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Trevoli

2 day St. Petersburtour question

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Looking at the ships 2 day St. Petersburg tour, and wondering if it includes a tour INSIDE the church on spilled blood.  Can’t tell from the tour description if the visit to the church is a drive by, an outside photo stop, or if you actually tour the inside. 

 

Many thanks.  Looking at non ship tours too. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Trevoli said:

Looking at the ships 2 day St. Petersburg tour, and wondering if it includes a tour INSIDE the church on spilled blood.  Can’t tell from the tour description if the visit to the church is a drive by, an outside photo stop, or if you actually tour the inside. 

 

Many thanks.  Looking at non ship tours too. 

 

 

Highly recommend that you stay as far away from the ships tour as possible unless you want to be on a bus, with 55 people, and constantly waiting for loading and unloading and late people.  Take one of the small tour groups that offer tours.  You are in a small mini bus up to 16 people, and have a more personal tour experience.  Yes, the small tours go into the church.  You can also ask them all the questions you want before selecting them. 

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Also advise you not to take the ship tours. You will see much more with a private company. On our cruise 3 years ago, we did the private route, while our friends stayed with the ship options. We had a much better time. Our company was Alla Tours and I recommend them, but there are others that have high ratings also. Check out the port call for St. Petersburg.

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Definitely go with a private tour.  We saw so many things that were not included in the large ships tour.  We used SPB Tours and they were great.  There are so many local small tour companies that get rave reviews it was hard to pick which one to go with.  The small 16-20 passanger buses were much more personal and you could ask as many questions as you wanted.

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We're going in July, and are doing a private tour.  It saves us a little money, but more importantly, we're doing exactly what we want to do and see.  We're a group of 8, ages 14-57, one with mobility issues.  We're using Red Sun Tours--they arrange all the visas.  I do recommend setting up the private tour on the early side--they need time to process the paperwork.  We don't have to pay them until we arrive in St. Petersburg.

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Thanks to all!   I am sold on a private tour, and in fact, may add on an evening tour.  I’m not a big fan of ballet, but to see a Russian ballet IN RUSSIA, might be too hard to pass up.    😉

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I would also tell you to forget any notion of doing a ship's tour. The private tour companies get you a 72 hour visa and you will tour, at the most, with 16 or so people instead of 60. They will cater any tour to what you might want. You also have to understand that the private tour companies will go out of their way to make you happy and come back to CC with a great recommendation. Most ship's excursions couldn't care less if you recommend them or not. 

A private tour company can and will change your itinerary according to the weather, traffic and any other things that might arise, but they will make sure you do see everything you are entitled to see. We used SPB Tours, which have been one of the highest rated tour companies in St Petersburg. They will or can arrange tours at many of your other ports and the more you book with them, the cheaper the price gets. When we toured with them, we mentioned that we would like to see the Grand Choral Synagogue in St Petersburg. We are of the Jewish faith and really wanted to see it, but it wasn't on our itinerary. You could have guessed that they did arrange a visit there for us and the rest of our group. Tell me any ship's excursion that would do that. 

You will never remotely have any chance of missing your ship. Most companies book the furthest places on day one and then usually keep you local on day 2. Do yourself a favor and take everyone's advice and find a company you are comfortable with and use them. 

 

Cheers

Len

 

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Just thought I'd add to the chorus for SPB Tours in St. Petersburg. They were amazing from the planning stages to the tour itself. And to answer your question about the church, when their itinerary says 'visit', that means you get a tour inside. You can contact them before you book to be sure...

 

Enjoy!

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About the ballet--Rick Steves points out that the main ballet companies take the summer off.  So, if you opt to see the ballet, you'll be seeing second-rate dancers in a second-rate venue.  This was a big issue in our house--I have 3 ballet dancers who wanted to see an honest-to-goodness Russian ballet, but that's not available during our cruise time.  So, we'll be painting Matroyshkas instead.

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I am sold on a private tour, and after reading so many 'pitches' for SJB, am sold on them too!

 

Interesting note about the ballet.  We'll be there in late May (22/23 May to be exact).  I wonder if that's considered summer?  Also, it's not like we'll have anything to compare it to (2nd rate dancers, 2nd rate venue), other than ballets we see here at home. 

 

I am intrigued by the idea of painting Matroyshkas!    That is the one souvenir I plan on taking home from Russia.   My sister is NOT into that kind of thing at all, unfortunately, so will be buying those in a shop.

 

Continued thanks to all, and I welcome other comments and guidance!

 

 

 

 

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Actually, I think in May, you'll be okay on the ballet.  Rick Steves says not to go mid-July to mid-September--we're going to be there 8/3-4, I believe.  So, go and enjoy!

 

The Matroyshka painting thing was thrown in by Elena at Red Sun Tours--we didn't specifically request it.  But, like you, we thought it would be interesting and different.  What a cool souvenir, right?  Unfortunately, I have one son who has artistic talent, and the rest of us, well, don't.  Still, I think it will be a fun experience.

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That experience sounds wonderful.   It's one thing to have talent, and quite another to have interest.  My sis has neither, so I won't subject her to that.  

 

Good to know about the ballet.  I'm sure it'll be an evening like no other, in any case.

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