Sail Date: May 2010
To give some background to our trip - I was born in Odessa Ukraine, and have been contemplating for some time to introduce my wife to the city and the country of which she heard so much. The Odessa-Kiev cruise on Viking Lomonosov provided ... Read More
To give some background to our trip - I was born in Odessa Ukraine, and have been contemplating for some time to introduce my wife to the city and the country of which she heard so much. The Odessa-Kiev cruise on Viking Lomonosov provided a possibility to do so with an added bonus of "highlighting" Crimea as well. The ship is very simple -â€" library, 2 bars (one forward and one aft), 2 restaurants (while we were assigned to Kiev restaurant the seating is open for all meals which gives you a chance to mingle with fellow passengers) and a sun deck -â€" otherwise just a hallways with cabins on both sides (4 decks total). Our cabin (229) was 90 sq.ft -â€" the TINIEST we've ever seen J but we were able to get everything out of suitcases and store them away with no problem so it was quite cozy and comfy (besides its not like we spent TOO much time in it) Actually it turned out to be a good location since all the cabins have a large window but all are overlooking a given deck so one has to be mindful of the situation least some fellow cruisers will catch you de-flagrante J The Main deck is "Crew" deck -â€" so we hardly had anyone moving past our window and we were literally steps away from the Front Desk and the disembarking doors (proves a good thing when the crowds begin to gather to go ashore) BY FAR -â€" it is the most passive cruise EVER! There is no "activities" on board for those mornings\afternoons that you are cruising -â€" I reckon the idea is for you to sit on the deck and soak up the scenery...but then you kinda ease in into this "lazy" lifestyle...and if need be -â€" there are books and games in library, they were showing movies on TV (mostly tapes not live but that's OK) and there were appropriate lectures on Ukraine History in general and ports-of-call when appropriate. Food was AWESOME (surprisingly I did not gain an ounce case you KNOW I was eating like a pig (or make it 2 pigs) J). They are also liberal with that wine that comes as a part of the package -â€" once its starts flowing you can ask for refills and they will give it to you no questions asked. The drinks at the bar are good (the best LIIT I've ever tasted) and they use top shelf brands (drink of the day was about 55 UAH). Draft beer (Slavutitch -â€" Ukrainian Beer) is very good and actually is cheaper than Coke (28 UAH vs 30 UAH for the same size glass) Speaking of Coke -â€" all soft drinks are charged even during the meals. At the same - water and iced tea are available with meals, 4 juices are there for breakfast and there is a coffee machine on Middle Deck that works 24/7 (and like I said -â€" wine is flowing during the dinner) so we were not hurting for soda. They also give you a 1 liter bottle of water in the cabin (if need be -â€" replenished every day). And there is no limit on stuff you can buy while in port and bring back into cabin (there is a small fridge). You KNOW some folks were dragging booze in on daily basis J If you want to serve it at the dinner though -â€" its 80 UAH cork fee charge. The stuff is very friendly and helpful but their English is limited -â€" if you "overstep the boundaries" by asking some unfamiliar question -â€" they will give you a blank look and say Yes (with the same friendly smile.... But that's about it) The weather while in Odessa and Crimea was just perfect! Couple of showers but kinda "passing by" or we hit everything at the right time (rained while we were in transit or inside the building) so that was not an issue aside carting the jackets with us some days and the temps were in upper 70s to upper 80s The 1st days into the river it did change to cooler (upper 50s -â€" mid 60s) but bearable. Unfortunately 1 day was a complete wash out - we were lucky that we just finished watching the Cossack Horse Show when the skies literally opened up and we were shooed-in back onto buses thus cutting short the rest of the visit (kinda was a bummer since this was on Khortitsa Island where Ukrainian (Zaporozhye) Cossacks started from as I was looking forward to view some of the fortifications and such) and the next 2 were kinda gloomy as well (it would periodically drizzle on and off -â€" just enough to be a slight nuisance here-and-there). But by the time we got to Kiev it was all nice and sunny again The "included" tours...well... they just cemented my reason of trying to stay away from organized tours (but then it is exactly the reason why I DO stay away from them). You are assigned the bus in the beginning of the cruise so the same driver and guide will be with you for duration. There were 28 people on our bus (it does not seem like the cruise was sold-out) and most of the folks are in their 70s so... time to get on get off... and pretty much running through museums and other exhibits -â€" not much you can do just go with the flow. (Be prepared to hear & see a lot of WWII (or as they call it The Great Patriotic War) stuff esp. since they are celebrating 65 years of VE Day this year) That said I was only too happy that I hired a private guide for all 4 days in Crimea. He was a great guy, had his own A\Cd little car (which did come handy in some places that the bus would not even DREAM to go through), very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and ... just everything you want to ask for in a guide! To make a long story short -â€" we hit EVERY place that Viking advertized as "optional" tours (even when one had to choose between "tour 1" or "tour 2") and THEN SOME! He got us into places that are closed to tourist crowds and pretty much I got everything I wished for (the only thing that was on my list that I didn't get to do was to take a cable car to the top of Ai-Petri (St Peter's) Mountain but that's only because Viking told me that the ship would be leaving Yalta at 2:00 pm and it actually did at 1:00 pm -â€" which lost us that hour and is not in any way Sergey's (the guide's) fault). All in all I paid him $510.00 $50.00 of which was a tip and was also paying whatever the entry fees to places were. So maybe the whole experience ran me $600-650 (tops) but again it was well worth it for me because of what we saw & did vs what the rest of the crowd did (or, obviously -â€" didn't). If you are interested -â€" contact him at sergo22yalta at gmail.com (again his name is Sergey). You most certainly can tell him that I recommended J To highlight one examle of what I just told you -â€" I have photos of me sitting in Stalin's cabinet behind his desk and Sergey and I in Molotov's quarters - both are taken at Yusupov's Palace which was where Russian Delegation was HQ'd during Yalta Conference (US Delegation was at Livadia (White) Palace (included in Itinerary) and Brits were at Vorontzov's (Alupka) Palace -â€" optional tour). The place originally belonged to Prince Felix Yusupov's parents and the big claim to fame here is that Price Felix is the one who murdered Rasputin In any case -â€" nothing that any other fellow cruiser even dreamt of remotely seeing.... There is not much to see & do in Dnepropetrovsk and Kremenchug -â€" they are just "1/2-dead monuments" to Soviet industry and I honestly have no idea as to why they are on the itinerary (I'd much more to skip one or both of them and spent that time in Kiev) but I'm not the one who makes the itinerary. No matter what -â€" the time in Kiev is simply NOT ENOUGH so make the best of what you'll see on organized tours! The ship arrives in Kiev shortly after lunch and you practically immediately carted off onto the tours of St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kiev_Pecherskaya Monastery of the Caves (once more - NOT ENOUGH TIME AT ALL!!!!) Upon the reurn - you have a choice -â€" either free time (shopping etc) or take a Jewish Kiev tour (to Babi Yar and the Main Synagogue). The tour is not advertized in Viking brochures and is 330 UAH pp; lasts approximately 2 hours and is a somber experience if you are familiar with the Babi Yar (done with a very knowledgeable English speaking local guide) I spent about $300.00 in tips all around (ship personnel and local guides) and ran up perhaps a $150.00 bill on board which included the above tour and some souvenirs. -â€" again PITTANCE since it was all in Hrivnas I also have to mention that they take away your passports for the duration of the cruise (no reason to make any scenes or protests as that wont help any) they give you some tail of a whale about customs but it's a lie -â€" probably a left-over appendix from "good old" Soviet times. In any case -â€" they give you a card (one per person) with your name, cabin # and bus # instead and it serves as your ID and also a "whereabouts" tool inasmuch as that you have to give them your cabin key for these cards every time you go ashore and thus exchange back upon return -â€" so they can see if anyone is "still out". They are not computerized at all in that sense -â€" all on board stuff is still done via signing individual purchase receipts. Once your bill is settled (last "cruising" morning on the way to Kiev) -â€" you get the passports back. At the last day I simply decided not to go through the hustle of haggling with either cab drivers or hackers about the fare to Borispol Airport and just let the Front Desk order me one of their "affiliate" cabs. The taxi was there 10 mins before the scheduled time - nice, clean & comfortable car. The trip took about 40 mins and the fare was 300.00 UAH (+ 30 UAH tip). Thus - as far as my "transfers" go I think I beat the Viking price hands down.... So in conclusion -â€" there are some setbacks but on the overall -â€" a very worthy experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very ... Read More
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very soon!!!.. The offerings were just plain cheap.. Canned tuna, TILAPIA!!! (Possibly the dirtiest and worst fish you can ever eat) Roast Turkey?? etc... If this is because of the tariffs imposed on western goods in Russia, they should have offer boil potatoes and soup.. In general the food was a disaster to say the least.. Talking with the crew, I found out that the menus are designed in their corporate offices, so I will say the Chef had nothing to do with it.. Even if he did poorly a couple of times.. The service was great but missed orders several times.. The entertainment was talented,,, but not for this venue.. Eventually people started calling the bar "The Nap Room".. Their repertoire was extremely elevator music.. Terrible.. Our room was always impecable thanks to the cleaning staff. Our excursions and enrichment were absolutely Fantastic.. We are now booked on Viking for Vietnam and Cambodia for December 2019. We are seriously considering canceling.. It is sad to see Viking slowly going down on the quality of the menus.. I would highly recommend visiting Russia, but not on Viking until they fix their food offerings.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board ... Read More
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board lectures were well delivered and full of detail. The Russian lessons were fab! We enjoyed the ports of call which were explained in detail on board beforehand and well organised. Traffic was an issue in Moscow. We enjoyed the company of the other guests with whom we shared our travel experiences as they were all English speaking and of a broadly similar age to us. The free dining and quality of meals were excellent. The cabin was of a good size, well appointed and beautifully clean. However, the issue for us was the speed with which a viral illness fell amongst us all. It began when a couple boarded with what was probably flu and this spread through the passengers like wildfire. My partner succumbed on the fourth day but worse than that, by the end of the trip almost every cabin had someone with it - the coughs resounded wherever we all went. We tried on more than one occasion to have in-cabin dining as eating with others when obviously so ill is a 'no no' to all concerned. However this was not possible despite numerous requests to the passenger services manager whose name I have forgotten. Nor was dining later than the majority of others as the kitchens closed. There was nowhere we could eat in relative isolation from everyone else apart from upstairs in the bar area for continental breakfast or a light lunch but no dinner provision. This caused us a lot of distress and embarrassment plus obviously enabled the virus to spread. Sadly the illness which meant many missed excursions and emotional discomfort which greatly detracted from the overall enjoyment. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was my Mother's dream to go to Russia. So I went with her, she 80 and at times needs help getting around. She has taken four previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. I have over 100 cruise days on ocean ships but never ... Read More
This was my Mother's dream to go to Russia. So I went with her, she 80 and at times needs help getting around. She has taken four previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. I have over 100 cruise days on ocean ships but never a river cruise. My Mother, my girlfriend and four friends have all sailed with Viking in Europe but never Russia. They rave about how great Viking trip are.....I didn't see that in Russia. This may be my first and last river cruise. It started with Viking offering free air. 27 hours from Seattle to St Petersburg with lay-overs in both Washington DC (2.5 hrs) and Vienna (5.25 hrs). We arrived on the boat at 6:30 pm losing the whole first day. Our return air out of Moscow was a bit better only 19 hours, just one lay-over in Frankfort 91.5 hours). However.....our flight left Moscow at 6 am after we were taken off the boat at 2:30 am for the two hour drive to the airport. We tried to get the flights to Russia changes 6 weeks prior to the trip but Viking said nothing was available. Truvor is an outdate boat design that was refurbished a few years ago. The staterooms were small, Mom amd I worked a system when only one of us at a time would move around to get dressed to avoid constantly getting in eachother's way. No drawers except a shallow desk drawer, limited cabinets with selves and a small closest, challenged us to find room for our clothes to avoid living out of a suitcase. These was plenty of room to store our suitcases under the beds. The bathroom was cramped but we managed, one at a time. The common room on the boat were small and space was not available for all the passengers to attend briefing together. They performed two briefing to accommidate their lack of space. We had unseasonably cold weather (first snows in May in St Peterburg in 50 years). Due to the cold weather, it was difficult to use the decks and balconies for very long, forcing everyone to compete for the cramped interior spaces or stay in your rooms. The Russian boat crew was every professional and navigated the waterways and locks expertly. One very seldom noticed the operations crew as they went about their business. This was Vikings first trip of the 2017 season. Over half the bar staff and dining staff appeared overworked and undertrained. When the dining room got busy, passengers often waited for refills beverages and staff was inattentive to anything but getting meals out. Several of the staff were on their first cruise contracts, so the inexperience showed. I have dietary restrictions. Viking had me send a very detailed description of my needs and said the ship staff would be given the details. The ship staff had no idea of my needs, the information was never passed on to the ship, except to say "a diebetic diet". Close but not really. My "diabetic box lunch for an excursion had sugary juice, starchy potatoe chips and white bread comercially mad ham/cheese sandwich....nothing I could eat. Every dinner, I told the wait staff to replace the starches or white carbs with extra vegitables, but 'No carrots".....every meal I got extra vegitables with extra carrots.....10 straight days. Only two of the four or five bartenders knew how to make simple drinks and one of the more experienced bartenders was fired a few days into the trip for too much drinking. I saw one passenger order a "Dirty martini"...the bartender asked what that was and the passenger has to tell him how to make the drink. I've taken Mediterranean Sea cruises three times the length of this trip at half the cost. This was a very expensive trip for very overrated service and ammenities. The free on-board wifi was great in St Peterburg. I could send/recieve e-mails and post social media with or without attachments and photos.Once we left St Petersburg it was terrible. For days we could not send/recieve a thing. At the first stop on the river, Mandrogy, we were rafted against a Russian riverboat company ship. Viking wifi did not work. I could sit on my balcony or stand on the dock and get great wifi from the unsecure Russian ship wifi....for just that day. Once we got closer to Moscow the wifi was sketchy at best but I was never able to send an attachment or photos...just e-mail. The on-board and local tour guides were very knowledgable and entertaining. However, they could coordinate their speaking points a bit, because very day, every tour guild kept repeating the same Russian Royal family histories. Twice would have been ok, but after 5 or 6 times of the same information....I got it. Russia was very interesting and that saved the trip. More importantly, Mom got to go to Russia. St Petersburg was beautiful, by far my favorite city in Russia. Moscow was a modern metroploitan city. Both were very clean and we felt safe traveling about. The river portion was interesting and the small towns were a joy to visit. We missed out on Kizhi because the lake was iced over. Iced over should have been interesting to see. At the briefing, we were told the boat would stop at anchor as we were going to follow an icebreaker through the icefield and it was safer to do during the day. I awoke to find we transbersed the ice during the night, one passenger told me heard the ice hitting the hull and that woke him to go check it out. I'm a sound sleeper and missed the whole thing. The boat docks outside the interesting part of St Petersburg and Moscow. If you are comfortable taking subways, the ship staff has good information on getting to and from the subway and city centers. Traffic in Moscow is so terrible, that bus/taxi travel is time prohibitive. Had Russia not been so interesting. I would have given Viking a much lower overall rating on this trip. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Great trip - great crew but staying so far out of Moscow and St. Petersburg made for a six nights of 'parking' out of town. Did not get a chance to experience two fabulous cities outside of guided tours. No information was ... Read More
Great trip - great crew but staying so far out of Moscow and St. Petersburg made for a six nights of 'parking' out of town. Did not get a chance to experience two fabulous cities outside of guided tours. No information was volunteered about the subway. Would have taken it the first day, if we knew we were across the park from it. Tried the bus - too long - two hours each way - same for cabs. Going to dinner required a 6 hour trip with 80% of it in a vehicle. No maps of the area where the boat was moored to run/jog - nothing on board to use to exercise. An expensive trip $20,000 to sit on a boat with a few great tours. Money would have been better spent on hotels and a boat trip in the middle. Should be patterned after Viking's China cruise. Stay downtown Moscow for three days - then board the boat. Do the Volga River and upon arriving in St. Petersberg - debark for three or four nights in hotels in St. Petersberg and Peterof. Would not recommend for folks with a high activity level, best for those more sedentary. Food was excellent with Russian food choices at every meal. Advice - prepare a separate brochure for those wishing to walk alone, that is to say - avoid the "walking" tours where you take 100 steps and have to wait for half the folks to catch up. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
AS this is my second Viking Cruise I had high expectations and once I got to St. Petersburg and on the boat everything was excellent. The Boat, the crew, the food, the drinks, the entertainment... it was all top notch. I'll get back ... Read More
AS this is my second Viking Cruise I had high expectations and once I got to St. Petersburg and on the boat everything was excellent. The Boat, the crew, the food, the drinks, the entertainment... it was all top notch. I'll get back to that later as I want to tell everyone about the hassles with booking flights. Viking offered 'free airfare' and I politely refused, but they insisted the free airfare was wonderful. I said I normally upgrade, and they told me that once an airline was assigned I would be able to upgrade with no problems. So 30 days before our sailing date I called Viking and was told that I was assigned to Aeroflot and I could call them to upgrade or use the Viking partner link to do the upgrade online. I went to the Viking link page and guess what. Aeroflot was not even listed as a partner of Viking on that page. So I called Aeroflot and they said it would cost $385.00 per segment to upgrade, but only my travel agent, in this case Viking, could do it. So I called Viking back and said that Aeroflot had it all wrong and that they could not upgrade me. I called Aeroflot again and they confirmed everything I had been told earlier and I called Viking and they insisted they could not upgrade me. Sooo.. I wrote a letter to Viking headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. They faxed my letter back to the California office of Viking and I received a call from the travel manager. She said in fact I could upgrade for $3800. So for a total of $7600 I could upgrade my flights. I politely said no and asked to cancel the trip. I was told there would be sever financial penalties and I pointed out that I was lied to when I booked. Guess I should have had Viking sign something. I grudgingly traveled with my nose up against the seat in front of me for 10 hours, cursing the trip, the cruise, the flight and Aeroflot. I was glad to arrive in Moscow to get the short hop to St. Petersburg. I met other people on board, and they had no problems upgrading with American airlines companies, the problem was just Aeroflot. OK, now to the actual cruise. It was wonderful, much more than my wife and I expected. The Hotel Manager, Wilheim was great, entertaining, and quick to react to anyone's problems. Jeffrey and Elvira were great in the restaurant. As I said the food was great, and on my wife's birthday I spoke to the chef about a surprise cake and said it was all taken care of. I guess they looked at the passports to get her birthdate. The most tasty cake was prepared, and the 6 people at our table each got a piece. My wife and I learned more about Russia, it's history and it's language in those 12 days then we ever could have imagined. We also visited a Russian commune and we surprised at how they lived. We were glad to hear that they were being phased out. We also visited a Russian home in Yaroslavl and it was very much like an American home. Conversations with the Russian people shower we had the same interests, a happy life, good and smart children who are successful, and a long life. Saint Petersburg was beautiful and the museums, cathedrals, and canals were all noteworthy. Moscow was also wonderful. It was clean, seemed safe, and Red Square (Red means beautiful by the way), was very impressive. I would definitely go back to Russia to learn more.... But I would NOT book or accept free airfare from Viking. They treat you like cattle to get to the ship and to get home. That kind of degrades from the rest of the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We had a fantastic trip filled with memorable experiences. Russia is an amazing country with awe inspiring monuments, museums, culture and heritage. The people are proud of their country and welcome visitors. They are shaped by many ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip filled with memorable experiences. Russia is an amazing country with awe inspiring monuments, museums, culture and heritage. The people are proud of their country and welcome visitors. They are shaped by many appalling events in their history. I think Moscow to St Petersburg is the best way to do it as I would not like to face Moscow traffic and travel times at the end of the trip. The crew on Viking Truvor were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, particularly the tour escorts who enhanced the experience. The ship is well appointed and there is no doubt that Viking is the major player in Russia and has preferred access to berths, tour destinations, buses etc. I have some complaints about Viking's organisation. They may seem petty but it is often the small things which make all the difference. I consider this to have been an expensive cruise (£10,000) and do not feel it was good value for money. Consider all the cruise companies who operate in Russia (and there are many) and perhaps these points may help you make up your mind. The deposit seems very high: £2000 paid over 1 year in advance. The flights are in line with most tour companies, but the transfer time was 1 hour, which is fine if all goes well, but our flight from St Petersburg was delayed (and I got the impression this happens quite often), we made our connection by running through Zurich airport, but our luggage didn't. We were unable to check in online with Swiss.com. The majority of fellow passengers were American and Australian. They seemed to have been offered a range of incentives which were not available to UK guests: 2 for 1, free flight, free gratuities, free premium drink packages, welcome bottle in cabin. So that's all the negatives, now for the cruise itself. Domodedovo airport Moscow is 2 hours from the river port. The traffic in Moscow is horrendous and trips to and from the port take 1 hour on average. We enjoyed all the tours in Moscow, but the Folklore Show was outstanding. The cruise along the waterways is relaxing after all the crowds in Moscow. We saw lots of ospreys but wildlife is not abundant. The ports of call are fascinating although I would have liked more free time to explore independently after the main tour, but the distances travelled are so large I don't think that's possible and of course you don't have to take the organised tour. Dollars seemed to be the preferred currency in most outlets. Life on board ship was very relaxed, the food was excellent and the service was prompt and efficient. The dock at St Petersburg is disappointing. It is not easy to travel into the city independently and there is nothing to explore in the vicinity. There were no tours scheduled for the final day, although you could purchase optional tours. I don't understand why we had 2 very heavy tours the day before. There are huge crowds, but we had early access to St Catherine's palace, although I think a lot of tour companies do this. L'Hermitage, the summer palace and the ballet are all amazing. So, although I have reservstions about Viking, I have no hesitation in recommending Russia as a truly memorable experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
The cruise was great fun and the positives were: 1. Staff friendly 2. Tours were on the whole good value for money 3. Cabin was clean and comfortable 4. Free water was very welcome Negatives: 1. Food was hit and miss especially the ... Read More
The cruise was great fun and the positives were: 1. Staff friendly 2. Tours were on the whole good value for money 3. Cabin was clean and comfortable 4. Free water was very welcome Negatives: 1. Food was hit and miss especially the captain's dinner when being allegeric to fish i ended up eating cheese and biscuits as no alternatives could be found. 2. Waiting staff in the restuarant were also hit and miss. Very slow at time and the same with the bar staff. 3. Pre-cruise - we were not advised of any optional trips. This seemed to be extremely random and not impressed at all with this. 4. Still waiting to find out why we didn't get the direct flight - again this seemed a random allocation and was really not impressed. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
The Viking River Cruise "Waterways of the Czars" (July 31 - August 12, 2009) was our first cruise experience, and will likely be our last. While we enjoyed Russia and its many attractions, we were very disappointed in most ... Read More
The Viking River Cruise "Waterways of the Czars" (July 31 - August 12, 2009) was our first cruise experience, and will likely be our last. While we enjoyed Russia and its many attractions, we were very disappointed in most aspects of the cruise itself. Specifically: • Overall value for money: Most people we met on the cruise paid several thousands of dollars less than we did, and for supposedly better cabins. This knowledge lessened our enjoyment considerably. We advise others to book as late as possible for Viking river cruises, if you must take one, since they discount heavily closer to the sailing date to fill up the boat. • Food quality: Despite claims in Viking advertising, the food was of consistently poor quality, e.g., every fish dish I ate was tasteless, mushy, and obviously frozen not fresh. Other passengers with previous Viking experience agreed with us, but said that Viking cruises in Western Europe have much better food and service. Several other passengers also spoke with the "hotel manager" to note their unhappiness with food quality. • Service: The dining room staff was mostly young Philipinos, who were all eager to please but clearly not sufficiently experienced, properly trained for efficient service, and too few for a fully booked boat. Dinner normally took well over two hours, and we and many others had to cut short dinner in order to attend other scheduled events on board. • Our cabin: The cabin (227) was comfortable enough, except that it seemed to be directly above the engines used to stabilize the boat when going through locks. These engines were so noisy and vibrated so much that when lock passage occurred at night sleep was impossible. Viking should warn potential customers about this noise in main deck cabins, and advise them to bring ear-plugs to cope with the noise or select other cabins. • Doctor: The Kirov's Russian doctor, whose English skills were very limited, had a remarkably diffident manner when my wife banged her forehead on one of the Sky-Bar's glass doors. The clinic had no proper ice-bag, so to reduce the large swelling he recommended using a plastic garbage bag or laundry bag. Given the average age of Kirov passengers, shouldn't an ice-bag or two be among the clinic's supplies? The doctor also failed even to stand up during her visit to his office, declining as unnecessary a suggestion that he examine her forehead. Bottom line: We wrote to Viking about these problems, to which they responded with an offer of a $500 credit for a future Viking cruise. Our response to that will be "nyet." Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
Took cruise sincere a friend on the China tour / cruise told us how well the chef on that tour accomodated people with special diets. We contacted the Viking agent, discussed our problem in detail with her and sent her a copy of the ... Read More
Took cruise sincere a friend on the China tour / cruise told us how well the chef on that tour accomodated people with special diets. We contacted the Viking agent, discussed our problem in detail with her and sent her a copy of the dietary restrictions. We were told they wouldn't be a problem and that Viking was known for their ability to customize experiences for their passengers. Long story short, the chef refused to accomodate the diet (like how hard is it to make a plain piece of chicken?) and towards the end of the cruise, he wouldn't even make a steak without butter for another passenger who was lactose intolerant. It's hard to explain to other "guests" why you aren't eating the main dishes. It's also hard to tour if you aren't getting enough protein. Thank goodness we brought peanut butter along with us. My wife wrote Viking and we did get a call from a representative who didn't offer any credits or consideration. Other than that ruining the trip, the sights were great, the rooms were adequate and the tour guides were very good. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation ... Read More
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation between cabins. We could even hear a TV blaring from across a corridor. The restaurant service is a bit hit and miss, and there efforts to provide a table service is pretty uneven. Often you will be at a table where you may have to wait for your main course whilst others have finished theirs as the galley is unable to cope with the demands put upon it, so it can be awkward. My wife has a allergy but despite notifying the Maitre D, he just said we should always try to sit on the same table that a waiter would get to know our requirements, but of course this was not always possible. The staff themselves were always courteous and work hard, but the system seems a bit shambolick at busy times. The tours were fine and well run, but if you do this cruise be prepared for some waiting in a bus in traffic jams in the major cities. Not a big problem , but a sad fact of life. To sum up, a curates egg of a cruise with a company whom I doubt will see my custom again Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Many,many passengers on this cruise caught a virus/chest infection within a few days of boarding, even crew had illness as I pointed out to a waiter who was serving us, his reply was that the on board doctor had given him an injection for ... Read More
Many,many passengers on this cruise caught a virus/chest infection within a few days of boarding, even crew had illness as I pointed out to a waiter who was serving us, his reply was that the on board doctor had given him an injection for this problem. Surely he should have been confined to his cabin and not let into the restaurant. Not withstanding this terrible problem, if you like to sit on a coach for 3 to 4 hours in traffic before your tours you will like this trip. I believe Viking has got this cruise all wrong. This was our 9th (ninth) cruise and the most disappointing, all the other Viking cruises have been really good, but would suggest anyone thinking of this river cruise (Waterways of the Tsars) be prepared awful traffic, massive queues, and disorganisation. We also had a Viking representative (Maria) who was at our hotel in St Petersburg & Moscow who seemed totally unhelpful and disinterested in us. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Chose this cruise since I've never been to Russia and Viking had the most recently refurbished ship. Furthermore, they seem to be dominating in the river and cruise liners with new ships added every year. Boy was I disappointed ... Read More
Chose this cruise since I've never been to Russia and Viking had the most recently refurbished ship. Furthermore, they seem to be dominating in the river and cruise liners with new ships added every year. Boy was I disappointed with the entire cruise. Our program director, Irina, was too young and inexperienced for the post. As per usual, during your briefing on the upcoming day they gloss over the attractions you will see on land and whilst sailing. This was a round trip type of cruise so the entire staff would work the route continuously for six months. I would expect they have the estimate as to when we will see certain sights down pat. Like the sinking belfry tower and the lady Volga statue. She was off the mark by over an hour for the former and 2 hours+ for the latter. Organization for the shore excursions were poorly executed. We were told to sit on any bus then try and stick to the same bus for the remaining tour. However when we reached ashore, the buses went to different locations so you couldn't pick "any" bus and again time wasted on trying to find another bus to get on. This was not a single incident. Previous experience on river cruises would segregate the shore excursions into different walking intensities to cater to the less mobile travelers. There was no such thing on Vikng except for the city tour in Moscow and St Petersburg. I felt sorry for the couple in our group who was on crutches and almost tripped several times during the Red Square/Kremlin tour. This lack of consideration was further reinforced during the ballet performance. The theatre was booked exclusively for Viking. We were each given a ticket, however, they know the layout of the theatre and should not make one of the passengers who clearly has impaired eyesight to climb to the top of the theatre and walk another unnecessary flight of stairs. When it came to the end of the performance, the poor passenger was in grave danger of being trampled on whilst everyone was trying to exit. Our stop to Kizhi was cancelled due to inclement weather but the program director failed to provide other activities on that day so we were cooped up with nothing to do. Food was also very ordinary and considering the passenger to staff ratio you would expect everything would be that little bit more attentive. The farewell dinner was the worst! Prawn was not fresh, beef was overcooked and dinner took longer than usual. On the exterior, they used top brands cutlery like villeroy & boch and Jura coffee machines. However, if you use inferior quality coffee beans the coffee would still taste like dishwater. There was one more annoying experience where my card to my cabin kept failing to work. This happened like 5 times! I've been on cruises and river cruises before and yes, it could happen like once during the entire trip not on a daily basis. It got so frustrating and the receptionist was argumentative and made these reissuing cards even more unpleasant! Apart from the nice l'occitane amenity, I do not have anything good to say about Viking. It was an expensive trip and money aside, the company lacked professionalism, ethics and organization skills that I would NEVER recommend them to even my worst enemy. Initially I was interested in trying the Viking cruise liner, however, I have abandoned that idea completely and going with scenic on my next 3 trips. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We were eager to visit Russia and the river cruise seemed to be the simplest method of doing so. We had to request the Letter of Invitation from Viking, because they did not send it automatically. About 10 days after the emailed ... Read More
We were eager to visit Russia and the river cruise seemed to be the simplest method of doing so. We had to request the Letter of Invitation from Viking, because they did not send it automatically. About 10 days after the emailed request, we received the documents by email, written entirely in Russian and immediately applied for the Visas. We paid ILS an additional fee to transfer the information from the letter to the application. I hand delivered my Visa application, while my companion sent hers by express mail, which was returned to her the day prior to her departure. The Viking ships are docked about an hour's drive from Moscow center and traffic is very heavy. We spent much time on the bus, trapped in gridlock. Visits to attractions were shortened or skipped entirely, due to the time required to travel to them. Information about the following day's tours was provided in the evening, so it was difficult to make alternative arrangements at the last minute if we were not interested in those available. On one day, there were morning, afternoon, and evening tours, which meant a minimum of 6 hours on the bus, travelling between the boat and the city. Another day, we were provided with a snack when we left in early morning and returned to the boat at 9 pm for dinner; there was not sufficient time in one place during the day to enable us to eat in a restaurant. Food on the boat was extremely salty. I eat a low salt, low fat diet and apart from fresh fruit and salad without dressing, there was nothing that fit within my diet restrictions. Lunch always included a salad bar and pasta. A few sandwiches, etc. were available from a menu. Appetizers and salads could be ordered at dinner. The items on the menu which were said to be available at every dinner were not. The main course included a piece of meat, chicken or fish and mashed potatoes, or sometimes rice, always loaded with salt. For example, a piece of chicken Florentine proved to be chicken stuffed with more salt than spinach, butter and garlic, breaded and deep-fried, with mashed potatoes. A fast food restaurant would offer healthier selections. Room Service was not available. Between about 12 pm and 6 am, there was no food available to passengers. Mosquitoes were very prevalent during the cruise to St. Petersburg. We could not use our balcony, or even open the window because there were no screens. The boat vibrated considerably while underway, preventing sleep. Unfortunately, there is not much space to sit outside of the room. A few chairs are located at the top of the stairs on each floor. A small library with 2 computers and a printer contains a few chairs. The café at the bow of the ship has tables set with dishes for breakfast or lunch, which means that people who sit in this room place books, purses, laptops, etc. on top of the place settings which other people will later use when dining. While docked, the Viking ships are rafted, side by side. We didn't use our balcony at these times, because the railing on the next ship's balcony was touching ours. We kept our draperies closed, for privacy and because there was nothing to see but the interior of our neighbor's cabin. Daily briefings, entertainment, etc. were held in the bar on the sun deck, which only accommodated about half of the passengers on board. For the last few days, the briefings were repeated twice, to provide the opportunity for more guests to attend. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was exceptional as well. The time was filled with as many activities as one could manage and any down time was your choice. We will definitely take another Viking cruise. They cost a little more but from what we can tell they are worth a little more. The only negative is the Viking suggested gratuity policy. Several of the passengers had gratuities included in the ticket price but many, including us, didn't. We were never offered the option. And Viking's suggestion was to tip everyone and tip them generously including a healthy tip to a general fund to be distributed to the crew. If we followed their suggestions that meant bring a lot of extra cash (although they offered the option to add tips to your bill). That aside it was a wonderful two weeks and we wouldn't have missed it. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
The Moscow to St Petersburg Cruise on Viking Kirov [now called Truvor] which my wife and I took cost us £6000 not including spends. We were impressed that so many excursions were included but these were all to tourist traps apart from ... Read More
The Moscow to St Petersburg Cruise on Viking Kirov [now called Truvor] which my wife and I took cost us £6000 not including spends. We were impressed that so many excursions were included but these were all to tourist traps apart from the optional "home viisit" which sadly we missed but which we were told was superb. 90% of passengers were American which suited me fine better that having 90% Brits in my opinion. many of the problems were not of Vikings making these were mainly caused by traffic particularly in Moscow. Our flight Heathrow to Moscow was 3.5.hrs. Coach from Moscow to Boat 25k or 15 miles took 4 hrs. Again not Vikings fault but not a good start. Traffic in St Petersburg was not so bad. Russia does not have a good tourist infrastructure other that in Moscow and St P. HoweverThe Kremlin and Peterhof were highlights. Along the river there were only touristy villages and towns with endless dolls for sale. There were only churches/monasteries/cemeteries etc to visit along the river. I would have welcomed a trip to an Accountants Office for some light relief. On board it could not have been better. Accommodation/Food/Staff including guides etc were superb. Especially Nadya and Julia but most of all the Cruise Director- a German lady with a brilliant sense of humour.! This cruise is not for the unfit and there were plenty on board who could have benefited by missing out a few meals but the food was so good it was hard to resist. Altogether a wonderful experience but hard work. Certainly bear in mind the Moscow traffic which can add substantially to the length and reduce the enjoyment of excursions. Some of the excursions are (as stated in the brochure which some obviously did not read) over uneven ground with steps. The Cruise was just a bit overpriced considering our Visas cost £125 each and we had to add pre and post flight hotels. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2002
A Russian Adventure The stark white and dark brown of the bark of the birch tree (Russia's national tree) stood as sentinels guarding the towering green pines in the background as we glided along the beautiful and ... Read More
A Russian Adventure The stark white and dark brown of the bark of the birch tree (Russia's national tree) stood as sentinels guarding the towering green pines in the background as we glided along the beautiful and pristine shorelines of Russian rivers. Our Russian adventure began Sept. 15, 2002 in St. Petersburg as we boarded the Viking River Cruise ship "Kirov" with some 130 passengers from United States as well as England. The 400 ft. Kirov is compact but comfortable with all the amenities needed for a pleasant trip including two bars, two dining rooms, a library, beauty salon, gift shop and sauna. Joining Joan and me on this two-week Russian adventure was a couple from Sarasota, Alice and Roger. Our travel agent had introduced us a year ago as we planned a trip through France, departing 9/11. Since then we have become good friends. The Kirov's captain and crew were Russian and the chef Austrian. The food was good and served attractively (about a B+/A-) with red or white wine served at lunch and dinner. However, we think the complimentary wine was a tad above grape juice, about 9% by volume, as after many glasses it had no affect. The open seating policy in the dining room made it easy to get acquainted with fellow adventurers during the cruise. We found this "Waterway of the Czars" attracted a more interesting traveler than you are likely to meet on a 2,000 plus passenger cruise ship. Rain greeted us in St. Petersburg as we toured some of the famous and fabulous sites as the Hermitage Museum, Catherine the Great's summer palace, beautiful Russian Orthodox Churches and a visit to Peter the Great's magnificent summer home, Peterhof. I saw my first ballet, "Swan Lake," in this city. Joan asked me if I would go again? In replying to that request, I said "When you go to an NFL football game, I'll go to another ballet." Our Russian guide, Gennady, spoke excellent English and has visited the U.S. on six occasions. His five years of guiding tours complimented the many attractive sights as he explained in detail the different sites and cities we visited during the two-week trip. Once we left St. Petersburg, the rain stopped, the sun shown and the night skies clear enough to bring on heavy frosts. We layered clothes, shivered and enjoyed this pristine country side and vibrant cities. From St. Petersburg, we stopped at Kizhi Island, a beautiful spot in Lake Onega. The cathedral there is unique. The fairy-tale-like Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1714, is made entirely of weathered wood with more than 20 onion domes that glowed like silver in the cold morning sun. While cruising for six days, including 16 locks, the Viking people introduced us to the history and present economic details of life in Russia. A lady with two doctorates to her name, gave five lectures while our guide Gennady gave two lessons in the Russian language and Cyrillic alphabet. We didn't do well with these lessons! During our last three days of the tour in Moscow, a world class city, we visited inside the Kremlin walls and the Kremlin's Armory museum where we saw incredibly ornate carriages used by the czars for official occasions. Lenin's Tomb was viewed from the outside as it wasn't open during our stay. The sunlight striking the multicolored domes of St. Basil's cathedral in Red Square was an inspiration in itself. Legend has it that, after Ivan the Terrible had St. Basil's built, he had the architect blinded so he could never again create something so beautiful. Following an hour and a half drive through interesting suburbs and countryside, we came to the Trinity Monastery at Sergiev Posad (Zagorsk). This is the famous fortress monastery of St. Seregius. The monastery is best know for the blue-domed Assumption Cathedral, towering in the brilliant sunlight over the white stonewalls of the monastery. Along with hundreds of other visitors, we enjoyed a few minutes of a Russian Orthodox service with beautiful chanting and hymns. After Red Square, we were ready for the fun of Arbat Street, a cobbled pedestrian mall flanked by sidewalk cafes, bars and shops. Scores of vendor stands offered every conceivable souvenir: nesting Matroshka dolls, shawls, lacquered boxes, amber jewelry, fur hats emblazoned with the hammer and sickle. The U.S. currency was welcomed almost every place in Russia with the notable exception of rest rooms. But a few Rubles kept attendants happy. Our last evening in Moscow was spent at the theatre enjoying a folk dance performance of over 100 dance professionals. Their intricate dancing and the various beautiful and ornate costumes was a fitting farewell of our Russian adventure. We found the Russian folks friendly and always willing to help us with most speaking enough English to satisfy our needs. The ship's staff, particularly the dining attendants, were always courteous and well trained. The cities, although drab at times, spoke of a new vibrant Russia. The core city was filled with upscale prestigious international shops offering fashionable clothes and appliances. Everywhere throughout every cruise stop, reconstruction was evident as the Russians brought there buildings into the next century. We did not see any individual homes in the major cities. Rather the nine and one-half million Russians living in Moscow reside in mile after mile of apartment buildings. Traffic jams filled the six-lane streets while people parked their cars on the sidewalks and in the outside driving lanes. Thousands of billboards stood as sentinels every quarter mile on almost every street and building. Someone forgot to enact a sign ordinance and of course, these signs are all in the Cyrillic alphabet! Both our Sarasota friends, Alice and Roger, and ourselves left Russia and the Russian people with a new understanding of a great country and a warm friendly people. Arriving home after 24 hours of travel, we remembered the gleaming domes of the Kremlin, the old ladies in Uglich selling wild flowers and the statue of Mother Volga blessing the river with her arms outstretched. gjm4700@comcast.netDecember 2002 Read Less
Viking Truvor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.8
Family 1.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.5
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 3.0 3.8

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