LEV TOLSTOY=Vantage Russian River Cruise


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#1
Santa Paula CA
3,435 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We just recently returned from this cruise and enjoyed it very much. First we would like to thank 4774 Papa for his review. It was a great guide for us.
We chose this cruise because we would be put up in hotels in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, rather than being bused in to the city every day from a remote river port.
WEATHER
Unfortunately, it was the rainiest September in Moscow recorded history! The only reason we went this late in the year was because we were to go on a Holy Land cruise afterwards, and this was the only date that would coincide. The rub was that the cruise was moved to the Black Sea due to unrest in Egypt and we cancelled it.
TRAFFIC
The traffic in both cities was horrendous! One day, as we were returning to our hotel, a lady in a maroon coat, was walking in the same direction as our bus, and she passed us three times!
HOTELS
We were put up at the Grand Marriott in Moscow and the Raddison in St. Petersburg. Both hotels were very comfortable, but their dining room prices ($25 for a hamburger) were ridiculous.
Our Tour Managers distributed lists of nearby inexpensive restaurants in both cities to ease the pain. In St.Petersburg we ate 3 nights at the Soviet Cafe, right next to our hotel and enjoyed it thoroughly.
MOSCOW Our tour included a visit to Red Square and to Arbat Street, a shopping street. We were told that prices were better in the smaller cities.
On our way to the ship, we visited the Kremlin, which included visiting 2 churches and the Armory.
The Armory was fantastic, with the displays of jewelry, Faberge eggs and royal coaches.
LEV TOLSTOY
We arrived at the ship, and were very happy with our junior suite. The dining room was unusual, as it was U shaped with the kitchen in the center. This way all the tables had windows, which was nice.
As were were cruising, we had a number of lectures and activities. There were lectures on Russian history, warts and all (not propaganda), Russian language lessons, and a matrushka doll painting class.
UGLICH
We visited the church of Saint Dimitri, then went to a small museum for a men's choral concert. I purchased a CD of Russian folk songs they had made.
YAROSLAVL
We visited a convent and saw a video on the making of their enamelware. The next day we were taken to the Governor's mansion where we had a concert of choral and chamber music. Following that there was a demonstration of formal dance, and at the end, 4 of our group were invited to dance.
GOIRITSKY
This was a shocker! as we pulled into the dock, it started snowing! Not just a gentle snowfall, but blowing snow also. We got off to look through the shops, and bought a hat for my wife.
KIHZI ISLAND
This island was a museum of wooden structures. Most impressive was a cathedral made totally of wood with no nails used!
MANDROGI
This was basically a shopping stop. There was a huge building holding all manner of folk art and souvenirs. I bought a replica of a Faberge egg at a very reasonable price. There was also a lady taking people around in a horse cart, and we took it also. It was a nice way to see the island. The lady dropped us off at the hall where we had a barbecue lunch put on by the ship.
ST. PETERSBURG.
We were taken from the ship to our hotel, stopping at a convent under restoration, then to the iconic Church of the Spilled Blood.
Our next stop was at the Peter and Paul Fortress. It was fantastic to see the crypts of Peter the Great and a chapel dedicated to Czar Nicholas II and his family.
That night we were taken to the Hermitage Theater to see the SWAN Lake ballet, which we both enjoyed.
During our stay in the city, we also visited the Hermitage, Catherine's Palace and Peterhof.
All in all, we enjoyed the trip in spite of the weather. We would recommend this Vantage cruise to anyone interested in visiting Russia.
The complete trip story and pictures are on our website.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#2
Long Island, New York
5,059 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Your review brought back memories of our Vantage trip to Russia on the Tolstoy last year. What a shame about the weather. You did some things we did not, which was interesting. who did you have as your TM? Ours was Irina (the Russian one with blonde hair..their were 2 other Irinas, one tiny lady with dark hair and one who spoke with a british accent and was either loved or hated by her tour!) Goritzky must be in a bad weather spot because while it didn't snow when we were there, it was very cold and windy, so much so that I bailed on the tour and spent the day on board. we originally booked a jr suite and were upgraded to a full suite, for which I was very grateful! Kizhi was my favorite stop on the boat, I absolutely LOVED it and Mandrogi was the best shopping. although there were a few stalls set up near the ship in goritzky and I bought an absolutely beautiful set of nesting dolls for a ridiculous price and actually met the woman and her husband who made them. since there was nobody there I was given a personal demonstration of how they are made, which was one of the highlights for me. I found Russia to be the most surprising place I've visited because it was so different from what I had expected. what about you?
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Southern Caribbean, March, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
British Isles, August, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse
Southern Caribbean, March, 2019, Celebrity Silhouette
Bermuda and Caribbean, July, 2020, Anthem of the Seas
#3
Santa Paula CA
3,435 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Dear Hydrokitty,
I had been to Moscow before while taking the Trans Siberian Railroad, and to St. Petersburg twice. My wife had never been to Moscow, and as a child of the Cold War, wanted to see Red Square.
The main thing that surprised me, as I had commented, was the huge amount of traffic. On my first time here, I was told that drivers took off their wipers so they would not be stolen!
The Irina we had was tall, had dark hair, was very slender. We also had the blond Irina on our tour.
Aside from the hat, we bought a beautiful chinchilla neck scarf for my wife in Goritzky.
I am sure the pictures in our trip story will also bring back memories.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#4
Long Island, New York
5,059 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by Talisker92
Dear Hydrokitty,
I am sure the pictures in our trip story will also bring back memories.
steve: I went to your pictures and they did indeed bring back memories! Were you able to go into St. Basil's? When we were there red square was a mess because they were setting up for the military tattoo that was taking place over the week-end. we couldn't get close to st. Basil's and you couldn't get to Lenin's tomb either. I tried to e-mail you directly but apparently my e-mail system doesn't like aol because it wouldn't send my e-mail! I was also interested in your story of the Queen of the West since we did that this past August. were you not able to go to Multnomah falls? We went and it was beautiful. Shame weather was bad when you went to Mt St Helen's it was amazing. I did a review of our trip for CC.....apparently they didn't take your advice about firing the chef!!!! I'd love to hear from you I'm at [email protected]

Judy
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Southern Caribbean, March, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
British Isles, August, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse
Southern Caribbean, March, 2019, Celebrity Silhouette
Bermuda and Caribbean, July, 2020, Anthem of the Seas