We have just arrived home today. We enjoyed our trip to Russia very much!
A few specific comments:
--our guides were extremely knowledgeable and personable with everyone in the group
--their work is not easy and this was evident a few times during the trip when they encountered poor behavior from other tour guides, and handled the situation well.
--we did not have problems with the schedule however others in the group were perhaps not as well prepared,
and I might offer a few comments:
1. there wasn't water available on the bus the first day. It was a hot day. (we always carry water with us but others did not).
2. the first driver was grouchy when we requested that the air conditioning be turned on. A good driver would have the bus cooled before we board and have water provided for everyone throughout the day.
3. the schedule was a bit tight. the day tour was 4-6 hours in length which didn't include lunch; other members on the trip wanted time to stop for lunch which would have taken away valuable time on the tour. perhaps explicit information made available regarding the schedule and expectations (no lunch) should be provided in the tour information, so people know what to expect. (we always carry snacks so we were fine).
4. Another suggestion might be to start the day at 9am instead of 10am.
5. we were delayed getting into the Hermitage by nearly an hour, walking and then standing in the rain in a long line. By the time we finally got into the Hermitage, there was only ONE HOUR remaining. This was clearly not enough time for a reasonable tour. The bus driver would not (or could not) be flexible to extend his pickup time. Our guide graciously gave up her time to give us more tour time and then accompanied us back to the hotel via city bus. The tour guide went out of her way to do this for us and I hope she was compensated.
The 2nd bus driver in Moscow and the bus driver in St. Petersburg were accommodating, smiled and answered questions, drove smoothly and the bus temperature was comfortable.
6. Allow time for restroom breaks and 10 minute rest periods along the way.
We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the tour and loved seeing Russia!
Again, the tour guides did a fantastic job.
Thank you for your time and efforts regarding tour booking, coordination, etc.
I will highly recommend TravelAllRussia.
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