Did a 12 day cruise on this boat from St. Petersburg to Moscow and was not impressed with anything about this cruise(except for the sights of St. Petersburg and especially Moscow). If this is the finest river ship(as advertised) in Russia I'd hate to see the worst! Even though its had a $11 million makeover it was a 3 star boat at best. Very small rooms with teeny tiny bathrooms. Pink thin wall cladding nearly everywhere just riveted on(looked like a cheap houseboat) and not much style anywhere. Very tired and old looking. Room was missing amenities such as No Clock, No Bin other than the clumsy foot operated flip top one in the bathroom, could use a clotheline somewhere, and the beds are small. The girl cleaning our room at times did not replace things such as soap and bottles of water. I had to ring a few times to get them sent up. Not very good.
One of the big gripes I had was with the service in the restaurants. For the price you pay for this cruise you'd expect the restaurant staff to be much more professional and better trained and at times some were just rude and not very friendly. And quite a few of them spoke limited english to the point that they needed to get a translator when you asked them anything. Not very good. Most of the drinks staff were a joke a lot of the time and to get any service at all was sometimes difficult. One night I had to ask three times just to get a glass of water and you would see the drinks girls sometimes serve one table 2 or 3 times and other tables hadn't been served at all. The food staff were not quite as bad but had no idea about proper service and was very lacking in class. I'd expect better service at a cheap diner. No one ever really seemed in a rush to do anything and the service was sometimes very slow.
I will say the food was quite good except for the last nights dinner where they dropped the ball big time. Desserts were not their strong point although everything else at luch and dinner was quite good. Breakfast could do with some improvement. The selection of fruit was poor and inconsistent, and the fruit salad sometimes clearly from the day before. And if you only drink decaf coffee all you get is luke warm coffee from an urn. Definitely no cappucinos.
There is a lot of time spent cruising (all you see are millions of silver berch) with not a lot of stops and to be honest I could have just seen St. Petersburg and Moscow and left the rest out. We stopped at one place called Svirstroy which was a ramshackle little town with a small market and just down the river was a very nice little town which was pointed out to us where two other big cruise ships docked and we just sailed past!
Overall not impressed with this cruise and neither were many others that we talked to and compared to the river cruise through Germany I did the previous year which was great this Russia cruise I would give a wide berth.