The weather in the European part of Russia in July-August is typically warm with daily temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 C. Sometimes, however, the temperature may exceed 30-35 C. Weeks with rain or some days with coolness of 15 degrees in the afternoon are also possible in summertime. So it is recommended to take along a jacket and an umbrella.
The official currency in Russia is RUBLE. The exchange rate is variable, please learn the current rate in due time and be sure to have enough Russian currency BEFORE you get on the boat. During the conference route there will be a chance to make exchange only in big cities. You may need rubles to pay for a taxi to the boat, to purchase souvenirs, and to visit cafes and bars on board the boat. The large hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg with English speaking personnel as well as the restaurants usually accept credit cards.
The safest way to exchange your currency into rubles is at the Airport. However, the exchange rate there can be a bit worse than an average rate. The advantage is the exchange offices in the airport accept larger variance of currencies, not only Euro and US dollars. Some exchange offices in the airport represent large Russian banks. The most reliable is Sberbank, but it usually offers the worst exchange rate. You can also find exchange booths at the bank offices in the city, however, they may be closed on weekends.
Another way to get rubles is from cash machines which can be easily approached at the airport, in large shopping centers, hotels and bank offices. Please be aware of the commission on such transactions with your bank card.
Rules to follow during the trip
- KEYS: Leave your keys at the reception when you go sightseeing. Take your keys from the reception right after you come back: a key at the reception means that not everybody is on board and the ship cannot depart.
THIS IS IMPORTANT!
- BADGES: Organizing Committee would appreciate your wearing badges all the time during the trip to facilitate communication.
- ELECTRICITY: No heating appliances (hair driers, irons, water heaters) can be used in your cabins. There is an ironing room on the main deck. Hot water is available from boilers on the main deck. Cell phones and notebook computers can be charged at the OC cabin.
- RADIO: Listen to radio announcements to be reminded about the schedule for the day.
- E-MAIL: Due to networking problems, the Organizing Committee will guarantee the participants and guests of the Symposium internet connection only when we stay in or pass big cities.
- VISITING MONASTERIES: Women visiting Russian monasteries are requested to wear long skirts and, preferably, head scarves. Visitors, both men and women, wearing shorts will not be allowed in. Long sleeves are appreciated.
- MEDICAL SERVICE: Medical assistance will be available on board.
PAYMENTS ONBOARD: You can pay for the services and goods on board “Nizhny Novgorod” using:
Cash can be used to purchase from the gift shop only.
- a) your bank card (VISA, MasterCard, JCB, etc.). Note that American Express and Zolotaya Korona are not accepted. Cards are accepted at the reception, in the bars and the gift shop, where bank card terminals are installed;
- b) your passenger settlement card, i.e., the plastic ID card you receive when you register. It is used to record all your expenses onboard, which you will pay on the last day of the Conference, before “Nizhny Novgorod” arrives at the destination port. The settlement card is valid for all payments, except those in the gift shop; and
- c) an internal prepaid discount card, i.e., a plastic card of various nominal values, which you may buy paying by cash or a bank card from the reception at the start of your journey, and then use to pay for services at a discount, e.g., 5% for a 3 000 RUB, 6% for a 5 000 RUB, and 10%, for a 10 000 RUB card. The balance of the prepaid card value is not refundable. The discount card is valid for all payments, except those in the gift shop.
The organizers advise the international visitors to purchase their Russian prepaid SIM Card (Phone and Data) at the Airport
on arrival to Russia. 3GB should get most people through the trip and it would reduce the use of the ships network.