MS Vissarion Belinsky Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Vissarion Belinsky
|Year built||1980 / Age : 40|
|Builder||RSW Rosslauer Schiffswerft GmbH (Dessau-Rosslau, Germany)|
|Class||USSR Russian cruise ship (Project 301)|
|Ferry route / homeports||St Petersburg-Moscow|
|Owner||Volga Shipping Company (Russia)|
|Speed||14 kn / 26 kph / 16 mph|
|Length (LOA)||125 m / 410 ft|
|Beam (width)||17 m / 56 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||5400 gt|
Review of MS Vissarion Belinsky
MS Vissarion Belinsky cruise ship ("теплоход Виссарион Белинский" круизный корабль) is a traditional Russian river passenger ship built for the USSR (Soviet Union) in GDR (Eastern Germany). The vessel is currently owned and operated by the Russian shipping company VODOHOD ("Водоход"). MS Belinsky cruises on Volga River, round-trip from St Petersburg.
The shipowner Vodohod is Russia's largest river cruise shipping operator. The company was established in 2004 as Volga Shipping Company. After the merger with Volga Flot Tour, Vodohod now operates over 50 cruise ships along the rivers Don, Volga, Kama, Moscow, Volga-Don Canal, Volga-Baltic Waterway and the lakes Ladoga and Onega.
VODOHOD's predecessor - Volga Shipping Company (translated Volzhskoye parokhodstvo / Волжское пароходство) was founded as a Volga steamship transportation company in 1843. In 2011, the company had in operation over 300 passenger and cargo river vessels and carried over 6,7 billion tons of cargoes and over 368,000 passengers on Russia's biggest inland waterways.
MS Belinsky was named after the Russian (USSR's) literary critic Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky (1811-1848). The motor ship was extensively refurbished in 2004.
Accommodations include 4 Junior Suites, 108 twins (14 of which with bunk beds), 11 singles and 18 triples. All staterooms are outside (no interior cabins) and with large opening windows (except Lower Deck cabins with round-shaped, non-opening portholes). Each cabin as standard amenities offers central air-conditioning (individually controlled heating and ventilation system), private en-suite bathrooms (WC, shower, washbasin, hairdryer, towels, bath products), flat TV, radio, direct-dial phone, refrigerator, wardrobe, safe (in the closet), vanity mirror, writing desk with chair, bedside table, bed lights, 220 V power sockets. Suites additionally have a double bed, sofa, coffee table, armchairs, 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.
- Junior Suites (location Middle Deck) are large cabins with living-sleeping areas, 3x large windows (opening), L-shaped sofa, low table, King-size double bed (plus folding bed), mirrored vanity table with chair, wardrobe. Suites can accommodate up to 3 passengers via folding bed.
- Single Cabins (location Middle Deck / Boat Deck) are 1-bed staterooms with 1x large window (opening).
- Twin / Double Cabins (location Main Deck / Middle Deck / Boat Deck) are 2-bed staterooms with 1x large window (opening). Bunk-Bed Double cabins (on Middle Deck) can be also booked as singles.
- Triple Cabins (location Lower Deck) are 3-bed staterooms with 2x porthole windows (non-opening). Triple cabins can be also booked as doubles.
Shipboard dining and entertainment options
Dining onboard MS Belinsky features European cuisine specialities 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 Vissarion Belinsky ship facilities include:
- (Boat Deck, Middle Deck) 2 restaurants (Neva and Ladoga)
- (Boat Deck) Panorama Bar Lounge (Main Lounge / Music Hall)
- (Sun Deck) Conference Hall and Bar (Dance Hall / Cinema / Meeting Room)
- (Middle Deck) Bar Lounge (Library / Reading Hall), Boutique (Souvenir Shop)
- (Sun Deck) Spa (Sauna), Solarium (sundeck area with outdoor seating/deckchairs and 4-seat tables)
- (Main Deck) Medical Room (Infirmary), Beauty Salon (hairdresser and barber services, massages), Lobby (Reception / Guest Services Desk), Kids Club
- (Middle Deck) Ironing Room (laundry service).
VODOHOD cruise deals
- Departure port (dock/berth), check-in, boarding and landing times are indicated on the company's website (vodohod.com) and on passengers' boarding passes. Ship's exact departure time is clarified on the website the day prior departure.
- Kids discount ticket prices are for children up to 14 years of age (14-yo including), the age being fixed on departure day.
- Kids from 2 to 5 years of age (5-yo including) travel free of charge, but without providing an additional bed (if there are no free beds in the cabin). Shore excursion is also free of charge.
- Toddlers (kids under 2) travel free of charge, but bed, food and tour services are not provided. Extra beds in staterooms (baby cribs, cots) are not available on the ship.
- TWIN (double cabin) single supplement rate is 75%.
- Cabin number is provided 7 days prior departure. Reservation of a specific room number costs EUR 50 pp per cruise.
- Ticket prices are inclusive of 3 meals a day. Onboard dining includes Breakfast (buffet style, water in pitchers, tea/ coffee served, drinks - cocoa, milk, juices, hot and cold dishes), Lunch (buffet style, water in pitchers, tea/coffee served) and Dinner (waiter-served) with 1 Starter, 1 Main course (choice of 3 available / meat-fish-vegetarian), 1 Dessert (choice of 2 or fruits).
- On embarkation day and disembarkation day (voyage's end), meal times depend on landing times. If a land tour coincides with a meal time (lunch), passengers are provided with complimentary food at a local restaurant (cafe) or given "dry rations".
- Ticket price inclusive onboard events are Welcome Aboard ("bread and salt" ceremony), Welcome Cocktail (complimentary 1 glass of champagne or juice per person), "Tea Ceremony" (tea and traditional pies), "Vodka Show" (blini and vodka tasting), Cocktail Party (once per cruise, complimentary 1 cocktail / out of 3 choices per person), Captain's Dinner (gourmet menu, once per cruise), mulled wine or ice tea (weather-depending / upon returning from excursions), complimentary Coffee Station (coffee, hot water, packed tea, milk, cocoa, cookies, opening times 6am-breakfast, 10-12am, 4-6pm, 9-11pm), 1 bottled water (0.33l pp per day in cabins). Tickets are also inclusive of foreign language speaking guide services, onboard entertainment (language class, singing lessons, live music, nightly dancing music, Wheelhouse tour).
- Complimentary excursions are detailed in the ship's cruise itinerary program. Optional tours are available for shipboard booking. For excursion services, VODOHOD charges foreigners with an additional fee per person per day, including children 6-14 yo. This fee is not charged to tourists from the Russian Commonwealth, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The surcharge varies by cruise tour itinerary length (1-2-days, 3-4-days, 5-days, 6-days, 7-days).
- VODOHOD cruise tickets don't include any land transfers, beverages and snacks (in onboard bars and lounges), phone conversations, sauna visits, optional excursions, travel insurance, gratuities, personal spendings. Ticket prices include 18% VAT.
- Non-cash onboard payments are made via the company's debit card "Vodohod"(received upon registration), which is without any interest or commissions. The card is accepted in all the ship's venues (bars, restaurant, shop, administration). Cash payments for onboard sales are not accepted. International bank cards are accepted for final payments.
- Gift Certificate "Vodohod" (vouchers) can be pre-purchased for any amount. The recipient can choose the itinerary, cruise departure date and cabin category. The amount specified is not fixed and is set by the buyer. If the cruise tour costs less than the certificate's amount, the difference is not refundable.
- Smoking on the ship is allowed only in designated areas (marked with "Place for smoking" signs), located aft on decks Middle and/or Boat (depending on ship). Smoking is prohibited in all interior spaces and on open decks (except at designated areas).
- On all VODOHOD ships are available health gymnastics and morning exercises (led by a certified physician/ship's doctor), oxygen cocktail, dietary food.
- On all VODOHOD ships are provided (free of charge) the following medical services - emergency medical care (assistance required for sudden acute illnesses, conditions, exacerbation of chronic diseases), measurement of blood pressure and body temperature, primary treatment of wounds.
- VODOHOD recommends passengers to arrive in departure port cities at least 6 hours prior to ship departure. Boarding starts 2 hours prior departure. All passengers must be boarded at least 1-hour prior to departure. Late passengers missing their cruise tour are not refunded.
- VODOHOD's departure ports are Moscow, St Petersburg, Astrakhan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Samara, Kazan, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov.
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 Belinsky 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).
"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
- Vladimir Ilyich (1975, now Sankt Peterburg / Санкт-Петербург)
- Mariya Ulyanova (1975, now Viking Rurik)
- Yevgeniy Vuchetich (1976, now Dnieper Princess)
- Sovetskaya Ukraina (1976, now Konstantin Korotkov)
- Tikhiy Don (1977, Тихий Дон)
- XXV Syezd KPSS (1977, now Petr Chaykovskiy)
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 Belinsky (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)
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