Entertainment onboard Truvor is low-key and limited. A pianist and singer perform in the Panorama or Sky lounges during cocktail hour and after dinner at 9 p.m., as well as on the Sun Deck during sailaway parties from port (where selected cocktails and nibbles are complimentary).
Engaging and informative presentations, delivered daily by the ship's tour escorts or activities director when the ship is cruising between St. Petersburg and Moscow, incorporate slices of Russian history (from the Romanovs to modern day), two Russian language lessons and a laughter-filled, vodka-fueled cooking demonstration on how to make the tiny Russian dumplings known as pelmeni.
But Truvor truly shines with its shore excursions. At least one guided stroll or port tour for each stop is included in the cruise fares, and other tours are offered at an additional cost. Passengers are split into groups and given personal headsets that are recharged back in the cabins each evening.
* May require additional fees
Among the alternatives are in-depth walking tours of St. Petersburg and Moscow with rides on the cities' subway systems, a musical and dance performance (with passengers invited to join in) at the Governor's Mansion in the "Golden Ring" city of Yaroslavl, and a rendition of Swan Lake at St. Petersburg's opulent Hermitage theater.
Extra options range from a home visit to a St. Petersburg Kommunalka, one of the communal living apartments created after the 1917 revolution, to a session at a Russian banya. The latter, located on the thickly wooded banks of the Svir River in the open-air museum town of Mandrogy, includes time in a traditional steam room and a swatting with birch leaves, followed by an dip in the nippy Svir.
On the lower level Main Deck, the front desk is open 24 hours a day and serves as a check-in and check-out point. Passengers leaving the ship use credit card-sized paper boarding passes, which can be affixed with handy stickers noting Truvor's St. Petersburg and Moscow port addresses in both Russian and English.
The Main Deck also hosts a computer room with printer and laptops (the entire ship has excellent free Wi-Fi), a library with a small but well-chosen selection of Russia-themed guides and nonfiction (get there early, since passengers can keep books as long as they like) and a gift shop selling toiletries, logo wear and Russian souvenirs from amber jewelry to traditional nesting dolls.
Most lectures and briefings are held in the Sun Deck's Sky Bar, which doesn't have the capacity to accommodate all passengers at once. As a result, talks are repeated during the day and broadcast simultaneously on cabin TVs.
Joggers and other exercise fans are out of luck, as Truvor's promenade decks don't extend all the way around the ship. The vessel's small size rules out a gym, hair salon or spa, but legs will get a good workout climbing the steep, nearly-vertical steps that lead between the ship's decks. An elevator is available for handicapped or physically challenged passengers, and a doctor is onboard in case of illnesses or mishaps.
While the ship attracts many travelers and their adult children, Truvor's standard cabins are configured for two people, and the minimum age to sail is 18.