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St. Petersburg Shore Excursions

Discussion in 'Europe' started by tk, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. tk

    tk Guest

    I will be going to St. Petersburg next summer and have contacted both Red October and Den Rus about a private tour (we are going with a group of over 10 people). Does anyone have any personal experience with either tour company? Any suggestions on what is a "must see" (we only want to tour for 1 1/2 days so some things will need to be skipped). What assurances do we have that they will not screw things up and we end up just sitting on the boat for 2 days? We are travelling on Princess....does this cruiseline prefer one to the other and will they cause any trouble for us because we are not using excursions offered by Princess? Any views would be helpful. Thanks

    tk
     
  2. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    We were on the Constellation this summer and used DenRus. We were extremely satisfied with them. We actually did their suggested day and a half tour and can't think of anything we missed. They included so many things that we would never had known about. Not having to pay anything upfront was one of the things we liked the most [we had a van for the four of us]. But then we thought what if they are just the figment of someone's imagination and are not there waiting for us. They sent us a letter to show that they were in charge of our 'blanket visas'. Everything worked out fine. The only glitch was with our credit card. Even though we contacted the credit card company [MSNB LLBean] ahead of time concerning a large purchase in St. Petersburg, they declined the purchase. The other credit card I used accepted the charge [even though they had not been contacted]. Go figure!
     
  3. tk

    tk Guest

    Thomas:

    Thanks for your reply.

    Den Rus has given me a 2 day schedule with The Catherine Palace, Peter & Paul Fortress, Hermitage, Peterhof, Metro ride, Yusupov's Palace and St. Isaac's Cathedral. I have to drop something so what would you suggest? What place did you eat at for lunch and dinner?

    How did you hear about Den Rus? I don't believe they have a website so how do we know who we are dealing with? What is the difference between this company and Red October and how did you choose one over the other?

    Thanks.

    TK
     
  4. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    I would concentrate on Catherine Palace, the Hermitage and Peterhof. The Metro ride didn't take long and was very interesting. The market experience was good also.

    We ate at a nice hotel dining room with a Russian buffet lunch. It was a week day so this was possible [business man's lunch?], the second day we ate in a hotel and had sandwiches or salads. We enjoyed the buffet lunch best. Meals were not included in our price. We invited our guide the first day to eat with us and the guide and driver the second day. The prices were very moderate.

    We chose DenRus because of the reviews we read online and the info they sent us. It is a much smaller company than Red October. They also immediately answered our email questions [and I had a lot of them]. The only complaint I heard was that the Red October payment setup took quite a while at their shop [to give time for shopping?]. Our payment was done in the downstairs lobby of the Hermitage as one of the staff met us there.

    We were very satisfied and there were only four of us. If you feel more secure with Red October, go with them. Try searching past reviews online.
     
  5. shadowledge

    shadowledge Guest

    Skip the Metro ride, it is no where as impressive as the Moscow underground.
     
  6. thomaseu

    thomaseu Guest

    But then, if you have never been to Moscow or don't plan on going there......................?
    It took only a half hour out of a whole day tour and was very interesting.
     
  7. stanj

    stanj Guest

    tk Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Thomas:
    >
    > Thanks for your reply.
    >
    > Den Rus has given me a 2 day schedule with The
    > Catherine Palace, Peter & Paul Fortress,
    > Hermitage, Peterhof, Metro ride, Yusupov's Palace
    > and St. Isaac's Cathedral. I have to drop
    > something so what would you suggest? What place
    > did you eat at for lunch and dinner?

    It is a difficult decision because these and the hundreds of other facinating sights and activities in St Petersburg so it comes down to your personal style of touring. Are you more interested in historic sites or learning more about life and customs of the people? Skip the metro if you are more interested in photo opportunities( photographs are prohibited in the metros) of historic venues because the only other "maybe" on your list of "must sees" is Yusupov Palace. Most westerners are intrigued by anything to do with the last Tsar and his family so the Yusupov name and famly figures prominately during that period, not to mention it being the site of Rasputin/s murder.

    If you are interested in getting to know Russian people and their lives, the metro is a good place to start but also consider signing up for lunch with a Russian family in a typical flat. Den Rus can arrage that and many people claim learning first hand about the famous Russian hospitality was the highlight of their visit .

    > How did you hear about Den Rus? I don't believe
    > they have a website so how do we know who we are
    > dealing with? What is the difference between this
    > company and Red October and how did you choose one
    > over the other?

    Den Rus has a web site at www.denrus.ru
    It is owned and operated by a western man who is quite well known in Russia and the US as being the former but retired head of Finair's national sales department in both countries. I doubt if you could find a more knowledgable person in the travel business or one that runs a more ethical operation in Russia. I know them personally and can say you have nothing to worry about in signing up for shore excursions with them.

    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > TK

    Have a great visit
    Stan
     

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