If you are looking for new experiences, a Russian river cruise is right for you.A river cruise in Russia is one of the best ways of getting to know this amazing country.
Russians use roubles, a currency that is virtually unconvertible outside of Russia. You can find the rouble dollar exchange rate on http://www.cbr.ru/eng/currency_base/daily.aspx. In most Russian cities, it is quite easy to exchange hard currency for roubles. Be aware that rates can differ substantially - this is especially important if you plan to exchange large sums of money. Visitors can use practically all banks or exchange posts. If you need to exchange money during your time on the Russian river cruise please ask the guide about arranging it.
You do not need much currency with you on your cruise – about $25 per day is more than enough but if you are going to buy a lot of Russian souvenirs you should take more. If you want to buy alcohol or additional tours on ship you can pay by your credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
Tipping a small amount is customary at restaurants and bars but isn't anywhere near as widespread as it is in, say, the US. For example, you might want to leave a 50-rouble tip for a meal that costs 500. Generally, the tip amount is between 5% and 10%.ATM machines
ATMS, called bankomats in Russia, are becoming more and more popular here as more Russians receive debit and credit cards. As anywhere in the world, the ATM owner will take a commission, usually equal to $3 for each transaction, therefore, it is best to take out larger amounts at one time rather than always pay the $3. The exchange rates at ATMs are usually quite good - it is the commissions that you have to worry about. You can use ATMs while you have port stops in St. Petersburg and Moscow.Traveler's Checks
Banks in major hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow and the main branches of the largest Russian banks will accept traveler's checks - however only the most popular brands (American Express, Cook, etc.). Traveler's checks are ok, but it is best to bring cash, and for additional funds use a bank card to get money from an ATM machine.Communications
Russia uses the GSM network so it is compatible for all of Europe but incompatible for cell phones from the USA. This makes communicating by cell phones for Europeans quite easy and communication by cell phones for Americans impossible! However, it is quite easy to purchase a cell phone at a reasonable price from one of the many mobile phone stores and payment centers that you see everywhere in the centers of any Russian city. Currently, you can buy a decent cell phone for the equivalent of $80 USD including a SIM card and connection to a local network. Most people in Russia use prepaid cellular services, in other words, they purchase prepaid phone cards. Russia has 3 main cellular telephone networks - MTS, Beeline and Megafon.Internet
There are limited locations for internet cafes at port stops. You will find internet cafes in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Also wireless internet connections are becoming more popular in Russia. You will find dozens of Wi-Fi hotspots in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many of them are free, some charge $5 - $10 per hour. Ask the staff on the Russian river cruise boat for advice on this matter.Voltage requirements.
The electrical current in Russia is 220 volts AC, 50Hz and electrical equipment uses 2 pronged, European, circular shaped sockets/plugs. Try not to bring much electrical equipment with you but if you must bring a laptop, check if it can take the 220 volts and also purchase a plug adapter to make sure that you can plug it into the differently shaped, circular, European electrical outlets.What to bring
As you are travelling during the warmest part of the year (from May to September) you should take with you comfortable shoes, underwear, bra, jeans, cotton or light wool pants, tee shirts, button downs or polo shirts, a light spring jacket, sweater, sweatshirt. Perhaps a cap and sunglasses - remember during the White Nights it stays sunny until well past midnight. You may want to bring some nice clothes if you plan to go "out on the town" or visit a theater in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
In Russia, especially in the big cities, you can buy everything you need for personal care that is available in the USA and Europe. However, if you are used to some specific brands, you may want to bring these products with you.Weather
The climate really depends on the region because Russia is large and one place may be completely different from another. Summers can actually be quite hot because much of Russia is landlocked - generating a hot continental climate in the summer (Siberia for example). In the areas where we run our cruises, the typical temperature in summer is in the upper 20s and low 30s Celsius or the mid 70s to mid 80s Fahrenheit.Presents and souvenirs
Typically, you can buy things in Russia for friends that you may meet but it might be a good idea to take some nice cosmetics (lipsticks, eye shadow, etc.), body creams for women and perhaps silver dollars or some other interesting souvenir from your country for the men. Things such as photo books of your country or the region where you are from also make a nice gift.
You will have many opportunities to buy Russian souvenirs at every stop of our Russian river cruise ship. There are a lot of handicrafts that can be purchased that are intimately related to Russia: nesting dolls, lacquered boxes, traditional russian outfits - sarafans and head-dresses kokoshniks, wood carving and painted figurines khokhloma wood crockery and many other nice souvenirs. You can also negotiate prices and get decent discounts at the street shops if you are willing to try!Medical help
The cruise has a medical office to deal with emergencies. If you have a serious problem, the staff will help you to arrange a trip to medical centers in St. Petersburg or Moscow. Be aware that these clinics charge Western prices or may be even more expensive than your typical Western hospital or clinic. Some of them may accept your insurance but most will not, therefore, it is best to keep all of your bills that you have paid and submit them to your insurance company. It also may be a good idea to purchase travel insurance for your trip just to make sure that you will be covered.
Our Russian river cruises and tours do not include airfare. You arrange your own airfare and we meet you at the airport and handle everything else. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office. The airline tickets we offer are the cheapest available on the web. Please browse our discount air tickets section to learn more.
Romantic star filled evenings on the Russian rivers await you on your Russian river cruise.
A Russian river cruise is one of the most economical ways to see what Russia has to offer