What inspired this trip?
Working in the sales and operations team, I have been asked lots of questions about ships and cruise itineraries. I decided to gather as much information about cruise companies and their ships as possible, (for example, Vodohod has more than 20 ships of different levels, 3*, 4*, 5*). As I went along with my catalogue of different cruises, I learned more about cruise programs on board, ship teams, itineraries etc. I did not even notice how a desire to take such a trip grew in me. I wanted to have a cruise trip for at least a short distance.
When Tatiana, my wife, informed me about a discounted cruise tour in April on "Alexander Nevsky" ship, I said "yes!" without any doubts. Fortunately, we could afford a trip from Volgograd to Samara. The cruise was to go via Kamyushin, Saratov and many smaller towns.
Later, I was pleased to learn the "Alexander Nesvky" ship was assigned to the Port of Volgograd. This ship stands on the pier in Volzhsky city and its captain lives in our city.
Views from the Volga River
What was your favourite part of the trip?
I cannot tell you which of the parts were my favourite; I enjoyed every minute on the ship, from the moment we got on board in Volgograd till the moment we went ashore in Samara! The atmosphere on board the cruise ship was totally different from anywhere else that I had experienced before. It is something that one cannot describe with words; it is something that one should personally experience.
What suprised you most about your trip?
As I have mentioned earlier, every moment on board was a great experience. However, one of the moments of the journey had touched me deeper than anything else. When we were approaching Samara, that was not far from the Zhiguli mountains, we were informed that the ship would not go northwards towards Kazan, after arrival in Samara it would return to Volgograd. It was due to the fact that there were still ice blocks coming from the north of the river. So, as the ship went along the beautiful banks of the river, we could see ice blocks floating by the ship. The banks of the river were flooded. There were some places where we could see no shore at all and it appeared as if the whole world was covered by water. One should really experience it to feel what it is like; there was a perfect silence, except for splashes of water and the whiff of wind as the ship went along.
Sunlight on the Volga River
What kind of traveller would enjoy this trip?
Anyone who would like to escape from the noise and hustle of the city.
I met lots of people there of different ages and from different backgrounds. However, different people on the ground became neighbours on the ship. Once on board, everyone feels not like they're on some kind of a vehicle, but on a new home, that is surrounded by water and washes away thoughts of daily issues.
There were different travellers; however, I would like to mention two people to support what I mean by different backgrounds. One of them was a miller from a plant in St. Petersburg and the other was a professor of Faculty of Law in VOLGU, Volgograd. The former one was travelling alone and the latter with his wife. They told me different stories about their lives; however, their stories about travelling on the ship were similar. I learned from them lots about different cruises. They said that whenever there is a promotional cruise they would take it and they do this on a regular basis. Everyone agrees that if a person takes a cruise once, they will long for the next time to be on board. No other type of travelling can be compared to travelling a board of a cruise ship.
There were different sorts of master classes, concerts, performances and discos. There was the ship's newspaper issued every day that stated the day's events on board. I cannot imagine a person who would not enjoy it.
Where is next on your list?
It is currently my dream, but I hope it will come true and I will be able to accomplish it in the future. I would like to take a cruise to Valaam Archipelago. The cruises starts from Rostov-On-Don, along the Volga River all the way to Moscow, then to St. Petersburg and then via the cities of the Golden Ring to Valaam.