Peter AdamsAdelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Australia
This tour is for those who are not whiners, who are not precious, not afraid of seeing the real Odessa from a knowledgeable and professional guide. We are photographers and wish we'd hired Igor for a few days whilst in Odessa. You will see the depressive areas, the abandoned buildings, the railways, the backstreets, the old parks and cemeteries, and hear the history.....but all is dependent on what day, time and whether. If not open - it's not open. Igor can customize the tour. Thanks Igor!!!
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thanks a lot! This is what I really appreciate - a great review from great customers!
Andrew G.United States
Igor is very knowledgeable and friendly, but the tour was rushed and incomplete, as several of the sites- including both museums- either opened later in the day or were not admitting visitors. Most of the sites were just seen from the outside, with a brief description. The guide had to hurry because he had another booking right after ours.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you for your review. Like I say in my profile (5), I am not responsible for 3rd parties. Opening hours for the museums are listed in the tour, and it is advised to take into account while choosing the start time for the tour. In my opinion, the tour was complete and we have seen all the sites listed (except for the museums) despite very heavy traffic, and even more sites that were not listed in the tour. I hoped this would make up. Sorry it did not help. The tour lasted 3.5 hours which is typical.
Donald HolzwarthUnited States
Igor took us to the village of Novosvetlovka, where my great grandfather had immigrated to, from Germany in 1805 (then called Rohrbach). It was about 65 miles of very rough roads (under re-construction) and he did a wonderful job of navigating through this very difficult terrain. The old Volga was the perfect vehicle for this --built like a Russian tank!. Igor showed up right on time, outside of our Viking River boat, and was a great driver and guide. i would do this difficult trip again with him!
Sondra JackowitzUnited States
Igor is extremely knowledgeable of the Jewish History of Odessa. He took us to all the important Jewish sites and we were able to interact with the people at some of those sites. The 2 active Synagogues, Jewish Community Center, The Holocaust Memorial and Jewish cemetery were exceptional highlight. He was able to arrange an air condition van for our group of 5. We would absolutely recommend him to anyone wanting an outstanding Jewish Tour of Odessa
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you very much! It is a pity you did not have time for the Jewish Museum, it is small but nice. But like I said, there is always something left for the next time and it is good.
Maria CohenUnited States
Igor was great. Our flight was late and he rearranged things on his end in order to be able to meet us on time. He was polite, courteous and made us feel very welcome. We booked many tours with him on this trip and are looking forward to each one! He does an excellent job. We were very impressed!
Laury VekslerUnited States
This was our 2nd tour booked with Igor. Igor speaks English, like a pro. We are from America & had no problem communicating. He customized a tour for the Catacombs. Both the WWll & a nuclear shelter! We even had biscuits, tea & shots, down there! It's was so amazing & a very cool experience!! I HIGHLY recommend this tour!! Igor also recommended a restaurant we later went to & let us stop at the Harley Davidson store. Then dropped us off!! Also, his car is SO FUN!!! Thank you, Igor!!
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you! There is a lot to explore in Odessa.
Laury VekslerUnited States
We are 4 Americans who wanted an informative & fun City Tour of Odessa. I found Igor & we are all glad I did!! Igor was AMAZING!! He was very quick to reply. Made a customized tour. Was on time. His English was very good. We are so happy we chose him & I hope anyone reading this, books a tour with him. We are so happy we met him & spent the day with him. We also loved Odessa so much more because of Igor. EVERYONE!!! Please book a tour with Igor, you won't be sorry!! THANK YOU, Igor!!
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you very much! I also enjoyed my time with you. I especially appreciate your review!
R Jeffrey DavisNurnberg, Germany
I had a great time with Igor. We saw many of the places I had hoped to see and much more. He was not only knowledgeable about places but, of course, about history of those places we saw. Igor was also quite flexible, suggesting options of where our tour might go. I remember the first night when he met me at the airport, he took me to a local restaurant where Odessites enjoy eating. There was a band playing and many people from the restaurant clientele danced.
Igor is an excellent guide and a person who helped me to plan and execute the tour. It was a pleasure to go around in his vintage car. I especially recommend the catacombs museum. Probably i will meet him again for some other tours in ukraine. Thanks to tours by local to give us this experience.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: The pleasure was mine. I look forward to helping you again! Thank you.
Igor is a very knowledgeable guide. He was very accommodating to our site requests and brought us to see the Catacombs. Additionally, he helped us plan our tour ahead of time via email and was very prompt and informative in replying. Lunch was inexpensive and very good; I will have to see if I can get varenyky where I live.
Helen MosbrookerUnited States
Igor was professional, helpful, and spoke English Very well. He had a car that was well suited for the bumpy dirt roads we went on to reach our destination. We were very happy with our tour into the country and highly recommend him as a top tour guide. Helen and Mike, Oak Harbor, Wa.
Linda OrnsteinUnited States
Igor provided us with a wonderful day in Odessa! His knowledge of the city and its history was excellent, and he managed to pack in all the things that we had expressed were important to us. I noticed in some of the commentaries that there had been concern over Igor's classic car. Granted, it was an older car, but it was just fine. Good guide, good tour, great day!
Stephen JaffeUnited States
Igor was an outstanding guide. A little standoffish to start, he warmed to us after a while. Our requested sights in Odessa were the usual sights plus an emphasis on Jewish culture. He covered everything on his submitted itinerary and explained all the sights. He allowed us time to see everything and then took us to lunch at a local cafeteria for regional food. I would highly recommend Igor as a guide in Odessa. He listened to our requests and took very good care of our needs.
Nikki YeagerUnited States
Igor was an awesome guide. He spoke English perfectly and was quick to translate any signs or placards we needed help with during the tour. Although one of the museums he planned to take us to was closed (through no fault of his own), we still got to see the museum and he filled us in about the information surrounding it. He was incredibly informative and since our tour went really quick (we're very fast sightseers), he added on extra sights at the end. Overall, great experience.
Leonard EastmanUnited States
The guide was not prepared. It took us 30 minutes to find him. He did not have a sign with our name prominently shown. The vehicle he came with was old, noisy, and without air conditioning. It was very uncomfortable driving around town with it as a result. Thereafter we did get along with the guide. He tried to do a good job, but between the time it took to find him, and the vehicle that he drive, turned us off.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: At 8:30 sharp I was at the ship ladder looking pretty much like my profile photo and holding a sign which read "ToursByLocals, Igor". My phone was always on. I had asked how I would recognize them but got no answer. My vehicle does not not have a/c but that fact is clearly stated on both the tour description and my profile. The vehicle is a classical retro Soviet Volga 1968 painstakingly restored to original, in a very good condition, quite roadworthy. Many people like it, including TBL customers.
Gerald B.United Kingdom
If your idea of a tour is to be driven at breakneck speed through the avenues of Odessa in a 45 years old Russian car without seat belts then this tour is for you. Igor had a relatively good knowledge of the Jewish heritage in Odessa but we felt that he was learning as he went along. Nice guy but choose another guide if you want to ride in safety and comfort.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Sorry about that. "Breakneck speed" was never above the speed limit though. 45 y.o. is an age when you can only dream of breakneck speed especially compared to modern cars. This is a big tall car where you sit upright and see everything very well in all directions so it feels faster than it is. I know this; probably I should explain it in the beginning and drive half the usual speed. I realize that the way we drive in Odessa must be different from the way people drive in your hometown.
TOURSBYLOCALS RESPONSE: Our guide was advised of the comments above and in order to avoid surprises regarding his well maintained vehicles, he was advised to add to his tours the fact that one of the attractions of his tour is in fact, the ride on one of his very popular classic soviet Volga vehicles. We contacted Mr Barnett for further assistance but never heard back.
Sue Bernard-LandUnited Kingdom
Igor was very informative and escorted us to places that we would not have located by ourselves. The tour ran to time and he fully checked with us what we wanted to see in the time allocated. What an experience being a passenger in his 1960's Russian classic car! The tour itself was very poignant and visiting the Holocaust Museum I was able to learn a little about Chernivtski, the town where my fathers' parents lived. Igor's language translation was invaluable. The tour and the car were memorable.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you! Come back for another tour, next time it could be catacombs or general Shore Excursion Tour!
Andrey SaykoUnited States
Very good tour. Excellent guide and service.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you! Come to Odessa too!
Mark SpergelUnited States
needs to improve english skills but very pleasant and tour was fun and informative
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you! Sorry you had to cut your tour, there was something more to see. It looks like I do need to improve my English because when I read previous traveler comments about my English being terrific I did not realize terrific meant terrible… I thought it meant good… now I know that it depends… but still confused. Come back, I will improve my English by then and show you what you could not see this time.
Pat MillerBluffton, SC, United States
Igor was very pleasant, but wasn't quite up to par on his history. He knew where to go in Odessa and what each place of interest was, but didn't have a lot of knowledge when asked about particulars--only general knowledge. He wasn't as attentive as he should have been to his guests when walking thru the city and would cross the streets without looking to see if his guests had made it across. It's a very long day to walk Odessa and he walks much faster as he is approx. 25-30 years younger than we were.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Sorry, I was trying to show you as much as possible. Sometimes being too enthusiastic harms. But I did apologize when told about that and changed my approach immediately, walking behind you rather than leading the way.
David FarnumUnited States
When in Yalta, manage expectations: it is ill-equipped for tourists. Igor did his best given this. His skill w/languages was his greatest value. We took public transit to get around, which was a mistake: bus rides were long & crowded; our preference would be to use his car, but at no additional cost. He customized our tour with things that would not be on a standard excursion. Igor is a kind, honest man, but we found his personality more suited to work as a translator rather than tour guide.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you. I accept your criticism. Now a private car is included in the tour. Yalta is indeed ill-equipped and driving/parking there is a challenge, so a taxi will have to be utilized. Thank you for praising my English too!
Ralph SternUnited States
Because of our unusual tour arrangements, commenting on Igor is more difficult than usual. We arranged with him to visit some remote parts of Ukraine to trace my family history. We traveled over 1500km, much of it over bad roads. At our destination, he was very helpful in locating information from 75 years ago. He also arranged for a friend to help us tour Chernivisti since he was not familiar with the city. In his hometown, Odessa, he did a great job. A better accounting of costs would have been good.
John G SchusterCanada
The private tour by Igor was very helpful and accomplished the desired goals. He was able to do much background research so that the locations desired would be located. His knowlege of Odessa and area is very complete and insightful and he is able to express what he knows in a manner easily understood.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thank you! Sorry for the bumpy roads…
Kathy Bright NovickPalm Springs, CA, United States
We had a great tour with Igor. He is a really good, well informed guide. His languages skills were terrific. We would recommend him personally and the service to all.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: I also enjoyed my time with you. Come back! Thank you.
Donna J.United States
Unfortunately Igor left a lot to be desired.He was not at the ship to greet us.I had to ask someone to call his phone.When he arrived, it was in a tiny,very old (probably from mid-50's) car in very poor condition.We could barely fit.When I asked why he didn't hire the van as I had asked, he said we didn't need one and could use his car for $60. When I told him NO, he called a van, we had to pay for this in addition to his charge.He did not even come with us into the Museum.We think--no license-Not friendly.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Dear Donna Sorry but you are inventing. A car is EXTRA; please re-read the tour description. Not sure about tiny (15'10" long, 6' wide) but I don't think so. Very old is not always the same as very poor. Anyway I did not make you use it and I had it only because the van I'd arranged for you failed to appear which was out of my control, I DID explain this to you. The tour is mainly pedestrian, see the description. I did ask if I was needed in the museum; had I been told yes, I would have certainly come.
TOURSBYLOCALS RESPONSE: We've discussed this tour with Igor and asked him to address the concerns raised here. It seems there was all sorts of mis-understanding related to transportation.
Mary KlestoffUnited States
Igor is an excellent guide for Odessa. He knows the history and all the interesting details about every building, every street in Odessa. But he also gave us a glimpse into the life of Odessa and its people - pre-revolutionary, communist era and modern day. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Igor and his beautiful wife who joined us for part of the tour. Wish we had booked Igor for our other stops in the Crimea. Be prepared to walk a lot!