This cruise stood out from the rest because we could stay in hotels while touring Moscow and St Petersburg rather than needing to return to the ship each day. This was such a plus in terms of not wasting time in traffic, being a few minutes away from attractions when exploring in free time and enjoying comfort and space in really lovely hotels. The city tours hit all the main spots with great guides and a reasonable amount of time at sites but I would recommend extra days in Moscow and St Petersburg because there is so much to see and do. Embarkation and disembarkation were pain free and reasonably swift, given the boat was fairly small. The ship was very nice and comfortable, with lots of quiet spaces to sit and watch the scenery. The cabin was standard ie average size - not large but sufficient to needs. It was light and airy and not claustrophobic The bathroom was small but roomier than any I have seen on other ships of the same or larger size. The servicing of the room was excellent and typical of the service on the boat. Everyone was helpful, friendly and efficient and went above and beyond what could reasonably been expected. The food was fantastic, plentiful and great quality and variety table service at dinner was wonderful. The activities are plentiful and fun. The on board lectures on history and culture were a highlight and should not be missed. Fun to go through the locks and interesting scenery. Though someone said it was monotonous, this could be said of cruising Alaska (snow and trees) or the Nile (desert). I didn't think so as the scenery changed from dachas and occasional monasteries to pristine forests or the lakes. The ports and shore excursions were well chosen, with very good local guides and I learned a lot (and they are all free except for tips to guides which are optional.) The tour groups were small and helped with getting to know fellow passengers. Most were manageable for people with difficulties walking. The majority of passengers were over 50. I would definitely recommend the Volga Dream for these reasons. It's a fun cruise!