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  #1  
Old November 25th, 2012, 02:55 AM
charlathan charlathan is offline
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Default River cruise along the Volga, Moscow-Astrahan-N.Novgorod aboard the ship Lev Tolstoy

River cruise along the Volga, Moscow - PETERBURG - Moscow aboard the ship Lev Tolstoy

http://www.deryabino.ru/Volga/Volga-...ga-Osen-01.htm
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  #2  
Old November 25th, 2012, 01:44 PM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Default Thanks so much

photos are lovely, The Fall colors look great.
Only negative thing for me,,,the very small cabin with twin beds.Wonder if they have larger?
How is the food?.We took a Viking Russian cruise and a little on the :"basic" side,but plenty of it. Is it similar on this one?
Maybe you ll submit a review?with all the details?
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  #3  
Old November 25th, 2012, 02:04 PM
charlathan charlathan is offline
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Thanks.
I had a desire in these photos to show to a bunch Volga, its coast, its landscapes. Comments to these photos I hope to show in the Beginning to 2013 year.
The total option will be similar to this:
http://www.deryabino.ru/Volga/Volga-...012-01-eng.htm

Last edited by charlathan; November 25th, 2012 at 02:07 PM.
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  #4  
Old November 27th, 2012, 05:15 PM
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Hydrokitty Hydrokitty is offline
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Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
photos are lovely, The Fall colors look great.
Only negative thing for me,,,the very small cabin with twin beds.Wonder if they have larger?
How is the food?.We took a Viking Russian cruise and a little on the :"basic" side,but plenty of it. Is it similar on this one?
Maybe you ll submit a review?with all the details?
We were on the Tolstoy with Vantage in August, 2012 and it was wonderful. The cabins are small and they do have larger but they cost more! We booked a junior suite initially and were upgraded to a full suite, which was wonderful. People we met who had regular cabins said they were comfortable despite the size. The food was better than we expected. Breakfast was a buffet with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast and hot/cold cereal, yogurt and cottage cheese and fresh fruit. Lunch was a large salad bar, soup and served meal and Dinner was a served meal with choice of entree. The Russian ships are not as luxurious as we are used to on river cruises, but Tolstoy was immaculately clean with good service and food. We were not disappointed.
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  #5  
Old November 28th, 2012, 09:16 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Smile Hydrokitty,thanks for info

will have to explore this more fully in future.
Definitely an area I d like to see,and glad ship has updated and larger cabins available.
Food sounds fine(and do realize not as "luxurious" as the new builds coming for many river cruise lines.)
The reviews I found were less than stellar,so was somewhat leary.
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  #6  
Old November 28th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
will have to explore this more fully in future.
Definitely an area I d like to see,and glad ship has updated and larger cabins available.
Food sounds fine(and do realize not as "luxurious" as the new builds coming for many river cruise lines.)
The reviews I found were less than stellar,so was somewhat leary.
I was on the Tolstoy a few years ago. I can verify that the ship was spotless. I had one of the small cabins. You spend very little time in them so it wasn't a big issue. The dining room was quite crowded (tables and chairs were very close to each other).

We had major issues with food on our sailing but it was sailing under a different cruise line and IMO - that may have been a huge factor between my sailing and HydroKitty's trip. AMA may have had a very small budget for food as people who sailed this past year did not have the same experience I did (things were definitely different then when it was run by AMA).

Having done Russia via hotels and via river cruise. I much preferred staying in Moscow and St. Petersburg via hotel. I saw so much more that way. Just something to think about. It really is not difficult to navigate through the 2 cities even though Americans seem to be scared to travel here on their own.
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  #7  
Old December 6th, 2012, 08:59 PM
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I was on the Tolstoy a few years ago. I can verify that the ship was spotless. I had one of the small cabins. You spend very little time in them so it wasn't a big issue. The dining room was quite crowded (tables and chairs were very close to each other).

We had major issues with food on our sailing but it was sailing under a different cruise line and IMO - that may have been a huge factor between my sailing and HydroKitty's trip. AMA may have had a very small budget for food as people who sailed this past year did not have the same experience I did (things were definitely different then when it was run by AMA).

Having done Russia via hotels and via river cruise. I much preferred staying in Moscow and St. Petersburg via hotel. I saw so much more that way. Just something to think about. It really is not difficult to navigate through the 2 cities even though Americans seem to be scared to travel here on their own.
I agree we found getting around Moscow to be a pleasure. One big plus for Vantage is that you stay in hotels in both Moscow and St. Petersburg rather than on the ship. The traffic in both cities is horrendous and it can take hours, especially in S.P. to get to the city. We found the people, especially the younger ones, to be extremely friendly and helpful and many times when we asked for directions, they insisted on walking with us to our destination because they wanted to practice their English on us! I have to admit I didn't like the underground walkways at night but that was the only time I felt uncomfortable.
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  #8  
Old January 7th, 2013, 10:36 AM
ez_gene ez_gene is offline
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Default Moscow to St. Petersburg with Vantage

I just booked the Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise with Vantage. We and another couple will depart late June 2013 with a post trip of The Baltic Capitals. I have been monitoring CC for as much information about Vantage, MS Tolstoy and "must do" things while on the cruise and am pleased with what I have read. This is our second river cruise so we have a little experience. Our first cruise was Southern France on Viking, absolutely wonderful! I just have some simple questions if anyone would be kind enough to respond. Money exchange-ATM's available or use a bank or money exchange? WiFi-how accessible from Moscow to St. Petersburg and on the river/lakes/villages? Laundry if any? Private tours or use Vantage tour guides? Thanks in advance. I will appreciate any and all recommendations.
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  #9  
Old January 8th, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Tom47 Tom47 is offline
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I just booked the Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise with Vantage. We and another couple will depart late June 2013 with a post trip of The Baltic Capitals. I have been monitoring CC for as much information about Vantage, MS Tolstoy and "must do" things while on the cruise and am pleased with what I have read. This is our second river cruise so we have a little experience. Our first cruise was Southern France on Viking, absolutely wonderful! I just have some simple questions if anyone would be kind enough to respond. Money exchange-ATM's available or use a bank or money exchange? WiFi-how accessible from Moscow to St. Petersburg and on the river/lakes/villages? Laundry if any? Private tours or use Vantage tour guides? Thanks in advance. I will appreciate any and all recommendations.
I used ATMs three times--Moscow airport, SPB and Latvia hotel. I also exchanged money at a bank in Lithuania. Can't say about river towns. Laundry service available hotels/ship--but we didn't use it. We did only Vantage tours. I posted elsewhere w. more info--use search box to find it.
Never used WiFi
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  #10  
Old January 9th, 2013, 10:10 AM
charlathan charlathan is offline
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Hi, es-gene!

1. You can find a lot of ATMs in Moscow and Saint-Petersbug, they are available in Uglich either, but most of them are usual ATMs for getting cash (in most cases only for getting rubles) and they don't have exchange functionality.
2. Ship "Lev Tolstoy" has laundry. You can use its service.
3. Wi-Fi is available nearby major cities
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  #11  
Old January 9th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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We found the people, especially the younger ones, to be extremely friendly and helpful and many times when we asked for directions, they insisted on walking with us to our destination because they wanted to practice their English on us!
We ran into this also. We found the locals very friendly and they also offered to walk us to a point where we needed to turn or helped us on the subway and told us when to get off. We found most individuals under 30 or so in Moscow and St. Petersburg to speak English pretty fluently. Those who were not as fluent, we found them very helpful and they were eager to practice their English. Very friendly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ez_gene View Post
I just booked the Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise with Vantage. We and another couple will depart late June 2013 with a post trip of The Baltic Capitals. I have been monitoring CC for as much information about Vantage, MS Tolstoy and "must do" things while on the cruise and am pleased with what I have read. This is our second river cruise so we have a little experience. Our first cruise was Southern France on Viking, absolutely wonderful! I just have some simple questions if anyone would be kind enough to respond. Money exchange-ATM's available or use a bank or money exchange? WiFi-how accessible from Moscow to St. Petersburg and on the river/lakes/villages? Laundry if any? Private tours or use Vantage tour guides? Thanks in advance. I will appreciate any and all recommendations.
I bought some Rubles from Wells Fargo before I left and had a decent exchange rate. When we reached the airport in St. Petersburg, our guides took anyone who needed money to the ATM in St. Petersburg airport. We didn't stay in hotels and where our ship docked in St. Petersburg had an ATM right next to the pier (though there are 2 places where ships dock in the city). In Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are plenty of ATMs - just ask your guide to point one out if you need money. If you get money in advance, get a lot of smaller bills. There are a lot of churches that charge minimal amounts to take pictures - I seemed to go through these far more often then the larger bills.

If you go to a bank, you need your passport with you (at least that is what they told us). We left our passports on the ship.

You could send your clothes out to be cleaned on the ship, we did not do this. There was not self serve laundry.

I used internet (not wifi) in Mandrogi, some used it at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and one other port that happened to have our bus stopped in front of an internet cafe (sorry, can't remember). Cell phones have progressed since I went on this trip - I would probably look into an international plan, not sure how affordable it is now. It was cost prohibitive when I went. My cruise was several years ago and I have no doubt that WIFI is more available as Charlatan mentioned.
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Last edited by Coral; January 9th, 2013 at 07:26 PM.
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  #12  
Old March 21st, 2013, 07:44 AM
wiley1439 wiley1439 is offline
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Hello,
We are doing Vantage cruise in June with stays in the cities. Any sights to see not included in the tour. Did you do cruise optionals or go on your own?
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  #13  
Old March 25th, 2013, 10:21 PM
pixiegirl-loves-travel pixiegirl-loves-travel is offline
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Not many ATM's in the small villages along the river cruise route. My daughter and I found that out the hard way last July. Best make sure you get your cash in the big cities. Some of the ATMs only had Russian directions so we kind of "faked" our way thru the process. Also, we could only access our checking- not our savings accounts.

We had a travel phone that we took with us, but didn't have much (any) signal outside of Moscow and St Pete's.
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  #14  
Old April 6th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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Hydrokitty Hydrokitty is offline
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Default Wiley:

Hope it isn't too late to answer your post, but I haven't been on cc as much as usual. We did Russia with Vantage August 2012 and booked all of our optionals with them. The guides on all tours will either be program manager or local guide all of which will speak near perfect English and you needn't be concerned with any complications like a sudden change in fees or where's a good place to eat. Here are the ones I would rank as not to be missed:

Moscow:
Sergiev Posad: This is Russia's Vatican and it was absolutely stunning.
Moscow by night: Many people did not take this tour.....TAKE IT...it starts around 9 p.m. and drives you around to see the city it up. You stop at several places, one of which is the Memorial Park with the Tomb of the Unknown and Fountain of Blood and another is Tsaikovsky lake with a mirror image (hopefully) of the New Maiden Convent...this is supposedly where he was inspired to compose Swan Lake...BUT THE BONUS IS your stop at Red Square around 11 p.m. with a walking tour in the dark that was spectacular.

St. Petersburg:

Ballet: I LOVE ballet and we saw Swan Lake performed in it's entirety. It was wonderful although the seating is on benches with no backs. But I didn't care, it was ballet in Russia and it was magnificent!

Peterhof: This is the Russian Versailles and it was amazingly beautiful. The fountains are exquisite and the grounds to match.

Pavlovsk: the summer palace of Paul I which we took the afternoon after the Catherine's Palace. If you take this optional you will have lunch and a tour of Pavlovsk. It was very nice and a stark contrast to the Catherine.

River and Canals: We took this and I would say it's ok but not fantastic. Of course it was raining the day we went and that definitely put a damper on it. My feeling is that we didn't see anything on the boat that we hadn't already seen on land.

Free tip: While in St. Petersburg we stayed at the Coronthia Hotel, which is fabulous but restaurant way over-priced for ok food. We discovered a little place called the "Soviet Café" which is 3-4 doors down from the hotel that was fantastic. (Leave the hotel on the main street, go to your left on the same side of the street and it's downstairs about 3-4 doors down the street. It's a local restaurant but the wait staff spoke fair English and the food was to die for with very inexpensive rates.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Hydrokitty; April 6th, 2013 at 03:47 PM.
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  #15  
Old April 6th, 2013, 04:40 PM
wiley1439 wiley1439 is offline
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Thanks for all of this information. It definitely will help.
I already booked Peterhof, Moscow at night and the Canal ride. We are not ballet people so I skipped that. Did you so the Baltic extension?
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  #16  
Old April 6th, 2013, 05:38 PM
wiley1439 wiley1439 is offline
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Hydrokitty:

I forgot to ask about the cruise. Was there any time on your own at the port stops, did you do any shopping? I am not a big shopper, but like to look at local crafts.
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  #17  
Old April 6th, 2013, 05:45 PM
wiley1439 wiley1439 is offline
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ez_gene

When is your trip. We leave on June 26th?
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