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Mini-group tours with Best Guides

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We will be in St. Petersburg in July (Emerald Princes). A month ago we booked a private tour for 4 of us with Best Guides at quite a good price (we got early bird discounts). Already after we had received the confirmation we discovered another possibility on their website – mini-group tours. Didn’t notice before! The price is even better and doesn’t depend on the number of people, which is limited by 12. We are about to change the private tour to the group tour. The only one thing we are really concerned about: according to what we’ve heard if we are only 4 we can enter all the museums ahead of the lines. But if we are more than 4 we are to wait in lines. Is it true? Any suggestions? Are the lines in July supposed to be really awful? We don’t want to spend our time in Russia waiting in lines. Is there anyone who has already tried mini-group tours with Best Guides? Are the tours good? How many people were there in your group? Thank you for all the suggestions.

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Thank you Jill and Gl for your advice reg Hermitage early opening. I'll have to ask the company I guess if there is such a possibility with a mini-group tour.

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Can I asked who the All St Petersburg tour is with and I have been trying to get a group together using the roll calls etc and I would love to find a tour company who do not insist on a min amount of people.

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Ashby,

All St. Petersburg tour is run by Best Guides group. They come first when you google this name.

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We have been on a cruise tour to the Baltic countries and were pleased to use the service of Best Guides Group in St. Petersburg. Having considered different options we finally joined the program “Best of the Best” offered by the company. It included the early opening of the Hermitage which gave us a good chance to walk around the rooms and enjoy seeing the canvases before the rooms became crowded. There were 9 people in our group. Our program included going to all the famous sights and having a typical Russian lunch every day. The time of our stay coincided with the WWII Victory Day celebrated in Russia on May 9, and our guide made a complimentary stop at the monument to the siege on Leningrad. We had a short tour there, but more important, we could see schoolchildren putting flowers to the monument, paying tribute to all perished in the war. In general our guide was extremely knowledgeable and very open in sharing family stories connected with the history of the country. She gave us the real feeling of what life in Russia was like before and what it is like now. We are eager to share our wonderful impressions of this tour and we never hesitate to recommend it to other people.

 

Graham & Carolyn T.

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Hello, everybody.

I just came back from St.-Petersburg and want to thank all of you who post questions and answers - this is the best site ever for people to travel!

 

Back to my trip... I went there with my friends, there were just 3 of us, we didn't want to mingle with other people or groups. So, all the tours we had were just for us. We also booked with Best Guides. Everything went according to the program, even better. Early admission into Hermitage, when there are less people, visit the sacred Golden Rooms( I forgot the name of it) exhibit with the most precious items of tzars family.

We had a tour to Puskin, Catherine's Palace known for its Amber Room. Its good we had a guide and entered the palace with no line to wait in. When you are an organized group with the tour guide you don't have to worry about waiting in line.

Later that day we went to a folk show, it was different, fun, and a most romantic White Night complimentary tour after the show. Even in July, if the weather is decent ( something we are cannot control ) you can see the beauty of it. Better see it !

 

Have a great time in St.-Petersburg!!!

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We had a wonderful private tour with Best Guides and I keep recommending them to my friends. I just wonder how it works if you book a group tour with them. How many people were you in your group?

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We found Julia from Dancing Bear Tours recommended on line and had a group of 6 wanting to tour St Petersburg for our overnight stay while on a cruise ship. Since we had previously been to St Petersburg, we asked to have a custom tour to places we had not seen. Julia was waiting for us when we arrived in the early morning. We could tell immediately that she was going to be a great guide and a lot of fun.

Our first day was an action packed and fun-filled 11 hour day. Day 2 was a more relaxing 5 hours, however equally as fun and interesting. Julia has love for her country and is VERY knowledgeable.

A highlight of our tour was a Russian lunch in her friend's apartment. We would highly recommend Dancing Bear tours with Julia as a tour guide!!!

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Choosing between a private tour and a mini-group tour we finally decided on the latter. The main matter of concern for us were the possible lines, but we took the risk and we never regretted. We got on very well with each other in our group of 8 and each of us was ready to follow the same pace. The “Best of the Best” 2-day tour included an early entrance to the Hermitage (so no lines). No waiting to enter the park or the palace in Peterhof, no line at the Catherine palace (the guide said we were lucky, but I believe there must have been excellent planning and time-management involved). We enjoyed two delicious lunches, we had an excellent car and driver, not to speak of the guide who deserves the highest praise. We spent two outstanding and memorable days in St. Petersburg and saved another dollar compared to some other options. Our estimate for Best Guides is EXCELLENT!

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I don’t see Best Guides mentioned often here, but when they are the feedbacks are positive. I am getting a nice impression of them now as we are emailing each other. I just wonder if they are rarely mentioned because they are new on the market or other? Does anybody know the details about this company?

 

I believe that they are fairly new ... oldest reviews on TA are from 2011. :)

jill

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I don’t see Best Guides mentioned often here, but when they are the feedbacks are positive. I am getting a nice impression of them now as we are emailing each other. I just wonder if they are rarely mentioned because they are new on the market or other? Does anybody know the details about this company?

 

Yes, we do know Best Guides. We took a non-cruise tour with them some time ago - 4 days in St.Petersburg and 3 days in Moscow. Both tours were incredible!!! Beyond all expectations!!! I do not know why they are mentioned here not that often, but I know for sure that you will love their tours!

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I'd like to add to the praise for St. Petersburg Best Guides Group. We were part of a group of four on a Baltics cruise in June 2012. Our guide was Inna, and she was fabulous. She teaches English and French, and is quite knowledgeable (and candid) about the history and politics of Russia and St. Petersburg. We were there during White Nights, a festive time during the longest days of summer, so we wanted to go to the Mariinsky Theater to see Swan Lake and we wanted to see the opening of the bridges, a White Nights tradition. Best Guides arranged for wonderful ballet tickets (first balcony front row toward the front) and delivered us to the theater in a comfortable van that waiting for us when the performance was over. The opening of the bridges didn't work as planned -- it was pouring rain, and the bridges didn't open on schedule. But our guide, Inna, stayed with us until we all called it a night around 2 a.m. -- well beyond the call of duty. She and the driver dropped us off back at the ship and gave us advice on how to counteract the cold and rain (vodka shots -- worked like a charm, once we got back on the ship.)

 

During our three days in St. Petersburg, everything worked like clockwork. They met us at the port with a sign with our names on it; we had the early opening to the Hermitage, which allowed us to avoid waiting in the long lines and gave us about an hour before the galleries started to get crowded. They were always willing to adjust the schedule if we were hungry or tired. It was great not having to worry about where to stand in line to get tickets, whether or not photography was permitted and if so, was a permit needed, and trying to figure out public transportation or taxis.

 

St. Petersburg was one of the highlights of our trip, and Best Guides certainly enhanced our experience.

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I don’t see Best Guides mentioned often here, but when they are the feedbacks are positive. I am getting a nice impression of them now as we are emailing each other. I just wonder if they are rarely mentioned because they are new on the market or other? Does anybody know the details about this company?

 

Best Guides are indeed a relatively young Company. That may be the reason.

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We (a party of four) used Best Guides in St. Petersburg in June 2012. From what I understand, the licensed agencies in St. Petersburg use many of the same guides; the guides generally work for several of the agencies. What we liked about Best Guides was their responsiveness to all of our requests and questions. They are willing to work with you to tailor your itinerary to your needs. And during your time in St. Petersburg, they are flexible enough to adjust if you are tired or hungry or eager to squeeze in one more site. They also are very professional on the business end of things; you don't have to pay in advance, and when we did pay, on the second day (of three days), it took very little time; the head of the company met our van and the business was conducted in probably less than 10 minutes. We had a very knowledgeable guide who knew the city, its history and its politics and spoke perfect English, and a wonderful driver who was always there when we needed to be picked up or dropped off.

 

We didn't do a lot of comparison shopping, but my impression is that the top three or so agencies offer comparable prices and services. I would not hesitate to recommend Best Guides.

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Can I asked who the All St Petersburg tour is with and I have been trying to get a group together using the roll calls etc and I would love to find a tour company who do not insist on a min amount of people.

We took a tour last June with I Travel SPb. Their minimal number of people in a group is 2, and they guarantee the fixed price irrespective of the number of tourists. We were only 6.

We did send an inquiry to different companies first and as far as I remember I didn't choose Best Guides because I received 2 or 3 answers from them signed by different people with different information. That was really confusing.

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Funny! When I booked with them the answers were always polite, clear and timely. And I am in the process of discussing my next St.Petersburg program with them now and it is the same. And this time I am giving Anna (the girl I am in correspondence with) a lot of trouble as it is my second visit, so I am not booking a package tour - I want to see something new and I am constantly changing my mind as for what exactly to see. Sometimes I find myself so nasty:D... But Anna is very patient and responsive!

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We are going with our daughter - 6 years old. Do you think it is OK to go on a group tour with her?

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There are plenty of things to see and do with kids on the Baltic cruise. We’ve been with our 10yo daughter. We had a special family oriented tour with Best Guides in St. Petersburg. I have a chance to compare as I toured with Best Guides twice: as part of a group during my first cruise and individually during my second cruise with husband and daughter. With the children oriented tour we didn’t miss any of the must see places and had many things extra that were interesting for all of us, not just our daughter, I should admit. Also the way of delivering the information was adapted to our daughter’s age, which was nice. If you are doing an individual tour you have more freedom in making a stop/break when you need it and spending more time at the places that your daughter likes, making the trip really enjoyable for her.

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We are going with our daughter - 6 years old. Do you think it is OK to go on a group tour with her?

 

It is maybe OK if she is a patient child - but it will be not much fun for her. When we were on this tour it was very interesting. Most interesting indeed. But it was a full day, quite intensive and by the end of the tour we were rather tired. You'd better try something more kid-friendly. There is a special interests section on this forum. And also on the Best Guides' site I think I saw some special children tours. Why don't you try those?

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We are going with our daughter - 6 years old. Do you think it is OK to go on a group tour with her?

 

My children when they were at the age of 6 would not be patient enough to stand a full day tour!

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Thank you Aorinka and bochata for your response! We did contact Best Guides and we really like what they offer for our daughter! Of cause we did not plan our budget to include an individual tour, but the offer is really tempting and with a child we would have shorter hours and not so many museums included - so I think it will be OK finally.

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Thank you Aorinka and bochata for your response! We did contact Best Guides and we really like what they offer for our daughter! Of cause we did not plan our budget to include an individual tour, but the offer is really tempting and with a child we would have shorter hours and not so many museums included - so I think it will be OK finally.

 

Glad to help!!!

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With little kids it is always better to have individual tours. It is difficult for them to go on an adult schedule for the whole day. They need some time to play and relax. Also they can not appreciate the information the way it is given to the adults. So the tour will not be very much interesting for them. But then again - the group tours are more budget. That may also matter:)

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I agree with Aorinka, the information delivered during kids-oriented tour does not skip any point, and btw, it goes easier even for adults;). You get the vital knowledge in a simple-words way. And kids learn to listen specific terms and behave around adults. ( from my experience with my daughter)

 

That goes well both ways !!!

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