MS Aleksandr Benua Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Aleksandr Benua
|Year built||1960 / Age : 60|
|Builder||SLKB Komarno (Komarno, Slovakia)|
|Class||USSR Russian cruise ship (Project 26-37)|
|Speed||14 kn / 26 kph / 16 mph|
|Length (LOA)||96 m / 315 ft|
|Beam (width)||15 m / 49 ft|
|Decks with cabins||4|
|Sister-ships||Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya class|
|Former names||Yakov Sverdlov|
Review of MS Aleksandr Benua
MS Aleksandr Benua cruise ship ("теплоход Александр Бенуа" круизный корабль) is a traditional Russian river passenger ship built for the USSR (Soviet Union) in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). MS Benua cruises on Volga River (leaving roundtrip from Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod), as well as themed cruises from Moscow to Samara, Kazan, Volgograd.
The vessel is currently owned by Akadenflot (Академфлот) and operated under charter by the St Petersburg-based Russian company Infoflot (Инфофлот). Infoflot operates as both tour operator and travel agency for Russian and international river and ocean cruise deals.
The boat is named after the Russian artist Alexandre Nikolayevich Benois (1870-1960) considered one of Russia's greatest poets, alongside with Pushkin and Lermontov. The ship was renamed in 1962, fully reconstructed and modernized in 2004-2006. From the same series (Project 26-37) are a total of 14 boats manufactured in the period 1957-1962. All these ships are in the Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya-class and originally designed with a capacity of 312 passengers and 70 crew. Between 2006-208 the ship (under the brand-name "Les Nuits Blanches") served exclusively French tourists, and since 2008 serves the Russian river cruise market.
The ship has a total of 66 staterooms, including 1 Two-Room Suite, 3 Junior Suites, 7 Singles, 49 Doubles and 6 Triples. All staterooms as standard amenities offer individually controlled air-conditioning, refrigerator, phone (intercom), radio, flat TV (satellite reception), en-suite bathroom (WC, glass-shower, washbasin, hairdryer, towels, bath products), wardrobe, opening window (excepting Lower Deck cabins which are with portholes). Suites additionally have a low table with pouffes, double bed, sofabed (3rd person), 2 windows, floor lamps. Quads, Triples and some double cabins are with upper bunk beds.
Cabin TVs show all-Russian channels, as well as recorded films and cartoons, live views (from a camera installed on the bow), ship security channel (instructions in cases of emergency), ship channel (showing itinerary map and current location).
Shipboard dining and entertainment options
Ship's facilities include:
- (Boat Deck) Sun Deck (aft Solarium with outdoor seating - loungers, deckchairs, tables with folding chairs), indoor Theater (Cinema / Conference Room / Concert Hall / Disco Bar), Dining Room Restaurant Romantika (forward), Promenade Deck (wraparound outdoor area with chairs)
- (Middle Deck) Reading Lounge (Library, fore-located, with outdoor seating / covered terrace furnished with round tables and chairs), Music Salon-Bar Serebryany Vek ("Silver Age" Main Lounge / Piano Bar, aft-located), Spa (Massage Room), Promenade Deck (wraparound outdoor area with chairs)
- (Main Deck) Bar-Restaurant Poesia (fore-located Dining Room with bar service and a la carte menu), Medical Room (Infirmary), Hair Salon (hairdresser and barber services), Boutique (Souvenir Shop), Kids Room, Lobby (Reception / Guest Services Desk, Cruise Director's Office, Tour Desk), Coffee Station, Ironing Room (laundry service)
- (Lower Deck) Sauna, Porthole cabins (passenger and crew)
Shipboard activities include:
- Theatre is the ship's Cinema that doubles as Conference Hall / Concert Hall / Dance Lounge / Disco Nightclub, and is served by its own Bar. Theater Lounge also serves the cruise company's enrichment program. Here are hosted lectures and media presentations themed on Russia's history and culture. Port talks (by professional tour guides) provide itinerary information (visited ports, shore excursions and tours). Here are also held traditional tea ceremonies, Russian language lessons, music classes, art and craft activities (including nesting doll/matryoshka painting classes), blini and vodka tastings, live shows and musical performances (classical and Russian folk music, concerts), theme parties, nightly disco (DJ).
- Bar-Restaurant is a Dining Room with bar service and a la carte priced menu.
- Music Salon is the ship's Main Lounge (Piano Bar) with full-service bar, grand piano and stage for live performances.
- Kids Room is an indoor playground where qualified staff provides supervised activities for children.
- Both restaurants offer buffet-style breakfast and waiter-served lunch and dinner with Russian cuisine-themed menus. European cuisine is offered on longer itineraries. Three meals a day are included in cruise ticket prices. Dietary meals, as well as vegetarian dishes, are also available in the menus. Free drinks include a glass of champagne (at breakfast) and a glass of wine or vodka (at dinner). Complimentary are offered herbal teas and oxygen cocktails.
- The ship provides free Wi-Fi (in the Bar-Lounge), complimentary morning exercises, yoga and pilates classes (led by a professional instructor), sports training (gym equipment).
- All shore excursions are guided, and most of them are included in cruise tour prices.
- Satellite Internet and phone, as well as laundry services, cost extra.
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.
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MS Aleksandr Benua Wiki
Built as Yakov Sverdlov, MS Aleksandr Benua is one of Russia's "Project 26-37" river cruise ships.
Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya-class Russian river ships
"Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya" (aka "Project 26-37") is a series of Russian river cruise ships built in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) for USSR (Soviet Union) in the period 1957-1962. The vessel class name honours Russia's October Revolution (aka Red October, and Socialist Revolution) of 1917.
A total of 14 units (max output 4 per year) these Russian river ships were all produced by "Narodny Podnik Skoda Komarno" - now SLKB Komarno Shipyard in Komarno (Slovakia). They were used for cargo-passenger (cruise) shipping on Volga River, serving the routes Nizhny Novgorod-Astrakhan and Moscow-Astrakhan. All boats were operated by "Volga Shipping Company" (Волжское пароходство). Following the USSR's collapse (1991), all riverboats were acquired by private Russian companies.
"Project 26-37" ship technology
"Project 26-37" ships have the following details:
- LOA length 96 m (316 ft)
- width 15 m (49 ft)
- draft 2,4 m (8 ft)
- DWT tonnage 1473 tons
- V-shaped hull, 4 decks (3 passengers)
- Originally, each boat had capacity 312 passengers and 70 crew (now between 110 and 250 pax), all-outside cabins (1-2-4-bed), 2 restaurants (63-seat and 50-seat), 2 salon bars / lounges (18-seat Music Salon and 30-seat Cafe), Reading Room (25 seats), Hospital (first-aid room), wrap-around Promenade decks.
- All staterooms were with wash basins. Only Suites had full bathrooms.
- Powerplant includes three marine diesel engines (model 6L275B) with combined output 1,2 MW.
- Propulsion consists of 3 pitch propellers (4-blade) with diameter 1,7 m (5,5 ft).
- All these traditional Russian ships were modernized, completely refurbished and rebuilt for both domestic and foreign river cruise companies. During their multi-million dollar drydock reconstructions and refits were introduced larger cabins, thus reducing the vessel's passenger capacity to improve travel comfort and safety.
Project 26-37 ships
From Project 26-37 series are the boats
- Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya (1957, Октябрьская Революция)
- Komarno (February 1959, now Volga Dream)
- Mir (July 1959, now Afanasiy Nikitin)
- Druzhba (April 1960, later Kapitan Rachkov, and Sergey Abramov) - scrapped in 2012
- XXI S'ezd KPSS (July 1960, now Kapitan Pushkarev)
- Yakov Sverdlov (September 1960, now Aleksandr Benua)
- Andrey Zhdanov (November 1960, now Ivan Kulibin)
- Sergo Ordzhonikidze (March 1961, now Nikolay Nekrasov)
- Klement Gotvald (March 1961, later Professor Lukachev, and Yekaterina Velikaya, now Rodnaya Rus)
- Klara Tsetkin (August 1961, Клара Цеткин) - scrapped in 1998
- Vatslav Vorovskiy (September 1961, Вацлав Воровский)
- Valeriy Chkalov )October 1961, Валерий Чкалов)
- Sergey Lazo (November 1961, now President)
- Nikolay Shchors (July 1962, now Mikhail Tanich)
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