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Russia River Cruise

I am considering a river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg or v/v in Sept of 2017. Anyone done one? Which line - I am not interested in Viking as it is too long - I would prefer 7 - 10 days. Thanks

Posted by
4685 posts

This is not primarily a cruise newsboard, but we went on Viking 15 years ago. I would suggest that price/travel features is a more important issue than duration. Since you have to apply for and pay for a visa, you might as well get the most touring possible. And it's a long flight from the US (can't tell where you live because you didn't put that in your Profile.)

Our only disappointment with the Viking trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg was that the cruise ports in those two large cities are not "downtown". You either had to take a long shuttle bus ride, or in Moscow, the subway, for 35 minutes, to get to "free time" walking and sightseeing.

It was also instructive that when we (cheerfully and intentionally ... ) paid Viking and the superb, Russian-born US resident Cruise Director to arrange opera tickets in St. Petersburg: The ship moved from one side of the river to the other WHILE we were at the (night-time) opera. Because Viking had arranged the outing for us, the pre-arranged cab driver had a phone number to find out the new location of the ship, and took us right there, for the original price, paid to Viking.

Posted by
2353 posts

Thanks Tim. Not sure why you did not see my location:

Posted by Christi (Cotulla, TX, United States) on 06/09/16 10:05 AM

Thanks for pointing out that it may not dock in the heart of the city - that is certainly a con for us

Let me add more details. I am looking to do this as part of a 2 month trip in 2017 which is why I want to limit it time wise. My original plan was to fly Berlin to St. P spend 5 nights then train to Moscow and spend 5 nights and fly out of Moscow to Vienna. Just thought I'd look into a river cruise as an option.

Posted by
4134 posts

We had a wonderful Russian trip with river cruise on a Vantage World Travel.

We still like Vantage, but they don't offer the Russian River Trip anymore.

Look for a line that offers hotels in Moscow and STP so you don't have to commute into the cities for tours.

Check AMA, Uniworld, Viking, Avalon. Those are all good companies.

Posted by
4637 posts

About three years ago we did the river cruise in Russia. Moscow to Astrakhan (on Caspian Sea). First we did St.Petersburg 5 days then by fast train Sapsan to Moscow and first three days on our own. I strongly recommend:
http://www.expresstorussia.com . They were very helpful. We were able to do some stuff on our own because I understand and speak some Russian and can read their alphabet. We were six of us. Had transportation from the airport to the hotel in S.P. through their company, hotel and some sightseeing, too. Also transportation from the railroad station in Moscow to our apartment and rented apartment through them too. And on the way back transportation and accommodation in Moscow too. Everything went smoothly like a Swiss clock. And of course river cruise was completely through them. We preferred it that way because we were not in tourist bubble. There were even some Russian tourists on our cruise ship, also Australian, Swedish, Belgian, Slovenian, British and so on. All employees there were Russians and there was always something to do.

Posted by
4685 posts

I might add to my previous post that one reason we did the cruise was that, at that time, it was quite inconvenient to travel by land from Moscow to St. Petersburg. I believe that either rail or highway (?) now provides a land option. So it might be useful to look at the list of Viking stops and see how many of them interest you.

By that, I mean that some of them were heavy with the weight of Russian history. Others, like Yaroslavl were more late 20th Century Russia. But Kizhi was a superb UNESCO WHS of historic buildings that I wouldn't want to miss on any trip near St. P.

I would also observe that people who regularly take independent trips (as it sounds like you do) might feel penned in and held back by a highly regimented trip filled with people who want to be led around all day. (Note that I'm not insulting anyone else because we've been on two river cruises ourselves, to Russia and China!) We normally travel independently, like many posters here.

Edit: One side benefit of "regimentation" is that, for example, the Catherine Palace (on my bucket list) tends to have awful lines, no matter how you get your tickets. The Viking excursion paused briefly (who knows, perhaps for greasing of palms ... ) and entered without any wait! Of course, the time of year of your trip and the clout of any personal guide you might be willing to engage might affect your own results.

Posted by
2353 posts

Thanks...that gives me a couple more things to look into.