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River Cruises in Russia
April 16, 2019 00:16

The special spirit and flavor of river cruises almost lost after the  1917 revolution began to revive again in shipping. River cruises in Russia are gaining popularity not only because of nostalgia for pre-revolutionary times. First, it is one of the few types of recreation that does not require significant investments of time spent for transportation, because it is a “travel” itself: your vacation starts at the moment of departure and ends upon arrival at your destination, and you have time to visit many places without loss of vacation days for travel by train or bus.

Secondly, your hotel travels with you, and you can return to the cabin at any time if you are tired or feel unwell.

Thirdly, modern ships are equipped with everything necessary: ​​most of the cabins are comfortably equipped, there are restaurants, bars, video halls, billiard tables, karaoke and even swimming pools, so if you want, you can spend the whole cruise on the ship. However, those who are not happy with such a prospect will not be disappointed either: almost all river cruises offer a rich excursion program, “green camps” with open-air picnics and other entertainments, and if the weather is favorable, swimming is included.

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Routes and features

River cruises last from 2 to 20 days depending on the route. As for the routes, the most popular are various cruises along the Volga, the Kama and the Don (the duration depends on the number of stops and the saturation of the excursion program), as well as sightseeing and religious tours of the northern directions (Valaam, Kizhi, Solovki) - and numerous mixes of these two types.

So, the cruises of the northern directions traditionally start from St. Petersburg, and traveling along the Volga to the south starts from  Moscow. At the same time, the routes of the type "Moscow - St. Petersburg - Moscow" are gaining popularity, usually lasting from 6 to 11 days and uniting part of the Volga and northern directions. The main excursion points are usually Balaam and Kizhi.

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Cruise cost
The cost of the cruise usually includes: accommodation and bedding (usually the price is for one person, and not for the cabin - keep this in mind), 2 or 3 meals a day (because of the intensive program, the ship cannot stop for each meal of passengers and every day there is an expensive à la carte restaurant), excursions according to the program, guide services and entertainment program on board.

Please note that part of the excursions and services are almost always paid separately! It is necessary to study the list of excursions included in the program carefully.

Those who are determined not to take additional excursions should consider their leisure time. It makes sense to learn more about the locality and outline the range of objects that you would like, and most importantly, have time to visit before the departure of the ship.

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Choosing a cruise

There are a few more nuances that should be taken into account. First, medical insurance. Practically all cruises offer medical insurance on a voluntary basis, and it makes sense to use it: you can issue it directly at the travel agency’s office.

Secondly, you should carefully consider the choice of not only the route, but also the ship. On the website of almost every tourist and every shipping company there is enough information about a particular motor ship, including the year of launching and reconstructions. Do not neglect this opportunity to study it carefully. In addition,   you can ask the captain to demonstrate all permissive documents before boarding.

It is necessary to learn more about the ship, not only for security reasons, but also in order to understand the reason for the difference in prices. So, the same five-day tour “St. Petersburg - Valaam-Svirstroy - Kizhi - Petrozavodsk - Mandrogi - St. Petersburg" with a similar excursion program can cost 24000-30000 RUB per person on one motor ship, and 28700-65000 RUB on the other ship, that is, about one and a half to two times more expensive. Part of this money goes to additional points of the excursion program. But having opened information about the ships, we learn that the “expensive” ship has recently been restored, it is more comfortable, all rooms are equipped not only with a bathroom, but also a refrigerator, and there is much more entertainment on board. And here you can make a conscious choice: to save money  or travel with more comfort.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: the Volga travel to Russia Russian regions Moscow St. Petersburg 

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