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“Tsarapora Tours provide great value”

Sergey Tsarapora Yalta and Crimea Private Tour Guide
Ranked #1 of 11 Tours in Yalta
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Owner description: Private guides of Sergey Tsarapora offer group and private tours in Yalta - Sevastopol and Odessa with individual timing and tailored themes. Private guides will show you Yalta, Sevastopol, Balaclava, Livadiya, Massandra, Alupka, Bakhchisaray. We can suggest you a personalized program in accordance with your interests, wishes, profession, age, number of people, mobility, and/or time frame, to the known and secret sites. Where else can you sit in Stalin's armchair on the terrace of the palace once owned by Prince Yusupov, who was married to a Russian Tzar niece and was an assassin of Grigori Rasputin, the favorite of a Tzar’s wife? Nowhere but here! We shall take you to the places with the stories of their own, visited by Anton Chekhov, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill. You will see the land of 2.500 years of history of European and Muslim civilizations. You will be impressed by multiformity of architecture styles in Crimea, by beauty of its scenery, by richness and significance of its historic and cultural heritage that we shall be delighted to help you to discover. Sincerely, your private guide Sergey Tsarapora.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed October 25, 2013

We secured Sergey's guides for both Yalta - Zhenya and Sevastopol - Helena; well in advance. Through a series of emails (Sergey was always very prompt to reply) laid out the sites we were interested in and the requirements of our diverse group. I provided a deposit thru Western Union; easy. Both guides have a vast knowledge and love for their region, good english and pickup / drop off dock side were on time, went smoothly
Sevastopol
Had a v pleasant walk thru the old town, great visit to the 5 C BC Greece site of Chersonesus, out to Balaklava with a lunch (I insisted on buying for Helena, too) on the waterfront and then to the submarine pens. Helena was v sensitive to our needs, provided basic information and then easily handled our stream of questions.
Yalta
Started with a visit to the cathedral then to Vorontsovsky and Livadia Palaces. We had requested a lunch stop at a small local Crimean restaurant (someplace Zhenya would go with friends) but the only place she would consider was a tourist one, the Swallow's Nest; likely fine with a good view but not the experience our group was looking for. So we opted to end the tour early and return to the ship. It felt that Zhenya wasn't in tune with our small group. That she had a script to get through and she overwhelmed us with information that we started to tune-out. The Yalta coast roads are v windy, crowded, narrow and slow. From inside the van, one doesn't get to appreciate the scenery and several in our group were feeling unwell due to this motion. On our return to the ship we drove a main inland road which I would recommend for both directions.

Both tours were priced on an hourly rate so settling the fee was handled simply; hours (we rounded up) * rate and I provided a generous tip for the guide to share with the driver. I would not hesitate recommending Sergey's services.

Thank kcreek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed October 19, 2013

I made contact with Sergey several months before arriving in the Ukraine on a cruise of the Black Sea. In all of my contact with Sergey he has been very professional and I cannot thank him enough for all of his trouble firstly when the cruise ship had to change port dates due to rough weather and secondly when we were in Yalta the Captain called everyone back to the ship for an early sail and Sergey contacted our guide to get us back onto the ship. Our tour guide spoke good english and we found the tours very interesting. The lunch stop was great with a little bit of help with the language barrier!!! I would recommend when touring the Ukraine it is best to do a tour. I found that doing a private tour you covered alot more than the ship tours. I highly recommend Sergey and his team and thank him for all of his help.

1  Thank AdelaideJulie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 17, 2013

Oct 2013 cruise stop - and a group of 11....we contacted Sergey, he responded promptly and helped us put together an agenda that met everyone's interests and accomplished a lot during our one day visit! Luba was our guide, we had a large comfortable Mercedes van and got started at 8AM......Luba's English was perfect, she did her best to satisfy everyone's interests, she shared her knowledge about everything we saw..... would we all recommend Sergey and his team? ABSOLUTELY! he's the BEST!

1  Thank evetsmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 17, 2013

We were in multiple contact over the last few months on our tour. The English was good and after paying a deposit for two days of tours we were good to go. Our guides were on time, our vans were beautiful, and our tours were wonderful.

Visiting the Ukraine is interesting but also challenging. Bribes are common so sometimes you get places and things are unexpectedly closed for VIP's etc....you must work within the system....similar in Russia. We are very experienced travelers and understand this. So when we docked, we had lists of what we wanted to see however knew that if something else was going on, we were going to need to be flexible. Thus is travel

All items on our lists were met. Our guides were excellent and gave a wonderful overview of the country and history etc. I believe both of them had studied history so we enjoyed their commentaries immensely.

Our vans were spotless, our drivers excellent and we were back on our ship on time and very satisfied. Sergey exceeded our expectations and we would book with him again. And we LOVE to travel.

Enjoy and a tip is that the weather can change quickly so always have a jacket or sweater....

Safe travels! NYC

1  Thank NYCshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed October 10, 2013

Through a series of email messages between myself and Tsarapora Sergey, on 24th September, we agreed Sergey would arrange for collection of 4 of us on the morning of 27th September, when our cruise ship, MSC Musica docked at Yalta. Sergey promised us a 6-Seater Mercedes Vito 6 passenger vehicle. Instead of the Mercedes Vito 6 passenger vehicle, what came to collect the four of us, was a worn-out Fiat people carrier, with only 3 rear seats. I had to share one uncomfortable small front seat with his designated guide Zenhya. To make matters worse, my 3 lady travelling companions struggled to climb into this van, because the floor of the van was about 600mm from the road surface. Two of these ladies were approaching 80 years old. They complained to me later had they known what a struggle it was to access this vehicle, they would not have gone on his tour.

Now for the worse part of Segey’s poor organisation. Our priority was to visit Livadia Palace: His assurance of a flexible personalized/customized program was not fulfilled. The designated guide, Zenhya told us from the beginning that we could not tour the palace because it was closed that day on account of a KGB conference being held there. She would try to get us admission to the palace after 4:30pm. We returned to the Palace after 4:30, but we did not get inside of the Palace for our guided tour. LIVIDIA PALACE IS CLOSED FOR PUBLIC VIEWING ON WEDNESDAYS. However, the palace was specially opened for 8 busloads of Ship Excursion passengers at 4:30, but not for us.

Upon my return to the UK - even though my initial request was at short notice - I asked Sergey in an email, why did he take our booking and take our money? I suspect he knew we could not visit the palace but sent us that worn-out Fiat van to a place he knew would be closed that day, just to get some money from us.

On 3rd October, he promised me an explanation within several days. I’m still waiting!!

As for the visit to the Swallows Nest, the best we got was a view from several hundred metres.

The moral of this report: Do the ship’s excursion, at least you will see the inside of Livadia Palace, even on a Wednesday.

Thank DarloBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ChrisShaul, Manager at Sergey Tsarapora Yalta and Crimea Private Tour Guide, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2013

Be cautious - "last minute" requester:

-the first message was received ONLY 14 (!) hours before their arrival – at 17.53 (05.53 pm) 24 September: "for guided tour for 4 persons in car or van.. arriving tomorrow.."
-Not a word was said about the age or special demands: "The 2 other passengers in our group..."
-Not a word was said about an exceptional interest in Livadia.
-We answered within 15 (!) minutes, at 18.08 (06.08 pm), as soon as we read it. But the next message arrived only within 3 hours, at 21.13 (09.13 pm).
Nevertheless we were able to find a licensed, active, experienced guide and transport AT NIHGT (!) Our confirmation was sent at 23.50 (11.50 p.m)
-Fiat Skudo has the clearance of 160, but not 600, it’s new European minivan.
-Museum Llivadia works seven days a week in September including Wednesday.
-That day the Livadia was to have been open in the afternoon because of the summit. The guide warned the tourists of it RIGHT AFTER THEY’D DISEMBARKED FROM THE SHIP.
I suppose the customer knew about the delay, because the beginning of the cruise company official tours was put off from 13.00 to 16.00. The cruise company couldn’t but inform the tourists about it. AII the tourists were waiting.
That day ONLY those groups were admitted into Livadia palace and ONLY in the evening which had booked the tours in advance and prepaid. It was impossible to get in for those who made up their mind at night.

Our conclusion: it’s for you to decide.

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