The greeting at the ship was efficient and very quick. Luiggage moved immediately to our room and a short tour of the public areas (all 4) provided. We then hasd a nice buffett and unpacked.
The dinner was good with some interesting choices. The good part was a wonderful filet of beef was always available. The problem was several dinners including overcooked salmon and lamb that was not ebidle were served. That combined with what seemed to be a continual overuse of salt made dining a challenge.
Viking included many wonderful port tours. Catherines Palace was good despite pouring rain. The optional journey to Peterhof should not be missed. The exclusive tour to the Hermitage conversely was sort of a yawn. Spend the rest of the day there touring on your own instead. Generaly try to make all of the included tours. The ships guides were well informed and educational. the local guides were uneven. Some excellent and others not so good.
The ship as other have said has a bar on the upper deck at the bow and another bar and sun deck at the rear. Both areas are fairly small and could only accomodate about 1/2 the cruisers at any one time. The front dsk was always staffed and very helpful answering any questions.
The main issue with the cruise is spending several nights in a "floating hotel" in both St Petersburg and Moscow. The docking point in St Petersburg is far from anything and getting to town is either an expensive cab ride or a bus and metro ride. With no signs in English this is more than most would care to do. The main issue was we went to sleep with a view of the river and woke up looking into another cabin about 10 feet away. This was repeated in Mocsow. I understand the limited places to dock but did not ever imagine I would be looking into another cabin from my balcony for about 1/2 the nights on board. If this is what river crusing is all about then I will go elsewhere in the future.