I chose this cruise because - late at night - I received an email from a travel meetup group with the famous Russian church spires (church of the spilled blood) - saying - come with us to Russia!. I called that morning and signed up - seriously, that short of a decision.
I had always wanted to go to Russia - my grandparents are from there - and I was going to be on the Volga River - turns out that my grandparents were from about 300 miles away from the cruise. I also liked that we would have rooms with balconies.
First off - this isn't like a typical high cost cruise - it's of modest cost. However, I much preferred to hear the local Russian singers (there was a musician who played that Russian guitar-ish instrument and she was amazing) - and see Russian dancers - we were very much steeped into the culture.
The same thing with the menu - there was always a fish dish, and fish soup. The food was simple (I could have done without the low grade cavier and vodka at the vodka tasting) - but each night it was a different part of Russia that was being featured - so hints of the Ukraine one night - dorato fish to remind me of the northern part of Russia, and so on.
One thing I didn't realize was how many locks there were - must have been 30 of them.... one time there were 6 in a row!
I would have preferred that we could have spent more time in the villages. I'm not sure for the reason - because we could have easily stayed longer and still made our timing (I could feel the boat slow down in the evenings).
It was wonderful to go during white nights. It became somewhat dusky around 11 PM - but was bright as daylight @ 3 AM. The ship had very good dark curtains on the days we didn't want to be woken up so early.
We were on the 3rd floor. The down side of that is that there was only one stairway to get there - at the back of the ship. So, if you're in the bar (the only place with wifi) - and want to go to your room - you have to walk the length of the ship. It only holds a couple hundred people so was not terrible - but I think they should have a second stairway.
Oh, and don't get the massages from the doctor - they're very clinical.....
I liked the cabin. The bathrooms are large (for a cruise ship) - They had an odd set up where you had to have your room key in the holder for the lights to work - so a few times the bathroom light didn't work until I remembered. The rooms are clean - and I loved having the balcony - we found that we could disconnect the walls between the balconies and go from room to room