We arrived in Moscow 2 days early and were totally amazed at how clean the city was and how friendly all the people were. Our hotel in Moscow (Raddison) was like a palace. The food in the hotel was good also. We went to a local Ukranian restaurant and had a great time, the food was great, the waiters were fun and we felt like we knew everyone when we left. Shopping was also fun in Moscow. The Metro is like going to a historical art museum. The Kremlin was impressive as was St Basil. I would definitely reccomend going to Moscow a couple days early.
The villages on the cruise were really interesting and educational. The school we visited was well done. it made me realize why everyone can speak english so well. They learn it with Russian from the 2nd grade on. The villages had lots of fun art objects to buy and the Russian Banyo was really good. St Petersburg was out standing of course, the architecture and history there is amazing. It's hard to take it all in. My opinion of Russian has changed completely, I went there thinking suppressed people, poverty, unrest, crime, I saw none of that if anything the opposite. It's a great country and the people are happy and resilent. The meals on board the Embla were wonderful as usual as was the entertainment and games at night. I got to help the chef make dumplings and had alot of laughs doing that what a great trip.
Our cabin was really nice and the maid service was excellent.