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14 Russia River Family Cruise Reviews

We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye ... Read More
We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye for detail is exceptional, there was never a time she wasn't there for the guests: ensuring all understood the guidelines of what to do, where to meet, along with all the historical places we would be visiting. Every day was a wow! vadim palchun, our historian, program director, and guide was beyond an a++. Vadim"s intellect surpasses any historian we have ever met. Vadim greeted us every day with humor, patience, knowledge and passion for russia as he guided us thru his homeland. The palaces, the cathedrals, the museums, (don't miss the world war 11 museum) the ballet, the rivertours, the folklore show, & the phenominal old moscow circus!!! Was outstanding!!! Truly, surpassed our expectations! the only significant problem involved the limo service from home: to and from the airport, would not want to deal with this limo company again.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the ... Read More
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the places visited, the guide, the logistics, the free time). We only wished we could have more time in Moscow (only 1.5 days as compared to 3 full days in St Petersburg). The on-ship experience was most memorable. The food was delicious at each meal, the service was extremely pleasent and sweet. The onboard activities were wonderful. We especially enjoyed learning Russian songs and singing in a choir. Although this was not a luxury 5-star ship, the cabin and ship facilities were sufficient enough for us, and the onboard services and experience was 5-star to us. We highly recommend this cruise and this ship. The value versus price was way beyond our expectation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. ... Read More
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. There was always a local guide and someone from the ship to make sure no one got separated from the group. The wait staff were warm and they always had a smile. They knew our names and how we liked our coffee and what juice we liked starting from the second day. The games were hilarious and the historical presentation were Educational .We especially like the fact that the senior crew members mingled with the passengers . We also liked the meeting your neighbor activity. There was variety of meals to choose from and they were prepared well. We are sold on viking River Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We took this cruise to see places we never thought we would see. The excursions were very good, but the excursion to the northern island, while interesting, was a long way there and back. My major complaint was the lack of shipboard ... Read More
We took this cruise to see places we never thought we would see. The excursions were very good, but the excursion to the northern island, while interesting, was a long way there and back. My major complaint was the lack of shipboard entertainment. The piano player and singer were okay. The trivia contests were okay. All together, there was very little evening entertainment. The daytime education sessions on Russian history periods were okay, but were the only entertainment outside of the excursions. There should be a fitness room. While the age of the passengers seemed to be older than my wife and I, I think a lot of people would have used a fitness center to some extent if available. The number of TV channels needs to be expanded. The choice of movies definitely needs to be expanded. The food and food service were excellent, although Western name brands of sugar and artificial sweeteners should be available. The cabin service was fine. I think the excursion to the ballet should have been optional. Our primary tour guide was excellent; because he spent 10 years in the USA, he spoke with very little accent, understood USA customs and expressions, and was very entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I took this cruise with my sister and six other family members including my 80 and 82 year old parents. We flew KLM to St. Petersburg Russia. The flight was excellent, we were in the lap of luxury being fed every two hours and enjoying ... Read More
I took this cruise with my sister and six other family members including my 80 and 82 year old parents. We flew KLM to St. Petersburg Russia. The flight was excellent, we were in the lap of luxury being fed every two hours and enjoying our own personal entertainment systems with free headphones. The plane was not full and there was room to stretch out and lay down on vacant rows. On arrival, we were met by the red jacketed Viking tour guides who quickly organized our luggage and escorted us onto nice buses for the ride to our ship. Embarkation went smoothly and we were escorted to our cabin by a cheerful Russian girl. All tips were handled at the end of the cruise so we were spared the hassle of tipping on board. Cabins Our cabin was very nice with adequate room for our belongings. We were situated on the lowest deck right outside the library. The ship is much smaller than a normal cruise ship. It is long and narrow and easy to remember where everything is on board. Our room had two twin beds, a desk with drawers and cupboard, bathroom and a tall closet to hang clothes in. Suitcases were stored under each bed. Storage was not a problem as the room had plenty of cupboards to put our belongings away. We decided to store our dirty laundry in our empty suitcases under our beds and that worked out well. There were not enough outlets for all the things I wanted to plug in and I was glad I brought a small outlet adapter to expand the number of devices I could plug in. The beds were very comfortable with the best comforter ever. Linens were plush and comfy. Towels also great. Our cabin had glasses and an ice bucket for bringing ice from the hallway ice machine. The bathroom is well stocked with shower cap ,shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, lotion, q tips and cotton squares.The shower has a clothes line you can pull out to hang anything wet. My sister washed some undies and hung them up to dry and that worked out fine. For our wet coats, scarves etc...we hung them in the closet and they were dry the next day. We also sent clothes out to the laundry and they were returned the same day. The cost was about $20 for two pairs of pants and three shirts-well worth the money. One of the best features of the cabin was that the window opens! We enjoyed opening the window to get the fresh breeze as we watched the beautiful scenery slip by. The window opens onto a passageway on the outside of the ship and sailors do walk by often so we learned early on to keep our curtain closed when dressing! Our next door neighbors watched TV constantly at a loud volume (remember the passengers were almost all the 70 and older set). I can't imaging what they were watching as the TV choices were terrible. There was nothing worth watching other than the dancers up in the lounge. If you plan to entertain yourself in your cabin, bring your own device and watch Netflix. Dining Room The dining room is at the end of the ship and it was up one floor from our cabin. An elevator is conveniently located right next to the dining room and my parents used it daily. Tables are not assigned and seating is first come, first served. There were only two tables large enough to seat all eight of us, and we found out that we had to get to the dining room early to get one of the large tables or we had to break up into small groups. One of my family members volunteered to go to meals early to reserve our table. It was irritating that we had to plan how to get our table for every meal. The atmosphere in the dining room was wonderful. The waiters were friendly and attentive. The room is spacious but intimate with comfortable lighting and real linens. Mealtime was so much fun for us as we could plan our day, rehash what we saw that day, joke around and just enjoy being together. Library/Computers/Wifi The library is small with a couch, small table and a couple of chairs. Most of the books are coffee table type books on Russia. The ship could provide a leave and take shelf for passengers to donate a book or take one. The computers were in the hall by the library. Two computers with a printer and chairs were available with wifi. I am a college professor and I was teaching my online classes while on the cruise so the computers and wifi were very important to me. The computers were rarely being used and the internet service was very good. Paper and printing were free as well as the internet access. I took my laptop just in case but I didn't need it. I tended to wake up early and go online to do my work before the start of the day. I was worried that I would not get good internet but it turned out fine. I did struggle with the wifi while we traveled through the many locks we encountered on the river. The locks have tall cement walls and as the ship moves into a lock, the wifi is interrupted until the ship rises and moves out of the lock. It was difficult to get any work done at certain places as we encountered lock after lock along some stretches. Lounge/Entertainment On top of the ship above the dining room is a lounge with drinks and snacks. This is where the entertainment takes place along with lectures and games. The passengers were almost exclusively senior citizens so not too many late night activities were going on up here. All of the lectures were broadcast on board into our cabins so we could watch in bed if we wanted to. The couple who provided music every night in the lounge were good. My sister and I enjoyed watching the feed from the lounge at night when passengers danced, not knowing they were on camera. It was strange that we could see them dancing but we could not hear any music (it was still fun to watch them dancing even without music!). The lectures held here were very good. A lot of history and culture discussions. The last lecture was on Russia today and the tour guides answered questions at the end. I was surprised at their candid answers to some hard questions about Russian culture. They were very open and honest about life in Russia under communism and the way Russians live today. The lectures were definitely worth attending or watching in your cabin. There were also games and karaoke in the lounge and we attended some. It is available if you get tired of being in your cabin and decide to mingle a bit. Gift Shop The ship has a small gift shop on board selling Russian items like amber jewelry, stacking dolls, hats, Christmas ornaments, chocolate and other trinkets. The gal who runs the shop was very friendly and helpful. We stopped at her shop almost every day and she was always happy to pull items out of their cases so we could look. My Dad bought me an amber ring at the shop to remember our trip. It is silver with a large amber stone. I love it very much but, alas, it has begun to turn pink as the very thin layer of silver is wearing off. It was not expensive, $30, so I didn't expect it to be the best quality but have only had it two months and it is already failing. It is disappointing that Viking is selling such cheap jewelry on board. You might want to ask the tour guides where to get good silver jewelry rather than purchase it on board. Food Breakfast was a buffet or we could order off a menu. The buffet did not change from day to day. It offered sliced cold cuts of unknown meats (nothing was labeled), breads, eggs, potatoes, meats such as sausage/bacon, omelet station, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit and drinks. I tired of the choices after a few days and got creative with the offerings, a BLT worked well. Berry smoothies and baked goods were passed at our tables by a charming Russian girl carrying a large basket of baked goods. The pastries looked great but were more bread like than pastry. As in many countries, the pastries were not very sweet which was fine with me. I was on Weight Watchers the entire cruise and I was able to make healthy choices and stay on my meal plan mostly. I only gained three pounds in the two weeks so I was very happy. At lunch we were given 3-4 choices usually a soup, sandwich and a hot meal with of course, dessert! Dinner was the highlight of the day. Appetizers, entrees, fruit and cheese plates and dessert. There were always available chicken breast and a steak if you didn't like the entrees offered. One of my family members ordered two entrees for every dinner meal and that was no problem at all. Our waiters were happy to oblige any request. One night my mother asked for a fruit plate and our waiter brought a lovely plate with the fruit artfully arranged and carved. My sister is a vegetarian and there were always choices for her. After meal times snacks were available upstairs in the lounge with coffee, tea and water always provided in the hall outside the dining room. If we got a very late night craving, there was no food to be found. We were glad we brought some granola bars and nuts with us. Staff I can't say enough about the staff on board. They were patient, friendly, accommodating, funny, charming and entertaining. They were the best part of our on board experience. The tour guides were with us most days and they got us where we needed to be and answered endless questions with enthusiasm. It can't be easy to guide a large group of older people but they know what they are doing. Excursions were just the right length and speed for this crowd. Except for my parents, our group was probably the youngest on board (50-60), It did get frustrating at times to be with such an older group. When we would arrive at a destination, there would be time set aside for the bathroom, leaving coats at the coat room and then the tour would begin half an hour later. It was perfect for my parents but some of my family members got antsy waiting. For them, the tour guides were always happy to help them work out a plan to take the subway on their own and explore the city at their own pace. Excursions On this cruise you will see a lot of palace museums and churches. Take every opportunity to go on excursions and see everything but build some down time into your schedule too. Here is my take on the excursions: Hermitage: talk about drinking from a fire hose! So much beauty in one place! So much art work and the building itself is a work of art. The Russians loved to decorate with gold. The museum was busy but we were able to see everything. There is a lot of walking with no benches to sit until the very end. I think my parents would have liked a small folding stool so they could sit down once in a while. We did not buy the early access and I am glad we didn't, the included tour was plenty. Catherine's Palace: Really beautiful. Take time to go outside and explore the gardens and fountains which were running even in October. The amber room is amazing. So many beautiful photo opportunities. Bring a selfie stick, you will tire of asking people to take your picture. Peteroff Palace Probably my favorite of all the palaces. Peteroff is a beautiful town about a half hour outside St. Petersburg. The bus ride was interesting and the town is so pretty and normal. We saw kids playing in the school yard, people walking to the shops and to work. It was nice to get out of the big city. Faberge Museum We had a private tour of this museum, there were about 30 of us and we were in the museum all alone. That was great. We were able to view everything easily. Our guide was very knowledgeable in fact, she gave too much information for me. I found a bench and sat for a bit after looking. I was overloaded with information. The museum is in a beautiful building which was a home. It was well done and modern. Khizi Walking tour Definitely a highlight of the trip. This is fascinating. Loved the old home tour, the church and the bell ringing. The scenery is so beautiful and it was good to get outside and walk around even though it was cold. We dressed for the cold and it was fine. The old church sells icons and it was fun to buy from them. There was some shopping by the dock but not much-save that for Uglich. Yurislaval It rained very hard this day so it was difficult to walk around but we did go to a market where the chef from our ship offered samples of Russian produce, nuts, meats etc... There was a sort of outdoor market there with goods and local people were shopping there. My sister bought a lovely coat for a good price. We also saw a church (of course) and a highlight for me-a group of teenagers in military uniform marching and singing in the park. It seemed to be a youth military group and they were cute. We visited a bank to get money out of an ATM then exchange it for rubles. That was an experience as they did not speak English. Uglich This is the place to shop! The souvenirs are plentiful and the prices are the best. Take a large shopping bag to put it all in or you will have to carry multiple bags. There is a watch shop on the pier with reasonable prices and nice choices. I bought army watches with a Russian tank and red star-great gift for a man, for about $30. Uglich has the best variety of Russian hats in all colors but check the sizes, some are smaller than others. Great Wooden Christmas ornaments, nativities, Santa etc... But buy them on the way back to the ship as they are heavy to carry around. It was raining again so we didn't see much of the town other than the shops close to the pier. Moscow I can only say: Amazing! Red Square is the best. The Kremlin is a lot of walking but so much to see. On our second day in Moscow, some of our group took the subway into town early to see Lenin's Tomb. All of the guidebooks say to skip it but, it was one of my favorite things, so bizarre, so quirky and hey, you just have to see it. I don't understand the desire to keep a man who died 70 years ago on permanent display. Riding the subway was great too. Easy to navigate, safe and clean. The Jewish Museum was the best. New, modern and interesting. Loved being there. Take a minute to order a pastry from the cafe and sit down at a table. Lovely quiet moments there. Leaving Russia was difficult. The entire ship full of passengers arrived at the airport at once and the lines were so long and unorganized with piles of luggage everywhere. Our Viking Guides stepped in and after a couple of shouting matches with the airline reps, we all got where we needed to be. Advice Here is my random advice for anyone on this trip. 1, Take Medication. We got sick with cold/flu. I mean the entire ship got sick, even some of the staff. Take meds like Nyquil, antihistamine, nasal spray, Tylenol whatever you need to feel as good as you can if you get sick. We had to see the on board doctor and pay $50 for what would cost less then $5 at home. If anyone is sick on board, it quickly spreads like wildfire. 2. Take a selfie stick for great pictures with people in them. Much better than just pictures of things. Keep the daily newsletters placed in your cabins, they are a great summary of what you did every day. 3. Try to go out on your own in Moscow if you are up to it. Its fun to mingle with the locals. 4. Try the horse meat. One dinner is Russian food and horse meat is offered. Hey, where else are you going to get a chance to do that? 5. Tip your staff well. Most of them are away from their families trying to earn enough money to get ahead in their home country. Our waiters were both married with children from the Philippines. They were so cute and helpful. One was trying to earn money to buy a mini bus so he could run a business at home. We have so much and they have so little, plan to tip them well but put it into an envelope and give it to them-do not drop it into the Viking tip box at the front desk if you want to be sure they get it. 6. Ask a lot of questions. The tour guides are very helpful and willing to answer anything. 7. Buy Red October Chocolate. It is in a yellow wrapper with a baby on the front wearing a scarf. Delicious and a really great cheap gift for those at home. 8. Don't worry about what you wear. Be super casual and comfortable. No one cares about your wardrobe. 9. Be patient in traffic. St. Petersburg and Moscow have the worst traffic I have ever seen. You will spend a lot of time on the bus stuck in traffic. Take an audio book and headphones on your ipod or phone or some music to pass the time. I enjoyed sitting up front and watching our bus driver navigate around the road rage but you might want something less stressful. Many of our older passengers slept. I hope this is helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
it was a wonderful experience and i would recommend the Vodohod cruise line to any one. the beds are narrow. i was travelling as a solo - so one bed for sleeping and one for putting stuff on. the referigerator in the room worked ( I did ... Read More
it was a wonderful experience and i would recommend the Vodohod cruise line to any one. the beds are narrow. i was travelling as a solo - so one bed for sleeping and one for putting stuff on. the referigerator in the room worked ( I did not use it). the meals are generous. you do have to order a couple of days in advance and you are expected to sit at the same table and place during the trip. the crew are russian with limited english , german french etc so they know place the ordered meal in number place on the table. six to most tables. four courses for lunch and dinner, Big range for buffet breakfast, from cold meats cheeses to hot dishes, cereals, sweet cakes. The tables are with marked signs ie english speaking or french speaking or the name of the tour company. on my trip there were tour group from Austria, italy and Iceland as well as the above mentioned ones. you will need all your own lotions and potions, shampoos ( one cake of soap provided). rooms cleaned daily, towels in line with green policy, sheets replaced every 3/4 days. suggestion take a thermos / insulated cup and your tea bags if you like a cup of tea. dining room is only open at meal times, there is a hot water tap on one floor - but unlike more expensive Viking no biscuits or cafe machine. no cups - thats why you need your own insulated mug. wifi seems to work well early in the morning only at the one place place on the ship. If you come from australia i would say its shaped. guides speak excellent english french german etc and are allocated to each group of passengers, they are also called upon to sort out the issues when people dont understand the instruction to sit in the same place for each meal. bar / drinks they are not out to make a fortune from selling alcohol. unlike Viking there are no flags red carpets crew to find you on land and guide you to the boat - you have to find it yourself. just a matter of reading the name. the russian name is in big letters and the english above the door. make an effort to recognise or write the russian name - then it will be easy to find the boat. warm musical welcome on board. great places to see as you cruise along - lots of information. there is walking on the daily trips - so come fit, no lift on the ship there are steps to climb. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We wish to place on record that we were delighted with our cruise on MS Tolstoy. All the staff were professional and accommodating. The Dining room was very good. Breakfasts were top class, with a good variety. The lunch and dinners ... Read More
We wish to place on record that we were delighted with our cruise on MS Tolstoy. All the staff were professional and accommodating. The Dining room was very good. Breakfasts were top class, with a good variety. The lunch and dinners were absolutely fantastic. Despite our dietary issues, the kitchen staff went out of their way to serve food of our choice as we are very fussy with our diet. Nothing was an issue. There was always something on the ship (when we were not docked) to do. We had Russian language lessons and are now using it as much as we can. It is useful indeed when travelling around Russia. The excursions that were offered seemed to be a way to try and please everyone’s interest. Especially we enjoyed Moscow city tour. The excursion buses were always neat and clean. The drivers were professional. We always felt safe in their care. The local tour guides were always informative and interesting. We were provided information in a smooth and relaxing style that made each visit to their city, one that we would be able to appreciate long after we got back home. We have been on many cruises in the past and given the size of the MS Tolstoy, it is world class. At the same time very personal. The cabins were good, considering that we spent little time therein. The maids were very polite and we always found the cabins clean and neat. All in all, the MS Tolstoy compares exceptionally well to the larger 18 storey liners! Next year we're going for a cruise to Astrakhan Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The staff on the boat was excellent and very courteous. Olga, the hotel manager was very helpful and attentive. The course director Olga was nice and tried hard to accommodate everybody. The maître d’ was especially nice and came to me ... Read More
The staff on the boat was excellent and very courteous. Olga, the hotel manager was very helpful and attentive. The course director Olga was nice and tried hard to accommodate everybody. The maître d’ was especially nice and came to me for every meal pointing out what food I should not touch because of garlic. I really appreciated this. The food without exception was outstanding and the accommodations very comfortable, given the limited space on a boat. Unfortunately I have to go on a diet now because all this great food settled around my waist! The programs also were interesting and Ludmilla was a highlight for us. Her lectures were excellent (we are aware that the Russians did not care for her Gorbachev talk!). We learned a lot more about Russia, its people and politics, which was very helpful. We had no idea that Stalin destroyed so many churches during his time in power. Also her lectures on realistic Russian art were excellent. She is very enthusiastic and also very good at mixing with guests. We had her on our table several times and enjoyed her company. I am certain other English-speaking people on the tour enjoyed her as well. We loved to sit on the deck and watch the scenery. Some of the locks were very impressive and we were astonished how overall smooth the ride on the boat was. All the excursions to shore were interesting and instructive. We enjoyed going on our own through the village of Mandrogi and buying a few souvenirs for our friends. We loved Kizhi with its old wooden houses and the wonderful Transfiguration church. I was expecting to see snakes but luckily none showed up. The small village of Goritsy was not really worth visiting but the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery was. On this warm day, a lot of Russian people were enjoying themselves bathing in the lake next to the monastery. The church treasures impressed us. We enjoyed visiting Yaroslavil with its various churches and the visit to the governor’s house. We found the visit to a private home informative. We assumed this was staged for us but interesting nevertheless. We always like to see how people live in other countries and this was such an opportunity for us. All in all it was a great experience and I would come back any time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
So we are off to Russia. What are we meant to expect, is it going to be the cold concrete face that we so often see portrayed in our news reels, is it going to be safe, and will the people be welcoming, let's wait and see I suppose? ... Read More
So we are off to Russia. What are we meant to expect, is it going to be the cold concrete face that we so often see portrayed in our news reels, is it going to be safe, and will the people be welcoming, let's wait and see I suppose? The reviews we read sound promising however. So we arrive at the airport in Moscow and go through Customs and Immigration which is a breeze. Personnel are only too willing to offer assistance to us in entering into their country. Through the doors and into public area and we are immediately greeted by the Scenic hostess, who took care of everything from our arrival, to our luggage, to the taxi and being delivered to the boat it was an exceptional greeting, with everything in place, our luggage in our rooms and all we have to cart is ourselves. We have been to St Petersburg, Estonia, Sweden, Finland and through a couple of the Asian countries but we never had a preconceived idea of what we were about to be imported into. Russia is cosmopolitan, friendly, impeccably clean, safe, robust in its construction development, has traffic jams with mercs caused often by Ladas. The young people speak excellent English and bend over backwards to assist where they can. I have wonderful memories of the ambiance, culture and people of Russia and would recommend a visit to anyone contemplating such an adventure. Our tour was on board the Scenic Tsar (Alexander Grin). Never did we feel in jeopardy with anything we did, including our own free time in the City. Four of the crew were Scenic Group and the rest employed by the owners of the ship but you could not split them up for their service and consideration. Each had a role to play and each should have taken home an Oscar for the contribution they made to the tour. Our suite was excellent and accommodated all we wished for. I too liked the touch of the chocolates on the pillows at night but I have yet to find where mine disappeared every evening. Every organised tour was with a tour director who it is evident to see in the numerous photographs standing unobtrusively but with the focus of being our guardian angel. Overseeing the guardian angels was she who must be obeyed and whom made the tour a seamless flow of experiences, culture, integration and fun, the Cruise Director. I now pinch my wife's comments: The Cruise Director, Diana, was an absolute gem. She was never too busy for a chat whatever the subject and always the energetic pocket rocket for us all. Nothing was a problem, if there is a solution it will be solved, if there is not there will be an alternative and it will work. The onboard activities were well organised and the Russian lessons were lots of fun. Thank you Svetlana for being so patient. The choir should top the charts soon given the encores requested finally leading to a full instrumental reciptile. The Hotel Manager, Olga, did a great job looking after everyone's needs and was always on hand if you needed to make special requests etc. The spontaneous play will provide several Oscars this year. The tour directors Svetlana, Elena and Vadim were a wealth of knowledge and ready and willing to answer any questions about Russia, even a few political jokes were made during the course of the tour. I do hope Russia does not revert to one ply paper. The Directors kept their energy going at all times which regularly gave us all that extra lift we needed after a full day out. Last but not least a big thank you to Kapitan Vyacheslav Kochet Kov for keeping all of us safe on the waterways of Russia, and his wonderful welcome and departure dinners. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife and I have sailed with Viking before (on the Danube) and so thought this would be more of the same, just with different ports. Also, our whole lives we have considered Russia to be a dark country, filled with communists and run by ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with Viking before (on the Danube) and so thought this would be more of the same, just with different ports. Also, our whole lives we have considered Russia to be a dark country, filled with communists and run by dictators, Well, apparently we have always been wrong, it was a most welcoming country (even though we had to pay $500 for visas to get in--this is one of the sanctions that Obama has put into place to punish Russia...) Moscow was a VERY European city and not at all what we anticipated. Lots of fine and expensive cars, well dresses young people--the men and women appear to be in good physical shape, not like the fat-sos we see when we walk the sidewalks of NY. The guides knew the answers to all our questions, and they could name all the leaders starting with the Tsars of the fourteenth century and running right though Puton. Our final stop was St Petersburg and the traffic there is dreadful. Our dock was only about 15 miles from center city, but it was 1.5 hours by bus in the traffic. So on a day when we had a long tour, then back to the ship for a snack, and back on the bus to go to the ballet--that day was 6 hours in a bus. If we had known, we'd have stayed in town and had dinner at a local restaurant before the ballet. We were told that the dock we stayed at was as close as we could get due to the bridges being closed during the day--but really, the capt could have navigated through the bridges when they were open (from 2 AM until 6 AM), and then--like the ocean cruise ships, we'd have been in the downtown, and no need for all the busses. Who makes these plans? Well if it is the Cruise Director, I would say she was not at the top of her game (or if she was, she needs a new assignment). If someone else--they should be told. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to do a safe mother daughter trip in Russia. We started In Moscow and ended in St. Petersburg. We loved the trip. The included tours and lectures were great. The local guides were wonderful. Our ship guides, Alexei, Vadim, and ... Read More
We wanted to do a safe mother daughter trip in Russia. We started In Moscow and ended in St. Petersburg. We loved the trip. The included tours and lectures were great. The local guides were wonderful. Our ship guides, Alexei, Vadim, and Sasha were wonderful, knowledgeable, and open to any questions. They made the trip. We paid extra for a behind the scenes trip to The Hermitage that was well worth the money. All the workers on board were helpful and friendly. Constantine, the videographer, did a super job. We enjoyed all the stops along the river, especially Uglich and Kizhi. We were glad to be on the right side of the ship as we were able to see many of the stops as we approached them. Viking took care of us when our luggage was two days late. The Viking Doctor took good care of my daughter when she was ill. Be sure to go the ballet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First and foremost, the crew was fantastic. The wealth of knowledge that everyone has on the ship in their respective areas is astonishing. Together they definitely made the trip that much more amazing. Our tour guide Sasha was hands down ... Read More
First and foremost, the crew was fantastic. The wealth of knowledge that everyone has on the ship in their respective areas is astonishing. Together they definitely made the trip that much more amazing. Our tour guide Sasha was hands down the best tour guide I have every had. The food was unreal. Michelin quality meals every night with a menu that would satisfy even the pickiest eater. As for the deserts, you had a choice from 4 different things every evening. If you upgrade to the Silver Beverage Package (which I highly recommend) you can drink top shelf liquor and wine when you please. Pays for itself very quickly. Although the cabin was not very large, the chamber maids cleaned and organized anything left out to help maximize what space you had. The guests on the ship were so much fun. Everyone was there to have a great time. Overall, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone that wants to have a trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We had a WONDERFUL time on Viking. We had gone on Viking 10 years ago from Amsterdam to Budapest and we thought it was good, but this time it was terrific. Our room was perfect, the food was quite good and the staff were so helpful and ... Read More
We had a WONDERFUL time on Viking. We had gone on Viking 10 years ago from Amsterdam to Budapest and we thought it was good, but this time it was terrific. Our room was perfect, the food was quite good and the staff were so helpful and professional. The itinerary was interesting and I was quite pleased to see Moscow for the first time. It was much prettier than I expected and the people were very friendly. Luckily our weather was great and the interpreters were amazing and knowledgeable. The tours were very good but the traffic in the regions was quite bad. It took a long time to get back to the ship. The busses were comfortable. The ship was very clean. I did find the crew was not as friendly as the rest of the staff. The service was great. The American program director (OMG I forgot his name) was a nice touch and very helpful. So, go Viking! You did a great job and we enjoyed it very much!! We celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary aboard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was my first cruise experience and it was a blast. Hats off to Viking Cruises for the very efficient handling of everything: from the flight bookings, to airport transfers, embarkation and disembarkation to and from the ship, the ... Read More
This was my first cruise experience and it was a blast. Hats off to Viking Cruises for the very efficient handling of everything: from the flight bookings, to airport transfers, embarkation and disembarkation to and from the ship, the tours, the accommodations. The staff was just great, from the kitchen, restaurant, housekeeping, entertainment to the tour guides. I have spread the word to family and friends that if they want a great cruise experience, they should try Viking first. There is nothing like a river cruise vs. an ocean cruise. It just makes a difference having a few hundred people to thousands of people traveling with you. I cannot say enough of the guides who were very knowledgeable and just a fountain of information. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014

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