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“Excellent Service”
Review of Insider Tour

Insider Tour
Ranked #6 of 385 Tours in St. Petersburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Established in 2003, Insider Tour offers a unique perspective on all things Russian - history, architecture, arts, and present day life. All tours are conducted by experienced career tour guides with your unique interests matched with your tour guide's area of expertise. Fully licensed. No visa required for cruise guests. We offer tours in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Novgorod, and across the Baltics.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

Alexandra was our Guide for 2 days in St Petersburg.With Alexandra we got to see the main places we wanted including going to the underground Metro. We had a good insight into Russsian life. We even were taken to Internet places to catch up with our emails while on shore from the cruise ship.

Alexandra was very informative and the Driver was excellent at getting us to everything we had requested to see.

2  Thank Pris54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 28, 2013

Ok, so just like others, we did some research and found Insider Tour a good option based on positive reviews also on Tripadvisor. Those reviews are all true, and I am happy that we booked our 2 days programme with Insider Tour during our cruise calling in St. Petersburg at the end of August 2013.
We contacted the company via e-mail, and they quickly responded, giving options that could suit our family of 5 (including 3 teenagers). We booked an easy pace tour, starting from 09.00 hrs both days, finishing around 16.30 hrs.

I made an in advance payment of part of the money, and it worked well. The remaining amount I paid in cash (preferably USD or rubles) on the second day of the tour with the guide. We found Insider Tour as a convenient, handy and comfortable tour option, definitely better than taking a ship excursion. They provide privacy and ensure flexibility when setting the programme and facilitating requests. They arrange the final programme for you, including entrance tickets to sights that you want to visit, and they also secure your entry into Russia, so you do not need to bother with visa. They send you the tour ticket via e-mail, and you only need to fill in an entry form befo proceeding to Russian border guards. We found that the second day the entry into Russia is much quicker (you do not need to fill in the form again, but use the one from the previous day.)

I must congratulate Irene, our guide. She works as a librarian, and her knowledge about the city, its's historical, cultural and art heritage is simply amazing. But moreover, she did a good job when dealing with our teenagers, who were not so into history. She still managed to maintain their attention through sharing interesting stories about the czars and abour various sights that we visited or stopped by. As an example of her customer-oriented attitude, she stopped at a local McDonalds, so our kids could try the Russian version of it; or she took a detour to a post office so we can buy stamps and send postcards to friends. She also facilitated other requests during the 2 day tour and always ensured that we dod not miss an interesting sight. As our children concluded: there was no question she could not answer.

We stopped for quick lunches at local places, and the pirogi Irene recommended were delicious, too. In some places they accept credit cards, in other places it is more preferable to have some rubles with you.

All the places that we visited were very interesting, including the Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, Peterhof, and many sights in St. Petersburg, and we feel that we need to come back again. Irene was excellent in finding the right spots for photos, the right timing to avoid crowds and took us also bypassing long waiting lines at many places that we visited. Our driver was very professional in navigating the traffic and our Mercedes minibus was comfortable and well maintained. At the end of the tour we really felt compelled to express our appreciation to Irene and our driver for the very good job they did. In addition, during the 2 days we had very good discussion with Irene, allowing us to learn more about the past and present days of living in Russia.

I already recommended Insider Tour as a great option to a friend of mine, taking a cruise to St. Petersburg. I can only do the same here: try them and you will see how good they are.

2  Thank Utas2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Stopped in St. Petersburg for 2 days on a Norwegian Cruise - and assuming that this would be the only time my partner and I visit Russia in the foreseeable future - I really wanted to spend my time wisely.

And with Insider Tours - wow. Just - WOW. Let me paint this picture:

We've stepped off our cruise ship and made it through Russia immigration. There are a massive number of full sized buses waiting to pick people up. Eager tourists (2,300 to be exact) with cameras and screaming kids and bookbags full of snacks - just standing around and waiting to board their bus...It's chaotic as people try to figure out what bus is theirs.. etc etc.

We push ourselves through the giant mob - and bam - there's our car - a simple black sedan with a personal driver and a tour guide. We hop in, and we're off. No lines, no waiting, no fuss.

Yes - this tour is not cheap - but compared to the norwegian cruise line bus tours - it's pretty on par with the excursions via bus. So - why would you spent the same amount of money, just to be crammed on an 80 passenger bus and driven around from site to site? (Even worse - the bus sometimes just slowly drives by a site - and you don't get to go in) Sounds like a headache to me!

Our driver, Costa - was both professional and enjoyable. He drove very well.

Our tour guide (Marina, I believe) - wow, just amazing. She was extremely knowledgeable about every site we went to, every painting, every statue, and every palace. While at some times it was information overload, I couldn't be happier with her motivation and enthusiasm. She snuck us past all the lines, got us into exhibits that large groups typically can't go to - and gave us great advice for food.

One of the best things about this tour is the ability to CUSTOMIZE what you do and do not want to see. This can be done beforehand (so Insider Tours can book tickets) or even on the fly. For instance, I really wanted to see the site of Rasputin's death. Costa deviated from our regular tour and drove me right to the exact location. We got out - took a few pictures - heard the historical background on Rasputin - and then jumped back into the car. It took all of 10 minutes. Later that day, I asked if we could go to a Russian grocery store - and sure enough - we walked around a full sized supermarket. We bought candy and vodka. It was great - and try doing that with a typical bus tour - you can't.

While our 2 day tour was fun, relaxing, and enjoyable - I couldn't help but laugh at the horror stories from our fellow cruises back on the boat. On the first day - two of our friends were on a bus tour - and they had to wait forever as the guide tried to find lost tourists - and the bus ended up leaving without them. In addition, they felt it was too much like a cattle call - moving around in a group of 100 people. Overall, they were SEETHING with jealousy that my partner and I had our own personal tour guide, driver, and car - thank you, Insider Tours.

It's worth it - and coming from a penny pincher - it was worth every dime. You won't be disappointed.

2  Thank jettaflavor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

On the advice of a friend who is a seasoned traveler, we have learned to make our own experiences off cruise ships. She recommended Insider Tours for St. Petersburg, Russia, and we urge anyone who is going this distance to see this amazing city to do the same. Irene was not only willing to cram as much as possible into our two days...we even ate lunch on the run the second day in order to see more sights...she was knowledgable and so proud to share her city with us. You only pay for your tickets prior to meeting your guide. Insider takes care of that AND your visa. The guide communicated via cell phone with the driver, so we were never rushed to "get through" a venue to maintain a schedule. No head phones; with just four of us, we heard every word and were able to ask questions. On large ship tours, you are relegated to the slowest person on the bus...and why spend the time and money to visit St. Petersburg and not see as much as you can while you're there?

1  Thank 1,673
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

We booked Insider Tour on the recommendation of a friend who had used them years before. Our group of four was so impressed with our tour guide's knowledge and we thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days of touring with Irene! She was an excellent tour guide and did a wonderful job of showing us around St. Petersburg. Very easy to get from cruise ship to tour each day. We all loved listening to her explain about the history of St. Petersburg and the people who ruled. The places we visited were so beautiful and interesting. Great itinerary! Thank you for making our days in Russia so memorable!

2  Thank 740penny2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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