Cruising on the river

Life on board the Rostropovich 5 easy thanks to crew.

Life on board the Rostropovich 5 easy thanks to crew.

Our ‘boat’ The Rostropovich 5 berthed at Uglich.
The Church of the Nativity in the village of Krokhino. It has been surrounded by water since the village was flooded during the construction of the Volga-Baltic Canal in 1964.
The five-domed Transfiguration Cathedral rises over Uglich, an important pilgrim place for Christians. It was built in the 18th century.
The Uglich lock in the Volga River is in the hydroelectric dam which creates the Uglich reservoir.
The Church of St Dmitry on the Blood was built in the 17th century as a reminder of the mysterious death of the young prince Dmitry, who was the last descendant of Ivan the Terrible.
The Kalyazin Bell Tower was built in 1796-1800 as part of the Monastery of St Nicholas. It was submerged when the Uglich Dam was formed in 1939.
Kizhi Pogost is a historical site dating from the 17th century on Kizhi Island. The island is located on Lake Onega.
The Vologda Tower of the Monastery of St Cyril on the White Lake is located 8km from the village of Goritsy. It was once the second largest and most important monastery of Russia.

Veteran travellers Phil and Sue Newdick share the story of their wonderful eight-day river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg . . .

Our “boat” The Rostropovich 5 carried about 190 passengers, our cabin, complete with ensuite, was small but the space was efficiently used making it very comfortable.

The passengers were very cosmopolitan but we had several interpreters on board. We were put in a group of English-speaking passengers, about 18 people, Canadians, Americans, English, Australians and of course us.

The journey from Moscow to St Petersburg, with excursions in Moscow, St Petersburg and daily excursions of about two or three hours along the way took eight days and covered almost 1800 kilometres of waterways.

The daily excursions included several open museums and demonstrations of craftspeople at work. We were amazed to find that the famous Russian Onion Domes were made completely from hand-hewn wood.

It was a wonderful way to travel — the crew and staff on the ship were extremely helpful, nothing seemed to be too much trouble and everything was supplied with a beaming smile.

Maybe it was just the contagious attitude of the crew but we really couldn’t have asked for a more generous and friendly group of people to travel with.

We were provided with a running commentary along the way which included history and gave us an insight into the Russian reasoning and culture.

Forget the Red Army — it seems everything we saw was about the Orange Army (high vis-dressed workers and machinery), a truly energetic people doing their best to overcome the effects of the communist regime.

This cruise was a real adventure, a good lesson in Russian history and the sociology of Modern Russia. During construction of the waterways, 202 million cubic metres of spoil were moved, whereas there were only 75 million cubic metres shifted during the construction of the Suez Canal.

It was built in the 20th century with forced labour, using what were called political dissidents. The level of dissention was in most cases totally insignificant and the conditions they worked in were at the very best horrific. Deaths during the project were in the thousands, the waterway system that was created is a tribute to the sacrifices made.

Idyllic days, great food and an interesting journey

The regions we travelled through were made interesting by the information provided by the cruise staff, our days idyllic, the food vast in quantity, great in quality and selection.

Day and night we passed through lock after lock predominantly lowering the boat but one set lifted us over a rise in the river.

We traversed a mixture of actual rivers, canals, natural lakes and manmade lakes.

The last leg was a very long one, across Lake Ladoga, along the Neva River and into St Petersburg a distance of some 220 kilometres.

The night before we arrived in St Petersburg there was a concert/talent quest so we were able to entertain the crew and passengers with some of our music. Where the talent quest description came from no one knows. But everyone, passengers and crew were winners — what a great show.

The company had our passports and birth dates so they helped passengers who had birthdays to celebrate with a lot of noise and a cake.

We were in St Petersburg for Sue’s birthday, the last night of the cruise. We had opted for a night at the theatre, to see a traditional Cossack Folk music show.

As we didn’t return to the ship for dinner until 11pm, Sue was sure she had escaped their attention, but oh no — even at that hour they were waiting to ambush her, complete with cake.

What a wonderful surprise, Sue’s radiant face denying her claims that it was all too much fuss.

We disembarked from our ship in St Petersburg with a minimum of fuss, due in no small way to Misha, our helpful cruise guide.

He had phoned ahead to our apartment and arranged for an early check-in. He then gave us strict instructions on how to catch the free shuttle, which deposited us within 400 metres of the apartment entrance.

How easy life becomes when there is someone who knows the local language and is prepared to make sure that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted.

Veteran travellers Phil and Sue Newdick share the story of their wonderful eight-day river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg . . .

Our “boat” The Rostropovich 5 carried about 190 passengers, our cabin, complete with ensuite, was small but the space was efficiently used making it very comfortable.

The passengers were very cosmopolitan but we had several interpreters on board. We were put in a group of English-speaking passengers, about 18 people, Canadians, Americans, English, Australians and of course us.

The journey from Moscow to St Petersburg, with excursions in Moscow, St Petersburg and daily excursions of about two or three hours along the way took eight days and covered almost 1800 kilometres of waterways.

The daily excursions included several open museums and demonstrations of craftspeople at work. We were amazed to find that the famous Russian Onion Domes were made completely from hand-hewn wood.

It was a wonderful way to travel — the crew and staff on the ship were extremely helpful, nothing seemed to be too much trouble and everything was supplied with a beaming smile.

Maybe it was just the contagious attitude of the crew but we really couldn’t have asked for a more generous and friendly group of people to travel with.

We were provided with a running commentary along the way which included history and gave us an insight into the Russian reasoning and culture.

Forget the Red Army — it seems everything we saw was about the Orange Army (high vis-dressed workers and machinery), a truly energetic people doing their best to overcome the effects of the communist regime.

This cruise was a real adventure, a good lesson in Russian history and the sociology of Modern Russia. During construction of the waterways, 202 million cubic metres of spoil were moved, whereas there were only 75 million cubic metres shifted during the construction of the Suez Canal.

It was built in the 20th century with forced labour, using what were called political dissidents. The level of dissention was in most cases totally insignificant and the conditions they worked in were at the very best horrific. Deaths during the project were in the thousands, the waterway system that was created is a tribute to the sacrifices made.

Idyllic days, great food and an interesting journey

The regions we travelled through were made interesting by the information provided by the cruise staff, our days idyllic, the food vast in quantity, great in quality and selection.

Day and night we passed through lock after lock predominantly lowering the boat but one set lifted us over a rise in the river.

We traversed a mixture of actual rivers, canals, natural lakes and manmade lakes.

The last leg was a very long one, across Lake Ladoga, along the Neva River and into St Petersburg a distance of some 220 kilometres.

The night before we arrived in St Petersburg there was a concert/talent quest so we were able to entertain the crew and passengers with some of our music. Where the talent quest description came from no one knows. But everyone, passengers and crew were winners — what a great show.

The company had our passports and birth dates so they helped passengers who had birthdays to celebrate with a lot of noise and a cake.

We were in St Petersburg for Sue’s birthday, the last night of the cruise. We had opted for a night at the theatre, to see a traditional Cossack Folk music show.

As we didn’t return to the ship for dinner until 11pm, Sue was sure she had escaped their attention, but oh no — even at that hour they were waiting to ambush her, complete with cake.

What a wonderful surprise, Sue’s radiant face denying her claims that it was all too much fuss.

We disembarked from our ship in St Petersburg with a minimum of fuss, due in no small way to Misha, our helpful cruise guide.

He had phoned ahead to our apartment and arranged for an early check-in. He then gave us strict instructions on how to catch the free shuttle, which deposited us within 400 metres of the apartment entrance.

How easy life becomes when there is someone who knows the local language and is prepared to make sure that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted.

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