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We are doing a Baltic cruise next June [2021]  We're starting to look at excursions.  I"m thinking of doing Celebrities 2 day tour in St Petersburg.  Just wondering how people have liked or dislike this excursion.  Are private tours better in St Petersburg?  Open to suggestions. 

 

Rollie

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We used SPB Tours and were very pleased with them. They take you in small groups, 12-14 as I recall, unlike the large bus that you get with the cruise line tours. They are very mindful of safety and getting back to the ship in plenty of time. Guide spoke great English and very engaging. Also, used them in some of the other ports.

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, eyelovcrusin said:

We used SPB Tours and were very pleased with them. They take you in small groups, 12-14 as I recall, unlike the large bus that you get with the cruise line tours. They are very mindful of safety and getting back to the ship in plenty of time. Guide spoke great English and very engaging. Also, used them in some of the other ports.

 

 

 

 

Thanks, will keep them in mind.

 

Rollie

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We used Anastasia Tours.  We choose to go with 1 only couple from our Roll Call and it cost a bit more than the larger 12 -16 people groups but we felt it was well worth it.  Some sights are very crowded and since there was just 4 of us we were able to get in and out of sights easily - no waiting for 14 people to use restrooms, etc.  We were able to add stops that weren't originally planned.  

 

It was a great 2 days.

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1 hour ago, rollie said:

We are doing a Baltic cruise next June [2021]  We're starting to look at excursions.  I"m thinking of doing Celebrities 2 day tour in St Petersburg.  Just wondering how people have liked or dislike this excursion.  Are private tours better in St Petersburg?  Open to suggestions. 

 

Rollie

I also used SPB tours in July 2016 for St. Petersburg and Germany. Small group of 16 and very well organized but extremely busy as lots to see. 

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I will be surprised if many people say that you should take a ship's tour in SPB.  More expensive, less experience, more crowded. Private tours (a couple excellent ones mentioned here) far superior.

And these operators handle the Russian Visa.  Sometimes cruise lines will try to scare you telling you will need to secure your own Visa.  Not true.

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2 minutes ago, ECCruise said:

I will be surprised if many people say that you should take a ship's tour in SPB.  More expensive, less experience, more crowded. Private tours (a couple excellent ones mentioned here) far superior.

And these operators handle the Russian Visa.  Sometimes cruise lines will try to scare you telling you will need to secure your own Visa.  Not true.

Thanks for the information.  I checked out SPB and they said that they handle a visa requirements.

 

Rollie

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21 minutes ago, rollie said:

Thanks for the information.  I checked out SPB and they said that they handle a visa requirements.

 

Rollie

A Russian Visa is easy.  Just costs too much $$ IMO.  All you need is a letter from a "host".

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We have used Alla and TJ Travel and both were really great.  Doing a smaller group made the rout much more personal and allowed us to move more quickly.  We never had tow ait for tickets etc.  At each location and guide stepped up, got our 10 tickets and off we went while others waited on line.

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Rollie:  Firstly  you will love the Baltics.  Secondly, definitely use a private tour.  Keep it small.  As mentioned, places were crowded, and groups need to stay together.  Our 2-day SPB group was touring The Hermitage when one older gentleman went missing.  There were hundreds of groups there, and we had no idea where he was.  We stopped, and 4 guys went looking for him.  This took about 30-45 minutes (out of our tour), but it was necessary.  My husband thought to check "lost & found", and sure enough, there was John.  Back in the van, we all had a good chuckle about it.

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1 hour ago, rollie said:

Thanks for the information.  I checked out SPB and they said that they handle a visa requirements.

 

Rollie

They are truly excellent. If you book with them you won't be disappointed.  At the end of the tour there is some free time for shopping if you so desire.

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1 hour ago, mic123 said:

We also used SPB for the 2-day tour.  They were absolutely fantastic.  Small group and very well planned.

We also used SPB tours when we were in St Petersburg and also in Tallinn. Had a great experience both tours.

Edited by bubbachief
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We went with ALLA tours on six excursions during our Baltic States and Russia cruise. Absolutely professional with wonderful guides. The more tours booked, less the price. Surprisingly, they required no payment until the third excursion. You really can't go wrong with any of the companies mentioned.   

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1 hour ago, ECCruise said:

I will be surprised if many people say that you should take a ship's tour in SPB.  More expensive, less experience, more crowded. Private tours (a couple excellent ones mentioned here) far superior.

We used SPB in 2015 and they were excellent.

However, in 2018, I booked the Celebrity tour as I wanted to go inside Peterhof and they were the only company who did that tour.

Unfortunately, on 1/2nd July 2018, we were denied entry into St Petersburg, due to high winds. The ship was unable to turn in the narrow entry into St Petersburg.

I am very pleased to report that the money for that cancelled excursion, was credited back to our OBA that evening.

I spoke to a couple when we returned to Southampton, who were going contact their TA as they hadn’t had their money refunded for the cancelled cruise.

63027127-CD5A-498D-82A4-43E2B7EFCE03.jpeg

Edited by upwarduk
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3 hours ago, az_tchr said:

A Russian Visa is easy.  Just costs too much $$ IMO.  All you need is a letter from a "host".

Not so - multi page document to complete accurately, passport sent in to consulate and at least 6 week wait.  Required if you arrive in Russia for a river cruise or land travel except cruise ship “in transit” visits.  Had a fabulous trip but the visa took planning.

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Russian visa is NOT easy. We used Alla tours in St Petersburg and found them superb, friendly, flexible and efficient. Great quality restaurants for lunch etc. No payment till second day. Highly recommend.

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We also used SPB tours in St Petersburg and a couple of other cities they were great.   They were very professional and your tour confirmation serves as your Russian visa.  One of the biggest benefits was that SPB has enough connections that they get cuts in the line at many attractions.  Our group stepped ahead of Celebrity tours at several attractions.  I'd suggest that you go to the roll call for the cruise, someone may have already organized a group with SPB and there may be a discount.  At the very least, ask for the Cruise Critic discount.

 

Now a word of caution.  You want SPB-Tours.com not SPBtours.com,  The SPBtours (no Hyphen) is an imitator trying to benefit from the reputation of the original SPB tours.  Please use SPB-tours.com (with the hyphen)

 

Good Luck and enjoy your trip.

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Thanks everyone for your help.  My DW tends to like the security of a ships tour.  Me, I like private tours, for the reasons stated.  Maybe upon reading these replies, she will change her mind.  Thanks again.

 

Rollie

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29 minutes ago, rollie said:

Thanks everyone for your help.  My DW tends to like the security of a ships tour.  Me, I like private tours, for the reasons stated.  Maybe upon reading these replies, she will change her mind.  Thanks again.

 

Rollie

 

Please try to get her to change her mind.  St Petersburg was an amazing place being stuck in a much larger group waiting in long lines would be miserable.  I wish I had taken pictures of our group walking past all of the long lines with the Celebrity groups stuck in those lines.  There are a couple of very good groups in St Petersburg, SPB, Alla and TJ and all are very reliable.  But as I noted before SPB-Tours  treated us very well.  SPB and others are waiting for you as soon as you exit the terminal and are very easy to find.  St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip for us.  I understand her concerns and I probably wouldn't take a train trip to Moscow with a private group but the 2-Day tour in St Petersburg really isn't a problem.  At least with our SPB tour the afternoon stops on the second day were close to the port, they were well aware of the time constraint.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

Please try to get her to change her mind.  St Petersburg was an amazing place being stuck in a much larger group waiting in long lines would be miserable.  I wish I had taken pictures of our group walking past all of the long lines with the Celebrity groups stuck in those lines.  There are a couple of very good groups in St Petersburg, SPB, Alla and TJ and all are very reliable.  But as I noted before SPB-Tours  treated us very well.  SPB and others are waiting for you as soon as you exit the terminal and are very easy to find.  St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip for us.  I understand her concerns and I probably wouldn't take a train trip to Moscow with a private group but the 2-Day tour in St Petersburg really isn't a problem.  At least with our SPB tour the afternoon stops on the second day were close to the port, they were well aware of the time constraint.

 

 

I also hope you can convince her to use SPB. In addition to being an excellent tour operator they will provide additional discounts which the ship will not give you. They are right there next to the ship and leave right on time and will have you back well before your departure from port.  I also used them for a trip to Berlin by coach,  comfortable seats with free wifi, while another couple on my roll call used the ships tour via train and they had to wait over an hour for the train as it was late and he paid a lot more for the excursion.  Have your DW do some research. 

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17 hours ago, rollie said:

We are doing a Baltic cruise next June [2021]  We're starting to look at excursions.  I"m thinking of doing Celebrities 2 day tour in St Petersburg.  Just wondering how people have liked or dislike this excursion.  Are private tours better in St Petersburg?  Open to suggestions. 

 

Rollie

My son used Red October Tours in St. Pete and said they were great.  A lot cheaper than the ship's excursions.

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