Travel Tips


Russians use rubles, a currency that is virtually unconvertible outside of Russia. You can find the ruble dollar exchange rate on


On your cruise, you do not need much cash with you - about $30 per person 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).


The best way to get cash in Moscow and St. Petersburg is from an ATM. Most ATMs accept international debit cards, but usually they add on a fee. So best if you minimize the number of transaction and try to get as much cash as you think you need at once. Be sure you know your PIN before leaving home, and also check your daily withdrawal limit with your bank. You can use ATMs while you have port stops in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Currency exchange

In most Russian cities, it is quite easy to exchange hard currency for rubles. 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.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely used in big cities, but there are places where you may still need cash (taxis, public transport, tips, street markets, etc.) Most commonly accepted in Russia are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Eurocard. Places that take Diners Club and Discover are very rare.

Traveler's Checks

We do not recommend bringing Traveler’s Checks into Russia. There are hardly any hotels or restaurants that would accept them. Only a few banks exchange them into cash, and the fees are high. Please your credit or debit card, instead.


Tipping a small amount is customary at restaurants and bars but isn't as widespread as it is in, say, the US. For example, you might want to leave a 150-ruble tip for a meal that costs 1500 rubles. Generally, the tip amount is between 5% and 10%.

On cruise ships it is customary to leave tips to acknowledge the service nicely done. Tipping pool is usually placed at the Reception area a few days before the end of the cruise as well as the tipping guidelines are provided. Still gratuities are at your discretion, subject to your satisfaction (7-12 USD per person per day are recommended).

Cell phones

Russia’s international code is 7.

Russia uses the GSM and LTE networks. This makes communicating by cell phones for Europeans quite easy. As for USA, you can use your cell phone in Russia only in case it is GSM or LTE phone. It is also quite easy to purchase a cell phone at a reasonable price from one of the many mobile phone stores and payment centres that you see everywhere in any Russian city. Currently, a cheap cell phone can be bought for the equivalent of $20 USD and a SIM card costs approximately 400 roubles ($6) and includes a 400 rouble top-up. The cost for calls and texts is extremely cheap in Russia if you are connecting with people in the same city as you. Be aware that if you are travelling between cities then you'll need to make sure that your sim card works in all the cities when you buy it. 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.

Telephone service is provided aboard. For international calls you are advised to get a SIM card of a local provider or rent a mobile phone at the Reception desk. All the telephone services on board are specially oriented to international clients, with affordable rates for international calls.


There is no Internet on board of cruise ships. Most hotels do provide Internet (either for free of for an extra fee). You will find hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots in Moscow and St. Petersburg, many of which are free of charge (such as hotspots in cafés, restaurants and the metro).

Post Office

On board, you can purchase stamps, envelopes at the Reception Desk. The Reception Staff will send your letters from the nearest port.

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.


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.