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-   -   Baltic Capitals Best Excursion (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/europe-port-chat/26335-baltic-capitals-best-excursion.html)

zulu 01-26-2006 12:57 AM

Hello,
Can anybody give me their advice on the best shore excursions in their opinon in St. Petersburg and costs if youu can?
Many thanks

Sunprincess 01-27-2006 08:07 AM

Zulu,
What ship will you be on?
I did the Baltic cruise this past August with Princess. Booked my tour with Princess - the 2 day Grand Tour & loved it.

There are 2 very good tour companies that people rave about here - Denrus & Red October. Both have websites to get info.

If you scross down in this section you'll see some topics on St. Petersburg that will be very helpful. Listen to the info Stan has written - excellent.

Any specific questions I'll try to respond & help.

Awesome cruise.

Cathy

Sandy 01-27-2006 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by zulu:
Hello,
Can anybody give me their advice on the best shore excursions in their opinon in St. Petersburg and costs if youu can?
Many thanks
I sailed on Costa to the Baltics several years ago, and whatever the price was at the time (which I can't remember, anyway) surely has changed by now.

I loved St. Petersburg. We did two half-day tours that day. The morning was a city tour, and the afternoon was a visit to the Hermitage. Both were awesome. Some ships' itineraries stay in St. Peterburg for 2 days, and I wish ours had done that. I'd have liked a full day city tour, and you need about a year to see everything in the Hermitage.

It was interesting that the morning tour had a start time to it, but the cruise line folks said they're never sure when, exactly, the tour will actually start. It depended on how long it took the Russian officials, who boarded the ship and looked at everyone's passport, to clear the ship and let the passengers disembark. We went down to the gangway area to line up and wait for permission to leave, and we saw many trays of the ship's pastries and other cakes and food had been brought down to the area where the officials were sitting at a table, looking at passports and other material. I guess Costa figured it couldn't hurt to do that each week!

It ended up that we did get off the ship in a timely manner and had a great time. I'd love to go back sometime.

Sandy

Oggy Boy 01-29-2006 07:34 PM

St. Petersburg is AWESOME!!!! I would suggest doing a private tour rather than the ship's shore excursions.

Here is a link to the St. Petersburg Port Review that might give you some ideas.

http://www.europeportreviews.com/St.Petersburg.htm

Depending on what you like to do, there is every opportunity to thoroughly enjoy St. Petersburg in the time you are docked there. I would highly recommend doing your own thing.

Tom

zulu 01-30-2006 02:13 PM

Thanks to everyone for your contributions. I have checked out both Den Rus and Red October shore excursions, they both seem to be very inclusive of all major sites. The thing that would probably swing it is cost over ship prices for excursions. Has anybody actually been on any the above tours? Also is it worth the extra cost of the ships tours to be sure they won't leave without you, if there are any problems.

Stanj 02-05-2006 01:18 PM

Hi Zulu
The ships do not leave without you. That is something hinted at by the ships to make sure you buy their inflated programs. In reality, the pros who coordinate the schedules from the 4 tour companies know more of when the ship will be cleared to depart than anyone but the harbor master. Lets put it this way, in the last 4 years there has been only one couple who missed their ship and they were exploring on their own with Russian visas and forgot the time. A tour company took care of them by having them waiting at the dock of the next port the ship visited, Talinin.
Any of the independent tour companies can give a wonderful tour which is smaller and more personal, with more sights, activities and less crowds than the ship offerings. The ship sold tours are not bad, just not as good. That is understandable when 2000+ plus people have to go on the same schedule and routes in 40-80 buses, you can imagine the design of the program needs to accomodate the complexities of logistics of that many people, and less on the actual touring experience. I think the big bus tours do a surprisingly good job of giving an overview of this unique city. But I also know what a smaller group with more personal attention can do to make the whole experience unforgetable.
When I have relatives or friends visit here, I would need 7 days to show as much to them as they would get from a 2 day intensive custom tour from the pros. Even when visiting by myself to museums the maximum number I can get in per day is two, regardless of how carefully I plan. And I know how to get around this city very well and can read the signs in Russian.
Whatever you choose, I will wager that you will come back here to report that visiting St Petersburg was the highlight of your Baltic cruise and quite possibly any cruise you've done.
Have a great visit

wildwon01 03-17-2006 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by zulu:
Hello,
Can anybody give me their advice on the best shore excursions in their opinon in St. Petersburg and costs if youu can?
Many thanks

wildwon01 03-17-2006 11:52 AM

We will be in May 15th cruise May 19-20 in St. peter, if you are interested in joining van tour 7 - 9 people please contact me. wildwon01@yahoo.com



Quote:

Originally posted by zulu:
Hello,
Can anybody give me their advice on the best shore excursions in their opinon in St. Petersburg and costs if youu can?
Many thanks

AA 05-26-2006 12:21 PM

Hi Stan,
I have been in contact with Red october and DenRus for a private 2-day tour in August 2006. We are 4 people. Both companies ahve been very responsive and flexible. The only real difference is the price. DenRus is quoting a substantially higher price than RO for the same itinerary in the same mercedes van. Can you please tellme your opinion as to why Den Rus will be much more expensive than RO for the same tour? Unless their is a significant quality difference, obviously I will book the with the cheaper company, however, since this is a once in a lifetime experience - I am willing to pay the extra cost if there is a substantial difference in quality between RO and DenRus. Your nopinio0n will be appreciated. Thanks.
AA

Quote:

Originally posted by Stanj:
Hi Zulu
The ships do not leave without you. That is something hinted at by the ships to make sure you buy their inflated programs. In reality, the pros who coordinate the schedules from the 4 tour companies know more of when the ship will be cleared to depart than anyone but the harbor master. Lets put it this way, in the last 4 years there has been only one couple who missed their ship and they were exploring on their own with Russian visas and forgot the time. A tour company took care of them by having them waiting at the dock of the next port the ship visited, Talinin.
Any of the independent tour companies can give a wonderful tour which is smaller and more personal, with more sights, activities and less crowds than the ship offerings. The ship sold tours are not bad, just not as good. That is understandable when 2000+ plus people have to go on the same schedule and routes in 40-80 buses, you can imagine the design of the program needs to accomodate the complexities of logistics of that many people, and less on the actual touring experience. I think the big bus tours do a surprisingly good job of giving an overview of this unique city. But I also know what a smaller group with more personal attention can do to make the whole experience unforgetable.
When I have relatives or friends visit here, I would need 7 days to show as much to them as they would get from a 2 day intensive custom tour from the pros. Even when visiting by myself to museums the maximum number I can get in per day is two, regardless of how carefully I plan. And I know how to get around this city very well and can read the signs in Russian.
Whatever you choose, I will wager that you will come back here to report that visiting St Petersburg was the highlight of your Baltic cruise and quite possibly any cruise you've done.
Have a great visit

maeinto 07-05-2006 01:06 PM

We are sailing on the Star Princess on Aug 13th in the Baltic. We are trying to find others who would like to make a tour group for St. Petersburg on Aug 17&18th. We keep hearing DenRus is a reputable company to deal with. We want to see as much as we can in the 2 days. This will be our first time in St. Petersburg.

Anybody interested? If so please email me: maeinto@yahoo.ca

Thanks,
Michelle


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