Volga Dream Cruise Review by intermonde
- Sail Date: August 2016
- Destination: Russia River
The cruise itself (Aug.28-Sept.3) was most definitely a sub-standard tourist experience, at wide variance from the Volga Dream published itinerary. The ship’s 1959 (yes, you read it right!) vintage and size are sadly inadequate: the vessel did not dock in 3 (St.Petrsburg, Mandrogi and Kizhy Island) out of the 6 ports listed on the company’s site. The two most important ones (St.Petersburg and Kizhy Island) were cancelled due to “inclement weather”, i.e. the ship’s limited capability to navigate the meteorlogic conditions of lakes Ladoga and Onega. The “alternate” destinations (Svirstroy/Lodeinoye Pole instead of Mandrogi, and Kostroma instead of Kizhy Island) were of no turistic/scenic interest whatsoever, in fact (mildly put) rather neglected, totally unintresting localities. But our great dismay was caused by the omission of the world famous Kizhy Island wooden churches, the much praised highlight of the Volga cruise, but also the main reason we booked it in the first place.
The other aspects of the tour (St.Petersburg and Moscow hotels, guided tours, transfers, on board meals, service and accomodation on the ship) were satisfactory to excellent, very much in line with the company’s site and documentation.
While the “inclement weather” disclaimer may be buried somewhere in the proverbial small print, it was evident that the ship’s vintage and small size severely limited it’s navigation capabilities, and definitely devalued our Volga Dream time and dollar investment (one should also add the Russia return flights cost).
Russia travelers interested in the same itinerary (in either direction) will be well advised to investigate the competitors’ offerings, especially the size and navigation capabilities of their larger, more modern vessels!