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SMC_Irish_68
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Loc: Virginia
St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours?
      #1357305 - 11/26/11 12:31 PM (71.62.228.48)


We're cruising on NCL and looking at shore excursions. I'd like input about whether to book one of the NCL recommended shore excursions while in St. Petersburg, Russia, or if it is better to book a private tour for 6 people?

Any thoughts?

Karen


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Temery
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Joined: 08/31/06
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Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1357983 - 11/28/11 04:14 PM (216.31.145.20)

Hi Karen, what I like best about booking the SE w/the ship is the guarantee that they will return you to the ship on time. You most likely will save some $ if you book private and most likely will be back on time but for me the peace of mind knowing I won't have to fork out more $ to get myself back to the ship if the tour should run late is worth the few (or sometimes lots) of extra $ spent.
Sorry I don't have any specific advice regarding St. P for you.


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SMC_Irish_68
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: Temery]
      #1359533 - 12/03/11 02:34 PM (71.62.228.48)

Thinking it over, your advice is really good. I 'll stick with the cruise ship's excursions.

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Southshore
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: Temery]
      #1359703 - 12/04/11 11:44 AM (99.253.186.254)

This sounds like good advice. I have not been on this cruise but a good friend went on it with her husband two years ago. They only used the shore excursions sold on board. She mentioned that they were warned to beware of pickpockets, especially groups of small children who distract you.

You may also want to check out any websites that your government puts up showing warnings about various destinations. Our Foreign Affairs (Canada) site at this time specifically mentions criminals pretending to be police offcers in St. Petersburg. Being escorted by a ship-sanctioned tour guide would give me a better feeling of safety.


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aquamarine
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Joined: 06/05/03
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Loc: Colorado
Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1361179 - 12/08/11 08:55 PM (174.29.186.153)

Karen, we were in St Petersburg in May on a Princess cruise. We booked a private tour group for ourselves and it was fantastic. There were 10 in our travel group; we went with Alla Tour and I can't recommend it highly enough. There was absolutely no question of not getting back to the ship on time. There is also NO problem getting off the ship despite not being on a ship's excursion.

We loved being in a small group, and although we had only one day in port, we felt that we saw the highlights in a very, very full day. Take a look at the Alla Tour website to see the variety of tours they will arrange.


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SMC_Irish_68
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: aquamarine]
      #1361183 - 12/08/11 09:14 PM (71.62.228.48)


Which tour did you go on?
We have 2 days in port so we hope to take advantage of that.


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aquamarine
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1361187 - 12/08/11 09:28 PM (174.29.186.153)

Hmmm, I think it was their tour #1, but in any event, they have one-day and two-day combinations. The website is www.alla-tours.com - take a look - all of their guides speak excellent English.

In one day we saw so much: Catherine's Palace, the Peterhof Gardens & Fountains, the Hermitage Museum, the subways and Nevsky Propekt, the Neva River and various surrounding areas, fountains, statues, etc etc. We really liked that our tour group was just us - they did add one other couple (with our approval) so we had a total of 12.

We got back to the ship around 6:30 pm; others might add an evening tour, too, but we were exhausted and happy to relax on board.


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aquamarine
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: aquamarine]
      #1361189 - 12/08/11 09:31 PM (174.29.186.153)

I should add, the subway stations in St. Petersburg are NOT the works of art as in Moscow - so in hindsight we would have left that part of our day off of the itinerary. But they seem to have great pride in the subway system so off you go for a ride from one station to another a couple of stops along.

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aquamarine
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: aquamarine]
      #1361195 - 12/08/11 09:45 PM (174.29.186.153)

Sheesh, me again! The website is www.alla-tour.com, without the "s" at the end. I always get that messed up.

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SMC_Irish_68
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Loc: Virginia
Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: aquamarine]
      #1361215 - 12/08/11 11:09 PM (71.62.228.48)


Thanks! I'll look these over and share with my friends who are also going on the cruise.


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aquamarine
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Re: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours? [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1361515 - 12/09/11 07:43 PM (174.29.186.153)

Isn't the planning just so much fun! Exploring your options, figuring out what to do and when...love it! The pricing with Alla Tour is based on total number of people - so if you fill their van (total of 16 travelers, I think), the cost per person is less than if you limit the van to your group only. They take credit cards, you pay on the van when your tour starts (first day). In our group, we all agreed on a meeting time (early) to get in line to debark the ship, so were at the front of the line, and the Alla Tour guides were waiting with signs once through immigration into Russia.

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SMC_Irish_68
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Joined: 09/27/02
Posts: 942
Loc: Virginia
Update: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours [Re: aquamarine]
      #1421501 - 06/12/12 08:22 PM (71.62.228.48)


We just returned from a cruise on Norwegian Sun and booked a private tour for St. Petersburg with SPb Tours (http://spb-tours.com). It was wonderful! We did the 2 day tour with a guide and driver. It was cheaper than the ship's version of the same tour and there were only 4 of us on it!

I was surprised that the photo on the web site of Viktoria is actually a "real person." She met the groups who booked with her company right outside Customs. When the tour was over, she greeted each returning tour to find out how they liked the tours.

Karen


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Update: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1421503 - 06/12/12 08:29 PM (108.96.100.44)

Karen--would love to see a trip report from your trip!

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SMC_Irish_68
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Joined: 09/27/02
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Loc: Virginia
Re: Update: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1421579 - 06/13/12 07:19 AM (71.62.228.48)


I'll post one in a few days.

K.


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Update: St. Petersburg, Russia, private tours [Re: SMC_Irish_68]
      #1421612 - 06/13/12 09:46 AM (71.101.41.196)

Looking forward to it!

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