This 13-day river cruise on the Volga from St. Petersburg to Moscow was extraordinary in every way. The food was wonderful; cabin staff/crew very responsive; ports of call and tours were fascinating; cruisemates were lovely; and all arrangements were flawless. The only minor downside was the weather but Viking River Cruises is not responsible for that. Actually we had some beautiful fall days with sapphire blue skies but also several days that were overcast and rainy. We were prepared and didn't let the rain slow us down a bit.
This was our second trip to Russia and we decided to hire private guides for our days in St. Petersburg and Moscow so we could accomplish more individually than we knew we would be able to with a group. The money was well spent and we couldn't think of a better use of our travel funds. I highly recommend that others do the same in order to avoid feeling herded from one place to another in a large group. Since we had already toured many of the sites on the Viking excursions, we were able to visit others that were off the beaten path. The palace "Pavlosk" near St. Petersburg is every bit as lovely as Peterhof and Pushkin and we had it virtually to ourselves on a stunningly gorgeous fall day. We were also able to spend time at the Siege Memorial and in the various churches and cathedrals that we only saw as a "drive-by" on our previous trip. As a result, this vacation was a vast improvement over our initial Russian trip, and probably because we were slightly off-season rather than at the height of the tourist season. There are trade-offs, certainly, because we didn't have 22 hours of daylight but we gladly sacrificed that for greater access to the various sites. Viking River Cruises is to be commended for their excellent product. We will definitely be back!