My husband and I are both retired, and enjoy traveling frequently. The ship we were on this time, the Truvor, was an older type river ship, but was in excellent condition and appeared recently refurbished. Our room, with a veranda, had ... Read More
My husband and I are both retired, and enjoy traveling frequently. The ship we were on this time, the Truvor, was an older type river ship, but was in excellent condition and appeared recently refurbished. Our room, with a veranda, had enough room to be comfortable. We sat out on the veranda often to watch passing villages, towns and sunsets. Viking offered lectures about the country every day. The lecturers were Russian who spoke well and were easily understood. We learned about the places we were to see and visit, but also about the history and political aspects of different historical eras. It was all fascinating and well presented. We also had two classes to help us understand how to speak Russian. I spent a lot of time sounding out signs in the cyrillic alphabet that is used. On many occasions, the words I sounded out turned out to be English words we shared!
We were well taken care of onboard - as is usual on Viking cruises, we seldom had to actually ask for help, it was always there with a smile. On shore excursions, we were accompanied by at least one Russian guide from the ship, and a local Russian guide to help us learn and understand about all the local history. Our guide through the Hermitage was especially adept. The beautiful museums, churches, architecture, cities, villages, and countryside were amazing - and much of it was so different from expectations. The Russian people were friendly and slightly curious about us also, since tourists are still a new thing there. We liked to go shopping in the local businesses, and many tours were able to give us free time to visit the shops on our own. Many people took advantage of this as it gives a chance to see what the local shops are like away from the 'tourist' places. There actually aren't very many 'touristy' places yet, which is very refreshing since what you see and purchase is different in each place you visit. On this trip, we did not 'eat out' very often since Viking provided Russian cuisine onboard, and sent a packed lunch when our tours took us past the lunch hour.As for embarkation and disembarkation - these times always involve a little waiting for buses to the airport, but Viking handles it all very well and with as little standing in line as possible ( in our experience) and the buses are always first class. We have our next Viking cruise already planned - the Viking Star cruise in the Mediterrean, and we can hardly wait! Read Less