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“Below expectations, but still worthwhile”

UlkoTours -Day Tours
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Private Shore-Excursion: 1-Day Fully Flexible St Petersburg Tour
Ranked #7 of 348 Tours in St. Petersburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: ULKOtours delivers highest standards of service for any budget. The success we have had during the years we have been on the market with the ULKO brand proves that we work hard and we deliver to our promises. Our clients attest to that. We provide Customised city tours for independent travelers to Russia (Moscow, St.Petersburg and Golden Ring)as well as Private and Group (GDT) VISA-FREE shore excursions for cruise visitors in multiple Baltic destinations.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Below expectations, but still worthwhile”
Reviewed July 18, 2011

I was travelling with a group of 5 friends and we decided to book a guide for St Petersburg because we only had 2 days to see everything. We are all well-travelled professionals who generally do not use tour guides when we travel, but have used a handful of excellent ones in the past.

Booking process: Excellent. Working with Lydia to arrange our tour was easy. She accommodated our last-minute request for a guide, was responsive to our requests and communicated in excellent English. We arranged everything over email and sent in a small deposit electronically. We paid by credit card on arrival.

Tour content & quality: Disappointing. We chose Ulko Tours for the raving reviews about personalized service and responsive guides. Our guide, Natalya (sp?), was knowledgeable, but lacked many qualities of a good guide. It appeared she memorized the content of the tour, and while she could recite the facts, she did not understand anything we said to her. Because of her inability to converse, we felt she was only minimally better than purchasing audio tours. She was not friendly or engaging; she never asked us where we were from and I'm not sure she knew our names. Natalya seemed more concerned with getting us through the itinerary than with our comfort (e.g. she kept us in the hot sun, never communicated the distances we had to travel to allow us to make decisions about walking or using public transport, etc). We hoped our guide would be like a 6th friend with insider tips on the city, extra insight into the sights and the ability to join our conversation, but we were disappointed on all counts.

Tour operations: Good. Regardless of the quality of our guide, we felt the tour was valuable because we were able to skip the long lines at each destination (Church on Spilled Blood, St. Peter & Paul Cathedral & Fortress, Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, Peterhof Gardens and Palace). We saw everything we wanted to see, and if we had had to figure out our own transport and entrance to all of these places we would have given up long before we saw everything. It was valuable to have someone to follow through the massive palaces, parks and museums, which would have been overwhelming on our own. I rate this element "good" rather than "excellent" because we had hoped our guide would provide restaurant recommendations, help us order authentic food for lunch, and help us navigate the city efficiently. Instead, we had 20 minute lunch breaks at the museum cafeterias and wasted a lot of time walking to places we could have easily taken a subway to.

In short, I would definitely recommend using a private guide for St Petersburg, but do as much due diligence as possible on your guide before you select a provider.

Visited July 2011
13 Thank Emily312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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417 reviews from our community

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English first
New York, NY
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience”
Reviewed July 17, 2011

We worked with Elena for months leading up to our trip and she was patient and helpful in refining our itinerary to suit our preferences. She planned tours for us in both St Petersburg and Moscow. In all we had 3 tour guides, and they were all friendly, knowledgeable, and excellent English speakers. All of our transfers were arranged, and went flawlessly. From start to finish the entire experience was a pleasure, and took away a lot of the stress of traveling in a country where you cannot read/speak in the local language. We would highly recommend their services.

Elena also saved us by providing us visa documents at the last minute (ie the day of departure) when documents from a separate company were rejected! I called her around 8pm her local time, and she came through and saved the day, allowing me to get my visa that day.

Btw this post is from a mother and (adult) daughter traveling together - but there was no option for this in the drop-down menu :)

Visited June 2011
1 Thank MeggsNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuttgart, Germany
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“"Vysokiĭ" (Awesome) Visit to St Petersburg Thanks to Ulko Tours”
Reviewed July 8, 2011

Tripadvisor was on target once again. A wonderful two day tour in St. Petersburg was provided to my family by Ulko Tours . As the primary destination for our Baltic's Cruise we wanted to book the best possible tour and Ulko Tours exceeded our expectations.

Our Tour Guide, Diana was FANTASTIC. Ulko is obviously selective and takes great pride in their choices for employees. Diana took great care of my family, and ensured that we enjoyed every minute. An engaging personality, perfect English combined with a positive attitude, relaxed demeanor and expert insider knowledge made our two days very enjoyable, productive and memorable.

Sergei, our driver did a fantatstic job as well - he safely navigated the congested roadways during the hieght of the tourist season and shaved valuable time from the transits between the sites.

Peterhof Gardens was the highlight and by following Diana's recommendations we truly enjoyed this jewel of St Peterburg.

Visited June 2011
3 Thank Hoovpilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Clemente, California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Spectacular visit to St. Petersburg”
Reviewed July 5, 2011

We visited St. Petersburg on a Baltic cruise for our 50th anniversary and knew we wanted an independent tour of the city. We are very happy that we selected Ulko Tours. Elena made all the planning very simple and we were greeted at the port with a sign and a smiling guide named Luba. Our two days were filled with visits to the highlights of the city, some of which were very crowded. Luba was able to negotiate the crowds and maximize our time at each historic site. She also provided indepth information of each place we visited. I would highly recommend using Ulko Tours for anyone visiting St. Petersburg. You will see and learn more in the short time you have in the city.

Visited May 2011
Thank travelforfun30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Ulko Tours - Very Professional and Reasonably Priced”
Reviewed June 27, 2011

We arrived for 2 days in St Petersburg with another couple via a cruise ship. We had investigated and done research and chose Ulko Tours and have no regrets. Our guide and driver met us the first day and we were impressed with both her mastering of the English language but also the art and history of St Petersburg.
Our first day was over 10 hours long and we were able to experience so much, only the photos reveal how much we saw. We were able to quickly navigate all the long lines and NOT wait in any of them.
Our second day was equally informative and with limited sunny days in St Petersburg, we were blessed to have 1 1/2 of them!
Our Guide, Isabella, was truly a gem. She was open to being flexible to adjusting any schedule, any places to see and was very articulate. We did not say 'good bye' with our departure on the second day, but rather exchanged email addresses.
I would highly recommend this tour service as you get great value for the money, we compared the cruise ship excusion prices vs. the private tours and Ulko Tours more than met our expectations.
My husband is deaf in one ear so has trouble with group tours, we try to always do a private tour so he can hear and learn. Something to consider!

Visited June 2011
1 Thank kamcisaac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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