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  #1  
Old May 7th, 2012, 06:22 AM
811105 811105 is offline
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Default Express To Russia River Cruise

Has anyone ever used the company Express To Russia for a river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow and if so can you tell me how your experience was? I kow the ships are older but were they clean? What particular tours were included in St Petersburg & Moscow? Did you have free time to explore on your own? Were there many Americans on the ship?Anmy other drawbacks? Anything you would do differently on the cruise?
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  #2  
Old May 7th, 2012, 07:02 PM
pixiegirl-loves-travel pixiegirl-loves-travel is offline
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I'm not familiar with Express to Russia. Do you know what ship you're booked on? Several of the smaller cruise companies book for the same ships. My cruise is on the ms Russ from Moscow to St Pete's thru Travel all Russia/Goldenring cruises. They are a budget, Russian company. Their ships are older and the cabins quite plain (think 70's camper). But the ships are very clean, nicely staffed, and with charming common/social spaces. My cruise has a lot of "panoramic" tours (sightseeing from the bus) in Moscow with visits to the Kremlin and Cathedral. Everything else is a purchased "option" such as the circus or folk show, Moscow by Night, Sergiev Posad, etc. St Pete's offers another panoramic tour and a visit to the Hermitage. Purchasable options include Catherine's Palace, Pavlosk, and the ballet among other things. Imbetween are lots of cathedral/museum tours and beautiful scenery and shipboard activities. There are free days in Moscow and St Pete's usually (if you do the Moscow to St Pete run- the St Pete to Moscow run is usually a day shorter and you often lose a free day). There are usually some Americans onboard and other English speaking groups and from what I understand dinner groups are usually assigned according to common language.

I'll be able to tell you a lot more after my cruise in July. This is what I've learned so far from other cruisers and the information given by my travel agency.
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  #3  
Old August 30th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiegirl-loves-travel View Post
I'm not familiar with Express to Russia. Do you know what ship you're booked on? Several of the smaller cruise companies book for the same ships. My cruise is on the ms Russ from Moscow to St Pete's thru Travel all Russia/Goldenring cruises. They are a budget, Russian company. Their ships are older and the cabins quite plain (think 70's camper). But the ships are very clean, nicely staffed, and with charming common/social spaces. My cruise has a lot of "panoramic" tours (sightseeing from the bus) in Moscow with visits to the Kremlin and Cathedral. Everything else is a purchased "option" such as the circus or folk show, Moscow by Night, Sergiev Posad, etc. St Pete's offers another panoramic tour and a visit to the Hermitage. Purchasable options include Catherine's Palace, Pavlosk, and the ballet among other things. Imbetween are lots of cathedral/museum tours and beautiful scenery and shipboard activities. There are free days in Moscow and St Pete's usually (if you do the Moscow to St Pete run- the St Pete to Moscow run is usually a day shorter and you often lose a free day). There are usually some Americans onboard and other English speaking groups and from what I understand dinner groups are usually assigned according to common language.

I'll be able to tell you a lot more after my cruise in July. This is what I've learned so far from other cruisers and the information given by my travel agency.
Have you returned from your cruise? I was looking into this cruise and was wondering what you thought.
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  #4  
Old August 30th, 2012, 05:39 PM
pixiegirl-loves-travel pixiegirl-loves-travel is offline
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K and I returned end of last month. We had the best time ever. Even with this budget "paper-plate" cruise, we felt very pampered. It really was the experience of a lifetime. If time and money were no limit, I'd return in a minute.
Lisa

Last edited by pixiegirl-loves-travel; August 30th, 2012 at 05:39 PM.
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  #5  
Old August 30th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiegirl-loves-travel View Post
K and I returned end of last month. We had the best time ever. Even with this budget "paper-plate" cruise, we felt very pampered. It really was the experience of a lifetime. If time and money were no limit, I'd return in a minute.
Lisa
Did you feel like you had enough time in the cities? I was wondering if it were worthwhile to stay extra days at either end. Thanks for your info.
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Carnival Imagination - Nassau - October 2011
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  #6  
Old August 30th, 2012, 11:46 PM
pixiegirl-loves-travel pixiegirl-loves-travel is offline
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We did have a fair amount of time in Moscow and St Pete's. However, my daughter and I were glad for the extra day we had in Moscow. If I could do it again I'd have tacked on another day in Moscow and one or two extra days in St Petes.

On the ms. Russ we had nice city tours with lots of shopping and picture stops. I regret not getting to see the Armory Chamber (closed on our tour days). I would have enjoyed more time at Alexander Gardens (outside of the Kremlin). I also would have loved to see the Bolshoi Ballet, eat at the Hard Rock Cafe and see the Moscow circus and tour the Metro. If I could do it again I would hire a private guide to do some of these things with. Same with in St Pete's.

The cruises offer quite a lot, but those tours really are designed to give you an overview of the best of the cities. There isn't a huge amount of time in any one place- and you're certainly not going to get to know a city well in a day or two. We spent one full day in Moscow on the cruise- half a day on our city tour, and then another half a day eating out and doing our evening optional excursion. The next day had several options you could choose from, such as driving to Sergiev Posod, or touring Novodivichy Convent (we had a photostop of the outside of it on our city tour). Same with St Pete. We had a full day city tour and option evening event, and then a 2nd "free" day where yu could choose options- such as Catherine's Palace and Peterhof. I would have loved more time to explore the Hermitage. We had a good amount of time there on our tour, but there is SOOOO much to see... Another visit would have been great.

The tours are awesome, but schedule a couple pre and post days if it's in your budget and time table.
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