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Author: patmckinney

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 50
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

29 countries

Traveler Since: 2009

April 08, 2011

We are going to Russia in July and would like suggestions on what travelers have experienced in terms of cost for the Russian dolls that fit inside each other.

I know I have seen them in Alaska but I am clueless about what to look for in quality and where to consider buying in Russia.

We will be on the river cruise and also would like to know your favorite shopping ports for that trip.  Did you find anything you did not expect?  What is your favorite memento of a Russian trip?

We are not "shoppers"...the history and experience is most important to us, so I want to minimize the time I have to spend searching [and wondering if I got  a decent deal] on gifts for my friends.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 08, 2011

There is a gift shop on the ship, and the prices seemed comparable to those on shore.  But, of course, the ones in the cities have a larger selection.

When I was there last August, I purchased a couple of the little lacquer boxes (I collect little boxes).  One afternoon, one of the PDs, a few members of the crew, and one of the gift shop staff showed us what to look for when we purchased souveniers.  And they demonstrated ways to wear the beautiful shawls that are for sale.

The dolls come in different sizes.  There are the traditional ones of the mother and contemporary political and movie dolls. 

Author: patmckinney

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 50
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

29 countries

Traveler Since: 2009

April 09, 2011

Pauline, thank you so much for your reply.  Appreciate it.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 150
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

April 09, 2011

We found that the Russian dolls in the ship's gift shop were of excellent quality.

Many of the "stands" selling dolls still smelled of lacquer and the pictures and faces painted on them were not of the same quality.

If the beautiful details of the painting on the dolls are important to you, the ones we saw on the ship were of superior quality.

Yes, they were costly but we are careful shoppers and are very happy with our purchase.  If you are Inner Circle, you get a discount on purchases made on the ship.

We have our dolls on a shelf in our Family Room and everytime we pass by we are reminded of a fantastic trip to Russia.

We are considering taking the trip again in the future.  We signed up for all the optionals and felt they were all memorable except for the Star Wars but it might be of interest to others.

The ballet, the folk dancing show, the Russian circus, etc. were excellent (cannot remember all of them).

Have a great trip.

 

 

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 09, 2011

I didn't look at the dolls in the souveneir shops, as I wasn't intending to buy one.  But my niece, who has a pre-school, e-mailed me to ask for one if it wasn't too much trouble.  So I did get a small one for her in the gift shop on the ship.  It has all ten inside.  It had to be small, because I didn't bring a large suitcase.

That shop also has the lacquer boxes, some porcelain, glass carvings, shawls, and jewelry. 

In both Moscow and St. Petersburg, you're taken to a large souveneir shop with quite a bit of time to spend, mostly to use the bathrooms.  Those are the best and cleanest you will see on shore.  And they don't mind you using them, because you will also go through the shop and may buy something.

On the ship, before you get to a town there will be handouts describing the history of the place and descriptions of the specialized crafts available.  There is also a booklet in your cabin going over all this.  And, of course, your PD is knowledgeable.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 09, 2011

This is for Jayge.  Last August, although Star City was listed on the itinerary as an optional, it had been replaced by a visit to two Jewish memorial sites in Moscow.  I had not intended to go to Star City anyway, but I did visit the two synagogues and found them deeply moving.  There were a few people who had wanted to go to Star City and they arranged to hire a guide and driver.  I was told that it's a very long drive for a very short visit.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 150
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

April 09, 2011

Thanks for the update for Star City.  I assume other people didn't think it too worthwhile.

Incidentally, to anyone taking the Russia Revealed trip, it is a great one.  Someone mentioned the long bus rides to get from the ship to the city of Moscow but to my husband and me, the bus rides are usually very interesting especially when the Program Directors talk about their Country, the customs, the taxes, the schools and many other subjects.  Also, it is a great opportunity to ride through the countryside and the city until you get to wherever you are heading.

Another favorite thing that we enjoy is using the ship as our hotel instead of having to stay at inner city hotels just to be close in.  We have done both and prefer the ship.  The food is delicious and you have so many wonderful travelers to talk to and mingle with on board the ship.

We have enjoyed all the six river trips we have taken with Grand Circle and now we are repeating one this summer which we went on 3 years ago;  Eastern Europe and the Black Sea..can hardly wait to go.  We will be having the same Program Director and she was wonderful.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 09, 2011

I was the one that mentioned the long bus rides, but it was all part of the experience. 

A few years ago, I took the Grand European Rivers from Romania to Amsterdam.  It was two back-to-back river trips, and we had a wonderful time. 

My next two trips will be the escorted ones.  Ireland this coming June and England, Scotland and Wales next year.  After that, I'll have to see.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

April 10, 2011

OK. you asked for suggestions. I recommend checking out the "Woody Hayes Ohio State Buckeyes Russian Nesting Stacker Dolls":

Author: quincymarie

Joined: 12/30/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2003

April 10, 2011

the ones on the ship are fairly priced- no real bargains on the street- gift shops pricey- there are lots of Vodkas to try and buy if you are interested- there is ice on the ship-

 

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 136
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

April 12, 2011

Russian souvenirs...

I was in St. Petersburg 4/5 years ago on a regular cruise ship.  There is a difference in quality so you do have to look at the item.  The prices vary widely, but it was easy to find the lacquer boxes and stacking dolls for under $10 at that time.  "Doll" pins and fridge magnets were $1 to $5.  You can find very small boxes (1-2 in) which can cost the same as much larger boxes because of the detailed painting on the box.  They are beautiful and some depict fairy tales.  I was on a shore excursion that included lunch, vodka tasteing, dancing show and a traditional craft table.  I was able to buy a signed & dated stacking fairy tale set of 6 different winter scenes, rangeing in size from 1" -  8",  that is so beautifully painted in such detail, that I couldn't pass up at only $35.  ( I didn't even try to bargain for a lower price.)  The others at my table were envious and sorry that they didn't get to it first and friends at home have commented on how pretty it is.  I just love it and the memories it brings to mind.

My husband & I are taking the Russian Revealed trip in Sept. 2011 with a pre-stay in Kiev.  I collect "pysanky" eggs.  (Hand painted/decorated real or wooden eggs)  I'm hoping to find a large selection throughout this trip.  I think a couple dozen (or more!) to add to my collection would be nice.  I keep reminding my husband that THIS trip was HIS idea.  I CAN'T WAIT TO GO SHOPPING!!!!   Him...not so much!

Author: bad758

Joined: 4/28/2010
Posts: 27
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2001

April 13, 2011

I had no interest in the dolls or the boxes, but the amber is beautiful and I came home with beautiful jewelry!!

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 13, 2011

I bought a beautiful bracelet from the gift shop on the ship.  It's alternating small squares of green and cherry amber.  You'll see a lot of green amber that looks like clear green glass.  This is a better quality.  Remember when buying amber that if you buy a bracelet or ring, it can't be re-sized.  Amber is flammable and soldering is too dangerous.  I wear my bracelet carefully.

In Uglich, you'll see very pretty watches with flowered (and other designs) porcelain faces.  Just keep in mind that they don't work very well.  I have to take mine back again for repairs.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 150
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

April 13, 2011

Eastern Europe and the Black Sea.

We are due to leave in a few weeks on this trip; it will be a second time around for us and we are excited about going.

I have read the reviews and none of them are very recent.

Would some of you who have taken this trip fairly recently comment on how you enjoyed it.

Thank you.

Jayge

Author: avalarue

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 70
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2008

April 21, 2011

Hootie, what date in September are you going? We are booked on September 22nd. My brother took this trip three years ago and raved about it so much. Really looking forward to it. Great tips on shopping. I'll remember to look in the gift shop!

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 136
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

April 22, 2011

avalarue....Russian trip.

We are on the 9/22, Moscow to St. Petersburg, Tikhi Don.  We are doing the Kiev pre-trip. 

It must be nice to have a relative that has recently taken the trip to go to with questions.  I like that GC has this travel forum.  I've learned alot, and found that I'm not alone on some issues.

See you in September...maybe!

hootie

Author: khwmby53

Joined: 3/25/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

Have visited England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Holland, Switzerland, Germany

Traveler Since: 2007

April 28, 2011

Just as a FYI - I was on the Rossia in May  2010 and if you were an Inner Circle member you always had to TELL the gift shop workers that were checking you out that you wanted the 10% discount (they did not automatically give it to you even when you showed them your gold name badge).  The reception desk (for Tshirts and such) did it as they were going thru the computer system for the payment and receipt and your Inner Circle status was on the room assignment

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

April 29, 2011

Yes, I had forgotten about that.  The staff in the gift shops on the ships are not part of the crew.  The gift shop is a contract operation and you pay for what you buy separately.  If you purchase any of the t-shirts or jackets or embroidered aprons that are on display near the reception desk, those are charged to your room.

Author: liz109

Joined: 8/10/2010
Posts: 13
GCT Trips Taken: 13
OAT Trips Taken: 5
Countries Visited:

Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia (pre-breakup), Czech Republic, Croatia, England, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece & Greek Islands, Germany, Hungary, Jordan, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia (both pre and post breakup ), Serbia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland , Syria, Tibet, Turkey, Yugoslavia ( pre breakup), Acalpulco, Hong Kong, and via the Trans Siberian Railroad, Mongolia and Siberia...

Traveler Since: 2004

May 01, 2011

I was on the Tiki Don for the Russia's Golden Rings - Moscow to Kazan on the Volga. DItto on all the comments about the shop on board - the quality of their merchandise is very good.  In Moscow, there are TONS of tourist shops with TONS of wooden stacking dolls, laquer boxes and everything  else immaginable.

I collected the "Fabrege" eggs, and found on the ship a large ( about 4" high)  enamled egg in it's own stand, that opens to reveal, a large royal  coronation coach simarlarly enameld and decorated with wheels that actually roll !  On board, the cost was about $150 ( with my 10$ Inner Circle discount and it was the last cruise of the season) .  In MOscow in the shops, the price for the  EACT SAME EGG was $225 - $250!  And I just returned from the Eastern Europe and the Black Sea and found these same egg/coronation coaches in Prague  where  the price was over $400 !!!

Also, you can get some absolutely GORGEOUS shawls in Russia, not that they are actually made there, but shawls are a very traditional Russian accessory.  Also, around Red Square are vendors that sell fur hats and  muffs.  I got a GORGEOUS silver fox hat and matching muff for about $90 - and all the ladies on the trip wanted to buy them from me!

Author: robsmom

Joined: 9/21/2010
Posts: 34
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2011

May 01, 2011

Can't wait until June 2. Where is the best place to purcahse the shawls?

 

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