The Yenisey River 2-Week Cruise
Green Forests, Beautiful Rivers, Stalin's Gulag Ruins,
Million Population Cities -- Siberia Had Them All
I guess that anytime you make a person stay awake or allow only some snoozing,
he or she was bound to be irritable. I think that this was what happened during
the first two days of the tour. As it turned out, the cruise was well worth
all the trouble we had in getting to the ship.
As we learned upon return, the following Yenisey River cruises were all canceled.
Ours was the last. Even the cruises on the River Lena were canceled after only
one tour. The reasons were the same. The difficulty and the 300% increase in
airfares demanded by the Russian tour operators, who were now in business for
themselves. They were no longer part of the Intourist organization.
The cruise and the scenery were remarkable adventures. This cruise was only
for Soviet citizens before 1992. In 1992, the Polish SopoTurist Co. negotiated
for cruises with Polish passengers. In 1992, there were no problems. The plane
ride was from and to Gdansk. There was none of this bus ride business. The firm
had hoped that the tours for 1993 would be the same. As, we have written here,
they were not.
This would be an ideal cruise for the American traveler who likes the river
cruises. I have been on the Volga from Kazan to Volgagrad. I have been on the
Danube/Black Sea cruise from Istanbul to Vienna. Both were operated by the same
shipping firm as the Yenisey River Cruise. All were Russian. But, there were
vast differences between the accommodations, food, entertainment, and other
amenities on the ship provided for the Americans.
If the Russians were to move one of their Austrian built river cruise ships
to the Yenisey, they could fill it every week of the season with Americans,
I'm sure. However, those future American travelers would pay many times more
than the US$350. that we paid. And, of course, only Americans are conned into
the belief that they must tip crew members for doing what they are already well
paid (in the Russian system) to do. Air travel from the West Coast might be
about double. So, all in all, I would suggest that my US$350.00 cruise might
cost upwards of US$5000.00, if handled by a US travel agency. Remember though,
that our cruise tour was for 16 days. Normally American tours are only seven
nights, with other land tours added to make up 14 nights.
Yes, Danuta and I had the cruise and adventure of a lifetime. Don't you wish
you were with us?
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