Russia Volga River Cruises 2012

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Hello - Two of us are intersted in taking a river cruise along the Volga River in Russia - St. Petersburg to Moscow (or vice versa) in 2012. Could someone offer comments on the following: Best time of year? Itinerary? Hints? Cruise/tour company - Viking, Abercrombie & Kent etc.? We require a cabin with a veranda and some space. Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Tiberina.

We did a Uniworld river cruise about 5 years ago. Most river cruise ships do NOT have verandas. They might have windows that are full length. In Russia, the ships are different than those used in Europe. They are NOT as luxurious nor is the service as good. At that time, Uniworld used a Russian ship, but I understand now they have their own ship which should be better. We were very disappointed in the food, but other aspects of the trip were great. Wonderful lecturer who travelled on the ship (with her teenage daughter) and gave several presentations w/o using any notes. Just fantastic. The bar service was excellent, and the audience participation at a show that was put on one night was an absolute hoot -- my husband played the drunken captain. You will see loads of churches and monasteries; the countryside is lovely.

We happily had upgraded to a larger cabin and are grateful that we did. Well worth the money as at least we had a place for our luggage. Furnishings on that "old" ship were basic.

We specifically chose Uniworld because of their 6 day Baltic capitals optional trip which was fantastic. Some of the other ships only had optional visits to Helsinki (which we had seen yrs. ago) and Tallinn, but we wanted all 3 Baltic caps: Vilnius; Riga and Tallinn.

Either way, you might want to spend extra time in either St. Petersburg or Moscow (depending on your itinerary) as there's a lot to see, especially as a lot of time is wasted in traffic. We took the underground in both cities on our own, but the trips were still long and only saved marginal time. We had been to these 2 cities (when Petersburg was Leningrad) in '76 -- incredible changes.

We've been on a 28-day Uniworld Bucharest-Amsterdam trip that was fantastic. Also an Avalon French itinerary that was great. Check out these 2 as well. Also check OAT (altho' we think they're not up to "our standard," Vantage,, vacationstogo. Tauck has ships as well, but they are $$$$$.

Have fun.