Best Time for Russian River Cruise

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#1
LA
9 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Hello,
I am new to river cruising. My husband just retired and wants to go on a river cruise in Russia. I am not so enthusiastic about the idea and would rather cruise in France. Since he put me in charge of planning, what would be the best month for such a cruise in Russia ?
I checked out several cruise lines and it seems to me that their itineraries are almost identical. Which of the major lines (Avalon, AMA, Grand Circle cruises, UEt river cruises, Viking, Golden Ring Russia Cruises, Uniworld cruise, Volga Dream cruises) geared towards American clients is worthwhile considering ?

thank you for your kind advice
binky
#2
Greenville, SC, USA
51,067 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We took a Russion River cruise in September 2010. It was toward the end of the Russian season, so it was cooler, especially as we sailed north. We went with Grand Circle, which will only book Americans. We started with 4 days in Moscow and ended with 4 days in St. Petersburg. In between we has six days sailing, with a stop at a port each day.
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Paul
#3
Wisconsin, USA
1,168 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Our first visit to St. Petersburg was in July and we had very hot weather and crowds. Very hot in many of the museums. I suggest avoiding the hot summer months. We are taking our first Russia river cruise in earlySeptember 2013.
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Terry






#4
Greenville, SC, USA
51,067 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by Willsot
Our first visit to St. Petersburg was in July and we had very hot weather and crowds. Very hot in many of the museums. I suggest avoiding the hot summer months. We are taking our first Russia river cruise in earlySeptember 2013.
We left the US the very end of August and spent a few days in Kiev before flyinhg to Moscow on the 3rd(?) of September for the 2 week cruise. Weather was cool, but since it was 100+ most of the 2010 summer, cool was great.
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Paul
#5
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
10,994 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
The 100 degree weather in Russia was a rarity. You will probably be more concerned about the cold more than the heat for most of your trip there. We did the trip in August and it was starting to get chilly, sometimes requiring a jacket from time to time. You other weather concern will be rain, and we were very lucky, very little rain on our trip.

Our tour guide told us that on a river cruise in May that ice had barred them from entering some ports, so if you don't like cold, May is probably not the answer.
#6
Coastal NC
3,148 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
We just signed up to go at the end of August of this year with Grand Circle. They are offering $800/couple off their July and August trips.
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Sharon

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#7
24,108 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Most people aim for the 3rd week in June (maximum white nights). I went at the end of May for my first trip (beautiful weather) and mid July for the second trip and we had fabulous weather. There have definitely been some stormy summers and some really hot summers in the past.. One can never tell. I like shoulder season (May/September) as it is not as crowded. We had a ton of sunshine at night when going at the end of May.
#8
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
10,994 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
The Russian guides joked that we should come to St. Pete in the Winter when the Hermitage is not crowded!
#9
Ontario, Canada
2,708 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We booked for the beginning of June (boarding May 30th). We wanted to avoid the summer - as we had heard that many of the buildings are not air conditioned. I don't do heat really well.

The White Nights festival starts early June - so we will have long days.

It is shoulder season - so flights were a bit cheaper. And, hopefully the crowds not quite as large.

Fran
#10
LA
9 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Thanks everyone for a great feedback.
Now I am also getting exited about cruising Russia.
It seems that weatherwise June, July & August are the best times to go and this just fits wonderfully into our plans.
Next step is deceiding on a cruise line. I narrowed it down to Viking, AMAwaterways and Uniworld. Will make some phone calls on Monday and get started.

Thanks again - this is a great site
binky
#11
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
10,994 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by binky5
Thanks everyone for a great feedback.
Now I am also getting exited about cruising Russia.
It seems that weatherwise June, July & August are the best times to go and this just fits wonderfully into our plans.
Next step is deceiding on a cruise line. I narrowed it down to Viking, AMAwaterways and Uniworld. Will make some phone calls on Monday and get started.

Thanks again - this is a great site
binky
blinky,
Have you considered the packages like Vantage that include first rate hotels in Moscow and St. Pete in the city center, rather than staying on the riverboat the entire time and spending you valuable time fighting traffic?
#12
Atlanta, Georgia
372 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Binky 5,
I'm posting a link to our photos (484 of them) of our trip to Russia in early July 2009. It was truly a trip of a lifetime!

http://pjtraveler.kodakgallery.com

You'll see the icon for the Russia trip just below the welcoming photo. Hope you enjoy them. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask me.

We traveled with Viking and had a good trip, but I would also recommend Uniworld as we've had great service on many trips with them. Traveling in Russia is different from traveling in Europe, but it is truly a remarkable experience in which you get a small taste of the vastness of the land.
#13
Los Angeles, CA, USA
3,205 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
To Binky,

Welcome to this wonderful cruise Critic Board!! Before you book AMA, I strongly suggest you use the Search Mode at the top of the Message Board Page and put in Katarina or AMA Katarina and read the comments on the threads from last year. We ONLY had a day and one-half in Moscow at the end of our cruise. We were run around like crazy and very disappointed in the river cruise. I would suggest using a river cruise line that spends more time in St. Petersburg and Moscow than AMA does. Go to the section that says "Cruise Reviews" and check out the "Member Reviews before you decide on a river cruise to Russia.

Happy river cruising -- warning -- it becomes addictive!!

Sheila
#14
Knoxville, TN
170 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Thank you for posting the link to your pictures!!! They were great!! We're on the May 18th sailing of Uniworld's River Victoria and can't wait to see the sights and learn more of Russian culture.
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#15
LA
9 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
pctraveler,

thanks for the link to your photos; they are wonderful.
What time of the year were you on your cruise. It seems you only had sunny days.

Our Russia cruise planning did not go so well.
We wanted to go in June or July since we assume that this would be the best time weather wise.
We were not able to get anything - all departure dates during this time are sold out. AMA-waterwyas is even sold out for the whole year.
We even tried Vantage - as suggested by 4774papa - and they are sold out too. Vantage was not even on our list since the Tolstoy seems to be an older ship and the cabins are much smaller than on the Amakatarina; about half the size.
So its back to the drawing board. Either Russia next year or back to my
orinal favourite itinerary - Spain and Provence and as far as I could find out, AMA-waterways is the only cruise line offering this combination or are there others I am not aware of ?
#16
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
10,994 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by binky5
pctraveler,

thanks for the link to your photos; they are wonderful.
What time of the year were you on your cruise. It seems you only had sunny days.

Our Russia cruise planning did not go so well.
We wanted to go in June or July since we assume that this would be the best time weather wise.
We were not able to get anything - all departure dates during this time are sold out. AMA-waterwyas is even sold out for the whole year.
We even tried Vantage - as suggested by 4774papa - and they are sold out too. Vantage was not even on our list since the Tolstoy seems to be an older ship and the cabins are much smaller than on the Amakatarina; about half the size.
So its back to the drawing board. Either Russia next year or back to my
orinal favourite itinerary - Spain and Provence and as far as I could find out, AMA-waterways is the only cruise line offering this combination or are there others I am not aware of ?
Good luck on your next cruise. I know Vantage sells out early. Our August China trip is already sold out. We are booked for a May AMA Spain and Provence. It should be a great trip. The Vantage trip did not go to Barcelona, so we took AMA.
#17
Ontario, Canada
2,708 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
binky5 - Did you look at Scenic? They do have an itinerary in Russia - although it is quite a bit more that most of the other cruise lines. They are all inclusive, so this may help bring the price down. And - perhaps they have a sale on.

I believe that they are trying to market aggressively in the US market - so perhaps a good TA can assist.

Good luck!!

Fran
#18
ny
132 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Hi. We are a family of 4 doing the Viking Perethof (Rurik) on August 1. Any advice? Were the guided tours good? Should we look into private guides?
ANy advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, my son (18 years old) and I are arriving before my husband and daughter to spend a few extra days in Moscow. Any advice? Thank you!!

Originally posted by pjtraveler
Binky 5,
I'm posting a link to our photos (484 of them) of our trip to Russia in early July 2009. It was truly a trip of a lifetime!

http://pjtraveler.kodakgallery.com

You'll see the icon for the Russia trip just below the welcoming photo. Hope you enjoy them. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask me.

We traveled with Viking and had a good trip, but I would also recommend Uniworld as we've had great service on many trips with them. Traveling in Russia is different from traveling in Europe, but it is truly a remarkable experience in which you get a small taste of the vastness of the land.
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#19
Atlanta, Georgia
372 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
We traveled in Russia in late June/early July, and we were very lucky with nice weather most of the time.

We found the excursions offered by Viking to be very good and did several of the optional excursions. We did not use private guides, but you might find that to be a good option if you're planing additional days in Moscow.
#20
Nebraska
345 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
pjtraveler~ thank you SO MUCH for your pictures! My 20 year daughter and I are doing the Russian River Cruise in July. We're doing the budget cruise- though Goldenring on the ms Russ- but will be doing and seeing much of the same things. When I see other people's pictures it just makes me that much more excited for our own adventure! You take lots of detail pictures, much like I do. It was fun to see the pictures of families laughing at the beach, the animals, the souvenir stands, people ducking in the low tunnels, lol! Fun!

The pictures made my day.