Grand Circle travelers often remind me of the fascinating destinations I’ve yet to explore—and one such spot I frequently hear about is Russia. Along with the unique discoveries the country has to offer—several of which Larry O. mentions below—it seems that one of the highlights our travelers enjoy most during our Russian River Cruise is time spent aboard the ship. Here, Sunee & Kirivat J. share what they loved most about sailing aboard Grand Circle’s M/S Rossia …
I created a photo album after our Russian River Cruise on the M/S Tikhi Don last summer. Our impression of this country has been changed. The nearly four days spent in Moscow and St. Petersburg gave my wife Janet and I an appreciation for the people, their culture, and history, and a glimpse into what the future might be. Here are a few of my favorite photo excerpts. Enjoy!
“The fountains and steps at Peterhof are so amazing that you don’t know where to look. Every angle creates a new vista of sight and sound.”
“St. Basil's Cathedral was on our ‘must see’ list. Pictures don’t convey the immensity of Red Square and all of the buildings that surround it.”
“A craftsman hand-making a small ornament for one of the Kizhi Island buildings.”
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Russia Revealed was our fourth—and best—Grand Circle vacation in the past year. This was due, in large part, to the time we spent on the M/S Rossia, a lovely ship with a roomy cabin, warm and accommodating staff, and amazing food. There was always a choice of entrees including a vegetarian option, and the staff worked hard to satisfy everyone. Each afternoon, we enjoyed freshly baked cookies at the coffee station. And the restaurant manager was outstanding. He visited all of the tables in the dining room frequently, listened to travelers, and had fun with us. The staff included talented musicians, and the entertainment onboard was wonderful. The Captain, ship manager, and crew were very attentive to our needs—and always had smiles on their faces. They were always there to greet us (often handing out a cup of herbal tea or local cheese when we returned to the ship after a tour).
Grand Circle had many programs to entertain us: We painted Matryoshka dolls (Russia’s famous nesting dolls), made pelmeni (a dumpling similar to the Polish pierogi), gained an appreciation of vodka, visited the ship’s bridge, had living history lessons, enjoyed live music, and even learned to speak and read some Russian.
We enjoyed every minute of this trip, and will recommend it to our friends so that they’re able to have the same enjoyment and experiences we did. We have learned a lot and understand Russia much better. Grand Circle provided not only a spectacular tour, but a great learning experience.
Sunee & Kirivat J.
4-time travelers & Vacation Ambassadors
Larry, Sunee, and Kirivat, thanks so much for sharing your memories. One of the best rewards we can take from our travels is coming home with a better understanding of the places we visit.
I recently received this email from Pat P., who suggests Grand Circle travelers keep a daily travel journal during their journeys. Here, she describes some helpful tips for organizing this journal, along with some “extras” to include …
I’m delighted with your journal and articles—and I urge travelers to keep a journal themselves. I have one from each of my four trips with Grand Circle and they are a treasure. Many of my friends ask to see them prior to traveling with Grand Circle … During the trip, I write information that the guides tell us in a shorter version, and then do ink and watercolor sketches each day. However, you need not be an artist: A glue stick and small scissors will do the trick, and you can add a postcard or picture from a brochure to the page.
I prefer a spiral notebook without lines. They’re just easier for writing on the bus … I usually fill out the first few pages with my literary and flight information, and also record the value of the currency and the daily weather to remind me of the “feeling” of the day. When I return home, I usually paint one or two watercolors of the trip. After a recent art show, I sold three of the paintings from my national parks vacation, and one painting from my Eastern Europe trip!
My husband and I enjoy going through our journals whenever we feel like traveling, but our wallets and schedules don’t allow it. Grand Circle trips are the highlight of our retirement, and if health and wealth cooperate, we hope to see Argentina and Chile soon. It is our feeling that the quality of the trip, and knowledgeable Program Directors, make Grand Circle our choice. Thanks for the beautiful memories.