it will take about 12 hours and we will have about 6 hours in Berlin, I know it’s not enough. I perfectly know I need 2 or 3 day to see such a city. Any way it’s better than nothing :D

 

Jess :)

Edited by CrazyJess
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Jane,

We booked “one day walking tour with Kremlin”. We were told that traffic in Moscow is so bad that it’s better to use subway or just walk.

Our itinerary :

6.00 meeting at the ship, transfer

6.45-10.25 Sapsan speed train

tour of metro

Red Square, inside visit to St. Basil’s Cathedral

Lunch

Armory Camber

Territory of Kremlin and Cathedrals

Walking tour of Arbat street

Transfer by metro

19.25-23.14 Sapsan speed train

23.15-23.45 transfer to the ship

 

All transfers, railway tickets, entrance tickets and so on (except for lunch) are included. We also got 10% early bird discount :D

Jess :)

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  • 1 month later...
The idea of Stalin's Bunker is great, thanks.

Hi! I’m not sure about Stalin's Bunker in Moscow. We will have 4 or 5 hours there and I don’t think we will have time for it. What I really dream about is subway. I have seen subway in St. Petersburg. It was fantastic! You can’t imagine but they have so many sculptures there! More over there are columns made of crystal!!!! It’s really like a place hall. I was told that subway in Moscow is even better.

Jess :)

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Wow! Wonderful photos! What a shame we do not have time for Moscow:(.

We have toured with Best guides 2 years ago. Took a special child-tailored tour for our little daughter. She was absolutely happy. We had a lot of fun as well, but this time as we are traveling just two of us (our parents' present for our 10 years together!!!!!!!!) we decided to learn a bit more about St.Petersburg than we learned on a child-tour :). So we are taking the full quite adult-tailored two day tour with Best guides again of cause. As a matter of fact they have very attractive discounts for Cruise Critic members. You can get 10% off the early bird price!

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Great photos! Fantastic! Really unbelievable! Thank you. It’s very different from New York subway… I have to say it’s even better than St. Petersburg subway. I can’t wait for my cruise…

Jess

 

 

 

Wow! Wonderful photos! What a shame we do not have time for Moscow.

We have toured with Best guides 2 years ago. Took a special child-tailored tour for our little daughter. She was absolutely happy. We had a lot of fun as well, but this time as we are traveling just two of us (our parents' present for our 10 years together!!!!!!!!) we decided to learn a bit more about St.Petersburg than we learned on a child-tour :). So we are taking the full quite adult-tailored two day tour with Best guides again of cause. As a matter of fact they have very attractive discounts for Cruise Critic members. You can get 10% off the early bird price!

 

 

 

Thanks Jess and JiGlo ! I'm glad that we went to Moscow , but It isn't necessary to go to Moscow to see beautiful stations . St. Petersburg has some of our favorite Metro stations . The Red line has the nicest .

 

 

Avtovo

 

 

Marble columns

 

 

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Avtovo glass columns

 

 

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We also like Narva

 

 

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We were on board Norwegian Star this Summer. It was a wonderful trip! It was our second cruise. Two years ago on our previous cruise we were with out little daughter and booked special children tours for her with Best Guides. The tours were wonderful and the little one was absolutely happy. We were as well. So naturally this time we booked with Best Guides again. But it was an "adult" trip, so we wanted the full-time tours and booked the whole Baltic Package – shore excursions in Helsinki, Tallinn, Berlin, Stockholm and of cause St.Petersburg. The shore excursion we had in St.Petersburg was called “Best of the Best” – a two day tour package. It was really the best! Reasonably intensive – but we saw a lot!!! Peterhof founains, Amber room, Spilt Blood Church, and of cause THE HERMITAGE. We had the early admission to the Hermitage, which was very convenient. And we also enjoyed the Hydrofoil to Peterhof and a nice little tour of the Russian Tsars' Bathhouse with a whole room where the water pores right from the jets in the walls. They demonstrated it during the tour. Lunches were also nice in cosy little restaurants. And though it was already our third time in St.Petersburg we enjoyed the tour and also learned a lot! Our guide – Inna - was marvelous!!! It was very interesting to listen to her. And she was the most caring person I’ve ever seen.

Shore excursions in other ports were also very nice. We particularly liked the Helsinki tour which included walk and public transport rides – it was very I would say home-like. We were worried about using the public transport first, but Helsinki appeared to be very easy to get around and the guide managed to make us feel part of the local life, and at the same time we did see all the places of interest.

And also Tallinn was wonderful! The guide was very nice and the Old Town itself was really charming and romantic. All in all our impression from the trip are unforgettable!

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Posted this on another thread:

 

This was our third Baltic cruise so we decided to do something different since we had done the “standard tour” twice using a different one of the big well known companies each time.. I am interested in religious art especially icons and Novgorod, south of St Petersburg, is the birth place of Russian icon painting. Could we go there? Internet research turned up several new to me tour companies offering tours to Novgorod. I contacted them plus the well known companies often seen on this board. The new companies were VERY expensive for what they offered. Two of the better known companies (used before) replied but said they would get back to me. I'm still waiting. I received a quick response from Best Guides. They already offer a tour to Novgorod. I began working with Natalie and came up with the following: we would go to Novgorod on the first day and have a walking tour around the center of St Petersburg on the second day. We told them some places we would like to visit and a place and time schedule was worked out for the walking tour. We expected to pay more as it would only be the two of us but their price was only a bit more then what a standard tour for two would have cost. Here's a link to their Novgorod tour: http://www.bestguides-spb.com/tour-novgorod.html Natalie was quick to reply and easy to work with even when we made several changes over time to both parts of the tour.

 

How did all this work out.....well, you always have doubts and fears. Will they be there to meet you at the dock, will ride to Novgorod be safe (it's about a three hour trip each way) etc. On June 11 we arrived in St Petersburg and quickly got off the ship and through boarder control. There was a representative from Best Guides along with our driver, Anatoly, waiting to meet us. Anatoly took us to his van and we were off. He was an excellent, careful driver and the drive to Novgorod was pleasant with lots to see, old wooden houses, small towns etc. Our guide, Galena, was there to meet us and we began by walking into the “Kremlin” area of Novgorod. I won't go into detail but will be happy to answer questions. It was a truly wonderful day except for the rain. Even with that we saw everything as promised and Galena was excellent with lots of information about the meaning of religious paintings and icons. The ride back to St Petersburg was uneventful and Anatoly (who, by the way, did not speak English but that was never a problem) indicated he would be our driver tomorrow.

 

He was there to meet us on Sunday with our guide for the day, Elena Isakova. Again, rather then going into detail, our day worked out wonderfully. Elena was a excellent, knowledgeable guide. From the first stop at an Orthodox church to see and hear some of the service, to the Central Naval Museum, not usually on a tour but a place DH wanted to see, and finally the Peter and Paul Fortress we saw everything we wanted to see and more. We had a long walk along the Nevsky Prospect that made us feel like everyday Russians out for a stroll. Stopped in at the office and paid with a credit card, no problem.

 

All in all we could not have been happier with service and guides from Best Guides. We would use them again in a heart beat. They were easy to work with and quickly responded to our emails. Being able to pay with a credit card on the second day was a plus because we did not have to bring a lot of cash with us. Apparently, the big two companies (I will name them if asked) were not interested providing anything but the “standard tour”. Best Guides stepped up gave us exactly what we wanted. They certainly earned their name as they were the “Best Guides.

 

<<<Karen>>>

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Thank you so much for your review, gkkapp.

Very useful as you don’t find many reviews of Novgorod on this forum.

Yet, my question is about the Naval Museum. Did you like it? What did you see there? Would it be interesting for kids?

Although I have never toured with Best Guides, I've been to the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg if that is the museum that you are referencing. It is excellent and I do believe that it would be interesting for kids, depending on their ages. There are lots of ship models as well as the St. Nicholas (small warship discovered & restored by Peter the Great in the 1600's on which he learned to sail). There are also subs, airplanes, numerous naval artifacts, flags, paintings, drawings, documents & photos. I think that kids would find the actual ships & models the most interesting.

Another interesting museum that I visited just last month is the Grand Market Russia. I think that kids would love it! It is an interactive, minature of the entire country of Russia with working models (even sports some cruise ships whose names I recognized). There were many children there when I visited & the kids were awed when it changed from day to night (about every 15 minutes).

You can find info here:

Official website: http://petersburg4u.com/grand-maket-russia-museum

http://petersburg4u.com/grand-maket-russia-museum

youtube video:

BTW: Although I have used Alla Tours on several trips (she is wonderful), I no longer require a tour guide when exploring St. Petersburg or Moscow - I can easily make my way around using local transportation. Needless to say, I do have a visa. However, if you will be entering Russia via cruise ship without a tourist visa, I don't see why a tour operator could not add these sites on a private tour geared towards kids - both sites are interesting for children & adults alike.

Edited by dogs4fun
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Thank you so much for your review, gkkapp.

Very useful as you don’t find many reviews of Novgorod on this forum.

Yet, my question is about the Naval Museum. Did you like it? What did you see there? Would it be interesting for kids?

 

First off, yes, it is the Central Naval Museum. It is housed in a new building and our guide hadn't even been there yet :). I think any child would like it, maybe boys more then girls. Lots of ship models, plus everything dogs4fun mentions. DH builds wooden ship models as a hobby so was keen to see the museum. Most standard tours don't go there but it would be well worth it. As an adult I enjoyed the Hermitage but if I were a child I would find it busy and BORING. Best Guides had no problem arranging the visit. It is possible to arrange a guided tour with a museum person at an extra cost but with our Best Guide guide any signs we need translated could easily be done.

 

dogs4fun- Thanks for your help on Novgorod. We were very happy we went there even with the rain. Saw so much and learned so much about "Old Russia". Perhaps we'll do it again one day.

 

<<<Karen>>>

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My husband is an amateur military enthusiast interested in tanks and guns.



Could the Naval museum be of interest for him to visit? [/url]

 

I don't remember any tanks but there were guns related to naval operations plus plenty of naval history. There may be an army museum in St Petersburg and some research might find it. If you do a private tour as we did you can pretty much tell your guide what you want to do. Because Best Guides is a smaller company they were very willing to work with us as to what we wanted to do. I would email them with your husbands interests and see what you could offer you in the way of a tour. Here's their website: http://www.bestguides-spb.com/

 

<<<Karen>>>

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My husband is an amateur military enthusiast interested in tanks and guns.



Could the Naval museum be of interest for him to visit?

The Central Naval Museum is very interesting but if your husband is more interested in artillery (assorted munitions, tanks, guns, cannons, etc.), the museum that I feel would be of more interest to him is the Military Historical Artillery Museum (Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineering and Signal Corps). We visited the museum with Alla Tours (http://alla-tour.com/) - they will design a private itinerary to meet your wishes & her tours are fantastic (you can also email her at: info@alla-tour.com).

FYI: There is a large collection of tanks, missles, carriers, trucks, etc., that are displayed outside in the interior courtyard.

I have included links to both museums so that you can decide which would be of more interest to you. Hope you have a great visit - St. Pete is a fabulous city!

http://eng.navalmuseum.ru/

http://www.artillery-museum.ru/en/home.html

Edited by dogs4fun
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  • 2 weeks later...
Thank you, dogs4fun and Karen, and sorry for delay in responsing. Your advice is very helpful, indeed.

We’re considering a private bespoke tour and have to choose sights\museums to visit.

Is the Naval Museum interactive? Can you play with boat steer panels? This is something that kids would enjoy.

No, the museum is not interactive.

Edited by dogs4fun
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  • 2 months later...

Has anyone worked with Dariya at Best Guides. We are currently trying to arrange a private 2 day tour in St Petersburg. Thought about adding the white nights boat tour from 1130pm to 230am. Hear it was a must see, but Im afraid it will tire me out. Also thinking about having dinner in St Peterburg somewhere. Any suggestions

 

They have an intensive tour that seems to cover all the major landmarks.

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