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Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship. First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it would be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space. Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner. Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon. The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask. We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both. Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017.

Another fabulous Scenic Experience

Scenic Tsar Cruise Review by MerlinC

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it.

We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship.

First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it would be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space.

Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner.

Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon.

The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask.

We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both.

Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 227
Not huge, but very well organised with adequate storage for all of our stuff so that we didn't need to have anything left in our suitcases so they stayed under the bed. Our cabin attendant kept the cabin clean and tidy with regular linen changes. The huge balcony made up for the smaller interior size as there was plenty of room to sit and relax or enjoy the passing scenery. The bathroom was compact, but again, great storage and the shower quite small that, for a larger person, may have made its use difficult. The bed was incredibly comfortable - best sleep I have had for a long time. The black out curtains were effective at blocking the midnight sun to enable sleep.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews