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DNJ66

What happens if the ship doesn't dock in the port?

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We are going to book St. Petersburg with a local company. We are still choosing in between a few companies. It's the first time we are booking with a local operator, not with a ship. My question is: what will happen if the ship doesn't dock in the port? Does anybody know what is  common practice in this case?

 

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14 minutes ago, DNJ66 said:

We are going to book St. Petersburg with a local company. We are still choosing in between a few companies. It's the first time we are booking with a local operator, not with a ship. My question is: what will happen if the ship doesn't dock in the port? Does anybody know what is  common practice in this case?

Carefully check the cancellation policy of the tour company with whom you book. Most of the highly regarded independent tour companies provide a 100% refund if your ship does not make it into port.

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IMHO each company has  its own politics. You are to ask those companies you are going to book with.  Note that some local operators ask for full prepayment  1 or 2 month ahead of the tours. Others don’t ask for any prepayment at all and you are to pay upon arrival. We paid on our second day at lunch time.  In such case if your ship doesn’t dock  you obviously won’t pay anything.   But once again you are to ask them directly.

Jess

 

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This is an example of an SPB tour operators cancellation policy:

In the event of any tour or package of tours being canceled for reasons beyond our or your control, as in the example of a ship not berthing in city of tour, a full refund will be made

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And this is the policy for Alla tours:

100% refund if the ship does not call into a port

As previously stated, most of the top operators will not charge you for a tour if your ship misses a port. Check with the individual companies in which you are interested. I would not book with a Baltic operator unless they guarantee that they do not charge for tours due to missed ports. JMHO

Edited by dogs4fun

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Re the last couple of posts -  in much of the world guarantees of refunds are no guarantee at all, and folk are unlikely to go to the bother of legal action to recoup.

But that's not the case with those operators and I doubt it's the case with any St Petersburg operator. :classic_smile:

If you pay up-front (and many don't require any payment in advance) you can be as confident about a refund as you are with ship's tours.

 

Be especially careful to check the refund  terms of intermediaries like Viator or Cruisingexcursions. There's no need for an intermediary for St P excursions, and they may not offer a FULL refund. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

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This past time we were in St. P. (touring with Red Sun Tours this time), we didn't pay anything until the end of the first day of the tour. So we didn't have to worry about getting any deposit back.

 

First time we visited, I paid in advance by credit card b/c I didn't trust my credit card to work in Russia, but I'd checked the cancellation/refund policy first (even though I wasn't too worried . . . it's pretty rare for a ship to miss St. P.).

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We have just returned from a marvelous excursion with Denrus. I had read ahead and was concerned about your very question. Denrus usually request pre payment but because I asked, they were more than happy to accept payment on the first day. A better option than bothering with refunds.

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On 11/5/2019 at 9:00 AM, CrazyJess said:

We paid on our second day at lunch time.  In such case if your ship doesn’t dock  you obviously won’t pay anything.   But once again you are to ask them directly.

 

When we did a Baltic Cruise in 2016, we booked with Alla Tours who did not ask for a deposit or pre-payment and collected our money before we left the bus at the end of Day 1 (a 2-day tour).

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We used TJ Travel and no payment was due until 2nd day of our 2 day visit. I'll add that they provided an amazing private tour !!!

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Hi,

I don't think you should worry. For me, I booked our tours in St Petersburg via Anastasia Travel last time we were in the Baltic. And luckily our port did not get cancelled so we had a wonderful 2-day private tour. So I am not sure if in case of cancellation a full refund is given, I think I saw it in the booking info last year. 

I would just contact them and ask... also make sure to have it in writing!! 

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OK! Summary:
- TJ, Alla, Best Guides (I've asked them), Red Sun don't ask for any prepayment.
- Denrus and Anastasia request a prepayment

 

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On 11/20/2019 at 10:57 PM, DNJ66 said:

OK! Summary:
- TJ, Alla, Best Guides (I've asked them), Red Sun don't ask for any prepayment.
- Denrus and Anastasia request a prepayment

 

Agree. If you pay upon arrival you don’t even have to think about cancelation policy. I’ve been to St. Petersburg twice. I mean by cruise. Both times we booked with Best Guides and both times we paid on the second day.

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Important! We had a choice to pay in cash or by card. Both times we paid by card (Visa or Master Card, American Express usually is not accepted). I noticed that my bank took pretty high  percent on such payments. Another couple from our group  – very experienced travelers -  paid in cash to avoid this percent. Suggestion! This percent depends on your card and on your bank. Check it with the bank before the cruise, maybe it will be smarter to pay in cash.

Jess

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41 minutes ago, CrazyJess said:

Important! We had a choice to pay in cash or by card. Both times we paid by card (Visa or Master Card, American Express usually is not accepted). I noticed that my bank took pretty high  percent on such payments. Another couple from our group  – very experienced travelers -  paid in cash to avoid this percent. Suggestion! This percent depends on your card and on your bank. Check it with the bank before the cruise, maybe it will be smarter to pay in cash.

 

Jess

If you elect to pay in cash in Russia you must pay in Russian rubles. Paying cash in USD or euros was a common practice several years ago but this is NO longer an option after a Russian tour operator got into quite a bit of trouble for accepting cash payments and not paying taxes.

Both Alla, TJ and SPB accept online payment via credit card. I know that the online payments for Alla and spb are charged in US dollars so there would be no concern regarding foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees.

If a Russian company is still accepting cash payments in a currency other than the ruble I certainly hope that they do not get caught or that your van is not stopped in Saint Petersburg and searched similar to those on a cruise a few years ago (the searches were conducted on the vans of the tax evading company).

Edited by dogs4fun

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