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SMC_Irish_68
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Joined: 09/27/02
Posts: 943
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
Posts: 520
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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Joined: 09/27/02
Posts: 943
Loc: Virginia
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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Joined: 01/05/04
Posts: 762
Loc: Mississauga, ON, Canada
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
Posts: 185
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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Joined: 09/27/02
Posts: 943
Loc: Virginia
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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Joined: 06/05/03
Posts: 185
Loc: Colorado
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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Joined: 06/05/03
Posts: 185
Loc: Colorado
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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Joined: 06/05/03
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Loc: Colorado
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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Joined: 09/27/02
Posts: 943
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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