48 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
My favorite part of river cruising is viewing the life on the river, both human and nature. The cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow was interesting but the wildlife was nearly nonexistent, mostly supplanted by the human life that this ... Read More
My favorite part of river cruising is viewing the life on the river, both human and nature. The cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow was interesting but the wildlife was nearly nonexistent, mostly supplanted by the human life that this ancient waterway supported. It was great to see the small villages and dachas lining the banks with people enjoying the water, fishing, gardening and boating. Commerce on the water was mostly barges loaded with forest products, gravel and tugs. The stops were interesting, especially if you enjoy seeing old churches and tourist attractions. Some stops, where we had more time, were more interesting as we could explore on our own and visit shops and markets. St. Petersburg was fantastic as we visited great museums and saw a city that was brimming with life. The ship was docked too far from the city and there was no way to explore by foot, so that was a bummer. Moscow was a cosmopolitan city that was clean, friendly and bustling. The dock was near a subway stop so getting into the city on Moscow's great subway system was easy. We spent some free time meeting an old friend for lunch and it was easy to get around the center of Moscow, twice we hesitated as we struggled to decipher the street signs against our map, but both times Muscovites were quick to help with their great English. The Russian guides on the ship were great and the programs, meals and entertainment were good. My only comparison is a cruise we took on Oceania lines where I would have rated their onboard amenities as being better. The one standout for me was the warmth of the crew and the great attention we received for every request. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Our lovely fourth Viking voyage was on the Truvor, which sailed July 5, 2016 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We also did the pre-extension in Moscow and the post-extension in St. Petersburg. We love Viking. This fall we are heading to ... Read More
Our lovely fourth Viking voyage was on the Truvor, which sailed July 5, 2016 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We also did the pre-extension in Moscow and the post-extension in St. Petersburg. We love Viking. This fall we are heading to Portugal with them, and we are starting to think about which trips of theirs to pick for 2017 and beyond. We are in 60s, which was a typical age for our fellow travelers. We had friends who went a month earlier on the same trip when it was still cold in Russia. July is the perfect month. Except for some sporadic heavy rain, the Russian weather was ideal with highs mainly in the 70s. We had a wonderful time, but there were some things that we wished had been better. I'll break this review into Pros, Cons, and Mixed. PRO One of my hobbies is photography, so one of the most important trip enjoyment metrics is my count of outstanding photo ops. Russia is a cornucopia of colorful images from the many onion-domed churches to the elaborate Moscow subway stations to the people in costumes at the festivals we lucked into seeing. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I got some amazing pictures. Of these, two of my favorites are a glassy blue river picture captured in the early pre-sunrise at 2:25am from our veranda (in early July, it's the time called the "white nights" since it starts lighting up way before the sun rises) and another was a great sunset picture. But my absolute favorite was a picture I took of a young girl in costume at a festival on the island of Kizhi. The best day we had on the trip was our full day in Moscow during our pre-extension. We had a guided tour of about eight or so subway stations, each with unique features (stained glass in one, heroic statues in the second, mosaics in the third, etc.). During our visit to St. Basil's in Red Square, we came upon a men's a Capella singing group in a small alcove. Their deep voices reverberated around the room and gave me goose bumps since their singing was so moving. (We got to hear several more such groups during our trip.) Our Moscow pre-extension hotel was a palatial palace known as the Radisson Royal (which used to be called the Hotel Ukraine). Our room had a great view of the river, which is all lit up at night. But the best part of the hotel was the Italian restaurant on the top. The food was fantastic, and the views in and from the restaurant were gorgeous. All of the lunches and dinners we had on the trip -- on the boat and on the shore -- were great. Usually we find the Viking dinners hit and miss, but our chef on the ship never missed a beat. Almost every course was extremely good. Between lunch and dinner, I liked the lunches a little bit more because of the custom made pastas I got prepared each day by Alexander at the pasta station. Still, our favorite meal of all was the dinner atop the Radisson Royal. The service we got on the boat was absolutely perfect. The waiters and waitresses quickly learned our names and exactly what we liked, in our case -- two diet cokes, refilled frequently and promptly. Half of the wait staff were Filipino and half were Russian. They were all excellent. Our favorite was Elaine, who called me Sir Steve and my wife Ma'am Sally. Personable and hardworking, she could not have been a better waitress. We tipped according and individually to those who really deserved it in addition to the overall recommended gratuity. We really enjoyed the new friends we met, especially Carol and her grown daughter Erica, as well one couple we already knew, Frank and Kay, a couple from our Viking China trip who joined us on this Russia cruise. The musical group we all went to one night in Moscow (balalaikas, singing, humor, etc.) was great. What fun and what lovely music! Our home hosted visit in Uglich was good, as was the fascinating, albeit a bit too long, visit in St. Petersburg to a Kommunalka, a Soviet-era communal style of living that still exists today in ten percent of St. Petersburg. Four to six apartments share a single toilet and a single sink. Yikes! Kizhi Island with its amazing wooden churches and buildings was certainly a trip highlight. Our tour just happened to be at the right place at the right time. On Kizhi and in Uglich, we were there when once-a-year festivals were in progress. The locals were dressed up in traditional Russian garb and were happy to have their pictures taken. There was lots of energetic singing, dancing and performing going on too. My only regret was that we didn't have an extra hour or two in both places to see more of the festivals. Our Veranda B class room was comfortable and well laid out. Rarely felt did we feel we needed more space. Although we used the veranda to stand on to enjoy the views, we never sat outside on it for very long. And, unlike some river "cruises" where you cruise mainly while you sleep, this one did a lot of cruising during the day. But I don't want to oversell this part. It's not the Rhine with stunning mountains. The Volga and lakes are all surrounded by flat land with lots of trees. Still we found the scenery very peaceful and relaxing. Overall, I think I liked Moscow best, but Kizhi was really lovely as were Yaroslavl, Uglich and St. Petersburg. CON My wife has mobility issues. Russia is easily the least handicap friendly country we've ever been to. In some places there were no lifts; in others, like the Faberge museum, you were actually supposed to book the lift a day in advance; and, in some places, like the Impressionist wing of The Hermitage, you have to climb up 30 stairs with no handrail to get to the second floor, since the lifts started at the second floor, which makes no sense whatsoever. The staff and guides were not helpful in letting us know what to expect on the outings. While the bedrooms on the Russian ships are similar to the longships, the public areas have several problems. On the longships, it is easy to meet people because the lounge is large, centrally located, and has lots of comfortable seating areas. On the Russian ship the lounge is too small for talks and daily briefings, so they have reconfigured it into rows of chairs auditorium style in order to pack more people in. This makes it an uninviting and uncomfortable place to hang out. The net result of this is that it makes meeting new people less likely, which is the single best part of Viking cruises. The layout of the restaurant has problems too. Rather than the large, open and airy space of the longships with lots of large tables, the dining room on the Russian ships is broken into three continuous parts because of a room in the middle used by the kitchen staff. The first part is dark and depressing with small windows only on two sides, the second part is the corridor on each side of kitchen room, and the third and only good part is the back which has windows on three sides. The tables, even those for six, are much smaller than normal. If four of you sit at a table for four, you will feel really crowded. There are also many tables for two and four, which discourages people meeting other people. In China, the tables were all round ones for eight. We met many lovely people because of this arrangement. The Hermitage and Tretyakov art museums suffered the fatal flaws of such awful lighting designs that you could see almost none of the paintings because of the horrible glare and the Russian proclivity to put most of the paintings under glass. (The Pushkin Museum was a delightful exception to the lighting problem above, but it had a total lack of lifts, so my wife wasn't able to tour it.) The lack of toilet availability was a needless problem. All of the buses -- which you spend way too much time on, especially in Moscow -- have restrooms, but they keep them locked, which makes no sense whatsoever! You must make a special request to get them temporarily unlocked, but, when I asked, I was told they would unlock it for me but then they didn't. Another time we weren't allowed to use the restroom outside the Kremlin because the bus was coming right away, which it wasn't, as it turned out, as we waited and waited. On our other Viking trips, the toilets on the bus were always unlocked -- why the heck wouldn't they be? -- and the guides went out of their way to make sure we always had restrooms when we needed them. The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery monetary had a few good views, but mainly it was just a long visit to a boring museum of icons under glass. The day at the touristy Mandrogy was a waste other than a short carriage ride, which was fun. Our Tour director was energetic and easy to understand, but she wasn't very warm and certainly didn't know how to entertain, which is one of the most important parts of her job. While lunches and dinners were uniformly very tasty, every single breakfast on and off the boat was disappointing. Mediocre food with no good bread (or cheese) choices. Eggs usually weren't worth eating. And so on for the rest of the breakfast choices. MIXED While we had one extremely fun game on ship ("Liar" -- where three people explain the meaning of an obscure word but two are lying), there should have been one or two more such games. On our other Viking trips, they have had more than one, and they have turned out to be tremendously fun for all the participants. The staff dressed up somewhat one night in traditional Russian outfits, but only a few really dressed up much. Most had fairly small changes in their outfits. On other Viking cruises, they put a lot more effort into this, making for a colorful and fun time. The school visit was sort of interesting but felt pretty contrived since school wasn't in session and since we weren't given much time to ask our one 10th grader many questions. OVERALL Had a great time, have wonderful memories and got some fantastic photos. I would definitely recommend the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The Russian River Cruise was on sale and was a good value so we booked the cruise. The only thing we were truly upset about was giving a $500.00 tip that was recommended and finding out from some of the wait staff that they have never ... Read More
The Russian River Cruise was on sale and was a good value so we booked the cruise. The only thing we were truly upset about was giving a $500.00 tip that was recommended and finding out from some of the wait staff that they have never gotten a share of the tips that are given to Viking for them. Our personal wait staff weren't the ones who told us that but I asked and was told by four other servers. We would have given our tips directly to the people who helped make our trip more pleasant rather than having Viking decide who received it. That seemed less than honest to us since we were told it would be split among the people who served us. Those monies may have gone to Viking instead of the people who should have received tips. We will allocate tips to whomever we choose and as we see fit from this point on... A few of the tours were extremely rushed and there was too little free time to personally check things out on excursions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I went w/my aunt on this trip last May. We'd been to Russia before, and I speak Russian decently. If you don't speak Russian, you need to stick w/your guides, who were very good. Most people you will encounter while touring ... Read More
I went w/my aunt on this trip last May. We'd been to Russia before, and I speak Russian decently. If you don't speak Russian, you need to stick w/your guides, who were very good. Most people you will encounter while touring do not speak English, and most signs are in Cyrillic. The staff is terrific, supportive and helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, food was excellent (eat as much Russian ice cream as you can; it's the best!!!) and well-prepared, but don't accept the "Russian" food as authentic; it isn't. The cabin was comfortable enough, but the air conditioning didn't always work well in the room, even when it was cool in the hallways. Be ware: boats stop very far away from the center of town, where things to see are usually situated. This is probably not an issue for most people, but if you want to go into St. Petersburg or Moscow not w/the tour, you need to take a taxi. Since I speak Russian, we could do that. The staff informed me that it would cost $40. one-way into town, which isn't terribly expensive. The taxi driver gave me his cell phone # should we need him again. When we wanted to return to the boat, I texted him, and he was unavailable, so he called his dispatcher, who called me for our location. She quoted me $7. to return to the ship! I don't know who's getting what kickback, but as I said, this is probably not an issue for most travelers. The presentations about Russian history were very interesting. What I would suggest is Viking having, where their able, shuttle buses for people who want to go into town to explore on their own; it could be at an extra charge. The biggest gripe I have with this trip is that there wasn't enough time for self-exploration or shopping! There was a folk dance performance held outside the ship in St. Petersburg one evening, but it was an extra $75. apiece; that's expensive for a boat performance. The only other things I would like to mention is that when we left the ship one day to explore Moscow, the gangplank was set at a very dangerous steep angle, when we left our ship to go to the airport in Moscow, everyone had to walk down a long pier in the rain to be able to access our bus, and since the trip from the boat to the airport is over 2 hours (Moscow traffic is HORRIBLE), it would have been nice of Viking to provide a snack/lunch for everyone, because a lot of time passes between leaving the boat and going through security in the airport. BTW: the ship does NOT take Amex; it would have been nice if they had. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I really enjoyed the whole trip and all the places we visited and would recommend it to people. The crew members were amazing and fun. I would have given it 5 stars, but for three things. i think there should b some type of group ... Read More
I really enjoyed the whole trip and all the places we visited and would recommend it to people. The crew members were amazing and fun. I would have given it 5 stars, but for three things. i think there should b some type of group exercise offered since the is no gym on board. Also on the tours I would like to see different levels of walking, maybe a quicker pace for those who like that type of thing. Lastly have the bar at the front of the boat stay open later., maybe til 10. Other than those three things it was a wonderful experience and I am very glad we chose that trip Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first cruise of any sort, but hopefully will not be our last. Wonderful experience, staff at all levels were superb. Plenty to do and see every day. Our stateroom was bigger than we expected and the bed really comfortable. ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any sort, but hopefully will not be our last. Wonderful experience, staff at all levels were superb. Plenty to do and see every day. Our stateroom was bigger than we expected and the bed really comfortable. The excursions were on the whole really good and very interesting and the guides both from the boat and the local ones were excellent. The daily newspapers and the daily information sheets were really helpful. Wifi connection was much better than expected. The restaurant was great, especially liked the no reservation policy. It was nice not always to have a buffet in the evening. Sometimes the wine service was slow. The only reason we have not given it 5 stars is the tipping problem. Not only having to worry about it, but also we did find the guidelines given to us quite confusing. We would like to either have it included in the price or the guidelines made more simple. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our 3rd Viking cruise and proved to be even better than we expected. The vessel was not quite up to the "Longships" standards, but was quite good. There is only so much you can do with old KGB boats and Viking has done ... Read More
This was our 3rd Viking cruise and proved to be even better than we expected. The vessel was not quite up to the "Longships" standards, but was quite good. There is only so much you can do with old KGB boats and Viking has done everything possible. The staff and service were both excellent; the dining experience quite good. Rommel Jamaquio, our waiter was extraordinary! The enrichment programs and shore excursions were excellent, using well qualified local guides, as has always been our experience with Viking. The Cossack dance program was incredible. The on-board entertainment was probably OK, but we were too busy to notice. The schedule was much busier than on our previous Viking cruises, simply because there is so much to see. Even the short visits to the smaller towns were well planned and very pleasant. We tried to do "everything" and would do everything again if we had the chance. As always, Viking was attentive to every detail. Wilhelm Steinbrunner, the Hotel Manager, could not have been more helpful. All in all, great cruise that gives one a very different view of Russia! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2010
Our twelve day cruise aboard the Viking Kirov was enjoyable. Traveling with friends, we made many memories to share. Our flight to St. Petersburg from Southern California arrived at 10:30 PM, long after our fellow cruisers had retired ... Read More
Our twelve day cruise aboard the Viking Kirov was enjoyable. Traveling with friends, we made many memories to share. Our flight to St. Petersburg from Southern California arrived at 10:30 PM, long after our fellow cruisers had retired for the nite. The first morning, we were up and on the road, off to The Hermitage. Exhausting day with time change, etc. Would suggest that first day in St. Pete be a bus tour of the city to get bearings and general orientation, then The Hermitage second day. We were sooo fortunate to have Victoria as our guide. She was sensational!Well spoken, well-informed, never repeated herself. Even read us Pushkin's short stories while coach was trapped in traffic on the way to Moscow. She is a true gem -- and sensational asset to Viking. Loved the lectures and classes. Learned a lot. Leaving early in AMs was described by up the passageway passengers as "oh, my, another forced march." Would appreciate breakfast service until 9:30 a.m.(for those who choose to stay aboard) -- and more food items on breakfast coffee station (juice, fruit, yogurt, pastries) for self-service. The dining room soups were especially delicious. Felt very rushed and set aside on final nite in Moscow. Passengers attending the (optional) Bolshoi excursion dined early and were sent off to the theater in Moscow. We who remained felt rushed and pressured to dine quickly -- this on our last nite aboard, which we hoped to enjoy leisurely.Food was excellent, service attentive and pleasant.Yes, we'd go on another Viking!! Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! ... Read More
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! All the palaces are beyond belief. The days that weren't so packed were a welcome relief to just relax on our veranda and enjoy the scenery and go through the locks. The Russian people were so friendly - don't be afraid to go - and don't stereotype them. The Visa application is worth it. The Viking staff were wonderful - the room was great - and the food was good. All of our transportation vehicles were clean and comfortable. Our most fun excursions were the home visits and the school visit that Viking arranges. My husband did the "banya" experience and had some great stories to tell when we got back. Kizhi Island is also very beautiful. Remember to do the vodka tasting on the ship :) Had the best time. Don't hesitate to go or let your friends try and talk you out of it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Few people travel to Russia so it gets peoples' attention when you tell them where you have been for the past couple weeks. They sincerely want to see photos and hear about the trip and it is more than just a nice gesture on their ... Read More
Few people travel to Russia so it gets peoples' attention when you tell them where you have been for the past couple weeks. They sincerely want to see photos and hear about the trip and it is more than just a nice gesture on their part. We had to have 5 "gatherings" here at the house to show off the photo album and explain all the educational values from the trip. Things like the population of the cities, where do people live, work and play, the traffic, the airport, cleanliness of the parks, streets and rivers are what I want to learn while there. Those are things I want to learn and the reason for my taking the trip. Then you have the luxury of having many guided tours and events, all of which are very well planned and executed and if you don't learn from them, you aren't listening to your earphones or reading provided material ahead of time. And at the end of the day, you have the pampering from the crew on the ship. All the crew members on this cruise were outstanding from the wait staff to the housekeeping. The food was GREAT, well presented and ample in quantity. Thank you for a great cruise, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our 2nd cruise with Viking. Our 1st trip was great, however the Waterways of the Tsars was a trip we want soon forget. From the time we landing in St Petersburg Russia everything was planned to the nth degree. One of the tour ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Viking. Our 1st trip was great, however the Waterways of the Tsars was a trip we want soon forget. From the time we landing in St Petersburg Russia everything was planned to the nth degree. One of the tour guides was there to greet and get us to the ship. Alone the way he kept us entertained with humor and some history of St Petersburg. Once on board the Viking Truvor we settled in to beautiful stateroom with a balcony which we always request. Dinning was always a special treat with excellent selections, presentation and favor that always met with high praises. Know with all those kudos I cannot say enough about service. This is why Viking is rated so high in personal service. The hotel manger and dinning manger were always available to provide whatever service was needed. Our servers Armando, Bim, Aubray and Yana without a doubthave went over board to please us throughout the entire trip. Lastly without the tour guides this trip would not have been as enjoyable due to the very professional tour guides at all the many stop. My wife and I have traveled all over the world and Viking has always provided us with excellence. We have booked our next trip with Viking leaving Oct 24th 2018 can't wait. BH Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
With a career in retail management, I traveled all over the world: Europe, Asia, India, but I never experienced Russia. As Viking Cruise HQ is two blocks from my home, I wanted to experience a Viking River Cruise. So #1 on my bucket list ... Read More
With a career in retail management, I traveled all over the world: Europe, Asia, India, but I never experienced Russia. As Viking Cruise HQ is two blocks from my home, I wanted to experience a Viking River Cruise. So #1 on my bucket list was a Viking River Cruise of Russia. It did not disappoint. The trip was outstanding in all areas. The ship was beautiful. The rooms were so well designed that they comfortably held two weeks of clothing, accessories and toiletries. The time in port was ideal with three days in Moscow and St Petersburg at the beginning and end of the cruise. The days in between were spent sailing into small Russian Hamlets that were primarily a source of cruise souvenirs. My only recommendation is that Viking describes that day tours as strenuous; my husband and I needed to improve our physical stamina to better enjoy the daily outings. (The excursions in Moscow were too hard for us physically.) The special sights of Moscow's Red Square and the Kremlin were breathtaking, as was the Hermitage in St Petersburg, The evening entertainment of the Ballet and the Cossack Dancing were very enjoyable. The food service under Manager Damien was a delight. The special service by the two waiters Bim and Armando treated us like royalty. The meals were delicious and the menu varied enough for all tastes. Cruise Manager Daniel made sure every aspect of the trip was superior. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
#1 on my bucket list was visiting Russia. On July 3rd we embarked on the Viking Truvor from Moscow to St Petersburg. We spent three days in Moscow touring Red Square, the Kremlin, three ornate Russian Orthodox Cathedrals, and other ... Read More
#1 on my bucket list was visiting Russia. On July 3rd we embarked on the Viking Truvor from Moscow to St Petersburg. We spent three days in Moscow touring Red Square, the Kremlin, three ornate Russian Orthodox Cathedrals, and other sites. We then sailed for five days through hamlets in the Russian Countryside to reach St Petersburg. We spent four days in St Petersburg, a rich cosmopolitan city. St Petersburg was amazing with tours of the Pushkin Museum of Art, the Hermitage Museum, two famous Russian Orthodox Churches, the Ballet, Cossack Dancing and more. The trip was marvelous. The rooms were very comfortable, laid out to easily accommodate clothing and furnishings for 13 days. The food was excellent and the restaurant staff service was exceptionable. The tour guides were very knowledgeable. We will certainly take another Viking River Cruise!!! One word of advice: get in shape. The tours are physically demanding both in length, terrain and duration. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected this particular cruise because we always wanted to see Russia! The timing was good for us and of course . . . it's Viking! This is our second experience and we will definitely return again. The ship was lovely and our ... Read More
We selected this particular cruise because we always wanted to see Russia! The timing was good for us and of course . . . it's Viking! This is our second experience and we will definitely return again. The ship was lovely and our accommodations spectacular! We particularly enjoyed sunsets at 10:30 pm and met some great people at dinner each evening. Service everywhere was fantastic, the ship was always clean and we enjoyed the food, wine and kind smiles and faces of every staff member. Our director was awesome and so accommodating with each event, activity. We always felt like we were treated to royalty. We really enjoyed the on board studies of Russia, past and present, and tried to learn the language in the classes offered. Fun! Loved the Russian lunch and dancing. Every shore excursion was excellent; guides always knowledgeable and patient. We learned so much! Yes, we will return again! Thank you Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise could not be better. We were impressed with the ads on PBS and YouTube videos and then we saw that they offered a Russian cruise which is one of my desired destinations. We expected a good cruise but this exceeded our ... Read More
This cruise could not be better. We were impressed with the ads on PBS and YouTube videos and then we saw that they offered a Russian cruise which is one of my desired destinations. We expected a good cruise but this exceeded our expectations in all ways. Everything was excellent: the service, the food, the tours, the accommodations, the on-board entertainment and lectures, the staff, and the cruise itself. Everything was perfectly organized from the time they met us at the airport to the time they assisted us at disembarkation. I can not praise the trip highly enough. The cruse was called "The Waterways of the Tzars" and the whole time we saw the beauty of the cities, villages and the magnificent waters and landscapes of Russia. Be prepared - you may have to change your view of Russia if you take this trip. I have to mention that the Russian people on and off the boat were wonderful to us. At my age, I am a little awkward going up and down stairs and the Russian citizens were always offering me help. My wife I boarded a conveyance and two young people immediately got up and gave us their seats. I found the Russian people sweet, kind, welcoming and very helpful. There is strong evidence of the artist and the craftsmen every where you look in the cities and the villages. I was completely surprised by Moscow that I expected to look stark but it was beautiful and very clean. I addition, Viking selected Lufthansa airline for our connections and I have never experienced a more comfortable flight. We were in coach but the flight had a first class feeling to us from the entertainment and excellent service complete with hot towels Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
A comfortable leisurely way to an introduction to Russia, from large cities (beginning & end) to the countryside. We recommend ending in Moscow, making the whole trip a build-up. The ship was very comfortable, the food good, the ... Read More
A comfortable leisurely way to an introduction to Russia, from large cities (beginning & end) to the countryside. We recommend ending in Moscow, making the whole trip a build-up. The ship was very comfortable, the food good, the service impeccable; it was the right size of ship. The excursions were varied, interesting, even intimate, without being overwhelming in number and size; scheduling was excellent. The guides were very professional, informative and friendly, and always available. We picked a time period which was cool / cold (could not really use the outer deck effectively), but this ensured that the places visited on excursions were not over-crowded. Some of the events -- ballet, concerts -- were particularly enjoyable, as was the banya (Finnish sauna & plunge). The embarkation and disembarkation experiences were extremely smooth and easy; Viking was very well organized for a glitch-free entry / exit. We would gladly book with Viking again on another such trip elsewhere; we tend not to repeat trips. Timing is critical on any trip because associated popular excursions can easily be over-crowded, detracting from the enjoyment. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were invited to join friends on this cruise and are so glad we did. Our cabin was on the lower deck (230) and was very comfortable. It was above the water level and had a full picture window, unlike the standard cabins on the Rhine and ... Read More
We were invited to join friends on this cruise and are so glad we did. Our cabin was on the lower deck (230) and was very comfortable. It was above the water level and had a full picture window, unlike the standard cabins on the Rhine and Danube. No complaints at all. The food was excellent as was some of the local Russian wine. Our somewhat complex travel arrangements were expertly handled by the Viking travel desk. The only negative was that two of my flights in Europe were booked in basic economy class so I got hit with two unexpected baggage charges, but when I complained to Viking they refunded the amount of the charges. You can see photos and some background on our cruise at tsarwaterways.shutterfly.com but here are some additional comments. Our cruise began in St. Petersburg and ended in Moscow - I think that's probably the best direction to do it. We had spent two days in St. Petersburg in 2009 and were happy to repeat some experiences and add new ones. Repeat visits to Catherine Palace and Peterhof were excellent and I would highly recommend visiting these places. The canal cruise was most enjoyable and really showed how St. Petersburg was designed and built around the canals - an appreciation one doesn't get from driving around. An evening at the ballet was most enjoyable even though the performance wasn't by the Mariinsky as they were on tour for the summer. The folkloric show was totally geared to tourists but good fun and well done. The middle section of the cruise on the waterways took us through remote countryside. Because of this, most of the excursions required a bus ride to get to the site of interest and in some cases the amount of time to explore was less than one wanted. However, the quality of the guides was very good. Three (Russian) Viking guides accompanied the cruise from beginning to end and they were excellent in explaining the historical and cultural background to what we were seeing as well as in general organization (including locating one traveler who got lost in Moscow!). Yes, one sees a lot of churches but their beauty is outstanding. Despite the distance from towns of any size, the ship was adequately provisioned with fresh and plentiful food and even fresh flowers every day. We opted for the extension in Moscow and easily filled the extra days: there is so much to see. After being shown the ropes we became quite adept at traveling on the metro. It's really not that difficult, though it helps if you have learned the Russian alphabet (there are a few lessons on that on board the ship). While we didn't speak any Russian, I was glad I had taught myself the alphabet and a few words in advance. Most of the museums we visited had some English language displays and audio guides in English. The hotel in Moscow, the old Soviet Ukraina, was great: luxurious and centrally located. One thing that was different from our previous Viking river cruises was that we had to select most excursions before departure and many of them involved an additional charge. I imagine this is because the logistics of running such excursions is so much more complex in Russia. The main negative on this cruise, which is out of Viking's control, is that the ships have to dock far out of the center of St. Petersburg and Moscow so getting into the city involved a bus or metro ride. All in all, the few negatives were minor while the positives were huge and I have no hesitation in recommending this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We had never been on a river cruise or travel in Russia and thought it would be an interesting way to visit Russia. We enjoyed the tours and the tour guides did a very good job explaining the sites we visited. The tour guide were very ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise or travel in Russia and thought it would be an interesting way to visit Russia. We enjoyed the tours and the tour guides did a very good job explaining the sites we visited. The tour guide were very well educated on all the sites we visited and able to explain the history of all the sites. Overall it was a very good trip. We were not sure what to expect but were very pleased with the overall trip. The travel in the river boat was very relaxing and the food was outstanding. Very glad we took the trip. I would recommend both Viking River Cruise and Russia tour. Visiting both Cities and Rural Islands was very unique. Also visiting local residences was very unique. I had very little knowledge of Russian Orthodox Churches and found them very different from other cathedrals in other European cities or US cities. Very glad we were able to visit so many. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The ... Read More
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The tours of Moscow and St. Petersburg were excellent. I was a little disappointed at the tour of the Hermitage because they stuffed people through very narrow corridors. The Moscow by Night tour was amazing....touring Red Square at night and seeing the Kremlin and St.Basil's lit up was breathtaking. The home visit in Uglich was fun and very welcoming. The visit to the school was vey informative...the kids were such a pleasure to meet. St. Petersburg was very full of history and great architecture. We added Helsinki, Finland at the end of the trip and it was such a beautiful city to visit. We really appreciated all the effort by Viking and the crew of the Truvor to make our trip easy and memorable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, this vessel, and Russia. We made changes to our Viking-supplied air and had no trouble. (Another review takes great pains to spell out their horrible upgrade process but that's on ... Read More
My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, this vessel, and Russia. We made changes to our Viking-supplied air and had no trouble. (Another review takes great pains to spell out their horrible upgrade process but that's on Aeroflot, not Viking.) We arrived Moscow a couple days early in order to explore on our own. All went well. The cab ride to the port was without drama except for not understanding the driver when he was asking for the name of our ship. The port was LOADED with river cruise ships. I gave him the name when it seemed appropriate and he got happy. Embarkation could not have been easier or quicker: a trailer contained a scanner for our luggage and a security person gave us a look. Done. I think we booked the least expensive cabin class. It wasn't "short" in any way, just typical compared to other cabins we've had on other ships. Bed was comfortable. Electric outlets were plentiful enough. The shower was always hot. The toilet always worked. Your cabin may be more important on this kind of vessel than on ocean cruise ships as the vessel is small. This was our first river cruise. Public areas are limited and do duty for different purposes. You may hole up in your cabin more than on a larger vessel. We always found a good spot out and about. Dining was beyond excellent. Seriously. Food and service were exceptional. Simple lunches could be had in a limited buffet line including salad or sandwich or fruit. Restaurant fare was wonderful every time. On board entertainment and activities were limited as the vessel is small. There was no music review or magic show but that was just fine. Lectures by tour guides on Russian history were interesting. Language lessons by hotel manager were informative. A vodka tasting was entertaining. At ports of call, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, there were concerts, a folk music and dance review, and a ballet. Viking's excursion descriptions are accurate. Our cabin maid was sweet, discrete, and perfect. She gave US a parting gift. Ports were good and "built-in" tour guides were nice to have all the way on the trip. Besides the obvious allure of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, we thought Kizhi was particularly special. As for our arrival, we stayed a couple days in Saint Petersburg after the cruise to continue some personal exploration. The hotel, restaurants, subway, sites, and cab ride to the airport all worked out fine. Viking and Russia gave us a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other ... Read More
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other belongings and the room was always spic and span clean. Service onboard was superb....from our stewardess to the waiters in the dining room to the staff in the lounge to the tour escorts to management....all were totally competent, knowledgeable, and attentive. If you're considering a Russia river cruise you need to understand that between Moscow and St Petersburg there's a lot of distance and a lot of nothing! You will be cruising for many hours and spending a short time (usually 2-3 hours) in several different ports....that's just the nature of the geography. This didn't really concern us, though, for two reasons: 1) our main goal was to see Moscow and St Petersburg; 2) the ship is comfortable and the crew was great so cruising time was very pleasant. We took several optional tours and enjoyed them all....especially enjoyed seeing the Faberge Museum and "behind the scenes" at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Kremlin Armory in Moscow. The folk music concert in Moscow was great. The young couple who sang and played piano in the bar were excellent. Food onboard was above average....the chef tried to cater to as many different tastes as possible...some hits, some misses, but overall very good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We took this cruise to see Russia and meet some of the locals. Moscow and St. Peterburgs tours were more then we expected. We had plenty of time to explore the Red Square and the Kremlin tour was excellent. Our contact with the locals ... Read More
We took this cruise to see Russia and meet some of the locals. Moscow and St. Peterburgs tours were more then we expected. We had plenty of time to explore the Red Square and the Kremlin tour was excellent. Our contact with the locals was always positive and we received several helpful hints which made it easy to get around on our own. The cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg took us to very interesting small cities and towns. The sites were amazing and so is the history of Russia. The food on the trip was excellent and we had a chance every night to try a local entree. Service was very good and the Crew was very friendly. Finally, we had a chance to learn how to taste and rate Volka....great night and no hangover. We will travel with Viking again and recommend this cruise. This was our third Viking cruise and all have been great. 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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