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From St. Petersburg to Moscow - Discovering My Russian Roots
Journeywoman's Best Cultural Experience of 2013

Russian Culture 101 ...

Kudos to the staff for their daily talks and demonstrations that they called, 'Grand Circle Discovery Series.' I prefer to call it 'Russian Culture 101' as it offered me the glimpse of Russian heritage that I was looking for.

Russian vodka

We learned about the Russian language and a bit about its alphabet, the country's harsh complicated history and the 'hands on' art of vodka tasting. We had cooking and tasting classes, a Russian music concert and information sessions on the country's crafts.

Russian dolls

In order to make us savvy shoppers we learned all about what makes an authentic Matrioshka nesting doll. The next day we were given wooden replicas of the dolls and asked to paint our own versions. Naturally, mine was a Journeywoman Nesting Doll.

Cruise certificate

Who knew that two solid weeks of cruising, sightseeing, street life, meeting the Russian people and learning about their way of life could be so informative and so much fun? For this traveller, it was certainly mission accomplished! It's my pleasure to offer one more award to Grand Circle's list of kudos. I call my award, 'Journeywoman's Best Cultural Experience of 2013'.

Is Grand Circle Cruise Line solo friendly?

Without a doubt I would say that this Grand Circle Cruise to Russia earns a gold star for their solo-friendliness.

Smiling cruise staff

(1) To begin, Russia is a very hard country to explore on your own. This cruise takes you to the most important city landmarks and then adds the personal touches of rural visits. This type of itinerary requires Grand Circle's extensive insider's knowledge and connections.
(2) There is plenty of opportunity for company. The cruise I was on had lots of single passengers or women who were travelling with a pal or a relative.
(3) Bus travel is set up so that you are always with the same travellers. Single passengers tend to sit with other singles and chat. Voila! Friendships are formed.
(4) The dining room offers open seating for every meal so you are never alone.
(5) Your program director is directly responsible for you. If you don't show up at the bus she will seek you out to make sure you are OK.
(6) And last but not least - There is low cost or no single supplement for solos. In fact according to USA Today...

'Grand Circle Cruise Line is targeting solo travelers in an even bigger way for 2014. Already known for its solo traveler-friendly policies, the small ship and river cruise company has announced it is dedicating an additional 1,160 cabins on 14 river itineraries for singles. The rooms will be available without the extra charge known as a "single supplement" that cruise lines typically charge a solo traveler to occupy a cabin designed for two. The move comes as the percentage of the line's customers who are traveling alone continues to rise. Solo travelers now account for one in four of all Grand Circle customers, up from one in five just five years ago, and the line believes the ratio this year could approach one in three. It projects solo travelers will account for a record 30% of the 40,000 passengers it will carry in 2014.

For further information:

Photo Albums of Journeywoman's Trip to Russia

Russian woman in Goritsky

What Do Russians Look Like?
Memories of Russia
White Nights and Interesting Days in Russia


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