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Best Vacation Ever / Thank You Slavik

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Imperial Waterways of Russia: Best Vacation Ever / Thank You Slavik
kathymoorskathymoorsMember since 1/8/2013 Login to add friend Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:07 PM
Simply the best.

Russia is a mysterious, intriguing place. I had always dreamed of visiting there so upon the recommendation of my travel agent I booked our trip with Uniworld, sailing on the River Victoria from Moscow to Saint Petersburg via the Volga river. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and the destination sights didn't disappoint. Actually, they were incredible. In all, it was an extraordinary, fantasy vacation.

The service aboard ship was the best I have ever experienced. The staff ratio was one staff member per every two guests. The wonderful servers we saw everyday learned our names, preferences and were sincerely nice, making us feel comfortable and welcome.

I must make special mention to one server in particular, Slavik, one of the nicest, funniest, warmest and genuine people I've ever met. He made my vacation even more memorable and I was sad to say goodbye to someone who, in the short period of two weeks, became a friend. Of course, all the staff was wonderful but that
Slavik... :-)

I would not hesitate to travel with Uniworld again. It is well worth the price.

KM
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svetianasvetianaMember since 1/17/2013 Login to add friend Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 9:05 PM
I want to take a Russian "highlights" cruise, to see Moscow and St. Petersburg before visiting my relatives this summer. In your post, the phrase "fantasy vacation" caught my attention. Could you share with me what made your vacation so fantastic (outside of your friend Slavik). In other words, would you detail your experience a little bit more? I'm trying to decide between Viking and Uniworld and I'm having a difficult time making up my mind.

Also, you should contact your friend, Slavik. I bet he'd be happy to hear from you.
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kathymoorskathymoorsMember since 1/8/2013 Login to add friend Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013 9:34 PM
Thank you for showing interest in my vacation experience. I will share a few memories (actually too many) with you and try not to mention Slavik again, though this might prove difficult. :-) The sights in Moscow, like the Kremlin and Red Square, were wonderful but I especially liked St. Basil’s Cathedral. Upon entering the church, we were greeted by the melodious sounds of some very talented male operatic singers. Their voices reverberated throughout the building because of the incredible acoustics. This was an amazing auditory experience. This iconic church, often shown on the news when the media refers to Russia, was also interesting because the interior of the building consisted of many small chapels as opposed the cathedral being one large space inside. This surprised me. On the way to St. Petersburg the small villages we visited were quaint as expected but also profoundly beautiful and peaceful. I could see why one might want to live there (as being from an urban area peace is something I sometimes am in dire need of). They give visitors the feeling of stepping back in time. They exuded charm. Again as far as the cruise, I loved the “royal treatment” I received that made me feel pampered. And, surprisingly, I loved the pace of the cruise. I’m not crazy about the large, commercial American cruises that sail on the ocean (no scenery) where the interiors are too modern and the entertainment often consists of casinos, discos and sometimes amateurish shows. I liked the slower pace of the riverboat cruise, the ship sailing slowly up the Volga River close to shores lined with trees and lush greenery. The nightly entertainment featured only one show per evening, the only game in town so to speak, but it was high quality entertainment with a Russian flair. One of my two favorite evenings was when Oleg and Eugeny (who double as excursion photographers) played Russian folk music. Also, there was an evening with a larger Russian orchestra accompanied by vocals. I bought Oleg and Eugeny’s CD and, although I’m into rock music, I still play it on occasion in the car. In St. Petersburg, the Hermitage Palace and Museum was amazing. It featured art by da Vinci, Michangeleo, Van Gogh etc., What impressed me was, unlike the Louvre in Paris, it featured art that is not so commercialized i.e., on coffee cups, calendars and such. After the museum, we rode a large speedboat (I can’t recall the type of boat) to Peterhof Palace. What a rush that was! Admittedly, we snuck away from the garden tour, which I felt focused excessively on the fountains. Instead we bought ice-cream and sat in the sun near the large fountain in front of the palace. At one point, the wind shifted and we were doused with water but it felt great in the warmth of the sun. Also while docked in St.Petersburg one night we sat on deck of the boat. The night had already been a special one for me. After getting a glass of champagne in the Chagall Lounge, I went outside on deck to experience one of the famous “White Nights.” Several of us sat in lounge chairs until 1:00am talking about nothing of importance whatsoever and experiencing the intoxicating view, a sky that appeared a perpetual sunset: pink, purple and orange. It was a perfect vacation moment. I could go on about things like the food etc., but I think you already get the idea this was a great vacation, a fantasy vacation, especially the White Nights and that one night in particular. I only write so much because something reminded me of this special vacation and writing about it brings back fond memories which I have enjoyed sharing (I realize it must seem as though I have too much time on my hands). So, there it is. The above mentioned is the reason I called this a “fantasy vacation.” As far as your deciding between Uniworld and Viking, I can only tell you I have never experienced Viking but those on the boat I overheard comparing Viking to Uniworld, liked Uniworld better. As far as Slavik, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say a proper good-bye to him and I regret this. Therefore, I didn’t have a chance to get his contact information. Perhaps one day he will contact me. That would be a wonderful surprise. KM
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kathymoorskathymoorsMember since 1/8/2013 Login to add friend Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:42 AM
Was that you who called? Please call me back...
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