MS Tikhi Don

Former names: MS Borodin, MS Alexander Borodin

MS Tikhi Don last position

MS Tikhi Don last location was at Russia Inland (coordinates 55.84651 N / 37.46840 E) cruising en route to PLES. The AIS position was reported 1 day ago.

Current Position

Specifications of MS Tikhi Don

Year of build1977  /  Age: 47
Flag state Russia
BuilderRSW Rosslauer Schiffswerft GmbH (Dessau-Rosslau, Germany)
ClassUSSR Russian cruise ship (Project 301)
Ferry route / homeportsSt Petersburg-Moscow-Rostov on Don
Speed14 kn / 26 km/h / 16 mph
Length (LOA)125 m / 410 ft
Beam (width)17 m / 56 ft
Gross Tonnage5400 gt
Decks with cabins4
Last Refurbishment2016
Sister-shipsVladimir Ilyich-class
Former namesMS Borodin, MS Alexander Borodin
OperatorOrthodox Cruise Company, Phoenix Reisen

MS Tikhi Don Review

Review of MS Tikhi Don

MS Tikhi Don cruise ship ("теплоход Тихий Дон" круизный корабль) is a traditional Russian river passenger ship built for the USSR (Soviet Union) in GDR (Eastern Germany). On foreign markets, the riverboat is advertised under the names "MS Alexander Borodin" (Александър Бородин) and "MS Borodin". Among the largest foreign brands chartering the Borodin ship are Phoenix Reisen (German travel company), APT-Travelmarvel (Australia).

Tikhi Don (Alexander Borodin) cruises on Volga River, between homeports St Petersburg and Moscow, and also between Moscow and Rostov-on-Don. From the same series are a total of 28 boats manufactured in the period 1983-1992. All these ships are with diesel-electric propulsion (three propellers) and were originally designed with a capacity of 332 passengers (max).

History and ownership

The ship was built in 1977 for the USSR / Russian state-owned company "Volga-Donskoe Retschnoje Parochodstwo" ("Волго-Донское пароходство", today "Азово-Донское Пароходство") based in Rostov-on-Don. Currently, the vessel is owned by the Russian company Doninturflot (Донинтурфлот) and operated under charter by the Russian companies "Orthodox Cruise Company" and "Imperial River Cruises Russia".

MS Alexander Borodin cruise ship (Tikhi Don) Russia

MS Alexander Borodin is named after Alexandr Porfirievich Borodin - Russian physician (Doctor of Medicine), chemist and composer (pianist, violoncellist, flute player). The motor ship is officially named "Tikhiy Don" (Тихий Дон), drydock reconstructed in 2005 and majorly refurbished in 2016.

In the period 1992-2001, the riverboat was docked in Sassnitz (Germany) - first for repairs, then used as a hotel ship. In 2001 it was sold to Moscow River Shipping Company and returned to Russia. In 2002-2004 the ship was operated under charter by Mosturflot.

In 2004-2005, the boat was repaired and re-equipped in Romania, after which it was sold to Grand Circle Cruise Line. The company operated the ship with fly-cruise deals (mainly from USA and Canada) and on itineraries between Moscow to St Petersburg. In 2009, the ship was chartered to Samara Travel Company. Between 2010-2014, it was marketed inclusively to foreign tourists with domestic flights between Moscow and St Petersburg. On August 1, 2014, the ship was decommissioned and out of service until 2016. In July 2016, Grand Circle Cruise Line sold it to Doninturflot.

The cruise ship is named after "Tikhiy Don" - a 4-volume novel by Mikhail Sholokhov (1905-1984), written between 1925-1940 and considered one of Russia's most significant literary works. The novel extensively depicts the life of Don Cossacks during WW1 (1914-1918), Russian Revolution (1917) and the Russian Civil War (1917-1922).


Accommodations include 6 suites (2x Panorama, 4x Junior) and 104 double cabins - 34x Twin Deluxe Plus (14 m2) and 70x Twin Deluxe (13 m2). Unlike most sisterships, MS Borodin doesn't have Triple and Single cabins. All staterooms (110 total) are outside and with large opening windows. On Lower Deck are located all staff and crew cabins (with round-shaped non-opening portholes), Sauna Room, machinery rooms (engines, propulsion).

Each cabin as standard amenities offers central air-conditioning (individually controlled heating and ventilation system), private en-suite bathrooms (WC, shower, washbasin, hairdryer), flat TV (satellite reception), radio, minibar (refrigerator), shelves, wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), vanity mirror, vanity table / writing desk with a padded stool, round table with 2 armchairs, bedside cabinets with reading lamps, twin beds (2 lower beds convertible to double bed), 220 V power sockets. Suites additionally have a double bed, sofa, coffee table, armchairs, lounge cabinet, floor lamps. Ceiling height is 2,2 m.

Following multi-million refurbishments, all cabins feature larger than original sizes, new furniture and flooring, deluxe bedding, modern lighting.

  • Panorama Suites (location Upper Deck forward) are 1-room cabins (sized 17 m2) with 5x large windows (non-opening), King-size double bed, two armchairs, coffee table, mirrored dressing table with padded stool, large wardrobe.
  • Junior Suites (location Upper Deck / Boat Deck) are 1-room cabins (sized 15,5 m2) with double bed, 2 large windows (opening), 2 armchairs, coffee table, mirrored dressing table with a padded stool.
  • Twin Deluxe / Double Cabins (location Main Deck / Boat Deck / Upper Deck) are with 1x opening window. Most twin cabins are sized 12,5 m2, excepting those on Boat Deck (sized 14 m2).
  • All 10x Triple-occupancy cabins on Lower Deck are with bunk beds and two non-opening portholes (small, round-shaped) windows. Currently, these staterooms are not available for booking.

Shipboard dining and entertainment options

Dining onboard MS Alexander Borodin features European cuisine sp[ecialties with elements of Russian traditional cooking. Breakfasts are buffet-style. Lunches include 1 meal (Russian soup). Dinner is waiter-served and with a traditional Russian food menu. Waiters are dressed in traditional costumes.

Onboard entertainment is focused on pre-scheduled activities and live performances (classical and Russian folk music). Onboard lectures are themed on the country's history and culture. Port talks (by a professional tour guide) provide information on visited river ports, nearby towns, shore excursions and tours available for booking. Passengers also enjoy traditional Russian tea ceremonies, Russian language lessons, dancing and singing classes, vodka tasting, nesting doll (matryoshka) painting classes.

MS Alexander Borodin cruise ship (Tikhi Don) Russia

Traditionally for this type of Russian cruise ships, MS Alexander Borodin ship facilities include:

  • 2 restaurants (dining room, and bar-restaurant / dinner-only)
  • 3 bars, small Boutique (Souvenir Shop)
  • spacious Lobby (Reception / Guest Services Desk), Coffee Station (complimentary coffee, hot water, packed tea, milk, cocoa, cookies)
  • Bar Lounge (piano bar)
  • Sundeck Conference Hall and Bar (Music Hall / Cinema / Meeting Room)
  • Reading Lounge (Library)
  • Sun Deck (Solarium) with outdoor seating - loungers, deckchairs, 4-seat tables
  • wrap-around Promenade (outdoor deck), outer deck sitting areas
  • Medical Room (Infirmary, 24-hour served by a resident doctor and a nurse)
  • Beauty Salon (hairdresser and barber services, massages)
  • Ironing Room (laundry service), Sauna Room
  • Wi-Fi on the ship is complimentary.
  • One elevator (passenger lift) and two staircases connect all decks.

Onboard entertainment programming includes games, traditional tea ceremonies (with pies), themed parties ( folk shows, dancing evenings), daily live music performances (grand piano and concerts), Russian language lessons, dancing and singing classes, blini (pancake) and vodka tasting, lectures. Dining Room's menu also features local food specialities (based on the itinerary's regions and ports).

River cruise itineraries

Alexander Borodin ship's itinerary program offers regularly scheduled cruises on Volga and Don rivers in Russia, between St Petersburg and Moscow (11-days), and also between Moscow and Rostov-on-Don and Rostov-Petersburg (20-days, via Astrakhan). The list of visited ports along the Moscow-Rostov route (northbound and southbound) includes Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Plyos, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, passing Volga-Don Canal, and Rostov.

Ship's crew includes resident, Russian government-licensed tour guides (speaking fluent English or German) who run cruise company's onboard and ashore enrichment program. Throughout the voyage, these professional tour guides give lectures themed on country's culture, art, history, current politics, as well as information about all shore excursions and visited river ports along the cruise tour itinerary.

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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Built as Tikhi Don, MS Alexander Borodin is one of Russia's signature "Project 301" river cruise ships.

Vladimir Ilyich-class Russian river ships

"Vladimir Ilyich class" (aka "Project 301") are 3 series of Russian river cruise ships built in GDR (Germany) for USSR (Soviet Union) in the period 1974-1983. The vessel class name honours Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924) who is considered the founder of USSR (Soviet Union).

These Russian river cruise ships (a total of 22 units) were all produced by VEB Elbewerft Boizenburg as one of the industry's most successful riverboat designs. These ships were used for passenger (cruise) shipping in Northwestern USSR - in the rivers Volga, Belomorkanal, Lake Onega, Volga–Don Canal, Kama and Amur rivers as well as on Dnieper River (Ukraine ) and in the Black Sea. Following the USSR's collapse (1991), all these boats were acquired by private companies (Russian and foreign).

Russian river cruise ship (Project 301) Vladimir Ilyich-class

"Project 301" ship technology

All "Project 301" ships have the following details:

  • LOA length 125 m (410 ft),
  • width 17 m (55 ft)
  • DWT tonnage 3063 tons
  • V-shaped hulls - differ by series as external elements, window shape (rectangular or rounded), wheelhouse headlights
  • 5 decks
  • Each boat has capacity 240 passengers and 110 crew, 102 cabins (all outside), 2 restaurants, 2 bar lounges, Sauna Room, Souvenir Shop, Lobby (Reception Desk with safe), 360-degree Promenade Deck (with outdoor seating).
  • Powerplant includes three marine diesel engines "Viertakt-Dieselmotor " (4-stroke, model 6ЧРН 36/45 / aka ЭГ70-5) each with a turbocharger.
  • The 3rd (last) series motor ships are with stronger propulsion (bow thrusters).
  • Staterooms are single and double (originally 1-2-3-bed cabins), all fitted with en-suite bathrooms.
  • After reconstruction, to the ships were introduced larger cabins (including suites).

Depending on series, boats differ in terms of size and equipment (different diesel engine designs). Many of these Russian ships were completely refurbished and rebuilt for foreign river cruise companies (like Viking, AMAwaterways, Grand Circle). During their multi-million-dollar drydock refits, the vessel's passenger capacity was considerably reduced to improve travel comfort and safety.

Project 301 ships

From Project 301's first series are the boats

From Project 301's second series are the boats

  • Sovetskaya Rossiya (1977, now Nizhny Novgorod / Нижний Новгород)
  • 60 let Oktyabrya (1978, scrapped as Avicena)
  • Rossiya (1978, Россия)
  • Vladimir Mayakovskiy (1978, Владимир Маяковский)
  • Lenin (1979, now Mikhail Bulgakov / Михаил Булгаков)
  • Aleksandr Ulyanov (1979, now Kronstadt / Кронштадт)
  • Mikhail Lomonosov (1979, now Viking Sineus)
  • Konstantin Fedin (1980, Константин Федин)
  • 30 let GDR (1980, scrapped as Ferris Flotel)
  • Vissarion Belinskiy (1980, Виссарион Белинский)

From Project 301's third (last) series are the riverboats

  • Sovetskaya Konstitutsiya (1981, now Nikolay Karamzin / Николай Карамзин)
  • Nikolay Chernyshevsky (1981, Николай Чернышевский)
  • Nikolay Dobrolyubov (1981, now Andrey Rublev / Андрей Рублев)
  • Aleksandr Radishchev (1982, Александр Радищев)
  • Aleksandr Griboyedov (1982, now Knyazhna Viktoria / Княжна Виктория)
  • Fedor Dostoevskiy (1983, Федор Достоевский)