Frequently Asked Questions
Russia Boutique River Cruises FAQs
The information provided below should help answer some questions you might have about Uniworld’ s Boutique River Cruise in Russia. Additional information can be found in our Cruise Companion for Russia in the BEFORE YOU GO section of this website.
Q: Do I need a visa?
US and Canadian citizens do require a visa to visit Russia. Please see the VISAS section of our website for information about how to apply online. If a Russian Letter of Invitation is required for your application, the visacentral.com site can assist with that as well. Please note that obtaining the proper travel documentation is solely your responsibility.
Q: Why do you need a Passenger Information Form?
Due to immigration and security measures worldwide, passenger information must be fully completed and received by Uniworld by the time of final payment. Final documentation will not be processed without receipt of the Passenger Information Form. One completed form is required per guest. Please click here to access our Passenger Information Form page, which provides a printable form, instructions, and additional information.
Q: What should I wear on my cruise?
It’ s best to pack for a range of weather conditions, depending on the season. Wearing layers will allow you to easily adjust to temperature changes. Limiting your wardrobe to a simple mix- and-match color scheme will keep your bags to a minimum.
We recommend wearing comfortable, smart-casual clothing both onshore and onboard. We also suggest sturdy walking shoes, as you will do a significant amount of walking on shore excursions, often over cobblestones or uneven terrain. A sun hat, rain gear, and a coat or wrap for chilly evenings are useful items to have. For dining ashore, the ballet, special events onboard, etc., men may want to bring a sports jacket and women a cocktail dress or pantsuit. Please note that shorts are not allowed at dinner aboard the ship.
Q: Is laundry service available?
The River Victoria offers laundry service for an additional fee. No dry cleaning services are available.
Q: What’ s the food like onboard?
Our skilled chefs use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients for all onboard meals, and prepare a mix of international and traditional Russian cuisine.
Q: Can I drink the water?
Your ship has a water filtration system, and bottled water is also available for purchase. Complimentary water is served at all meals onboard and replenished daily in your stateroom. Additional bottled water can be purchased just about anywhere onshore.
Q: Can you accommodate special diets?
Kindly inform us in advance if you have specific dietary requests(e.g., low-fat, low-calorie, sugar-free, vegetarian, etc.).We will do our very best to accommodate your needs given the resources available to us.
Q: What if I need medical assistance?
There is a small clinic onboard staffed by a Russian medical doctor. There is a nominal charge for each visit, which must be paid in cash(Russian rubles).Should you need further medical attention, you will need to obtain it at a local facility at your own expense. We highly recommend purchasing a Travel Protection Plan that covers medical expenses.
Q: Can I use my credit and debit cards in Russia?
Most major credit cards are accepted in Russia and onboard the ship. ATM machines are also widely available in Russia and usually accept Visa and Mastercard, but may not accept US debit/ATM cards. There is no ATM machine aboard your ship. All major hotels have currency exchange facilities.
The Russian ruble is the official currency onboard. Prices may be posted or quoted in rubles, US dollars, or euros for your convenience, but only rubles are accepted as payment. Optional excursions can only be paid for by credit card(cash is not accepted); all other onboard charges can be paid in rubles. Travelers Checks and debit cards are not accepted onboard, nor do we recommend using them in Russia. The best way to pay onboard is by credit card. Money cannot be exchanged onboard the ship.
Please note that many shops in Russia may be closed on Sundays and holidays. Larger stores accept most major credit cards; market vendors and smaller stores usually only accept local currency. Officially, rubles must be used for all purchases in Russia; some souvenir shops will accept US dollars or euros( in good condition), but we advise using only rubles when ashore. We also recommend keeping a small amount of cash on hand for tips and to purchase souvenirs and sundry items.
It is a good idea to let your credit card issuer and bank know of your plans to travel aboard so they can expect foreign transactions on your account. Please see the Cruise Companion for Russia for more detailed information.[link]
Q: What is the voltage?
Voltage in Russia and onboard is 220 v/50 Hz with 2-pin“ Schuko” outlets. Your electrical appliances from home will require an adapter and/or converter.
Q: Is there onboard Internet access?
The River Victoria has an Internet Corner with computer stations that you are welcome to use. You may also use your own laptop to access our complimentary Wi-Fi in the ship’ s public areas.Service may be briefly interrupted in remote areas, while sailing, or when moving through locks, and the speed will likely be slower than what you are used to back home.
Q: Where does the ship dock?
In many Russian ports, your ship is small enough to dock within easy walking distance of the historic city center. Elsewhere, the ship may need to dock farther away and a motorcoach transfer will be provided. There may be times when your ship moors next to another ship or between ships, especially in busy ports. Docking locations are determined by the local harbor authorities, not Uniworld or the ship’ s Captain.
Q: How much walking should I expect?
Our Russia itinerary focuses on places of cultural and historical interest, which are often best experienced on a guided walking tour. You’ ll enjoy your cruise most if you are in good health and able to walk significant distances, often on cobblestones, uneven terrain, and up and down stairs.
River cruise ships are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters, nor are many Russian buildings or historic sites. Getting around the ship requires navigating numerous steep stairs. Guests with mobility issues may be unable to participate in all shore excursions, but are always welcome to relax onboard and enjoy a spa treatment or quiet time with a good book.
Q: How do I book optional excursions once onboard?
Optional excursions can be booked with your Cruise Manager and paid with a credit card(cash not accepted).Some optional excursions need a minimum number of participants to operate. There are no refunds for cancellations made within 24 hours of the tour start time or for pre-paid tours. On pre/post-cruise extensions, you may book optional excursions with your Local Host and pay by credit card(cash not accepted).Optional excursions cannot be reserved prior to the cruise.
Q: Is smoking allowed?
Smoking is not allowed aboard any sightseeing motorcoach. Onboard your ship, smoking is allowed only in a designated area of the Sun Deck. We also ask guests to refrain from smoking on shore excursions/tours.
Q: What if a major tourist site on my itinerary is closed?
We typically arrange a city tour in these rare situations, or allow extra free time to explore the city’ s top sites on your own.
Q: Can I extend or customize my river cruise or land extension?
There are no extensions available on our Russia itinerary. If you are traveling with a group of 10 or more guests, the cruise itinerary may be customized to suit the group’ s needs.
Q: How accurate are the excursion descriptions?
We do our best to deliver all excursions as promoted, yet there may be times when certain circumstances beyond our control require us to make changes to scheduled activities.
Q : Could my itinerary change for any reason?
The order of sightseeing in Russia is subject to change due to holiday closures or unannounced government functions(particularly in Moscow) and other factors. We make every effort to follow the itinerary as promoted, but reserve the right to make any necessary changes to ensure the safety of our guests and ships. Time permitting, we will let you know of any known changes before you board the ship.
Q: Does each group on excursions have its own guide?
Each group has its own English-speaking guide. Our local experts are considered the best in the industry and our complimentary audio headsets make it easy to hear every word of their insightful commentary.
Q: Can I take children on my cruise?
In our experience, most young children— especially those under 4— are simply not yet old enough to enjoy river cruising. We make no special arrangements for little ones and offer few kid-friendly activities onboard or onshore. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older at all times.
Q: Is there onboard entertainment?
Yes, we often invite talented local performers(music, dance, traditional arts, etc.) onboard from time to time to provide after-dinner entertainment.
Q: What about gratuities, onboard or onshore?
Guidelines for onboard gratuities for the ship’ s staff and crew, as well as your onshore tour guides can be found in the Cruise Companion guide for Russia. Please note that onboard gratuities cannot be billed to your onboard account or paid with a credit card; only Russian rubles or US dollars are accepted. When going ashore on your own, keep in mind that tipping is less expected and more modest in Russia than it is in North America(although equally appreciated).
Q: Where can I get weather updates during my cruise?
We provide a daily printed program that includes updated weather information, and weather reports may also be accessed via the infotainment system aboard each ship. Up-to-the-minute international weather conditions are also easily available online at sites such as weather. com.