Frequently Asked Questions

General
Are you an officially registered company?
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Yes, we are. Our registration number in the Russian Federation of Tourism is MBT 011381. As we are officially authorized by the Russian government, we have the right to issue the tour ticket (also called a “blanket visa”) that allows you to participate in our tours without obtaining Russian tourist visa. In addition, we have a contract with the St Petersburg sea port “Morskoy Fasad”, so we guarantee to meet you at the port area.

Do you guarantee that we will return to the ship on time?
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Yes, we do! We guarantee that you will be back to the ship at least one hour prior to the departure. We are always prepared for the unexpected, all of our itineraries take into account the probable unforeseen circumstances which may arise on the way back to the port, so we guarantee that you will be back to the ship on time.
If by any reason you are late and miss your ship (it won’t happen!) we will take the responsibility to deliver you to the next port at our expense.

Do you guarantee that we will visit all sights listed in the itinerary?
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We always adjust our programs according to the museums’ days-off, so we guarantee that you will see all the sights listed in our itineraries. 

Please note that the order of museum visits and the time spent at each venue may vary depending on ticket availability, time allocated by the museums and traffic situation in the city.

How experienced are your guides?
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We only choose the most experienced guides with an incredible record of success. Our guides are the best in the industry, and are natives of St Petersburg – so you will see our city through the eyes of a local! They speak excellent English, are fully licensed, have a good sense of humor, and create excursions that are flexible – depending on your interests and your pace.

What type of vehicles do you use?
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We use only air-conditioned, non-smoking, western cars, minivans and buses (mostly Mercedes or VW). All of our drivers are friendly and professional. Each has a great experience working with cruise passengers.

Do you organize evening programs?
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Yes! Don’t miss the opportunity to see a Russian ballet or to enjoy an evening of Russian opera in one of the best theatres in St Petersburg. We also highly recommend to see a Folk Show or take a night boat trip along the famous canals. Or perhaps you would like to feel yourself a Russian aristocrat and have an extravagant dinner in one of the former royal Russian palaces?

You can find all the evening options we offer hereEvening Tours

Visa, Booking and Documentation
What info do you need to book a tour?
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In order to book please submit an online booking form on our website. The following information is required:

  • Your full name (as it reads in your passport)
  • Citizenship
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Arrival and departure dates to/from St Petersburg
  • The name of your ship
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
Your passport details are required by the passport control in the port, so we can issue a blanket visa for you. We respect your privacy and will never use your passport details for any other purpose nor pass them to a third party.

Do we need a Russian visa if we arrive by cruise ship?
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No, visa is not required for cruise ship passengers, if you take a tour with an authorized tour company. TJ Travel, as a company that is officially authorized by the Russian government, has the right to issue the tour ticket (also called a “blanket visa”) - this can save you a minimum of $130 per person! We will send you your tour ticket via e-mail, you will have to print it at home and bring along with you to St Petersburg. You will also need your valid passport to pass the customs. 

Is tour ticket the same as blanket visa? What has to be on my tour ticket?
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Yes, tour ticket is the blanket visa. It contains your name, name of the ship, time/dates of the tour and our contact information. Please note that the name on the tour ticket should be the same as in your passport. You passport information is sent directly to the customs at the port.

The timing for the evening tour is filled into all the tickets automatically (no matter if you have booked one or not), in case you decide on some option last minute. 

Do we need any tickets for other Baltic tours?
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Tour tickets are required only for your disembarkation in St Petersburg, as they work as blanket visa and you won’t be able to clear the customs without them. 

No tour tickets are required for any other Baltic country; these countries are members of the Euro Zone.

What documents should I have with me when leaving my ship in St. Petersburg?
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A valid passport and printed tour ticket (blanket visa) per person (including children), sent to your e-mail by TJ Travel.

What is the deadline for booking a tour?
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Please make sure to book your tour at least 4-5 days prior to your ship's arrival to St. Petersburg. The port authorities require all passport information in advance and late bookings sent in less than 4 days will be rejected.

Payment/Cancellation policy
What are the payment methods?
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1. You can pay in cash (Rubles) in St Petersburg upon your arrival. If you don't have an opportunity to exchange the money before your tour, your guide will help you to exchange it on spot.

2. You are welcome to pay by Credit Card (VISA, MASTERCARD and American Express). If you decide to pay by credit card, the amount for the tour will be charged in Rubles according to the exchange rate of our Central Bank on the day of payment. No transaction fee is taken on our side. Debit cards are accepted as well.

If you book a package including St. Petersburg, the payment for all the tours should be made in St. Petersburg.

3. You can pay for your tour in advance, please fill in your credit card details using the secure form on our website. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

What is your cancellation policy? Is there any prepayment to book with TJ Travel?
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Group tours in St Petersburg and Baltic cities (booked along with a St Petersburg tour): No prepayment, no penalties for cancellation. Please inform us about your cancellation at least 72 hours prior to the beginning of the tour.

Private tours in St Petersburg and Baltic cities (booked along with a St Petersburg tour): A 50% prepayment is required at the moment of booking. This amount is non-refundable in case you cancel the tour in less than 72 hours before the beginning of the tour. 

Group and private tours in Baltic cities (booked without a St Petersburg tour): A 100% prepayment is required at the moment of booking. The amount is non-refundable in case you cancel the tour in less than 72 hours before the beginning of the tour. 

Russian Ballet, Folk Show and Boat Trip evening tours: A 100% prepayment is required at the moment of booking. This amount is non-refundable. 

Train tickets: A 100% prepayment is required at the moment of booking. This amount is non-refundable.

No refund is possible for any tour/service in case of a no-show.

What discounts do you have?
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If you book your tour for next year, we are happy to provide you with a 5% discount off the price of any St Petersburg tour.

If you travel with kids under 7 years old, the tour is free for them. Older kids (7-17 years old) and students receive special discounts ($15/$30/$50 per person) depending on the length of the tour in St Petersburg; and there is a 10% discount off the price cost of the package for any Baltic tours. Students must have a valid ISIC card. 

Please be informed that we are unable to provide discounts for seniors.

If you form a group of 10+ participants on your own, we will be pleased to give you an additional 5% discount.

In order to find potential cruisemates you can place information about yourself on http://boards.cruisecritic.com/ ROLL CALL.


SPECIAL OFFER: Multiple cities discount!*

Take advantage of booking multiple city tours and get a discount! The more cities you book, the higher is the discount rate:

·         2 cities - you get 10 USD off per person

·         3 cities - 15 USD off per person

·         4 cities - 20 USD off per person

·         5 cities - 30 USD off per person

·         6 cities - 40 USD off per person

*The discount is only available when booking a day tour in St. Petersburg + a tour in the Baltics

On the day
Where is the meeting point?
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St Petersburg: We will meet you inside the commercial port area, right after you pass the customs. Our representatives will meet you with a sign of TJ TRAVEL and introduce you to your guide and driver. We will be waiting by your ship well before you arrive. If for some reason you can’t find us, you can call us using the telephone number on your tour ticket.

Other Baltic ports: We will send you “Disembarkation Instructions” for all ports with the exact meeting point.

Please note: The meeting times listed in tour programs on our website are given approximately and will be adjusted depending on your ship arrival time, the exact meeting time will be indicated in your final confirmation letter.

What is included in the lunch? What if I have food restrictions?
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Lunches are included in all our group tours. Lunch usually includes a main dish (i.e. beef-stroganoff, pozharsky cutlet, or beaf pot), Russian traditional soup and dessert (for example, Russian pancakes with various fillings), tea or coffee.
If you have any food restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will order lunches accordingly.

What is the additional cost of a lunch in a private tour?
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We don’t include the cost of lunches in our private programs for small parties/groups because we want to give you more freedom and flexibility. Our guides will recommend you a restaurant or cafe where local Russians frequent, rather than “touristy” restaurants. 

However, we recommend to include lunches for groups 8+ as usually it takes more time to prepare lunches for bigger groups. The cost is $20 per person for a three-course meal; if you prefer an upscale restaurant, the cost of the meal is $30 per person.

Should I bring cash with me for some shopping?
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Most restaurants and gift shops accept credit cards, but if you would like to pay in cash, only Rubles are accepted in Russia.

What do we need to know if we are travelling with children?
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Most of our group tours are suitable for passengers with children. However, please note that we don’t recommend “2-Day Premium Saint Petersburg Small Group Tour”, as this tour may be too intense for kids. 

If you are travelling with small children, we recommend considering private options for your convenience. We also will be glad to customize a private itinerary that will suit both adults and children in your group.

Do we have to stand in long lines to enter museums?
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If you travel with us you don’t have to stand in long lines – unlike those tourists who are on their own. This, as you’ll see, is a big time-saver in Russia! The exception could be Catherine’s Palace, the Hermitage and the Grand Palace in Peterhof. Sometimes tourists have to wait to enter the Palaces because the guards limit the entrance.

Are local museums accessible for wheelchair users?
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St Petersburg is generally becoming friendlier to travellers with disabilities, but there are some difficulties we would like to let you know about before your arrival. 

Please note that most of the vehicles are not equipped with a ramp or lift, so you will need to take a few steps into the van. If it may be difficult for you or someone in your party to walk a few steps, please contact us for a customized tour.

Please note that group tours are not recommended for wheelchair users.

The Hermitage and the Russian museum have improved their conditions to host disabled visitors. Both are equipped with elevators and special platforms to carry a wheelchair to the upper floors. However, please note that elevators are not conveniently situated and it takes time to get inside.

There is a special elevator in St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

Talking about summer residences, two most important sights visited are the Catherine palace and the Peterhof residence. The Catherine palace is wheelchair accessible and it’s possible to get to the second floor using an elevator. The Grand palace in Peterhof doesn’t have any elevators so it’s not possible to access the first floor. Instead of the Grand palace we can recommend visiting one of the small palaces on the territory of the Lower Fountain Park (it could be Monplaisir or The Bath pavilion).

The Church on the Spilled Blood has several steps up, but there is a ramp.

Unfortunately, the second floor of Yusupov’s palace with the main exhibition is not accessible by wheelchair.

Are any of your tour vehicles accessible with either lift or ramp?
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We can arrange a special van with lifting mechanism upon your request only for the private tours.

Is there a dress code for any attractions?
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No, please feel free to wear casual clothes. The churches included in our programs are museums and thus have no dress code requirements.

How much should I tip the guide and driver?
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Gratuities to the guide and driver are not included in the tour price and cannot be paid by credit card. The sum you wish to give to your guide and driver after a well-done tour is always up to you! 

In St. Petersburg up to the western standards (approximately 15% of the cost of the tour). It is a good idea to divide any gratuity between your guide and driver and give it separately to them: 10% to the guide and 5% to the driver. Please have some cash with you (USD, EUR or RUB) for this reason, but it is, of course, always up to you.

We recommend to give the following amounts in other cities: Helsinki (5 EUR guide, 3 EUR driver); Tallinn (5 EUR guide), Stockholm (5 EUR guide, 3 EUR driver); Berlin (10 EUR guide, 5 EUR driver), Copenhagen (10 EUR guide, 5 EUR driver). But these are only our recommendations, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether to give tips or not!