We were dissatisfied with the transfer procedure from Domodedoro Airport. On arrival we identified ourselves to the AMA representative and were directed to an area where we were asked to wait for further arrivals.
There were few seats and no refreshments were offered. We were given to understand that the wait would be brief.
After a wait of one and a half hours we were led outside where we anticipated the coach would be waiting to transfer us to the ship. We stood for another half hour in strong sunlight. There was no shade and one of the party fainted.
When the coach arrived the driver remained seated and we had to load our luggage unaided.
There was insufficient room in the baggage hold and several items were placed on seats and in the aisles
This is hazardous should an emergency evacuation be necessary.
The driver started before all the passengers were seated and I was struck on the head by a backpack as a gentleman lost his balance.
We had already been travelling for many hours and had expected to reach the ship without delay.
We checked in and had a late dinner.
The ship has recently been refurbished and our cabin was clean and comfortable. We found that it took longer than expected to recharge cameras and mobile phones and the plugs came loose so check your camera/phone is fully charged before you unplug.
The staff is friendly and helpful though service in the restaurants can be improved.
The soups and salads were interesting, most of the main courses acceptable though occasionally rather dry. Desserts, nearly always accompanied by vanilla ice cream, and pastries were of a poorer standard. I have never seen breakfast bacon so hard and crisp!!
There was plenty of wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner. For pre dinner drinks I recommend Bellinis!
The restaurants are very cramped. There is waiter service for lunch and dinner but breakfast is buffet style and it was very difficult to move.
The advance information and plans of the ship show a sauna. There isn't one. The two laptops, supposedly in the lounge, do not exist either, and solarium means sundeck.
The onshore excursions were very interesting. The local guides were fluent and knowledgeable. The coach drivers offer no help in entering or leaving the coach.
The ship docks a long way from central Moscow and St Petersburg and there is heavy traffic. In St Petersburg some of the transfers were by hydrofoil.
We enjoyed the cruise.