I had a wonderful trip! All but one guide was outstanding, all highly knowledgeable, charming and well-organized.
My private guide for the pre-day in Moscow gave me a fascinating insight into the history and culture of Russia and had a deep knowledge and appreciation for antique furniture. I was delighted to discover that she had been assigned to lead Group I the next day. Please pass along to your local booking organization that all 3 local guides were exceptional and very well prepared. I would request them all again. My group was not impressed with our leader in St Petersburg. But the leader of Group II in St Petersburg was helpful to me when my guide was not.
The hotels were exquisite and the rooms were beautiful. The drivers were gracious and all connections (hotel pick-ups/drops-offs) were on time.
Yet my request for non-meat meals was a problem. Unfortunately, nobody in Russia was aware of my request. Beef was served to me at the 1st group meal. I told the guide I could not eat it. She asked the kitchen to prepare something else. The group was completely finished by the time my lunch was served, so I rushed and did not enjoy the food. She arranged for a different entre for the final dinner in Moscow and it was delicious. But when I arrived in St Petersburg, I was again served beef at the Farewell Dinner. The server said they were not told that our group had a non-meat eater. (Several people in Group II had already been served fish or vegetable plates, so the miscommunication impacted only me.) I insisted that the group begin their main course, so it would not be ruined. Unlike the guide in St Petersburg, this guide didn’t notice or seem to care that I had nothing to eat. (Supervising only 9 guests, one would assume she would have noticed.) When everyone was almost finished with their dinners, I finally asked her to go to the kitchen and ask about my meal. She went to the kitchen, returned and said, “Soon.” Again, my meal was served as the plates were cleared for dessert. The fish was lovely, but I did not enjoy it because the group was waiting for me. This was awkward for everyone, not just for me. The guide seemed unconcerned.
Overall, your company did an outstanding job. All but one guide was exceptional and I had a lovely time in your welcoming, fascinating country.
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