Ask Harriet: Laundry, bar costs in Russia

Without a doubt, one of the most common questions I hear from travelers is what to pack. And I have to confess, it’s a dilemma I face every time I travel, too—but it gets a little easier if you approach the task strategically.

Q: Several of us are discussing our upcoming trip on the M/S Rossia from Moscow to St. Petersburg and were wondering about the incidental costs, such as laundry service and bar tabs. What is the cost for laundry service? We are trying to decide what to pack versus washing.

—Marilee & Tom Biddle, Huntington Beach, California

A: Hi Marilee and Tom. We look forward to welcoming you on your early summer departure! Traveling during that time of year will likely be a bit easier for you, because you don’t have to pack quite as much and the clothes and supplies that are needed are more lightweight.

I’m also pleased to share that there is a laundry washing service that is staffed by crew members on the Rossia. The approximate price per item is $7 for a man’s shirt, pants, and for skirts and women’s slacks. A woman’s blouse is about $4, and lingerie and socks are both approximately $3. There is no dry-cleaning service available, and no ironing board in the cabins, although you may pay a small fee for laundry staff to iron your items. As for drinks, like most of our river cruises, a beer or mixed drink will vary from $3-$6 (currency is in U.S. dollars) and there are daily specials for which discounts are offered.

If you want more advice about what to bring with you—including how to layer clothing and stay within one color palette—please read this month’s Traveler Story, featuring Deby Weinstein. This 7-time traveler managed to pack just a carry-on for Russia Revealed—quite impressive considering it’s a 15-day vacation.

And as always, you may consult your Traveler Handbook for the daily average temperatures of where you’ll be visiting so that you may plan accordingly. Enjoy your trip!

Do you have questions for me about trips you’re taking or vacations you would like to go on with Grand Circle? Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!