Due to warm weather, river navigation for passenger travel in Moscow and St. Petersburg will begin earlier than planned, shipping and cruise companies said Friday.
The price for boat trips will go up slightly on the Moscow River and will remain the same for rides on the Neva River in St. Petersburg.
Capital Shipping Company, which owns more than 50 vessels of various types and offers the majority of river cruises available in Moscow and the surrounding area, said the first boat with passengers will depart from Kievsky pier near the railway station of the same name in western Moscow on April 11, a week earlier than it did in 2013.
A spokesman for Teplokhod S-PB, a river cruise company based in St. Petersburg, said trips on the Neva are likely to start in mid-April, two weeks earlier than the officially planned date of May 1.
A one-hour cruise down the Neva in St. Petersburg will cost about 600 rubles ($16) for adults, the same as it did last year.
In Moscow, the price for a 1.5 hour sightseeing river trip will go up 50 rubles from last year — to 500 rubles per adult.
"The price increased slightly because the cost of diesel fuel went up," a spokesman for Capital Shipping Company said, adding that the ticket price hike was also necessary to compensate staff salaries affected by inflation.
Capital Shipping's fleet largely consists of vessels built in the Soviet era which later were modernized. It has only two new river ships built in 2011.
Radisson Royal Flotilla is another shipping company that offers river cruises in Moscow. Its 10 new ice-class luxury yachts with seats for 140 navigate the Moscow River year round. The ships do nonstop round trips from Radisson Ukraine hotel near Kievsky Station to Kotelnicheskaya Naberezhnaya in the city center.
The price for a 2-hour dinner cruise is 650 rubles, not including food or drink. Dinner on board will set you back about another 2,800 rubles per person, not including alcohol. It will cost 2,000 rubles to book the first-class deck for the same time period.
Radisson's booking service operator recommends make reservations in advance for weekends and holidays. Ticket reservations can be made online.