St Petersburg - how did you 'do' it?

(11 Posts)
CaroleService Mon 25-Jul-16 21:33:01

We're there for two days in a couple of weeks. There are ship excursions, but we're tempted to book something with an independent tour company

What did you do??

fruityb Mon 25-Jul-16 21:36:22

Went with the cruise company as if something goes wrong or your excursion is late back or whatever then you're safe and sound with the cruise line. Ours wouldn't let you off unless you had a proper invitation for an excursion.

I'd always go with the cruise line for safety net reasons. You're covered with them. Having to get out of St Petersburg to catch up with the ship did not sound fun!

WeeM Mon 25-Jul-16 21:36:50

We went with SPB Tours-they are fantastic and do a package for the other Baltic ports if you want that. Small groups and really nice bus and very knowledgable guides. Don't get me wrong, it was a really busy and tiring couple of days but there was no way we would have seen what we did any other way. And much cheaper than ship excursions!

angelopal Mon 25-Jul-16 21:41:53

We went with the cruise excursions. While maybe not the cheapest option there was no risk of not getting back on time etc.

If you go independently you may need a visa.

Nydj Mon 25-Jul-16 21:52:21

We are also going in August and have joined a group of 16 on a two day tour with SPB - one of the other passengers organised it an negotiatiated a small discount per person.

Nydj Mon 25-Jul-16 21:53:24

No visas necessary as we will be with the tour guides at all times while in St Petersburg.

WeeM Mon 25-Jul-16 21:54:54

As long as you are on an organised excursion with a company you don't need a visa. we did the package with SPB that also did Berlin as it was so far from dock and shorter tours in Helsinki and Tallinn which gave us some time to do our own thing too.

MissMillament Mon 25-Jul-16 21:57:51

We used Alla and they were great - our family of five had a two day tour with our own guide in a private minibus for the same price as the cruise line charged for a much less comprehensive tour in a large coach. They are very well organised as are most of the private companies and there is no question of missing the ship - they guarantee that and afaik it has never happened. I would definitely investigate what the private companies offer there are four or five that are highly recommended and will tailor the tour to meet your interests.

CaroleService Mon 25-Jul-16 22:00:51

Thanks, all! I think we'll go with SPB.

Just a thought: we will have our nine year old with us, and I'm not sure how she'll cope with a nine hour day. I imagine it won't be possible to just cut out and get a taxi back to the ship if she has had enough. Are the days frenetic, or is there any down time?

WeeM Mon 25-Jul-16 22:13:02

St Petersburg is really busy and they are quite long days but there is loads to see. The opulence of the buildings is really something. I don't think you would be able to go back yourself as you have to be with an organised tour. To be honest I would feel safer in an organised tour too. SPB are very accommodating though and you could probably tailor a private one to whatever you want but it will cost more if it's just you guys on it. You could even just do a one day tour and spend the second day on ship.

WeeM Mon 25-Jul-16 22:18:17

You do stop for lunch though!

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