Sochi Olympics Accommodations Update

We have finally secured accommodations in Sochi for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Since about July, folks on this TripAdvisor forum had been discussing several cruise ship accommodations available for booking in the Sochi and Adler ports.  These cruise ships would be docked throughout the Olympic games, serving as hotels (or “floatels” as someone cleverly named them) for travelers.

I really didn’t want to book cruise ship accommodations for a number of reasons:

  • I preferred to stay at a chain hotel in hopes of being able to redeem travel points for free (or at least mostly free) accommodations during our stay in Sochi, much like our subsequent accommodations in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

  • Although chain hotels were either not available for booking due to the IOC’s hold or because they were still under construction, I was confident that hotels would become available by late summer or early fall.  This obviously has not come to fruition.

  • I am an avid cruiser.  I went on my first cruise with my family when I was just 14, and have been on about a dozen cruises since then.  I know that older ships, like the ones that will be docked in Sochi and Adler, are not always the most, ummm, comfortable accommodations in the world.  Tiny (and I mean tiny!) cabins with barely any room to move around, and showers so small that the curtain is constantly clinging to your arm.  Uh, no thanks.  I prefer newer ships with their (slightly) larger rooms.  I didn’t want to stay for four nights in claustrophobic settings while I could stay at a lovely hotel like the Hyatt Regency or Radisson Blu.

  • The cruise ship accommodations are non-refundable and require the entire payment up front.  So even if chain hotels did open up that were cheaper or free options using hotel points, I would be out of luck.  Plus, the thought of spending that kind of money (around $1500) on accommodations and not earning any value through earned points really kind of bummed me out!

Last week, after lengthy discussions with my husband as well as my sister (who will be going to Sochi with her family too), we decided to book the cruise option.  There were a few key points that made the final decision an easy one:

  • Although we’ll be paying around $1500 for two people for four nights accommodations, that includes all meals!  That will be a huge cost savings during our stay, as I imagine food prices will be inflated everywhere around the Olympic venues.  We can indulge in more traditional Russian cuisine when we go to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

  • The location of the ship in Adler port really cannot be beat.  We’ll be within walking distance of the “Coastal Cluster,” where most of the non-mountain events will take place.  I don’t think that any hotel opening up would have a location that good.

  • I wanted to be able to get our Russian tourist visas as far in advance as possible.  Generally speaking, you need confirmed hotel reservations as support for getting a visa.  Current rules stipulate that you cannot apply for a Russian Visa more than 90 days prior to your intended arrival date.  Therefore, I want to apply for our visas in November as soon as we reach that 90 day mark.  I was afraid if we continued to wait and wait for hotels through December or January, we could potentially run the risk of experiencing visa delays.

  • Frankly, I was just so tired of constantly checking for hotel availability.  I had been doing that AT LEAST twice a day for more than six months.  It was growing old, and there was never any progress.  I’m all done checking for hotel availability now!  But I still check the Sochi TripAdvisor forums.

Has anyone else finally decided to book the cruise ships?  Or are you waiting it out for hotels?

4 Comments

  1. RSN   •  

    Can you share which ship you chose? Do they all offer meals?
    Thanks!

    • Melissa   •     Author

      We selected the Grand Holiday. They all offer meals, but on the Grand Holiday, and maybe some other ships, purchasing all the meals is a requirement.

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