Reviews › St Petersburg two-day group tour during Brilliance of the seas stay
We booked a two-day group tour with MaxiBaltTours after reading the amazing reviews on TripAdvisor. They were entirely correct.
Alexei was amazing from first email contact until the end of the tour. We exchanged a few emails before arriving in St Petersburg on Brilliance of the seas, asking questions about currency, Russian visa-free tour tickets etc. Alexei responded to all of them very quickly and with clear, friendly instructions. When we got to St Petersburg port we had a slight delay at passport control, but Alexei was patiently waiting for us at the other side as he said he would be. He even waited patiently while we nipped to the loo before getting on the minibus! He introduced us to our guide Irina and the rest of the group. He then popped by to see us on the last afternoon of the tour to check everything was ok.
Our Russian guide Irina was fantastic. So friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. As well as being hugely informative about all the sights we were seeing, she was great at pointing out when it was a good time to bring a coat/umbrella, when it was a good time to leave bags on the minibus, where the washroom facilities were etc., everything you want in a guide. She was wonderful without ever being overbearing or 'too much' as some guides can be. Plus she kept a close eye on everyone and never came close to losing anyone even in the very busy parts of the Hermitage. We had ear pieces in order to hear her commentary, which worked very well.
St Petersburg itself is fantastic and well worth a visit. Our only regret is we didn't have longer! The tour included all the main sites, a boat trip, a trip on the subway, photo stops, souvenir shopping and lunch both days. I don't think we could have asked for anything more. All costs were included in the tour price which made it an absolute bargain! There was also an option for an evening entertainment, but we were exhausted from the day sightseeing.
The included lunches were both of a very high quality and in very nice restaurants (not like when you go on big tour and end up squashed in with school dinner quality fare). I'm a vegetarian and forgot to tell Alexei in advance. I told Irina on the first morning and by the time we arrived at the restaurant a vegetarian meal had been organised! It was a proper vegetarian meal, not just the meat meal with the meat taken off that you get in some places! Very, very impressed.
Back on the ship we heard a few horror stories from other passengers who had gone on private excursions. We couldn't have been happier or felt safer than we did. Absolute top marks.