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Cruise Answers - Question: Shore excursions other than those sold o... by mackie, Glasgow

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Shore excursions other than those sold on board ship. Celebrity Eclipse Scandinavia & Russia June 2012
We are considering using a local tour operator in St Petersburg called Denrus who claim to be cheaper & better (smaller groups) than the cruise companies official tours. Anybody got experience of them, would they recommend them?
Has anybody done shore excursions in St Petersburg not using the ship's official trips and regretted it or even had minor reservations?
Submitted by - , Glasgow - United Kingdom / Subject - All Cruises General
10 answers, 1090 views
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Comment by , Walton-on-Thames (02 Dec 11 21:54) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
We toured with SPB Tours www.spb-tours.com. They were also excellent and very flexible too. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the main operators. They are all thoroughly well recommended on Cruise Critic by hundreds of Americans. (Except Alla which has been blacklisted by the website! But not for poor service, just for possibly posting false reviews, I think).
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Comment by , St. Neots (02 Dec 11 21:08) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
We have provisionally booked Alla Tours for our 23rd June departure on Eclipse for the two days in Russia, they were highly recommended to us and have been very helpful in all our correspondence with them.
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Comment by , Southend-on-sea (02 Dec 11 19:34) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
We used Denrus in 2009. There were probably about 15 of us in a mini coach. We had two great, full days, with a brilliant guide with a very dry sense of humour! We were very satisfied with the service, itinerary etc. We had a good lunch each day which was included also.
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Comment by , southwest (02 Dec 11 18:07) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
We used Alla tours and would highly recommend them for all the reasons given by Mitchell. There were 10 of us on our minibus and our guide was superb! Enjoy St Petersburg.
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Comment by , Romsey (02 Dec 11 17:52) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
DenRus, Alla, Red Oktober, several others, all very reputable & recommended. One may decline to quote you if they have the contract for your ship's tours. ......... none are cheap, but they're much cheaper than ship's tours & much better (smaller groups). All include you on a group visa, incl in the price. ........... Chris.
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Comment by , st columb (02 Dec 11 20:15) about a COMMENT by Chris (02 Dec 11 17:52)
Actually Chris our trips with Celebrity were slightly cheaper than any of the 'private' tours !!
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Comment by , Walton-on-Thames (02 Dec 11 21:51) about a COMMENT by morris (02 Dec 11 20:15)
But didn't you only do one full day and one half day, compared with two full days with the private tour groups?
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Comment by , st columb (03 Dec 11 16:36) about a COMMENT by Rae (02 Dec 11 21:51)
Like for like they worked out slightly cheaper with the ship ....we also had a five course hotel lunch with the full day ...but it is a personal choice and I was just commenting that people dismiss the ships trips as being expensive, but actually they are not when you do the research....we were very happy with our choice and can't see what could have been improved upon....for us of course!!
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Comment by , DERBY (02 Dec 11 16:54) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
We did the same kind of thing as Morris St Columb, but with Alla Tours. Price was about the same and they too were absolutely fantastic. The smaller vehicles - 16 seater in Alla's case, against 40 plus for the ships - really matter, as it makes life much easier getting around the crowded sites. At the Hermitage they had some problem on the doors, but our small group just breezed in past crowds of folk on ship tours, who were left looking pretty glum in the heavy rain. We felt a bit mean, but were obviously glad we'd done it this way!! Whatever you do, have a wonderful time - it's a great itinerary :-) Cheers, Lynn.
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Comment by , st columb (02 Dec 11 16:39) about a QUESTION by mackie (02 Dec 11 16:22)
Denrus are one of the well known private tour operators so should be very reliable....we went to St Petersburg on Eclipse last year and after doing much research decided to go with the ships excursions and we were extremely happy with them... so don't dismiss them altogether....we did a full day City Highlights and Catharines palace with five course lunch at Holiday Inn then a half day (5 hrs) trip to the Hermitage....excellent guides who took us to the front of the queue each time, ear pieces to hear what she was saying even if we were a distance away...total cost for two of us was £283 !! We felt this was very good value.
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