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Aorinka

Children friendly tours with Best Guides

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I’m coming to St. Petersburg for the second time the coming summer, now with my husband and daughter (she will be 10 at the time of the trip). I’d made a reservation with the Best Guides again for the “relaxed” 2 day package before I saw a special children oriented tour option on their website. I wrote to the company and they answered that these tours were available for my dates and that it would be just a little bit more expensive if I decided to replace an ordinary city drive with the children friendly “Secrets of St. Petersburg” and an ordinary Hermitage tour with the children friendly “Palace of Wonders”. Any way the cost sounds reasonable and the manager promised that the tour would be adapted to the age of my daughter.

My question is if anybody has tried children tours with the Best Guides? Are the tours really interesting for children? Is it worth the money and time when you have only 2 days in St. Petersburg?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

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take a change of clothes for your daughter.

Here is a video we took.

 

Thank you, taking a change of clothes is very good point.

People are wearing coats and jackets!

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That was in early May and it was pretty cool.

By the way, we have e-mailed back and forth with Best Guides. Their tours look pretty good. We are going to use them next year on our cruise with our grandson. If you are interested, I have a list books for children they recommended and a few others.

You may contact me at scubacruiserx2@gmail.com

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I see. Thank you for your answers. My children are much younger: 3 and 5 y.o. I don’t give up the hope to hear some encouraging reviews from previous cruisers who went on a Baltic cruise with young children like mine.

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My usband and I are booked with Best guides. It is nice to know in the future they tours catered to children.

 

Other than that they come highly recommended intours becuase of there unique

personality to listen and to put your ideas together.:)

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I see. Thank you for your answers. My children are much younger: 3 and 5 y.o. I don’t give up the hope to hear some encouraging reviews from previous cruisers who went on a Baltic cruise with young children like mine.

 

Whitesand,

 

I was looking for children’s books to read prior to St. Petersburg tours and found a beautiful one http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Maiden-Helped-Santa-Claus/dp/0972502742/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334256160&sr=1-6 . A bit too childish for my 10yo girl, but seems just right for the age of your children. You may enjoy reading it with them though it's not quite Christmas time yet.

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The book looks beautiful, I definitely have to order it. We should probably shift this trip to summer 2013 when our girls are a bit older, which allows us to read the book during Christmas time :)

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Hi Aorinka,

Its been a year since this post but from your other posts I know you and your family enjoyed tour in St.-Petersburg. You never mentioned you had a book to prepare for it. Did this book help ?;)

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Hi, Kerry2travel. I would not say that this book prepared us for the whole trip, but it gave an encouraging introduction to our daughter waking her interest for the new place she was going to see.

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We traveled with 4 kids ages 9-15. We did a stop at the Cat Museum - basically a retirement home/rescue home for Hermitage mousers and other interesting breeds of cats. Don't go unless you love cats, but dd LOVED it.

 

None of my kids are huge lovers of museums, but all knew there were going to be times that we'd be doing them. The only one that was visibly disinterested in the Hermitage was 9yo ds. Buck up, buddy, it is what it is! :)

 

Not sure how much history your teens have had, but my 15yos had just finished AP World History. It really put much of what we saw thru out the cruise into perspective for them.

 

We did dinner out in town, at Teplo. All the kids really enjoyed that. And lunch at Tepemok. Three of them are adventurous eaters, so they like trying new things or are at least willing to risk a new dish.

 

We did not do the Metro, so can't comment.

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The best way to find a good guide for a tour is find any company you like and ask them for a kid friendly guide. All the guides work for who ever calls them since they are independent agents but book early because when a guide fills up their calendar they are not available. That is not Quite how it works, in reality the companies tell a guide to block off dozens of dates because bookings but in reality those booking are not usually there yet, if ever. Only when the date approaches do they find out they did not have a group so then scramble to find one. So the best time to book is very early and fairly late when a lot of guides have found themselves without a gig that day.

The guides are fighting back, they have a password, invitation only vKontact.ru club(Russian home grown version of Facebook with 100 million members) where they share information and gossip and are taking more control of their own work. By sharing they are finding which companies are trying to lock them in when they do not have a tour for them. There are about 2,500 guides and hundreds of companies. Same with vans, all independent agents.

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Does anyone know how different Best Guides’ child friendly tours are compared to standard tours?

We may be travelling with my brother’s family and they have 8 and 13 year old sons. I am concerned that visiting museums and historical sites will bore the kids, but I am also concerned that if we do the children’s tours, we will miss out the history. Are children tours geared for young kids?

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Hi! I would say children tours are quite different. In some cases you even will see different sights. We’ve been on a children friendly tour to Peter and Paul fortress. We entered the fortress through the “secret” underground passage, where Nic found a “hidden treasury” – a toy key. We climbed the ramp and walked on the top. It was very interesting and exciting for Nic, the “golden” key really made her happy. Next night Nic even slept with the key in her hand :) But look, we didn’t visit the cathedral which is the main attraction in the fortress. Our guide said it wouldn’t be interesting for kids. Any way we simply didn’t have time for it. It was OK with us. We wanted our daughter be interested in the tours and she obviously was.

There is another option – you can book regular tours with some elements of children friendly tours. I think it will be the best decision for your party.

Good luck! Jess :)

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We were two families, six adults with six children among us, from 4 to 12. We asked Best Guides to prepare a two-day tour programme that would take into account the kids. They did their best to accommodate our group. Irina prepared very well for the tours, had little toys and interesting ideas for the kids;told them stories, tailored the excursion to Hermitage with kids in mind and organised a matryoshka-painting class that was a hit with adults and kids alike. The highlights that Best Guides choose for us were very suitable for this disparate group. The mini-bus was comfortable; we were a bit rushed a lot of the time because of distances (St.Petersburg is a big city!) and because we wanted to fit as much as possible into these two days. Notably, I approached several agencies asking about a special programme for the kids, Best Guides was the only one that really did think about it rather than coping a standard excursion offer from their website - all other agencies we approached were not very creative and also often were more expensive. Overall, great two days, and the agency delivered just what they promised. Thank you, Irina!

 

Visited August 2016

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I thought it would be useful to share our recent experience of visiting St Petersburg with our two daughters (aged 10 & 12) on this thread. We had a 2 day stopover in St Petersburg as part of our cruise on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth in August 2016 and the cost of booking two days of tours with Cunard was going to be extremely high so, from my research, it seemed that a private tour with a St Petersburg tour company would be a better option because we’d get a more bespoke tour tailored to our needs.

 

Having researched the options well in advance, I decided to contact Best Guides because of the positive reviews on Trip Advisor backed up with all the information on their website – they looked as though they used the best guides and drivers and really understood how to deliver good tours tailored to the needs of their guests. We wanted to make the very most of our 2 days in St Petersburg, so opted for quite an intensive 2 day private tour programme which included an initial drive around the city, Peterhof and St Catherine’s palace on the first day and a ride on the metro & visit to a market on the second day followed by early entry into the Hermitage, St Isaac’s Cathedral, Church on Spilled Blood and the Peter & Paul Cathedral.

 

We travelled safely and comfortably with our driver, Andrew, and our guide, Elena, in a luxurious Mercedes and were provided with bottles of water and there were also rain ponchos just in case. The car was equipped with a microphone and speakers so that we could all hear what Elena was saying without any problem.

 

Elena our guide was brilliant – she made the whole thing so interesting for us all and the girls were really engaged throughout the 2 days, even in the Hermitage museum Elena was able to explain the exhibits in a way that really interested the children. She was able to get us in ahead of the queues and take us around everything at our own pace. At various points we encountered the Cunard tour parties and we were just so happy that we were on our own, just the four of us, with Elena. Although our children were very happy to do quite a “grown up” tour, I know that Best Guides offer lots of different options for families and from my experience, I think that the guides they use are all experienced and would be great at adapting to the needs and interests of any particular group. I would certainly recommend anybody with children to book a tour with Best Guides.

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I found on their website special package for families with teens and preteens. The package includes tours specially adopted for kids & 2 quests. I've checked this thread very carefully but I didn't find any feedback from those who booked this package. First of all I'm interested in the quests. Will the quest be good for boys of 9 and 10 or is it just waste of time?

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Sorry for the late question. I've just found your reply. What was the last name of your guide? Best Guides told me they have several guides with the name Marina.

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Did you already know the name of your guide in St. Petersburg? We had Svetlana and she was just fantastic. Hope it will help.

 

Jess

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