So we are off to Russia. What are we meant to expect, is it going to be the cold concrete face that we so often see portrayed in our news reels, is it going to be safe, and will the people be welcoming, let's wait and see I suppose? The reviews we read sound promising however.
So we arrive at the airport in Moscow and go through Customs and Immigration which is a breeze. Personnel are only too willing to offer assistance to us in entering into their country. Through the doors and into public area and we are immediately greeted by the Scenic hostess, who took care of everything from our arrival, to our luggage, to the taxi and being delivered to the boat it was an exceptional greeting, with everything in place, our luggage in our rooms and all we have to cart is ourselves.
We have been to St Petersburg, Estonia, Sweden, Finland and through a couple of the Asian countries but we never had a preconceived idea of what we were about to be imported into.
Russia is cosmopolitan, friendly, impeccably clean, safe, robust in its construction development, has traffic jams with mercs caused often by Ladas. The young people speak excellent English and bend over backwards to assist where they can. I have wonderful memories of the ambiance, culture and people of Russia and would recommend a visit to anyone contemplating such an adventure.
Our tour was on board the Scenic Tsar (Alexander Grin). Never did we feel in jeopardy with anything we did, including our own free time in the City. Four of the crew were Scenic Group and the rest employed by the owners of the ship but you could not split them up for their service and consideration. Each had a role to play and each should have taken home an Oscar for the contribution they made to the tour. Our suite was excellent and accommodated all we wished for. I too liked the touch of the chocolates on the pillows at night but I have yet to find where mine disappeared every evening.
Every organised tour was with a tour director who it is evident to see in the numerous photographs standing unobtrusively but with the focus of being our guardian angel. Overseeing the guardian angels was she who must be obeyed and whom made the tour a seamless flow of experiences, culture, integration and fun, the Cruise Director.
I now pinch my wife's comments:
The Cruise Director, Diana, was an absolute gem. She was never too busy for a chat whatever the subject and always the energetic pocket rocket for us all. Nothing was a problem, if there is a solution it will be solved, if there is not there will be an alternative and it will work.
The onboard activities were well organised and the Russian lessons were lots of fun. Thank you Svetlana for being so patient. The choir should top the charts soon given the encores requested finally leading to a full instrumental reciptile.
The Hotel Manager, Olga, did a great job looking after everyone's needs and was always on hand if you needed to make special requests etc. The spontaneous play will provide several Oscars this year.
The tour directors Svetlana, Elena and Vadim were a wealth of knowledge and ready and willing to answer any questions about Russia, even a few political jokes were made during the course of the tour. I do hope Russia does not revert to one ply paper. The Directors kept their energy going at all times which regularly gave us all that extra lift we needed after a full day out.
Last but not least a big thank you to Kapitan Vyacheslav Kochet Kov for keeping all of us safe on the waterways of Russia, and his wonderful welcome and departure dinners.
Excellent and fulfilled all our needs. Ample storage so the Suite always looked impeccable. The balcony offered that extra personal space.
We all have traffic jams, people deal with them with little evidence of road rage
A group of buildings within a fortified wall. Impressive.View All 39 Kremlin Reviews
Surrounded by magnificent shops and the Kremlin.View All 35 Red Square Reviews