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Author: hyfly

Joined: 7/12/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2005

June 05, 2013

We have taken eleven riverboat trips and enjoyed them all.  We like the fact we only have to unpack once.  The ship is clean and nice.  The crew and staff have been excellent.  We enjoy the smaller group of fellow travelers.  You meet so many new friends and seem to have so much in common.  We booked this trip because fellow travelers had spoken highly of the trip and the incentive from Grand Circle and the special deal on the pre-trip,


We have to say this was one of our favorites.  I have to say a special Thank you for the great Program Director, Violetta Balakireva.  She made the pre-trip and trip itself extra special.  She could not have done more.  She loves what she does and passes that on to everyone she comes in touch with.   She goes that extra mile.  The Captain, Konstantin was so friendly and always had a smile on his face.  He was so pleasant to talk to.  The rest of the ship crew were also friendly and helpful. 

We read comments on trips before we go.  There was a comment about not happy about the time it took to get from ship to St. Petersburg and Moscow.  This was not a problem.  Our Tour Director was always making this time informative and interesting.  I would rather stay on the ship with all the pleasant amenities than pack and stay in a hotel two more times.  On the ship there are so many extra things to do between activities and the meals and staff are fantastic and also time to mingle with friends.   You don't get to do that in the Hotels.  It also is harder to find locations to eat on your own as not all meals included at Hotels.  Other Riverboat still stay at Hotels and we have heard it is more expensive and not as much fun.


We had a little delay due to ice on the Lake.  Grand Circle and the staff made plan B a great success.  I enjoyed the little town of Mandrogy.   I bought most of gifts in that small community.  The items were made right in front of me and the quality was excellent.


We enjoyed the entire Trip.  We felt the people and country were much better than we expected.  I have a different concept about Russia.  I have told all my friends what a great trip it was.  The towns and sites are beautiful.


So to sum up.  I thank Grand Circle for a great trip and for everyone who added to making that possible. 

Glenn and Shirley Niederwerfer

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 724
GCT Trips Taken: 14
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Antarctica, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 05, 2013

 We had Violetta in 2004 on her first trip with GCT. She had just been hired as the office manager for the St. Petersburg office. GCT had offered to have her take the trip to learn the product, but she felt that she would learn more working the trip as a PD. She was our PD. She was warm and freindly as well as being very knowledgible. At the time, she had a high school aged son and wanted to stay put in St. Petersburg, rather than spending her time away from home. Apparently she wanted to get out of the office and back to working with us travelers, once he was done with school.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 188
GCT Trips Taken: 13
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

June 14, 2013

This trip was a favorite of ours.  We also had Violetta and she made the bus rides very interesting and we liked being able to stay on the ship the entire time rather than use a hotel in Moscow.  If Grand Circle does eventually offer the trip of the Ukraine, we hope they will allow everyone to be on the ship the full time instead of a hotel.

You will be able to read the entire passenger list before you go on the trip.  It will be in one of the books which Grand Circle will send you.

We purchased the set of seven Russian dolls from the gift shop on board the Rossia.  The quality was excellent and we found the price to be fair.  They are a favorite keepsake of this trip to Russia.  We hope to take the trip again in the future.

Also, we had opportunities to get to know all the Program Directors and they were all very nice.

Have a wonderful experience!




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