DO NOT BOOK WITH RUSSIANTOURGUIDE.COM
We just returned from a 3 day visit to St Petersburg and were quite disappointed in many aspects of our tour, but the greatest disappointment was that Steve Fowler promised, in writing, visits and information and did not follow through. He blamed the guide when in truth I blame his travel company and the one he partners with in St. Petersburg.
We took a 2 day tour with White Nights Travel.com a few weeks ago, we spoke with them thru Skype +7 921 868 8886 and they absolutly came thru with what we wanted to do. They took care of the visa and arrange all the details of the tours. They were prompt and very professional. Masha our guide and the driver were waiting for us at the pier. The price for the private tour was not much more from what the Holland America was offering. We got to by pass all the lines, I would highly recommend them.
You really have to be SO careful when booking the guides in St. Petersburg.
Read the comments and choose carefully.
I couldn't agree with you more! And the best advise I received lately was book with a company in Russia, not with a company in the US who has "partners" in Russia.
In this forum we have been criticized by brab2309.
RussianTourGuide.com has been serving our tourists in Russia, for almost 10 years. That, in and of itself, means nothing. That we have become an agency chosen, not just by private parties, but by travel agents as well means a lot.
In our history we have refunded 100%, often at great expense to us, for tours which could not be accomplished due to volcano eruptions, sickness or family emergencies. We have frequently refunded sums for admissions to venues which were not visited. We have, in hundreds of tours, never been asked for a refund for poor service. In fact, a large percentage of our clients are referrals from previous clients.
When someone confronts us with an ultimatum which states they will not make negative posts on TripAdvisor.com if we pay them $500, we consider that extortion. We were offered the opportunity to avoid her post if we paid the bribe but we do not operate that way.
There are people in this world who stay at a hotel and steal the towels because they feel the hotel can afford it, not because they think they in any way deserve it. It is a shame and should never happen in an honest world.
Contrary to the post, I do not criticize or blame my colleagues for things which did not happen. Our guides are licensed in the venues in which they guide. If they are not, they don’t guide there. We have the highest regard for our guide colleagues. It should also be noted that we pay some of the highest rates in Russia to our colleagues because we require guides who, gladly, give their best.
Our president is an airline pilot for a major U. S. airline. None of us on the U.S. side of RussianTourGuide.com work here because we have to. We work here because we love Russia, our fantastic colleagues and partners in Russia. We feel our extensive travel experience, knowledge of Russia and constant visits and updates enable us to serve our clients as well or better than persons in Russia. By being native English speakers, located in the North American time zones etc, we offer convenience that some others may not.
We feel the comment that dealing with a company in the U.S. A., which has partners in Russia, being inferior to dealing directly with a Russian company is another biased comment from a staged personality on this forum pretending to be a tourist with no commercial agenda. Regrettably, it is a common practice for companies in St. Petersburg to pay for posts on this forum in the guise of impartial comments.
The long list of satisfied clients, who actually take time to write to us , is the advertising we love. We actually want our clients to be more than satisfied and work hard to offer great service at a low price.
I just got back two weeks ago from a great trip to Saint Petersburg, where we used Olga Miheyeva as our guide. We found her on the Fodors website, in the forums section. She was great, has all the right connections and certifications to get expedited entrance to the Hermitage etc., and customized the visit to whatever we wanted to do (we most often deferred to her expertise). It was about $600 a day, with driver, so not inexpensive. But we saw and learned a lot more with her in two days than we would have on our own, and seeing the general admission lines stretching around the Hermitage almost made the entire cost worthwhile! That said, Day 3 on our own was without problem. Saint Petersburg is a beautiful, civilized city that is easy to explore without a guide. You just won't learn or cover as much territory without one.
There are different types of visas, especially if you are arriving by ship. Do your homework to make sure you get one that allows you to travel the city on your own, even if you do hire a tour guide. It would have been a big bummer to have been refused exit off a ship because of the wrong VISA.
There seems to be a lot of angst in TripAdvisor postings about guides in Saint Petersburg, including whether the postings are fake. This one is not a fake, and I am happy swap notes if anyone has questions about our experience in general or with Olga. email@example.com To my surprise (and initial concern), Olga did not want any money upfront when we booked with her. We paid her after our tour had started, which required an easy trip to an ATM to withdraw rubles.
We were on a small mini bus with a lovely group of people. Our Tour Guide (Sorry I forget her name) was full of knowledge and told us all (and more) that we needed to know of everywhere we visited in Beautiful St Petersburg. Her English was impeccable.
The itinerary was intense so we could cover as much of St Petersburg as possible.
And anyone wondering if they could fit in a Theatre Show in St Petersburg, folks it IS do-able (even though we didn't do it) Though I have to admit, they did a Folklore show on the Ship so no-one missed out.
Thank you TJ Travel, you will be highly recommended by us.
I couldn't DISAGREE with your comments more. I used RussianTourGuide on a recent NCL cruise to the Baltic Capitals and could not have been more pleased.
EVERYTHING Steve Fowler promised was delivered. We had a small group of 12. Eight from our ship and two from a RCCL ship also in port at the same time. Olga, our guide for the two-days, could not have been more perfect. Since she teaches both Russian and English at a local elementary school, her command of the language could not have been better; not to mention the wealth of knowledge she shared. I felt like I was back in Russian history class from college.
We had ample time in each venue and made a few extra stops to accommodate requests from people on the tour. We even booked an evening activity.
I'm planning on using Steve's services for a future trip to Italy.
Four of us just returned from a Baltic Capitals cruise aboard NCL. We used RussianTourGuide.com to book the St. Petersburg tours and could not have been more pleased with the service from Steve Fowler or our local guide, Olga.
For us, booking with a company not familiar to us was a leap of faith. We were delighted we took that leap. I would highly recommend using RussianTourGuide for your trip.
We were fortunate last summer. We spent 3 fabulous days in St. Petersburg and designed our own itinerary with DenRus Tours. They were excellent to work with and we were SO pleased. We designed a unique itinerary including, local sights, subway, markets, culinary, Nevis Gates and Canal Cruise and time to enjoy the local culture. Great experience.