Though I'm guessing she's still wishing she was in Russia. Apparently, the river cruise was the trip of a lifetime.
All of her--and my--worries proved to be unfounded. The ship, a Russian-owned and operated vessel, proved to be just fine, with good food and a dedicated, well-trained staff (with the exception of her excursions leader, who she thought was disorganized. My guess? Mom's right. Apparently this woman kept losing tourists at the sites!).
|Red Square (photo by ThisIsBossi)|
She believes her first mistake was not scheduling days, both before and after the trip, to tour Moscow and St. Petersburg on her own. With only the day and a half of tours scheduled with the cruiseline, she left feeling that she'd given these fascinating cities short shrift.
She also regretted having paid more to get a double cabin to herself. She was told by the agent that the singles cabins were claustrophobicly small. But she saw some aboard, and wished she'd saved the several hundred dollars she'd spent for more spacious digs. The singles were just fine, she felt. The lesson there: get actual measurements. The taste of an agent may not reflect your own taste (and sometimes, dare I say it, the fact that their commission is a percentage of the sale price may also come into play).
One excellent decision Mom made came on the first night, when she impulsively sat down with a group of Australian travelers. Turned out, the seat you picked for the first night was your assigned seat for the rest of the sailing. But the Aussies were marvelous: witty, friendly, a bit bawdy, great dinner companions. The next lesson? I guess it must be: sit with Australians if you can, as they're almost always the most fun!
She's eager to take another river cruise, having discovered that most onboard were her age, and moved at much the same pace. She loved the social nature of the experience, and the ability to mix visits with very famous cities, with smaller, quirky little communities that just happen to be along the way.
Whew! I guess I did okay helping her book this one.