Q – Well it finally looks like it is time for us to visit Russia as it would appear that they are now our closest pals. My wife and I have cruised before, mainly in France and one memorable cruise along the Duoro with AMA. We are semi-lux travelers and have reached the conclusion that Russia is a place worth knowing better since we may run into some Russians the next time we enter a voting booth.  But, seriously, much of what we are seeing in Russia seems to be the “poor sister” of a major line. You just don’t see beautiful new ships being launched for this market. So, instead of wasting our time on the fake riverboat channels, we’ve come to you. Please tell us the best way to see and sail the Volga. We can devote about 10-14 nights to this vacation and we would love to include some nights in Moscow and St. Petersburg. By the way, is there any way we might meet Putin. Willing to pay for it. 

A –  We would suggest you look at the Volga Dream’s 12-Night Program between Moscow and St. Petersburg which gives you three nights in Moscow, 3 in St. Petersburg, sandwiched around a six-night Volga cruise on the best available riverboat option available. The crew is quite good as is the food, and we don’t know of any boat quite as luxurious on Russian rivers. Your travel consultant will likely recommend Abercrombie & Kent or Exeter International, two luxury tour operators that hold blocks of space on the “Dream”.  

Getting Russian governmental approval to operate a riverboat with a Russian crew is quite challenging and most of the riverboat companies prefer to maintain a charter or leasing operation in Russia. Meeting Putin for lunch is only possible if you agree to pay off the country’s considerable debt or if you are an actual Trump Lad. But should you take the Volga Dream, keep your eye peeled for a shirtless Putin on water skis just to the left of the vessel? It could happen.