Found this posted elsewhere on Tripadvisor under St. Petersburg to Moscow on MS Zosima Shashkov with Gate 1 Travel”
all credits to "joyfuljourneys26"
Ship: Our ship was the MS Zosima Shashkov. The ship was built in 1986, has been refurbished, and is in very good condition. Clean, comfortable common areas, lounges, and bars on 4 floors. There are 2 large dining rooms. Our room was small—just big enough for 2 single beds with a table between them and a window above. There were shelves and a closet to store our clothes and other items. Space under the bed to store a small suitcase. The bathroom had a toilet and a sink, and a shower curtain that wrapped around when you used the shower. Sure, the entire sink area got wet when you showered, but there was a high shelf over the toilet that could hold things that you didn’t want to get wet. It was a way of saving space and it worked well. Each bed had a built-in light in the wall. There was one 220-V outlet with 2 places to plug in items. The small refrigerator was plugged into one of the sockets. Be sure to bring a 220-V adapter for charging electronics that are 220-V compatible, and a converter if your item is not 220-V compatible. If you have many things to plug in, bring a multiple tap to provide extra plug-in space. At the reception desk, they lent out 220-V hair dryers, but wanted them back after each use, so if you can bring your own 220-V hair dryer, you will save a lot of time. The ship offered wi-fi internet in the Small Bar at the front of the ship. Connections were spotty and depended on the ship’s location. Sometimes we had good connections and speed. We soon realized that we could almost always get connected when we were going through the locks.
Food: The food was excellent! They offered many authentic Russian and local dishes on the menu. Meals were attractively displayed, tasty, and varied. There was more than I could eat! Breakfast was buffet style, with a variety of omelets and sausages, sweet rolls, fruit, juice, and yogurt. Coffee and tea was available throughout the day. For lunch and dinner, we selected our choice of soups, entrees, and desserts from a menu for the next day. There was usually a salad or appetizer. There was enough variety to please everyone at our table. We received a bottle of water at the lunch and dinner meals. Wine, beer, and sodas were complimentary at the dinner meal. For ease with the menu orders, we were required to sit at the same table for all the lunch and dinner meals. This was a nice way to get to know some new people.
Tours: Many shore excursions were included in the cruise package. Each one included a local guide who spoke English and provided abundant information. Headsets were provided to listen to the guides with ease while we walked in various areas. We had a great guided tour through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The museum is so large that the guide was very helpful to get us to see the best artwork. Additionally, each group had our own guide from the ship who constantly watched out for us on the various tours. Katya, our group guide, was always at the end of the group, smiling, and making sure that we kept up. She was willing to take our picture for us at various sites—and she is a good photographer! Tour busses were comfortable. Some extra tours were available for an extra cost. There was something for everyone. I highly recommend the Catherine’s Palace and Peterhof Park tour, Rivers and Canals of St. Petersburg after dark, Moscow at night and Metro Tour, and the Armoury Museum of the Kremlin if these are available. We were not able to book these tours before the cruise. We signed up for these optional tours during the cruise. My only complaint about the tours was that I would have liked to spend more time at some of the sites.
Tips: Bring some one dollar US bills to give tips of $2 to $4 to the local guides and bus drivers. You can tip them with Rubles that you get at an ATM machine, but these ATMs usually dispense large bills and sometimes it is hard to get small bills in change. There are many local tours along the way. For the cruise staff and tour director, either bring US dollars or get Rubles from an ATM machine to pay these larger amounts at the end of the tour. Many street vendors take US Dollars or Euros as well.
Entertainment: The staff provided enjoyable shows with talented singers, dancers, and musicians, all in native costumes.
Activities: A variety of activities were offered during the cruise. One could participate in Russian language class, learn local dances, music, and culture, watch history movies, attend a tea ceremony, meet the Captain on the bridge, or be in a talent show. Throughout the cruise, there were times to attend very informative talks about the ports which we would be visiting. Some fun events included a pirate scavenger hunt and a dance contest. The optional Vodka Tasting was well worth the extra cost as there were delicious appetizers to go along with the vodka and special entertainment. Dress was casual on the ship. Some people dressed up a bit for the Captain’s Dinner, but it was not required.
Staff: All of the staff members were professional, friendly, and helpful. Tour Manager, Tanya, was friendly and answered any questions we had along the way. She seemed to be involved in everything!
Visa: We used the tour’s agency to arrange for our visas. It worked out well.
Note: The ship offered LIMITED wi-fi internet in the Small Bar at the front of the ship. Connections were spotty and depended on the ship’s location. Sometimes we had good connections and speed. We soon realized that we could almost always get connected when we were going through the locks.
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