The ship, or should I say boat, itself is disappointing.
The cabin is tiny and the beds really uncomfortable.
Worst of all, the cabin has odd angles jutting out, which is a health and safty hazard as we fell over a few times.
The boat also make horrible noises in the night which disrupted sleep.
When I complained, they said that there is nothing they could do!
There was only one chair in the cabin so one of us had to sit outside in the "library" if we wanted to relax, that is, provided there are seats available, as others are also "driven" there due to the lack of space in the cabin.
There are no amenities to speak of.
Because of a storm, we could not sail to the island of Khizi and had to spend the whole day sailing.
We nearly died of boredom - there was nothing to do and nowhere to go.
What was most disconcerting were the tours offered - regular, alternative and optional.
Regular are the tours included in the price, alternative tours are also included in the price but runs in conjunction with the regular ones so you couldn't do both.
And optional tours are the ones that cost an arm and a leg to join!
If you wanted to do things on your own, you will not get a lot of help.
An example: We wanted to visit the Treasury in the Hermitage but that was an optional extra while the Hermitage was included.
So we decided to get to the Hermitage early to get our own tickets to the Treasury and then meet the rest of our group for the regular tour.
We informed the tour director, Konstantine, of our intentions and requested that he tell our guide to look out for us.
Not only did he not do that, he also gave us the wrong meeting point!
Whether it was an oversight or sheer malevolence, we shall never know.
It was through sheer luck that we found the rest of our group.
But it made for a very unpleasant and stressful start to the day.
Because of all the different tours going on, people often got confused and we were not able to form a rapport with any tour guide as we were shunted from one bus to another.
It would have been better if they either make all the tours included or not at all and have that reflected in the price of the cruise.
The meals on board were unimpressive.
Breakfast was the same for all 13 days.
I don't know why the waiters keep offering us a menu!
I love fish but after the first night, I couldn't eat those on offer.
I don't know if it was the cook or maybe I just don't like Russian cuisine.
The waiters are friendly but I could not say the same for the rest of the staff.
In all that time, I could not elicit a smile or a greeting from the cleaning staff!
It could be because we are not white.
Now I haven't got a chip on my shoulder, but there was definitely a racial bias going on.
I have been on other cruises and have always felt welcomed as an honoured guest. Not on the Viking Helgi!
The whole trip was not value for money and I will not be sailing with them again.