Back in November, we wrote that AmaWaterways had scrapped its 2015 season in Europe. AmaWaterways was chartering the vessel that it called AmaKatarina from Vodohod company, a Russian interest that operates on the web at http://www.bestrussiancruises.com. Of course, AmaWaterways’ abrupt exit left Vodohod in a pinch to fill its vessel, which it calls MS Mstislav Rostropovich. Vodohod’s Director of Incoming Department Irina Pigalova reached out to tell us about her company. Here’s her story. The story has been lightly edited for clarity. — Ralph Grizzle
Cruise company VODOHOD, which owns the largest cruise fleet in Russia, invites guests from all over the world to cruise with us, so that you can be assured that travelling in Russia is safe, entertaining and intellectually enriching. Give yourself an opportunity to look at our enigmatic country from the inside, to get acquainted with our culture and mentality. We truly believe that travelling brings people from all over the world closer together and helps to establish friendly relations between nations.
Russia is the largest country in the world, and there a lot of places to see and to go, but for many years the most popular destinations have been Russia’s two capitals – Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Among the variety of different ways to visit them, the most comfortable and relaxing way is, of course, to go on a river cruise. VODOHOD cruise offers a perfect combination of vibrant cities and peaceful provinces, so the guests who start this exiting voyage can be sure that they’ll see several faces of the unique country, which combines enchantment of glorious past and perspectives of promising future.
Hospitality is one of the most valued traits in Russia. Every hostess does her best to provide the kindest welcome, to treat the guests with the most scrumptious meal and accommodate them in the most comfortable room. VODOHOD takes over the long-lasting traditions of hospitality and starts the cruise with a warm welcome with a traditional Bread and Salt ceremony – according to the ancient Slavic traditions bread symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and salt protects against hostile forces and charms. Treating the guest with bread and salt established friendly and trusting relationships between host and guest.
Sailing along Russian rivers is very special by itself. The guests enjoy peaceful scenery: beautiful natural landscapes, quiet little villages on the river banks plus one of most exiting experiences for our guests is the passage through waterways’ locks. On the route from Moscow to St.Petersburg or vice versa VODOHOD ships go through 17 locks. On the way from Moscow to St.Petersburg the river level gradually goes down, and on the way from St.Petersburg to Moscow gradually goes up. The guests enjoy watching the mechanism of sluice from the inside. Just imagine how fascinating it is to watch the tons of water filling in the sluice compartment and lifting the motorship up to the surface.
There is no doubt that a Russian river cruise is an exciting journey as it allows the guests to get acquainted with several kinds of Russian cities, see the everyday life of Russian people in the province, and learn something new about Russian history and traditions. Journeys like this allow one to learn new culture and help us all to better understand foreign people with different mentalities. — Irina Pigalova, Director of Incoming Department, Vodohod LLC.