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Russian Cruise Operator Vodokhod to Launch 3 New River-Sea Class Vessels

Russian river cruise operator Vodokhod plans to start operating three new river-sea class vessels with a capacity of 183 passengers each in 2025-2026, announced the company’s CEO, Rishat Bagautdinov, on Monday.

“In 2020, we introduced the Mustai Karim vessel into operation, and its image and commercial results exceeded our expectations. Therefore, we decided to further develop in the direction of building a new fleet. In 2023, at the Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard in Nizhny Novgorod, we started the construction of three new cruise ships under the working name Karelia.

All three ships have names now. The first one will be named Nikolay Zharkov after the former general director of the shipyard. This vessel will start operating in 2025, and in 2026, we will receive the other two remaining ships,” he said at a press conference marking the company’s 20th anniversary.

“The uniqueness of this project lies in the fact that its class and dimensions significantly expand the geography of these vessels’ operation. They will work both on inland waterways and navigate through the White Sea-Baltic Canal, enter the White Sea, Gulf of Finland, Caspian Sea, Azov, and Black Sea,” explained Bagautdinov.

The ship is designed for 183 passengers, and the crew will consist of 97 people, with a ship class of 5*. Sales of cruises on the new vessel for the summer of 2025 have already begun.

In 2024, the company also plans to start construction on a hybrid vessel named Baikal, designed for 68 passengers.

“The uniqueness of the project is that the power source is a rechargeable battery. The autonomous range is about 100-120 km on one charge. To increase autonomy, a diesel generator will be installed on the ship, which, if necessary, will recharge the batteries,” he explained.

The CEO of Vodokhod added that there is currently very active construction of recreational areas and hotel complexes on the shores of Lake Baikal, leading to a potential high demand for cruise ships of this level and for pleasure fleets on Lake Baikal, which is currently lacking in this regard.

In 2024, Vodokhod will deploy 25 out of its 26 river cruise ships on Russian rivers.

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