We'll be in St Petersburg in June on a cruise ship and wish to take a 3-day tour of St Petersburg. Any recommendations of good tour companies and reports of good experiences? Some indication of prices would be welcomed too.
I thought St-Petersburg was very easy to navigate on my own. I did learn the Cyrillic alphabet and a few sentences.
I took a tour of 2 main palaces outside of the city with ULKO tour and liked them very much (I do not take tours usually and was pleased with them). Oh and just fyi I went fairly recently....last summer. Bon voyage! Great timing for June! White nights are amazinggg!!!
We used Alla Tours in 2012 and were satisfied. Try TA for other recommendations. Enjoy your trip!
We also used Elena Ulko (ULKO Tours) before she created the company. She's extremely nice and absolutely knowledgeable and deviates during the tour depending on what you may want to include or exclude. She took us to Catherine's Palace from St Petersburg which was amazing.
Val, where you on a cruise ship? I am paying with doing my two days on my own or maybe booking a couple of short excursions on the ship (they have one that goes to the Gold room in the Hermitage for example)
The other option is to join one of the established tour companies. I am off now to read the options of the ones mentioned on here. I have also read good things of SPB tours and their 2 day seems reasonably priced at $300 with a limited group of 16.
No I took the ferry from Helsinki to do the visa-free visit to St-Petersburg. NO companies would help me (I contact quite a few) because the ferry arrives later than the cruiseships...but ULKO tour was super accommodating. Another reason I loveddd them!
We also used Alla for a two day tour, but they have lots of options from private to bigger groups and half day up.
We paid 300 each (including tip) for a two-day ten person tour, Alla booked eight others from our ship and we traveled in a 12 passenger van with a driver and guide. I thought it was a great deal. If you take a tour you don't need to get a visa ($160 savings) plus it includes transportation and guide for two days. We paid in U.S. currency, so we didn't need to exchange money to pay them. Pay attention to all the details on their site - then ignore the boat announcements that you won't get into Russia unless you take their tour.
This comes up on Cruise Critic all the time, so you should look on their Northern Europe and Baltic Ports Forum for more information: http://tinyurl.com/by57g9z
And here's their St. Petersburg Port Review with other information: http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=73
There are three ways to see St. Petersburg from a cruise:
- Ship's excursions - no extra visa needed.
- Pre-booked tour with a company that is authorized to do the necessary paperwork - no extra visa needed.
- On your own - with this, you have to get a visa (a lot of hassle and money).
If you want to investigate tours, these companies are often mentioned as being very good.
- Alla Tours: http://www.alla-tour.com/
- Denrus Tours: http://www.denrus.ru/
- Red October: http://www.redoctober.us/
- SPB Tours: http://www.spb-tours.com/st-petersburg/en/
These companies have set excursions you can join, or you can book a private tour with them. If you use the Cruise Critic Roll Call page, you can find other people on your sailing to join your private tour, reducing the cost while having a small group and customized itinerary. Roll Calls are here: http://tinyurl.com/ap7h55m
Here's a detailed report of one traveler's two day tour with Red October: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1304
Just got back from a cruise to the Baltic area and did a 2 day tour of St. Petersburg. Upon a recommendation from a friend we booked with a Russian tour company TJ Tours. They do have a web site. Sofia our guide was very conversant in English. The tour is very intense 1 - 10 hour day and 8 hours the next day. Fully professional and the tour only has up to 14 people (ours was 14 one day and only 10 the next) They have AC Mercedes Vans. This tour company gets you into the Hermitage 1/2 hour before the crowds which was a bonus. Please read their itinerary. The price is the same as the ships $600 US. You can pay by Visa and they do charge in Rubles.
I meant to say $300 US/person.