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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Arrived at St Petersburg one day early, took a cab to the hotel we booked online, then took a cab to the boat dock the next day. No problems and STP is easy if you are within walking distance of the City Centre, as we were. English widely ... Read More
Arrived at St Petersburg one day early, took a cab to the hotel we booked online, then took a cab to the boat dock the next day. No problems and STP is easy if you are within walking distance of the City Centre, as we were. English widely spoken. If you are using taxis, write (or have somebody write) the address in Russian. Even better, spend part of a week learning Russian Cyrillic before you leave home (it's very easy, although you may not know the Russian word once you translate it). This will save you tons of time when looking for restaurants, etc. Google Maps does NOT show the boat dock address correctly (it shows the address in the middle of an industrial road, under a highway bridge a half mile away from the correct location!). All of the boat staff were Russian, except for the concierge, who was Bulgarian. Absolutely great service and enthusiasm - five stars for the staff!. The guides were great, the buses pretty new and we took advantage of all the "Do as the Locals do" tours and walking alternatives (instead of busses). Food was always great. Lots of non-meat alternatives. Breakfast & Lunches (and some late dinners after the ballet or other shows) were buffet-style. Wine was like other cruises, just so-so. Older well-traveled crowd, no children. No pool, walking deck, kid-type games; this cruise is for adults who aren't afraid to travel and interact with other cultures. Everything perfectly safe and enjoyable. This was our ninth cruise (fifth river cruise) and, except for a small-boat cruise down the interior Amazon, probably the best. Fairly basic on-board facilities, especially for a Uniworld cruise. Very small fitness room and library. Massage was just OK. Very nice 24-hour coffee/cookie rooms which we used every morning. Onboard entertainment was simple but very nice; nightly musical concerts from a pianist and/or a saxophone player and/or a balalaika player and/or two singers. Daily lectures about Russian history and culture which were frank, open and extremely well done. Three days in St Petersburg were not enough (we actually had four, because we arrived early) and three days in Moscow also not enough. The week on the rivers (we were on four) was a good break from the cities; small towns, more free time, interesting rural river views. The weather in late June varied from the low 60's to the mid 80's. We are fairly well-traveled (over sixty countries to-date) and we enjoyed every stop and tour. If you're main interest is the boat - plush, super-comfortable cruise facilities - you will probably be disappointed. If you are looking to preliminarily explore Russia in a comfortable and safe manner with helpful staff, and great guides, you can't miss with this cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
This was our first cruise with Uniworld  our expectations due to the purchase price of the cruise was very high..our experience was however very disappointing.the disclaimer Uniworld uses in describing the Russian cruise verses their ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Uniworld  our expectations due to the purchase price of the cruise was very high..our experience was however very disappointing.the disclaimer Uniworld uses in describing the Russian cruise verses their other all Uniworld cruises is ridiculously inappropriate. The boat was nice but looked nothing like the boats on the Uniworld website.the food was good for the most part but far below the quality we expected.many of the passengers became ill with food poisoning to the extent the buffet was converted to a serving line which was backed up on a continual basis..the service however was very good to excellent. It was like being on two cruise ships at once..everything the Russian crew did was very good.everything the Uniworld guides did was second rate at best..let me give you several examples. We finished a tour of the Armory at Red Square at 4:50 pm..we waited an hour in the hot sun before the bus could come to pick us up.when it did come.we had to detour to drop off several passengers at the Circus which was in the opposite direction of our ship.we finally got back to the ship at 7:16 pm..over two ours after the tour was over.leaving us 14 mins. to get ready for dinner The same thing occurred the very next evening when our bus was routed to a dance tour to let of a few passengers.two hours later were back at the boat. Any one could have loaded one bus.we had four.with the optional tour group and sent the rest of us back to the boat. All of the Uniworld activities lacked organizationresulting in rushed, hurried, hectic tours. The beds were listed as King Size but in fact were two small singles (not twins) pushed together.resulting in a small and extremely hard sleeping surface. Two of the tours Uniworld took us on were nothing but tourist traps of little or no interest to anyone.the tour groups were so bigmany times the tour leader would be in another room from many of us talking about something we couldnt even see. The area we were docked in at St. Petersburg was extremely unappealing and actually felt unsafe.certainly no place for a high end cruise to stay for several days and nights.it also was very far from anything you would want to see in St Petersburg Then there was the actual cruise down the River????? This cruise should be listed as a lake/canal/lots of locks cruise..after we left the short portion of actual river..we pretty much saw nothing but birch tree forest for three days and nights.interrupted by four stops.two worth while and two which should be deleted from the itenarary. Vacation time is precious.taking two weeks off.traveling half way around the world.spending a lot of money is not the same as a three night cruise to Cancun...this cruise is not worth the time and or the money.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
Impressions of the ship: It is brand new inside - refurbished from head to toe. The outside, however, is the same (oldish) ship that every other tour company uses. It seems that the Russians built one basic hull for this purpose, and there ... Read More
Impressions of the ship: It is brand new inside - refurbished from head to toe. The outside, however, is the same (oldish) ship that every other tour company uses. It seems that the Russians built one basic hull for this purpose, and there are many in service on the rivers. I didn't feel that any of the Viking or Grand Circle ships that we saw docked alongside ours were nicer in any way. One advantage of the Uniworld redo is that the outside decks were converted into large balconies on the top two levels by cutting the windows into a large sliding door. These are the only Russian river cruise ships with a balcony. Except for the large balcony, the cabins are smallish, about 2 1/2 feet longer than the length of the bed. This is on a par with other river cruise ships, as the size of the ship is limited due to the width of the locks it must pass through. The cabins are spotlessly clean, very white, and decorated simply. There is a small desk and chair in the standard balcony cabins. The bedding is very high-end and comfortable. Cabins contain a hair dryer, small safe, and 2 US 110v outlets, so there is no need to bring a converter unless you are using a high voltage curling iron, for example. All floors, except the Onega deck, are accessible by elevator. Otherwise, the stairs are steep. The public areas of the ship are also spotless, clean, and comfortable. The staff is charming and helpful. On our cruise there were 162 guests and 100 staff! Food was generally good. Breakfasts were a buffet that included European meat and cheese selections, cereals, breads and jams, at least three types of eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, and either French toast or pancakes. Lunch was also a buffet, including soup (usually excellent) sandwiches, salads, a choice of several hot dishes, and desert. Dinner consisted of appetizer, soup or salad, a choice of two main courses, desert and cheese, coffee or tea. Unlimited beer, soda or wine was included with dinner. Sometimes the main course was not on a par with the other meals (or with high-end big cruise ships); however, the service was absolutely first-rate! The scenery between St. Petersburg and Moscow was spectacular - a surprise to me. We used the balcony most nights to view the passing villages (actually, in late June, there really wasn't any "night" to speak of). Tours were generally good; however the tour guides use the ships headsets which didn't work very well. A combination of poor fidelity on the sets along with the Russian accents of the guides when speaking English made it often difficult to understand what they were saying. Hopefully, Uniworld will remedy this in the future. I thought one stop was a dud, but it was more of an excuse to offer souvenirs and have a picnic lunch. The others were wonderful. If a "glitzy" cruise ship impresses you, go on a big cruise liner. Keep in mind, however, that there will be no access to the smaller cities and towns, and sightseeing would be rather limited. Otherwise, the ship and the tour were a wonderful experience, and I recommend it highly for those whose primary focus is sightseeing. Read Less
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