This was a great experience. Our tour guide, Lydia, was very knowledgeable and easy to talk to and gave us lots of information on buildings along the canal as well as stories about past residents. We were even able to postpone our tour to a different evening because the weather was not so great on the night we had booked the tour. The meeting point was a little tough to find, so I would suggest telling guests to meet at the boat company's dock or something like that in the future.
We were collected promptly by our guide Katia at 10am from our hotel and taking by mini-bus to Peterhof. We immediately went into the palace on arrival around 11am and it was not too crowded. Her radio/headset guiding was excellent as you could still hear her commentary even when separated from the group or in a noisy place. We had fantastic weather - 24C/blue sky - so the gardens tour was very pleasant too. Katia took us to good lunch restaurant where we had excellent simple dishes from the Caucasus. On the journey back, we heard interesting stories of living in modern Russia. This private tour was excellent and Katia a fine host.
Doing what: Private Tour: Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg
Absolutely worth doing. The amber room was amazing. Would be nice to know of other options whilst your out there.
I have to separate the review into 2 parts.
Part one is about Lili, our guide. She was absolutely wonderful. It seems to be that she knows EVERYTHING about the city. No question unanswered, she is doing her job with passion and she even took us back to basil island in the middle of the night in her private car. For Lili I would give 5 stars.
Part two is about the captain of the ship we had for the tour. This guy is the most unfriendly biggest idiot we met so far in St Petersburg. He didn't like to have a english group on board and sabotaged Lili's explanation with extremely loud Russian disco music. What a freak. He turned the music on when we just started and no one could escape the full blast of his loud speakers. I wish him the worst and a big hole in his dammed ship so he can't torture foreign tourists anymore. No need to say that he was drunk as well.
We left St P at 10.30 and visited Pavlosk first before Catherine's Palace. Pavlosk house is interesting though much more modest than other palaces. We had to queue at least 30 mins to get in the house. An hour to stroll the gardens afterwards would have been a nice option to have but we had to move on to Catherine's Palace straight away. This is a very busy location to visit. We got in after only a 30 minute queue at around 12.30. The sheer volume of visitors makes your time in each room limited. We did not have 'radio' headsets for the tour and so it was difficult to be close to the guide at all times. Given the crowds, headsets would have been helpful. Were we to do this again, we would have asked for a 9am start from the hotel and to do Pavlosk after - to see Catherine's Palace with fewer people. Perhaps even making your way back by train from Pavlosk if the time with the bus and guide was limited... Our guide... was knowledgeable if not so sympathetic or patient - and it would have helped to have radio headsets for her to communicate with us.
The guide was good...knowledgeable and personable in general. However, she complained about the long drive to Novgorod which was somewhat dampening since we were excited to see countryside and the dachas.The driver on the other hand was terrible...they hired a cab and the driver drove too fast, got a speeding ticket and caused a fender-bender. If you have to use this tour company (it was the only option for Novgorod), be firm about a decent driver. Otherwise, use a different operator.
Doing what: Novgorod Small-Group Tour from St Petersburg
Not good!!! The Guide was terrible...no one could hear her, way too meek to be a Guide...very soft spoken, not in tune to her audience. The boat owner insisted upon having music that was very loud. This was a party boat. The Guide did ask him to turn it down, but he refused.
Alex Walker, our guide, gave us an outstanding thorough private tour of St. Petersburg. A combination of car and walking, we spent 8 hours learning all about this special city. Since Alex is also a history teacher, his knowledge was extensive and insightful, providing the significance of key events and important monuments in Peter the Great's city. Excellent English.
Doing what: Grand Tour of St Petersburg
This was the WOW! factor of our recent visit to St Petersburg - I never realised how huge this attraction was until we saw hundreds of people lining the banks of the canal to watch the bridges go up. And not to mention the number of boats on the water as well. Definitely worth while and we had a lovely guide - her English was amazing and she shared some fascinating stories with us. Will want to do this again some day!
This was definitely one of the highlights of our visit. Just loved the whole experience. The dancers were just amazing and I would recommend it anytime. The buffet dinner is not really a dinner, but rather just some finger snacks, but we were there for the show, not really to eat, so did not mind at all.
ROSA MARIA D
Very nice, oppulece at the maximum expresion.
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