We wanted to see Russia and felt that a river cruise was the best way to see a lot of the country in a relatively short period of time. We selected Uniworld as the company was highly recommended by experienced travelers we met. Note - this was our first river cruise and the only other cruises we had enjoyed were on the 98 passenger Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos Islands, and a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean. So, we're not experienced cruisers. This cruise met my expectations and I was quite pleased with what we saw, what we learned, and the service that was provided to us.
Using our travel agent, we easily made reservations for both the cruise and flights - Denver to Munich direct, then to Moscow. Our departure was St. Petersburg to Frankfurt, then direct to Denver. All flights were on Lufthansa. The check-in process for Lufthansa was horrible, in Denver we had to wait more than 1 1/2 hours just to check our baggage, and about 45 minutes in St. Petersburg upon departure. Once in the air, both directions, the flight was as pleasant as you can expect in coach for such a long flight. The flight crew were very accommodating, the food good and the provided entertainment/TVs were very good.
Arriving in Moscow was a real treat, as the "lines" for Passport Control were extremely long. Apparently 9 international flights landed about the same time. It appears to me that certain ethnicities of people do not respect lines, as they swarm like a hive of little bees to the front of the line while pushing and shoving without respect for anyone else. It took us 1 1/4 hours just to get through passport control, then through customs where the lines were horrible too.
Even for an upgraded cabin, it was small. We stacked the two chairs in the corner and placed the coffee table under another table to give us more room. The beds were very comfortable and the room well furnished and immaculately clean. Our room had a balcony but we didn't spend much time on it as it was chilly and often rainy.