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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.

RUSSIAN SHIP, RUSSIAN EXPERIENCE

Zosima Shashkov Cruise Review by PhotosbyPharos

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Trip Details
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.
PhotosbyPharos’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 439
Spotlessly cleaned everyday by a marvellous steward. She did my laundry as well for cash and a tip. She spoke no English at all! Hand signals worked well.
Interesting shower set-up with plentiful hot water.