May 10 - May 18, 2019
The planning and execution of this trip was outstanding, as Sean (U.S. tour agent) and Ulyana (Russian tour agent) customized and coordinated a tour to meet my interests and exceed my expectations for the trip of a lifetime to Russia!
My itinerary included Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, and St. Petersburg. I was met/dropped off by an English-speaking assistant or tour guide and a driver at every airport and train station. I never had to worry about finding my hotel or catching the correct train on time. Not only was all my in-country major transportation covered, but rides to and from stations, as well as door-to-door pick up and drop off for every tour was provided 100% of the time.
Because of the personalized nature of the tour, I never had to "wait" for others to board a bus, eat in a restaurant that didn't suit my tastes, or visit a museum that was of little interest to me. Drivers and guides were always punctual, and I was always asked for input on pick-up times, what types of food I liked, and preferences in destinations. I always had a number I could call or text if I needed assistance.
The tour guides were all personable, knowledgeable, and qualified--Olga (Vladimir/Suzdal regional), the other Olga (Vladimir/Suzdal historical), Svetlana (Moscow), and Tatiana (St. Petersburg). Not only did they explain the sights, arrange the days to avoid traffic, and offer extra stops they knew I would find interesting, each guide was willing to have lunch with me every day, engage me in conversation, and answer my many questions. Though I was a solo traveler in Russia, it was as though I had a friend in each city. Even my regular transportation assistant in Moscow, Eugene, was very engaging and willing to discuss cultural topics as he drove me to or from my hotel or waited with me for a train.
Unlike group tours that would have merely "hit the high points" in each city, this tour was arranged specifically for my interests and tastes. From the planning stage, Sean and Ulyana made suggestions and changes to my itinerary to meet my requests and requirements. On the trip, the guides were willing to slow down and go into even more detail when I asked questions, stopping to address my inquiries. They were also willing to move on when they realized I was ready to go to the next site. Since I was a group of one, each day was tailored to the pace I chose to keep.
The cost of this personalized tour was a bit more than a standard group tour, but considering the number of sites I visited, the insights and perspectives I gained from guides, the customized schedule, the personalized touches, the privacy of my own hotel room, and the absolute peace of mind I had through the entire tour, it was a bargain!
I highly recommend this tour to a solo traveler, or to a small or large group of like-minded individuals who want to see and do more than the "standard tour of Russia", tailored to their tastes and interests.