Originally Posted by brsinger
I can't thank you enough for the detailed description of your Baltic cruise and the wonderful pictures that you shared with us. It makes waiting until July that much harder - we are so looking forward to our cruise. We have been considering a private tour in St. Petersburg with Red October tours. Have you heard anything - good or bad- about them? Did you tour on your own in St. Petersburg or did you have other folks in your group? So many other members from Cruise Critic who are on this cruise are already booked for private tours in groups, so we don't know whether to hold out and try to get a group together or to take the tour, just the two of us. This will be our first European cruise and therefore I am a bit apprehensive about setting off on our own with a guide. Any safety concerns I should know about? Again, thanks for your reply and I look forward to hearing from you again.
Red October has a very good reputation and lots of people use them. We choose DenRus because they offered the option of lunch with a Russian family and they were very cooperative about designing the tour exactly the way we wanted it, and understanding my slight mobility limitations. You positively don't want to (really, can't) do St Pete without a guide. The four of us who were traveling together on a private tour was just a right size. Booking with Red October or DenRus for just the two of you will be expensive, but this is such a magnificent port it really makes sense to do it right! Of course if you can find two or four other compatible people to share that helps with the price.
In general, almost any cruise port will offer little in the way of safety concerns AS LONG as you stick with a good guide and stay in the established tourist areas. Some folks are brave enough to go wander about on their own off the beaten path, but not us!
Have a GREAT cruise!