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Cruise Ratings
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We knew in advance that the cabins would be very small and cramped. However we did not know that the common area rooms were small and overcroweded and the low ceilings enhanced the noise. We were very disappointed that the air conditioning ... Read More
We knew in advance that the cabins would be very small and cramped. However we did not know that the common area rooms were small and overcroweded and the low ceilings enhanced the noise. We were very disappointed that the air conditioning or fan system in each room did not operate properly. And most of us were very upset that the only room on the ship that had WIFI was the bar; no WIFI in cabins. We would caution those who are considering a trip on this boat to recognize that it is old, it is out of date, the cabins are small, there is no WIFI except in the bar and in warmer temperature, the cool air does not circulate properly. Food was good. However organized tours had too many monasteries and convents and did not include the Faberge Museum in Saint Petersburg. Many of the towns/cities that the ship stopped at while saiing to Saint Petersburg were simply tourist traps; recommend some of these be dropped and another day in Moscow be subsituted. What most of us disliked was in our first day in Moscow where lunch was in the city, the tour operator took us to the Hard Rock Cafe - Moscow. Come on now, I did not fly all the way to Moscow to go to a Hard Rock Cafe restaurant. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard ... Read More
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard to get use to the cot size twin beds. The company Nexus that i booked with did not have any option to upgrade to a double bed. I think there might just be a handful on the ship. You have to pay for drinking water on the ship only tea or coffee at lunch and dinner. They give you a mini fridge in your room, so on your first jaunt off the boat pick up some bottles of water, juice, pop and liquor to fill the fridge if you like, you are allowed to bring your own drinks to the dinning table. Did not like the entertainment on board( a singer with disco lights and a classic piano player who also plays accordion. Local musicians with costumes. In fairness only saw the first show and my husband and i watch shows on our tablet that we had downloaded before leaving home. WIFI is useless (maybe you sometimes get your email but that is it). Lots of time to read before you get to the shore excursion which can be very intense. Not for people that have mobility issues. No elevator and you are going up and down stairs a lot and a LOT of walking off the ship. I have got problems with my ankle and brought walking sticks that helped a bit but Russia is not Handicap friendly. Very few churches have a place to sit (supposedly people stand in Russian Orthodox churches). It was very hot when we were there and most places are not air conditioned. Make sure you bring your own shampoo and Kleenex, you are only supplied with 2 bars of soap and toilet paper (which i used for Kleenex). Ask for a second pillow when your get on board as you are only given one. Have to go to the reception desk for info as you have no phone in your room to ask questions. There is a intercom in your room just to call you for meals and to get off the boat for shore excursions. Food was okay, you get to chose fish, (lots of small bones in the fish which turn me off) meat or vegetarian for lunch and dinner the day before on a menu check at your assigned table. You will not go hungry but definitely 3 star. Paid $3,800.00 which included flight from Toronto, Canada and back and most shore excursions. Paid a extra hundred for the middle deck(not really worth it as you have to leave keys with reception on the 2nd floor when you get off the boat and you get off on on the boat on the second floor). So I got what a paid for in my opinion. When I priced other ships doing the same itinerary it was more then double. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose a Russian cruise line deliberately, knowing it would be a more authentic experience than the more luxurious western style river cruise ships. Also Vodohod's Zosima Shashkov had single cabins at a sensible price. I had ... Read More
I chose a Russian cruise line deliberately, knowing it would be a more authentic experience than the more luxurious western style river cruise ships. Also Vodohod's Zosima Shashkov had single cabins at a sensible price. I had realistic expectations of the 3-star experience: small cabins, plainer cuisine, etc. My cabin turned out to be on the top deck, next door to a bar and the wireless router. I had internet for the whole cruise, but most of the 298 pax did not. Although small, I had plenty of storage, a small fridge, AC/heat, and a flap that lifted up under a big window for a desk. As the cabin was at the bow, I never heard any engine noise - a big plus as we sailed every night. Russian beer was good and cheap, but the wine and champagne should be avoided. Shore excursions were many and long in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Led by local guides who were experts, I was fascinated. Very interesting, excellent English, and I loved the earphones and receivers that allowed me to wander away and still hear the commentary. Tour organization was efficient, though in mid-September the crowds at popular sites were troublesome. Food onboard was plentiful and well cooked, but quite plain in comparison to western cruise ships. Some of the crew spoke English, but many did not. Thus customer service suffered on occasion. Everything was spotlessly clean on board. I have rated the cruise as a 3-star ship, not in comparison to the 5-star western ships. So, for example, my small cabin was "very good" meaning it was more than adequate as a 3-star. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our cruise was a relatively inexpensive one through Gate 1. We knew we wouldn't be getting the full luxury cruise ship experience. Having said that, there were both good and not so very good things about this trip. Most could have ... Read More
Our cruise was a relatively inexpensive one through Gate 1. We knew we wouldn't be getting the full luxury cruise ship experience. Having said that, there were both good and not so very good things about this trip. Most could have been eliminated with a little better planning and organization. Our tour leader for Gate 1 was a delightful Russian, Victoria, who was a pleasure to work with. My complaints are certainly not with the staff of the ship or of Gate 1. They were all hard working, quick to help solve a problem and friendly. The ship is large, holding 200 people, depending on who you ask. The cabins appeared to be very similar, regardless of which deck one chose. We were on the 2nd deck, the same as the info desk and the exit doors for land excursions. Our cabin was very clean, maintained well but small. We had one smaller than twin bed with a padded panel which made it serve as a sofa with the panel making the back. The other bed was a strange contraption which was shorter than the first bed, had shelves over it which gave it a closed in feeling and which was too short for me (I'm 5' 9") They were both comfortable and after the first night, we slept well. My bed was impossible to be comfortable on during the day since it had those shelves so you couldn't sit back. The mattress also didn't reach all the way to the wall so I couldn't prop up and read since the pillows disappeared in the void. The cabin had a refrigerator which seemed rather unnecessary. The bathroom was unique but a good use of space. The sink area had a pull around curtain which blocked off the toilet part (I guess to keep the door dry and also to give you the shelf over the toilet to store whatever you didn't want to get wet.) It was large enough, had a showerhead which could be mounted on the wall or handheld. Plenty of hot water and not bad water pressure. The food was ok. I'm not a big gravy and sauce fan and everything was covered with those. The veggies were sometimes pickled and usually included broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini. Salads were good as was the soup. Desserts were so-so. The 1st two nights, one can sit wherever but on the third night you are expected to have found folks to sit with and stay there for ease of being served. We were given a menu a day in advance and picked meals for the next day. The problem with that system is that we, and two other couples that we talked to, had chosen a table, had eaten with those folks for two days and then on the third day, someone else came up and said they wanted to sit there and the ones either already seated or about to be seated, were told to leave. It left us scrambling to find empty seats at tables so we felt like outcasts. It put a damper on the trip. The groups on the boat were divided into color groups and one group ate upstairs in another restaurant/bar. They also rode separate buses (each color group had its own buses) so we never got to see these folks except in the bar which had wifi. I understood there were others from VA on our trip but we never met them. Speaking of wifi, it is almost nonexistent. In Moscow it was at its best but that was still not good. Those with phones could use their data plans and get online but we took an ipad and only had facetime which was terrible to use there. All in all, the ship was fine with us and we would recommend it to others looking for a bargain trip. The itinerary was fine from St. Petersburg to Moscow and gave us a taste of life there. The ship seemed to be pretty much filled with Gate 1 folks so I don't know if the few others who were not with that group had tour guides or shore excursions. There was one seating for lunch and dinner and they only occupied 6 tables. Read Less
166 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband and I took a Russian river cruise on the MS Zosima Shashkov from St. Petersburg to Moscow through Gate1 Travel in May 2016 and wanted to share our experiences with other travelers interested in taking a cruise on this particular ... Read More
My husband and I took a Russian river cruise on the MS Zosima Shashkov from St. Petersburg to Moscow through Gate1 Travel in May 2016 and wanted to share our experiences with other travelers interested in taking a cruise on this particular ship. The MS Zosima Shashkov is owned and operated by a Russian river cruise company called “Vodohov”. It is an older ship, certainly not opulent, but very clean, follows International safety standards, and serves its purpose well. Gate1 American customers will need to obtain a Russian Visa for your passport and part of the application for the Visa and a “Visa Support Letter (VSL)”. Gate1 will provide a VSL to you 90 days before the cruise begins but it is actually issued by Vodohov. Gate1 Travel reserves a block of cabins on the ship and has their cruise managers onboard separately from the Vodohov cruise managers. Gate1 customers were the majority of the guests on board and were mostly Americans with a handful of Canadians. The other Vodohov guests were Italian, French, Swedish and Australian customers for other European travel agencies. Gate1 assigns their customers to one of 4 different color groups (blue, green, red or yellow) with a young Russian excursion tour guide for each group and their own tables in the dining room. The green and red groups were assigned to one Gate1 cruise manager, and the blue and yellow groups were assigned to another Gate1 cruise manager. Tanya, an English speaking professor at a Russian university, was our Gate1 cruise manager and she was excellent at prepping our half of the Gate1 customers for upcoming excursions, protocol and disembarkation procedures. I rarely saw the other Gate1 cruise manager and have no feedback to give about him. The other non-Gate1 customers also have their own tour guides, dining room tables and bus excursion groups separately. Yet the Gate1 and Vodohov customers had no problem interacting with each other in the various combined activities such as an onboard treasure hunt, talent show and nightly evening dancing. The ship had a wonderful Russian Folklore Music trio (accordion player, balalaika lute player and singer) onboard who played for us quite often, Russian language classes, Russian song classes and Russian themed movie times. As soon as we boarded the ship we were given one old-fashioned room key for the two of us, and a credit card for each of us to use as an onboard ship account for charging drinks at the bar, extra drinks in the dining room, and excursions to. Russian food was served and we found it to be quite good, especially the chicken dishes. Breakfast was a buffet of hot foods (egg-based dishes, oatmeal/porridge, sausages) and cold foods (cereals, meat and cheese slices, breads, dried and fresh fruits) with free coffee, tea and juice. We could sit at any Gate1 table in the dining room. Lunch was a 4-course meal of salad, soup, entree and dessert with a free bottle of water to drink. Dinner was a 3-course meal of salad, entree and dessert, with a choice of one free glass of wine, beer, soft drink or bottle of water. Entree choices were fish, vegetarian or other meat (chicken/beef/pork). We could purchase more drinks at lunch or dinner. Tap water in Russia is not potable for Americans so bottled water is a must. Beer, wine, soft drinks and ice on the ship are also safe to drink, but do not drink the water from the cabin’s bathroom faucet. The bathroom water is only good for washing or brushing your teeth. Bring an anti-diarrhea medicine like Pepto-bismal in case you accidentally ingest tainted water somewhere along the trip. Gate1 customers are given a choice of tables in the dining room the first two nights, then were expected to sit at the same table at lunch and dinner for the rest of the tour. We had to fill out a form of our desired lunch and dinner selections the day beforehand and the day’s dinner drinks order each morning. This was so the young Vodohov crew who spoke very little English could wait on us effectively. The cabin is narrow with twin sized beds on each side near the window and a large clothes wardrobe near the cabin door. One of the beds has shelves above it and lifts up so you can store two medium sized suitcases under it. The other bed has a small shelf with two life jackets in it so you can only store two small suitcases in it. The window opens up by pulling it down. Each floor has a wrap-around public deck circling it so there are no cabins with their own balcony. We spent very little time in the cabin (sleeping, showering, getting dressed) and got used to its size by the second day of the cruise. The Vodohov housekeeping crew cleaned the cabin every morning, left a chocolate for each of us, and changed the bath towel and sheets every two days or so. There is one socket in the cabin’s bathroom for electric razors only and two sockets above the small refrigerator in the cabin. There is also a dorm-sized refrigerator in the room that takes up one socket, so be sure to bring a typical European power convertor with one or more 2 prong adaptors like you would use for Germany plus a long extension cord to use for charging your American based mobile phone, curling iron, white noise machine, clock (there is no clock in the room), etc. The clothes wardrobe is roomy with a full sized mirror mounted on the wall next to it, but there is no safe in the room to lock up your valuables so bring suitcase padlocks to keep any valuables secure in your luggage. The ship will keep everybody’s passports locked up for most of the cruise except the last couple of nights. We found the bathroom small and unusual but very functional. It has only a sink on one side and toilet on the other. Taking a shower involves standing at the sink, pulling the shower curtain around you to protect the toilet and door from getting wet, turning on the sink hot/cold faucets, then pulling out a knob at the base of the sink faucet to force the water to come through a long, flexible hose with shower head mounted by a bracket above the sink. You can either leave the shower head mounted above and move it sideways over your head to use like a typical shower, or you can take the shower head off its bracket and use it to rinse off a part of your your body at any angle. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mouthwash, shower cap, sewing kit or shoe polish are not provided so you will need to bring your own. You will be provided with two bars of basic generic soap that last the whole cruise, but if you like using perfumed or moisturizing soap you will need to bring your own. The front desk sells shampoo, razors, etc. and has a few hair dryers to loan out but you will need to bring your own curling or straightening iron. We and other people on the cruise that we talked to were quite impressed with the quality and knowledge of the local guides for both the free excursions and the optional excursions that we took. My husband and I would have liked to have a little more free time on each excursion because the lines at the women’s bathrooms typically ate away at much of our free time. All of the excursions were good but our favorite was the optional Kremlin Armory tour. Gate1 customers are expected to tip both the driver and the local guide for each excursion in American dollars, euros or rubles. In the last 3 days of the cruise, Gate1 customers are expected to tip the Vodohov dining and housekeeping crew in rubles by inserting the money into a wooden box outside of the dining room or at the reception desk. And on the last night or final morning of the cruise, Gate1 customers are expected to tip the Gate1 cruise managers in rubles in person. You can ask for envelopes at the front desk to put your tips in if you so desire. Note that tips cannot be charged to your onboard ship account. There is no wi-fi signal in the cabins or anywhere on the ship else except one of the bars. It was slow during the day due to volume but much faster at night. My mobile phone showed two or more bars for much of the cruise so I used it for limited data access. Be sure to contact your provider to find out how to obtain and set up the least expensive voice and data roaming package on your phone. My husband and I were hoping for an affordable cruise with a heavy Russian influence and this Gate1 tour experience far exceeded our expectations. If you are expecting a luxurious Russian cruise with large rooms and private balconies, or if you need a ship with handicapped accessibility, you would be better off finding a different cruise more suited to your taste. But for everyone else, I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Zosima Shashkov Ratings
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