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“Loved loved loved Ulko Tours”
Review of ULKOtours

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St Petersburg Private 2 Day Essential Shore...
Ranked #32 of 436 Tours in St. Petersburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: See Russia & Scandinavia the way we do! - Experience it! Taste it! Love it! We will take care of the rest! Passionate guides. Reliable drivers. Exciting programs. 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 older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Reviewed July 24, 2011

We just returned from a fantastic Baltic cruise (Azamara Journey), which I selected in part because I wanted to spend as much time as possible in St. Petersburg -- and other cities where it would be cool. Well, cooler than the 100 degrees every day here in Texas. I had originally thought about just using the ship's excursions, especially when they sent out a "sale" email -- but was so glad I didn't when I saw their groups of 50 or so people being led around no where near their guides, who often sounded horrible. Then I looked into Den Russ, but was a little put off by their style, so I kept looking and saw the rave reviews here about Ulko. I'm so glad I went with Elena Ulko. She was easy to work with, especially with her 800 number and rapid responses to my emails. And the guide she gave me, Julia, was a wonderful young woman who my wife, daughter, and I adored. She was warm, intelligent, and sweet. Her knowledge of the sites was encyclopedic, but she really loved SP and wanted us to love her beautiful city too. We were able to quickly get to the front of lines and dart through the museums and other amazing sites - especially with a great driver and huge 9 passenger van just for us. She took us to a local blini restaurant that served delicious pancakes that were inexpensive, and a cafe at Peterhof, and when we didn't have time to have lunch on the third day, she wasn't the least bit bothered. She was flexible and understanding. And on the second day, as we were walking down the Nevsky Prospect, she bought a small bouquet from an older woman (because she just wanted to support her), then presented the flowers to my daughter. And she bought us Russian cookies. At the end, we all hugged and cried a little, and she asked us to return asap. We wanted to adopt her. Then I met Elena to pay her, and she was just as nice as she had sounded. So use Ulko Tours. And ask for Julia.

3  Thank wbere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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589 - 593 of 672 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2011

It was an outstanding two days. All the arrangements and handling were top drawer. We wouldn't have changed a thing. Our tour guide, Isabella, was wonderful. She had an excellent understanding of Russian history as well as all of the venues we visited which added greatly to our visit. You can't go wrong with Ulko Tours.

Thank saddcalif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2011

We (2 Couples from UK) were visiting St Petersburg for 2 days on the P&O Arcadia - 14 and 15th July 2011. It was to be the highlight of our cruise and we were looking for a specific custom tour, wanting to make sure we maximised the time at the museums/cathedrals/palaces whilst avoiding large groups, who from experience are always waiting for stragglers or queuing.

We achieved this with Ulko tours, they provided an excellent guide (Luba) and driver and a great itinerary. We spent 2-3 months reviewing the standard 2 day tour and with a few tweaks and email exchanges with Elena (who always responded promptly) we customised the 2 days. This worked very well, the timing/tour was excellent and Ulko Tours and employees are very professional.

With a small group we never queued, always going to the front, and we were led expertly by Luba to the exhibits we wanted to see. Luba took us to a local restaurant ‘to taste’ St Petersburg (soup and excellent fresh pies) in the centre of St Petersburg, with few if any other tourists, which at less than £5 each was truly excellent!

Luba was very knowledgeable about everything, made sure we understood what was needed, was an art expert (tested at the Hermitage), and really added significantly to the tour with her vast knowledge about all the sights, including the running commentary on other sights as we drove from one attraction to the next. I am sure we saw the best that St Petersburg has to offer.

Everything was included in the cost which made it very easy to arrange/discuss, tickets were available whenever and wherever we arrived, and the transport provided was clean and had excellent aircon etc. We would highly Ulko tours for anyone wishing to visit St Petersburg.

2  Thank Timxxl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2011

After reading the 18 July review I have to comment on Ulko tours.

We hired the tour Company at least 5 months before arriving in St Petersburg. All e-mail transactions were very professionally handled. We were met at the dock by Mariana and were very very happy with the 2 days under Mariana's guidance.

Having the private tour of only 7 in such a big and busy city enabled us to cut through the queues and speed through all the meal breaks, wash room stops etc., and spend more time on sight seeing. Mariana's English was excellent as was her interest in us and ensuring that we were fully engaged in the sites in and around the city. We loved hearing a little of her background as well.

The collection of entrance tickets and sound systems just happened with no delays. A cup of coffee and a sandwhich was all we requested on the first day's lunch and the driver was waiting for us as soon as we finished. The co ordination between Mariana and the driver eliminated any down time on such a full tour. The driver was a very professional assistant.

Thank you to Elena and Mariana of Ulko tours they made our St Petersburg tour magic.

2  Thank SydneyOztraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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.

13  Thank Emily312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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