We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

St. Petersburg tour review

Which St. Petersburg hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Las Vegas
posts: 7
St. Petersburg tour review

Have been researching tours in SP for a cruise stop in Aug. All the sites I've visited have replies from Stanj. Lots of info but feel it's kind of one sided. Anyone have feedback on the best tour company other than cruise line. Looking for small group vs. bus of 50.

pasadena, ca
posts: 4,914
reviews: 22
1. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Certainly Stanj is the SP resident and "local expert" who has been most generous with his time on this forum, so most of the responses you will read are his; I don't know about "one sided" but obviously every individual will express his own point of view.

But you are in luck. For a bunch of responses on this topic from a variety of people, see the recent thread titled "question for stanj" from dbedros.

Las Vegas
posts: 7
2. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

pasca, Thank you for the info. This is the first time I've used a forum so I'm naive about where to hunt. Glad to hear Stanj is respected by the forum community. His recommendation for Denrus seems to be supported.

irvine, ca
posts: 77
reviews: 9
3. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

try searching on cruisecritic.com. they have even more helpful advise for all cruise passengers at all ports.

Las Vegas
posts: 7
4. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Thanks for suggestion. We are frequent cruisers but this is the most we've ever spent so we want to make sure we get the most out of the trip. It's nice to find so much info available.

Scottsdale Arizona
posts: 5
5. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Vegascruiser, are you by any chance taking a Seabourn cruise to St. Petersburg out of Copenhagen on August 19? I know there's probably dozens of cruises to St. Petersburg in August, but I just wondered because of your comment about this being the most you'd ever spent on a cruise. The reason I'm asking is because my husband, brother, mother and I are taking that cruise. We made arrangements with a tour group called Red October for St. Petersburg ( http://redoctober.us, or email Mike Finn at info@redoctober.us). They were highly recommended to us be people on the last Seabourn cruise we took. So far I am cautiously pleased with them. They seem very flexible and are providing us with an air conditioned van with guide & driver fluent in English for 3 days (averaging 7.5-8 hours a day), including all admission fees, and they are also taking care of the VISAS. Quoted fee is about $145 per person per day. Hope this helps.

St. P and UK
posts: 66
reviews: 1
6. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

I work in St.Petersburg and have used quite a few tour guides for family, friends and colleagues, with no bad experiences.

Stanj has some very good recommendations which have gone well with visitors.

I now use a lady called Elena who is contactable on elenika4@yandex.ru

Elena and her team use a Mercedes minibus or cars for smaller groups. They charge around $25 per hour which includes bus, driver and guide in any language. I have found them to be flexible, knowlegable and passionate about the city.

As you are on a cruise are you limited to which guides you can use? if you do not have an entry visa I believe you will be restricted to which guide companies you can deal with.

Las Vegas
posts: 7
7. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Our cruise is from Aug 6th through 18th on Jewel of the Seas. The negative I heard on Red October was you could only shop in their stores. Shopping is not a big deal to us so I will definitely compare them to Denrus. Elena is also very popular in web reviews. We are nervous nellys though and will be more comfortable with a mid size group than private tours. Enjoy your trip.

United States
posts: 1
reviews: 6
8. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

A word of advice about Red October.

I used this company to provide a 2-day tour arrangement for my group of 11 travelers in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 21 and 22, 2006.

I planned the touring with the Director General of Red October over one year in advance of this trip. They made several promises to me:

1. My group would have a "private" modern bus with air-conditioning.

The van provided to us was large enough for the group, but the air-conditioner did not work. Temperatures at this time of year reach 100F, and we were miserable. After complaining to Red October the bus was changed to one with working A/C, but the driver and guide opened their windows which allowed the hot air inside.

2. We were promised that the group could visit a "flea market" that I had visited on a solo trip with my wife. It was a great experience with wonderful bargains. The guide totally refused to allow it, insisting we would have shopping opportunities at Red October shops.

Having traveled to Russia several times previously, I had informed my group prior to departing the U.S. that while they would see many beautiful sites, they should not expect the comforts of home. People in service sectors continue to have a problem understanding "customer satisfaction".

Red October is one of these companies. The experience of my group confirms that fact. I tried to offer suggestions of opportunities for improvement to them, based on my group's experience, but they resort to the old standards of "the customer must understand" and "we are not responsible".

My advice: LOOK ELSEWHERE!!!!!

St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
posts: 2,207
reviews: 23
9. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Kwbrg1

I have seen a dramatic improvement in customer service in Russia over the last 10 years and the locals are voting with their Rubles and feet making the more customer oriented services popular even when they were a little more expensive. Now the prices have lowered for the western managed or modeled stores because the concept of "sale" and "discount" has gone from being a code word for a broken item to being the best way of getting what you want for a good price. Russians were always very suspicious of something that was discounted in the past but now it is expected and sought.

The rough edges of the society are still there but you have to look for them now.

For the original poster. The full service tour companies are Red October, DenRus, Baltic Travel and Arctur. There are hundreds more but they do not specialize in cruise tours so generally do not have the requirements or resources. If you get visas and can get out of the port, there are several hundred tour guides who could give a small tour. Most often, since they are small and do not have contracts with the museums the final price is likely going to be higher than one of the specialist companies.

St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
posts: 2,207
reviews: 23
10. Re: St. Petersburg tour review

Kwbrg1

I have seen a dramatic improvement in customer service in Russia over the last 10 years and the locals are voting with their Rubles and feet making the more customer oriented services popular even when they were a little more expensive. Now the prices have lowered for the western managed or modeled stores because the concept of "sale" and "discount" has gone from being a code word for a broken item to being the best way of getting what you want for a good price. Russians were always very suspicious of something that was discounted in the past but now it is expected and sought.

The rough edges of the society are still there but you have to look for them now.

For the original poster. The full service tour companies are Red October, DenRus, Baltic Travel and Arctur. There are hundreds more but they do not specialize in cruise tours so generally do not have the requirements or resources. If you get visas and can get out of the port, there are several hundred tour guides who could give a small tour. Most often, since they are small and do not have contracts with the museums the final price is likely going to be higher than one of the specialist companies.