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Sail Date: September 2018
I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ... Read More
I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ability, and takes reasonable action to remediate. On our cruise, high waves prevented our ship from reaching St. Petersburg. This had a major impact on the last two days of our trip. Vodohod chose the handle the problem in the following manner: After a very late dinner, the cruise line announced that all passengers need to be up by 6am so they could be on buses by 7am. We then rode a very cramped bus for 4 1/2 hours to get to St. Petersburg. At 6pm we were told that we needed to get back on that very cramped bus, and ride 5 hours back to the ship. Dinner has not offered until 11:30pm. When we arrived back at the ship at 11:15pm, we were told that we needed to pack, and make sure we were up at 4:45 am, and be completely off the ship by 6am. We were then put on a 4 1/2 hour bus back to St. Petersburg. All communication was delivered by our interpreter who was powerless to do anything other than graciously endure the anger of the passengers. We tried to talk to the cruise director, and she gave us a quick there was nothing she could do, and fled the area. The cruise line did nothing to compensate us, or make the slightest effort to improve our experience. Nor did they give us the opportunity to leave the cruise early, so we could get a good night sleep and avoid two of those miserable bus rides. We later learned that one of the travel agents, who had a representative aboard and has able to learn the truth, got all of their customers off the ship early, and made sure that they spend their last night at a hotel in St. Petersburg. The result of the three long rides on a cold bus, combined with two nights of inadequate sleep, was that my wife became very sick for the 10 days following the cruise. Her sickness would have been avoided if Vodohod, acted like a "five-star" cruise, they claim to be, by being honest about the situation, and having us spend our last night in a hotel in St. Petersburg. A month ago, I filed a formal complaint to Vodohod, though my travel agent, and Vodohod has not even had the courtesy to respond. The positive was that the food was excellent. The dining hall staff went well beyond accommodating allergies; they did their best to accommodate every dining preference. My wife is on a glutton free diet. They custom baked for her real delicious rolls, that were so good that I started asking for them. They also provided very helpful translators that were available the entire day and evening. The tour guides ranged from ok to excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the ... Read More
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the places visited, the guide, the logistics, the free time). We only wished we could have more time in Moscow (only 1.5 days as compared to 3 full days in St Petersburg). The on-ship experience was most memorable. The food was delicious at each meal, the service was extremely pleasent and sweet. The onboard activities were wonderful. We especially enjoyed learning Russian songs and singing in a choir. Although this was not a luxury 5-star ship, the cabin and ship facilities were sufficient enough for us, and the onboard services and experience was 5-star to us. We highly recommend this cruise and this ship. The value versus price was way beyond our expectation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We knew in advance that the cabins would be very small and cramped. However we did not know that the common area rooms were small and overcroweded and the low ceilings enhanced the noise. We were very disappointed that the air conditioning ... Read More
We knew in advance that the cabins would be very small and cramped. However we did not know that the common area rooms were small and overcroweded and the low ceilings enhanced the noise. We were very disappointed that the air conditioning or fan system in each room did not operate properly. And most of us were very upset that the only room on the ship that had WIFI was the bar; no WIFI in cabins. We would caution those who are considering a trip on this boat to recognize that it is old, it is out of date, the cabins are small, there is no WIFI except in the bar and in warmer temperature, the cool air does not circulate properly. Food was good. However organized tours had too many monasteries and convents and did not include the Faberge Museum in Saint Petersburg. Many of the towns/cities that the ship stopped at while saiing to Saint Petersburg were simply tourist traps; recommend some of these be dropped and another day in Moscow be subsituted. What most of us disliked was in our first day in Moscow where lunch was in the city, the tour operator took us to the Hard Rock Cafe - Moscow. Come on now, I did not fly all the way to Moscow to go to a Hard Rock Cafe restaurant. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard ... Read More
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard to get use to the cot size twin beds. The company Nexus that i booked with did not have any option to upgrade to a double bed. I think there might just be a handful on the ship. You have to pay for drinking water on the ship only tea or coffee at lunch and dinner. They give you a mini fridge in your room, so on your first jaunt off the boat pick up some bottles of water, juice, pop and liquor to fill the fridge if you like, you are allowed to bring your own drinks to the dinning table. Did not like the entertainment on board( a singer with disco lights and a classic piano player who also plays accordion. Local musicians with costumes. In fairness only saw the first show and my husband and i watch shows on our tablet that we had downloaded before leaving home. WIFI is useless (maybe you sometimes get your email but that is it). Lots of time to read before you get to the shore excursion which can be very intense. Not for people that have mobility issues. No elevator and you are going up and down stairs a lot and a LOT of walking off the ship. I have got problems with my ankle and brought walking sticks that helped a bit but Russia is not Handicap friendly. Very few churches have a place to sit (supposedly people stand in Russian Orthodox churches). It was very hot when we were there and most places are not air conditioned. Make sure you bring your own shampoo and Kleenex, you are only supplied with 2 bars of soap and toilet paper (which i used for Kleenex). Ask for a second pillow when your get on board as you are only given one. Have to go to the reception desk for info as you have no phone in your room to ask questions. There is a intercom in your room just to call you for meals and to get off the boat for shore excursions. Food was okay, you get to chose fish, (lots of small bones in the fish which turn me off) meat or vegetarian for lunch and dinner the day before on a menu check at your assigned table. You will not go hungry but definitely 3 star. Paid $3,800.00 which included flight from Toronto, Canada and back and most shore excursions. Paid a extra hundred for the middle deck(not really worth it as you have to leave keys with reception on the 2nd floor when you get off the boat and you get off on on the boat on the second floor). So I got what a paid for in my opinion. When I priced other ships doing the same itinerary it was more then double. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose a Russian cruise line deliberately, knowing it would be a more authentic experience than the more luxurious western style river cruise ships. Also Vodohod's Zosima Shashkov had single cabins at a sensible price. I had ... Read More
I chose a Russian cruise line deliberately, knowing it would be a more authentic experience than the more luxurious western style river cruise ships. Also Vodohod's Zosima Shashkov had single cabins at a sensible price. I had realistic expectations of the 3-star experience: small cabins, plainer cuisine, etc. My cabin turned out to be on the top deck, next door to a bar and the wireless router. I had internet for the whole cruise, but most of the 298 pax did not. Although small, I had plenty of storage, a small fridge, AC/heat, and a flap that lifted up under a big window for a desk. As the cabin was at the bow, I never heard any engine noise - a big plus as we sailed every night. Russian beer was good and cheap, but the wine and champagne should be avoided. Shore excursions were many and long in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Led by local guides who were experts, I was fascinated. Very interesting, excellent English, and I loved the earphones and receivers that allowed me to wander away and still hear the commentary. Tour organization was efficient, though in mid-September the crowds at popular sites were troublesome. Food onboard was plentiful and well cooked, but quite plain in comparison to western cruise ships. Some of the crew spoke English, but many did not. Thus customer service suffered on occasion. Everything was spotlessly clean on board. I have rated the cruise as a 3-star ship, not in comparison to the 5-star western ships. So, for example, my small cabin was "very good" meaning it was more than adequate as a 3-star. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather ... Read More
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything Vodohod staffs did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but the company responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know the cruise staffs couldn't arrange the weather, but they arranged everything else and for that we thank them most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank Vodohod organization for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - they have our full endorsement! We will definitely contact Vodohod if we are planning another trip in near future. Two families Nguyen Montreal and Toronto Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized ... Read More
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but you responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know you couldn't arrange the weather, but you arranged everything else and for that we thank you most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank you for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - you have our full endorsement! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
To travel to St.Petersburg. The ship was O.K. The cabin was alright, a few bits of chipped furniture but clean and adequate. The trips were good with very good guides. The staff were very pleasant. The entertainment was mixed but O.K. It ... Read More
To travel to St.Petersburg. The ship was O.K. The cabin was alright, a few bits of chipped furniture but clean and adequate. The trips were good with very good guides. The staff were very pleasant. The entertainment was mixed but O.K. It would have been better if we had stayed in a hotel at the beginning at Moscow and then at St.Petersburg, as the boat is moored quite a distance from the towns, so it would have been nice to be able to go out in the evenings. The thing that spoiled the trip was the food! It was poor. If I had been in a restaurant I would have sent it back to the kitchen.It would have been embarrassing to have made a big fuss as you are still going to have the same chef all the time. The other moan was that we had to buy all the drinking water, as the water was for washing only. It was twice the price on the boat, so we bought it whenever we were out on trips. I do think that it should have been supplied free. The food and water were the 2 things that spoiled the trip. I know of friends who have been with this company Vodohod on a different boat and if was fine, that is why we chose this company. I have written to them but no reply. I suggested that the chef should be sacked!! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We wish to place on record that we were delighted with our cruise on MS Tolstoy. All the staff were professional and accommodating. The Dining room was very good. Breakfasts were top class, with a good variety. The lunch and dinners ... Read More
We wish to place on record that we were delighted with our cruise on MS Tolstoy. All the staff were professional and accommodating. The Dining room was very good. Breakfasts were top class, with a good variety. The lunch and dinners were absolutely fantastic. Despite our dietary issues, the kitchen staff went out of their way to serve food of our choice as we are very fussy with our diet. Nothing was an issue. There was always something on the ship (when we were not docked) to do. We had Russian language lessons and are now using it as much as we can. It is useful indeed when travelling around Russia. The excursions that were offered seemed to be a way to try and please everyone’s interest. Especially we enjoyed Moscow city tour. The excursion buses were always neat and clean. The drivers were professional. We always felt safe in their care. The local tour guides were always informative and interesting. We were provided information in a smooth and relaxing style that made each visit to their city, one that we would be able to appreciate long after we got back home. We have been on many cruises in the past and given the size of the MS Tolstoy, it is world class. At the same time very personal. The cabins were good, considering that we spent little time therein. The maids were very polite and we always found the cabins clean and neat. All in all, the MS Tolstoy compares exceptionally well to the larger 18 storey liners! Next year we're going for a cruise to Astrakhan Read Less
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