The rebuilt Amakatarina embarked on its inaugural cruise for Ama Waterways on Tuesday, sailing along the Volga River from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Ama is leasing the renovated ship from Russian company Vodohod. The Amakatarina, which was built in the 1980s, was completely redesigned and rebuilt from the hull, and converted to accommodate 212 passengers, down from 400.

The Amakatarina replaces the 160-passenger Tolstoy, which Ama had been leasing, as well.

Ama, which contributed capital to the refurbishment, signed a five-year lease with Vodohod with the option to renew.

Of the 106 cabins, 76 now have balconies. There are 10 cabin categories, including four suite categories. Suites range from 280 to 432 square feet, and staterooms range from 110 to 230 square feet.

Much larger than river ships that sail in Western and Central Europe, the Amakatarina has four decks and 24,025 square feet of interior space. The public areas include a restaurant, panorama lounge, conference hall, sauna, bar and nightclub, and solarium.

Ama is offering 11-day itineraries on the Amakatarina along the Volga-Baltic Waterway, including three days in St. Petersburg and two days in Moscow. The cruise also includes visits to Uglich and Yaroslavl, then transits the two lakes of Onega and Ladoga.

The Amakatarina will sail 14 departures for the 2011 season.

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