107 Viking River Viking Ingvar Cruise Reviews

We got a great deal to go on the last cruise of the season. Free airfare and a reduced price. The weather was not good, it rained or was cloudy nearly every day which was not the fault of Viking. The food was excellent and the waitstaff ... Read More
We got a great deal to go on the last cruise of the season. Free airfare and a reduced price. The weather was not good, it rained or was cloudy nearly every day which was not the fault of Viking. The food was excellent and the waitstaff could not be more friendly and accommodating. they had things to do while sailing such as lessons in basic Russian and Russian history which helped when visiting sites. The original flight scheduled was not good with multiple stops, but for an additional $50 we were able to upgrade to a one stop flight each way on British Air and Lufthansa. It was well worth it since the original airline was substandard American Airlines. We had flown international with them in the spring and it was terrible. Our biggest complaint was the excursion to Peterhof in St Petersburg. It was billed at a 5 hour tour of “The Russian Versailles,”. The cost was about $150 each. The fountains were closed because of the time of the year, which we understood. However, they did not allow enough time to visit the gardens which we understood to be fantastic. We left the ship at 9AM and arrived at 10:10. We were told we had 20 minutes to see the gardens which meant we could run out for 10 minutes and run back for the palace tour. While the palace was nice it was similar to the included incursion of the Palace of Catherine the Great only smaller. Even though it was the end of the season the crowds were huge and going through the place was slow. When the tour was over we were told we had another 20 minutes to get on the bus at 12 PM that meant we had to skip the gardens again. I can't imagine what would happen in the summer. My suggestion would be to skip Peterhof save the $150 each and go the the included Palace of Catherine the Great; Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our ship was berthed in Moscow for 3 nights the last cruise of this season. We had a portside cabin. We were in front of the main terminal building which was in process of being refurbished. Next year it will be beautiful, unfortunately ... Read More
Our ship was berthed in Moscow for 3 nights the last cruise of this season. We had a portside cabin. We were in front of the main terminal building which was in process of being refurbished. Next year it will be beautiful, unfortunately for us we were looking at an ugly construction site with piles of trash & garbage. If we where one berth over on either side we could have been looking at green park & trees. I'm not sure why Viking planners weren't sensitive to that, when you spend the kinda $$ for a Viking cruise. The reason we enjoy river cruising is cuz of the views whether docked or not. Unfortunately not this cruise! On the 3 nights in St. Petersburg we were sandwiched between two other Viking ships, so you open your shades you're staring in another ships stateroom. It seems that this becoming common practice on busy ports middle of high season but this wasn't the case on this cruise! They were just getting ready to mothball their boats for next year! Once you've been on the beautiful Viking ships in Europe these Russian clunkers (even refurbished) don't compare. The stairs steps are short & at a steep angle posing difficulty for older passengers. They do have a small but slow elevator. But with roughly 200 passengers not very efficient, so the stairwells is what most people used, & from what we heard someone did hurt themselves. There are no comfy lounge spaces or little sofas to unwind, to read or have a drink, even in the Panorama Bar or Sky Bar. Stiff chairs the norm throughout, where you eat or drink & move on! Ship creaking, rattling & vibration noises was also an issue especially in cabin (more on that below). Room key cards didn't work from the very beginning upon check in & for the next 4 nights or so, had to run down to service desk to activate which eventually became a hassle. The dining room temperatures were unbearably hot & eventually many of us wore t-shirts! Even after consistently complaining to no avail. Dining menu was inconsistent, lunches were better than dinners. The ship cooks don't know the meaning of medium rare! So overall the Ingvar ship was a bust! A few other nagging issues: Moscow terminal had a security kiosk like the airports & in cold & rainy Moscow the line when multiple buses unloaded got crazy! That issue fortunately didn't replicate itself in St Pete's but it was a constant issue in Moscow!! Scheduling on many of the tours we felt like we were in a herd. They could have been spaced 10-15 minutes apart for a smoother more pleasant experience coming & going. On the positive side the included excursions & local guides were excellent. The extra fee excursions were very pricey side so we skipped many of them. The one "Moscow at night" included the Red Square & a boat ride. Well the Square was closed off for a Harvest Festival we just walked around it, so the boat ride for $129 each felt very steep! The other one we paid for was visiting the Faberge museum which initially I was skeptical but with a spouse from the museum world I went along & certainly didn't disappoint! The 3 Viking onboard guides (Alexey, Slava & Philip) which also did the excursions besides the supplemental local guides all were excellent! They love their country, love their jobs, were very knowledgeable, did it w/ passion & it showed. If you get a chance pay the final bill in local currency or US$! I paid by credit card & when I got home the bill was off by $20 (their exchange rate isn't the going rate:( The $30 p/p per day in gratuities on the final bill also was excessive. Throwing it in there on your final bill is becoming the cruise ship industry standard & you can only dispute it while on board! So if you're on a longer trip you will get a shock at the end. Gratuities is not a fee & should not be mandatory! But its another fee the travel industry is trying to tack on to the ever growing list of taxes, levies & hidden fees:( Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were offered a very good deal by Viking. We assumed the deal was special because ours was the next to last cruise of the season and they wanted to ensure a full ship.Several years ago we were scheduled for another cruise with Viking ... Read More
We were offered a very good deal by Viking. We assumed the deal was special because ours was the next to last cruise of the season and they wanted to ensure a full ship.Several years ago we were scheduled for another cruise with Viking which was cancelled due to a flood in Europe. Our expectations were high based on testimonies from people we know who have taken Viking cruises. Our expectations were met and exceeded. From the moment we landed in Moscow, Vikings expert staff met us and took care of our every need. They were professional, personable, and knowledgeable. The aboard ship cultural lessons were valuable, interesting, and entertaining. Our local tour guides were excellent and passionate about their locations and topics. One of our concerns having never been on a cruise before was whether or not we would get a real feel for the Russian people and their lives. We needn’t have worried. The people we met were very candid about their lives, their culture, their politics, and their history. The excursions were spectacular from Red Square, the Kremlin, Moscow by night, a delightful evening of Russian folk music, Sergiev Posad (Russia’s greatest monastery), the Uglich walking tour and visiting the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, touring Yaroslavl (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, Kishi Island at the north end of Lake Onega (second largest lake in Europe) with the largest wooden church in the world and an outdoor museum of peasant life, Mandrogy which is an outdoor museum of a Russian village with artisans and craftsmen. And then there was St. Petersburg! Moscow is this incredible, modern mega-metropolis, the largest city in Europe. St. Petersburg is like an extreme northern Venice. It is a beautiful city and we saw it by boat, by bus, and on foot. Amazing architecture and cultural sites awaited us, The Hermitage, one of the greatest, if not the greatest museum in the world, is an amazing experience and our tour guide had it down cold. The same was true of the Peterhof Palace and fountains. The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most amazing works of art inside and out. Magnificent mosaic icons grace every surface in the sanctuary. Being in Peter and Paul Cathedral surrounded by the tombs of the Romanov Dynasty gave me chills. Along with all of this there were concerts, a performance of Swan Lake, and on and on, including shopping opportunities. With all this, you might think we were rushed or exhausted. Not the case! If anything it seemed leisurely. On the ship, there was beautiful scenery, music and dancing, opportunities to visit with the other passengers, and cultural and historical lessons. There were roughly a 2-to-1 ratio of passengers to crew. The ship itself was immaculate. The food service was excellent. There was always a traditional Russian entree on the menu, if one so wished. The dining room staff was warm, engaging and very professional. We would recommend Viking to anyone and this particular cruise to all with a desire for the ultimate Russian experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Always wanted to visit Saint Petersburg and Moscow. From the moment Slava met us at the Moscow airport we knew we were in good hands. The transfer from the airport to the boat went smoothly. Our cabin was very comfortable and always clean ... Read More
Always wanted to visit Saint Petersburg and Moscow. From the moment Slava met us at the Moscow airport we knew we were in good hands. The transfer from the airport to the boat went smoothly. Our cabin was very comfortable and always clean and tidy. The food was wonderful and every meal we had the opportunity to try Russian regional specialties. The service in the main dining room was always great, our favorite waiter was Mark :) Our tour guides in Moscow really made the visits to the Kremlin informative and interesting. I also enjoyed visit to Ulgich and other small towns on our cruise to St. Petersburg. Our first tour was of The Hermitage and my husband and I broke off from our group to explore other areas of the museum on our own. We visited the Catherine Palace in Pushkin and our tour guide was excellent. We took the optional tour to Peterhof and our guide was Phillip. He was very informative and we were able to tour both the palace and the gardens. I highly recommend taking a tour of Peterhof. Finally, we visited the Faberge Museum with Slava as our tour guide. He knows the history of the museum and the Imperial Eggs in-depth. I was very glade he lead our tour. Sasha from Russia who is the Cruise Coordinator is enthusiastic and kept my husband and I laughing most of the cruise. This cruise met all our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Everything about the cruise was great. The places visited, particularly St Petersburg and Moscow, were interesting. The guides who traveled all the way with us were knowledgeable and their talks on board were well worth attending as they ... Read More
Everything about the cruise was great. The places visited, particularly St Petersburg and Moscow, were interesting. The guides who traveled all the way with us were knowledgeable and their talks on board were well worth attending as they gave a history of Russia. The stops along the way were generally very interesting, and the 'local guides' were also generally of a high standard. The food was wonderful throughout. The choice of ballet performance and venue in St Petersburg was most impressive. The organisation on the ship, and various transfers in St Petersburg and Moscow were extremely slick and trouble free. One unique event was the 'meet the neighbours' which was a drinks and canapes meeting in the corridors of the ship, and allowed us to meet and get to know our immediate neighbours on the ship. Wonderful idea!! We cannot fault this particular cruise, and as a result have booked twice again with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe ... Read More
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe how noisy it was. It turns out we were located right below the major air handler for the entire ship. Besides the loud air noise there was a throbbing pulsing noise that made it impossible to sleep. We complained and were told that there was nothing they could do to silence the noise. They had an empty suite but they would not let us use it unless we paid the upgrade fee. Their solution was to let us use a stateroom that was empty on the second floor to sleep in. This room was quiet but didn't have the veranda that we paid extra for so we didn't want to move to that room permanently. So every night for the entire cruise we would go down to the second floor to sleep and then back to 422 during the day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had been wanting to go on a river cruise. This was our first one and we chose this itinerary because the timing fit with other plans made. We enjoyed the small passenger feel. The staff worked hard to see that you were comfortable ... Read More
We had been wanting to go on a river cruise. This was our first one and we chose this itinerary because the timing fit with other plans made. We enjoyed the small passenger feel. The staff worked hard to see that you were comfortable and had everything you needed. Some of the special things we enjoyed was the “Meet your Neighbors” event, where all your cabin neighbors met in the hall, drank champagne and had chocolates, and visited. Often we were greeted at the door after an excursion by staff with something to drink or warm washcloths. It was a very nice touch. We also enjoyed the Liars Club, which was hilarious! The cooking class was not at all what was expected. It was more of a comedy show and everyone had a great time. The Russian history lessons were very interesting and we were so impressed with the knowledge of our three guides. Our excursions were all well planned, informative and enjoyable. We would definitely travel with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first cruise. We had a fabulous time due to the well thought out excursions, the incredible crew and the comfort of the ship. The menus at meals offered healthy options and a vast selection of items from which to use. The crew ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had a fabulous time due to the well thought out excursions, the incredible crew and the comfort of the ship. The menus at meals offered healthy options and a vast selection of items from which to use. The crew was so much fun! I don't believe I've laughed that hard in years because of the great evening programs. I appreciated the casual atmosphere where there were no requirements for formal wear. The cabin was small but immaculate, adequate with all the comforts anyone would need. Our luggage did not arrive with us in Moscow. Two days later it appeared but the staff did everything to help us and offer laundry service and bathroom accessories until our luggage was found and delivered. What could have been a horrible experience turned into a somewhat humorous approach. In general, this trip was not only fascinating because of a diverse culture but it was extremely fun! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have wanted to visit Russia for a long time, but were a bit concerned about going independently due to potential language barrier, safety, etc. Viking took care of all of the details and we were able to just enjoy the experience. ... Read More
We have wanted to visit Russia for a long time, but were a bit concerned about going independently due to potential language barrier, safety, etc. Viking took care of all of the details and we were able to just enjoy the experience. There was a nice mix of planned excursions and free time. We enjoy some exploring on our own and the staff was so helpful in providing maps, directions, and helpful tips. The crew on the ship were delightful and we felt we got to know many of them. They remembered our preferences and were always welcoming and friendly. Our room was nice, although there was a slight musty odor at times. The bathroom was very adequate and we loved having the private balcony, which we used often. The excursions were extremely well organized and led by wonderful Viking tour guides or local guides. We enjoyed all of the excursions, although the Hermitage museum was so crowded (not Viking's fault) it was difficult to get to see everything we would have like to see. Our Viking guide at the Hermitage guided us expertly to all of the "must-see" masterpieces and we made the best of a packed museum. We found the Russian people friendly and hospitable and interested in talking with us. The post trip to Helsinki was wonderful and we highly recommend a visit to beautiful Helsinki. Viking thinks of everything and leaves no detail unattended. This was our 2nd Viking river cruise and won't be our last! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have had an interest in Russia for over 50 years starting with history classes and have read numerous books and literature about the country through the years. The Viking River Cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow ( although I would ... Read More
I have had an interest in Russia for over 50 years starting with history classes and have read numerous books and literature about the country through the years. The Viking River Cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow ( although I would start in Moscow) was absolutely fabulous in every aspect from the cruise itself through Lake Ladoga, Onega and the Russian rivers to all the cities and towns visited. The ship and crew were fantastic and so accommodating. The menus were varied at every meal. The shipboard presentations were quite informative and the guides handled bus excursions so professionally. The country side and river banks were all so beauriful. Would recommend this trip to everyone. I would caution about traveling during early May as I did because of their national holiday events which made it hard to maneuver through traffic, children were out of school thus very crowded visiting museums and other sites. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. ... Read More
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. We have been on several River Cruises but this was our first Viking experience. Viking's staff and service beat our other experiences hands down. Every member of the Viking Team went over and above to delight us.First Jason, who we booked the tour with was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The Air Plus team did a great job. There was a hurricane looming on the East Coast and the Air Plus team worked diligently to try to help us avoid any issues. THEN, we arrived in Russia and were welcomed right away by the Viking Team. They made us feel so welcome and comfortable. The service on board was amazing. The chef was outstanding, overseeing the preparation of delightful dishes from morning to night. They were able to accommodate special dietary needs with no problem. And RUSSIA! We were in awe of the beauty at every turn. There were so many wonderful sights. The ports and shore excursions were outstanding. Our experience with the people of Russia was so positive. We felt comfortable and welcome everywhere. The itinerary enabled us to start in Moscow and remain there for 3 days and end in St. Petersburg and remain there for several days. It was so nice to be able to stay in one place for the duration of our trip. We were so pleased with our Veranda cabin and the private balcony. We also were delighted that we could watch the port talks and history discussions from the comfort of our cabin. The entertainment and activities were fun and informative. Viking held a "meet and greet" hallway cocktail party to enable us to meet all the folks in the nearby cabins. That was FUN. This is a great trip and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the adventure of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river ... Read More
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river cruise in Russia. She was absolutely correct! At her suggestion we read Catherine the Great and Nicholas and Alexandra by Massie before our departure so that St. Petersburg would be more meaningful. The tours that Viking arranged in St. Petersburg were excellent and the guides were very knowledgeable. Visiting the Hermitage, touring St. Petersburg's canals by boat, the Catherine Palace, and Peterhof Palace were highlights of our stay. There were other activities we elected not to do but the very fact that they were available speaks to the commitment Viking has to offer a variety of local things of interest. Once on the waterways there were opportunities to visit villages and world heritage sights as well as to relax in the comfort of our room or the public areas of the ship. Going through the first lock was a novel experience for many of the passengers and exclamations led to introductions and new acquaintances. Viking provided at no additional costs many other opportunities to "meet the neighbors", from a champagne get together outside of our cabins, to a toast from the captain to the guests, to a Taste of Russia lunch on the sun deck. Our last three days were in Moscow and the tours there were exceptional. Our favorited was Moscow by Night. I am sure that very few travelers have been fortunate enough to experience that incredible show of light on buildings, statues and water! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I had wanted to go to Russia for 30 years and knew the Viking cruise would give me what I wanted, at least for a first trip. We were able to see the primary points of interest plus some unknown to me. And, going to a country like ... Read More
I had wanted to go to Russia for 30 years and knew the Viking cruise would give me what I wanted, at least for a first trip. We were able to see the primary points of interest plus some unknown to me. And, going to a country like Russia, I wanted a prominent tour company handling the entire trip. Viking did great! We were met upon arrival, taken to the ship, and settled in before having our first excellent meal in the dining room. Our room, with veranda, became our comfortable home away from home for the next 13 days. Everything was delightful, though the shower/bath is very small. The ladies who took care of the room were delightful and helped with anything we needed. Dining was an experience on its on. The wait staff couldn’t have been better, nicer, friendlier, and more fun. We really enjoyed the time spent with them each day. The ship crew, front desk, etc., were not as friendly. They did their jobs. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and easy to visit with. They were always willing to answer questions. The tours were all very good, though very crowed. My biggest complaint was there being too many of us in a group. There were times when our guide would be two rooms ahead talking about something we weren’t seeing. This was especially true at Peterhof. The included tours were good for an introduction, but not for a detailed visit. Again, there were just too many tourist everywhere we went. Early fall would have been a better time to go. We were very disappointed when we arrived at Red Square. We found huge tents placed right in front of St Basil’s, making any kind of nice photo of the church and the square impossible, though we did get some telephoto shots that were good. We were also disappointed in the Kremlin—again, tents, and huge crowds of people made some photography impossible. Highlights were the river stops and the time sitting on the veranda and watching the scenery go by. It was very relaxing compared to the busyness of the city visits, though they were amazing. I would take this trip again if I could afford it, but i’d take the more in-depth tours. I do hope to go on other Viking tours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our third trip with Viking and the second River cruise. Unfortunately this experience did not meet our expectations based on previous cruises. First the Good: The waitstaff in the Dining room was excellent. By the end of ... Read More
This was our third trip with Viking and the second River cruise. Unfortunately this experience did not meet our expectations based on previous cruises. First the Good: The waitstaff in the Dining room was excellent. By the end of the cruise they knew who we were, more or less what we wanted and were overall attentive. One evening I lost an earring and just assumed that it was gone. When we came down for breakfast the waiter that we usually had came up and made some jokes (which he did frequently) about losing things and handed me the earring. I have no idea how he knew it was mine, but he did. The food was actually better than I had anticipated that it would be. There were always three choices (meat, fish and vegetarian) and there were three items that were always available (chicken, steak and salmon). Each of our group had one of these options once but otherwise had items from the menu and all were very good. The gal who cleaned the cabin did an excellent job and did so in a timely manner The information talks on the history of Russia were informative and comprehensive. The local guides (except in one case for us) were fabulous. Superb English and very knowledgeable. Most had been working with Viking for years and many had two degrees (one was a professor of Philosophy and chair of his department and did this guide activity in the summer to keep his English up and his mind sharp) The cabin had plenty of storage and a very nice balcony (more on that later) Suitcases fit under the bed with no problem and there were plenty of hangers for everything that we had both brought. Plenty of towels and they were admirably fluffy. The Not so good: The bathroom was tiny and the shower was simply a tiny quarter circle with a curtain and therefore the floor often got wet from the shower. (good thing we had all those towels) With that lovely balcony for most of the trip we could not use it as we were parked next to another boat and sitting on the balcony would have meant looking into someone else's room! St Petersburg was the Viking stockyard as there were always three or four boats abreast. The Viking administration had several issues that they SHOULD have known and SHOULD have dealt with. We were traveling with another couple and had booked one of the optional excursions in Moscow. The day before we got to Moscow and Sasha from Russia was doing the Port talk we noted that he did not give a time for our excursion. The Kremlin tour had been changed because there was a national celebration that occurs every year and the Kremlin was closed the day that we had originally been scheduled to go. Therefore they simply canceled our tour because the day had changed for the Kremlin. When we talked to Sasha he told us that he did not even know that there were people who had paid for that tour (turns out that there were several other couples that we talked to who had also booked it). They claimed not to be able to reschedule that tour and HE indicated that HE could not refund our money that we had to talk to the administration when we got home. We later booked another excursion so as not to be just sitting around and then when we got our bill, they forgot to credit the original excursion to the new one, that took several conversations. As this even is an annual event, the Viking administration should have KNOWN when it was and should have booked our Kremlin excursion on a different day to begin with. On one of our excursions, instead of taking us to a hotel or someplace for dinner (which we had on other Viking cruise excursions) they gave us a Ham and Cheese sandwhich to eat on the bus! Not very appetizing. There were multiple other groups who "cut the line" at the Hermitage while we waited almost an hour to get in. If others could have cut the line tickets, certainly Viking could do that for their excursions as well! There were several places that we went that Rubles were needed but Sasha from Russia had assured us that they were never needed that everywhere took either dollars, euros or credit cards! One of the tour escorts did two of our excursions, his English left a LOT to be desired. I could only understand about every third word, and EVERY time someone asked him a question, he apparently did not understand and gave them an answer that was only circuitously related (for example someone asked where the American Embassy in Moscow was located and his answer was that the American Embassy in St Petersburg had been closed) The final straw was the ride to the airport, we had an early flight so our bus was scheduled for 2:30 AM. we got up after like 3 1/2 hours of sleep and got out to the bus. There was a couple who apparently had overslept. Alexy (our tour escort for our bus) told us that he had called the room with no response. Eventually he actually went to the room and knocked on the door. The two people then were awakened and got up and dressed. We left 35 minutes late. The whole bus told him to have them go on the next bus, but he was determined to wait. Then he had the audacity to announce to the bus that in the 7 years that he had been doing this, this was the longest that he had ever had to wait! We did in fact make the plane but for several of the folks it was very close! In general the excursions were very well done. I really liked them all with the exception of the one island monastery. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This river cruise in July 2018 from Moscow to Saint Petersburg was both our first river cruise and our first holiday with Viking Cruises. We took advantage of Viking’s flexible flight arrangements to fly from our local airport ... Read More
This river cruise in July 2018 from Moscow to Saint Petersburg was both our first river cruise and our first holiday with Viking Cruises. We took advantage of Viking’s flexible flight arrangements to fly from our local airport (Birmingham) to Moscow via Amsterdam. The Viking staff then met us at Moscow airport, where we discovered that over 40 passengers on our flight were on the same cruise. Two coaches then transported us to the ‘Viking Ingvar’. We were very impressed with the quality of the boat and of our cabin (317). Our Travel Agents had forewarned us that many of the cabins on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ had poles in the cabins that supported the upper decks, so we were able to avoid this restricting inconvenience. We found that many of the other cabins had these poles – some even had two – and that they were located near the bed. The cabin was fairly spacious, well designed and equipped, and had a large balcony. Cabin 317 was on the middle deck and very conveniently located for the Neva Restaurant, the Panorama Bar, the Sky Bar, and the hot drinks station where tea and coffee were always available, there being no kettle in the cabin. For those (like us) who prefer a special blend of tea (such as Roobois) it was ideal to take our own tea, obtain hot water at the station, and enjoy it on the cabin’s balcony. The cabin had fairly adequate storage space, and our luggage was easily stored under the bed. The bathroom was well designed, but the small shower area had a weak output. The stairs between decks were extremely steep, but a lift was available. Despite the reliance on a satellite system, the Wi-Fi connection was adequate, and was included in the basic price. The Neva Restaurant was the main eating area, and we used this for our evening meals. We generally preferred the Panorama Bar (located at the bow) for Continental breakfasts and light lunches; this area was generally quiet and had a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for these meals. The evening meals were often disappointing with a not very exciting menu, and there was little choice. The chicken and steak on the ‘always available’ section of the menu were often the best choices. We discovered in the course of a number of chats with the Austrian maitre d' that the main menu is dictated by Viking's Head Office, and is the same for each cruise and for each of the several boats that are continually spending the summer travelling between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The majority of passengers were Americans, and the boat’s protocols etc seemed to be generally geared to American/Canadian preferences. Sittings in the Neva Restaurant were on a first-come, first-served basis, but many passengers attempted to sit at the same table each evening – this being the only way to establish a rapport with the dining staff. Although most people dressed smartly for dinner, there were quite a number who did not bother. The ‘complimentary’ wine served with meals was very pleasant. The staff were generally very pleasant, enthusiastic, and spoke a good level of English. In addition to the crew, there were a number of tour guides who doubled up on other duties such as giving very interesting lectures on Russian history. There was little forewarning over the boat’s public address system of features that the boat was about to pass – a description of the locks etc that we were about to pass through would have been appreciated, plus some information on how far we had travelled overnight, etc. Surprisingly, the on board doctor had a poor grasp of English. The excursions from the ‘Viking Ingvar’ were very efficiently handled and communication between the tour guide and tourists was enhanced by the efficient Quietvox headsets. Local guides were used extensively and most of these were very good. One coach trip was somewhat spoiled by two Viking staff talking constantly and thus distracting the local guide’s narrative. In Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the quality of coaches used was very good, but the ‘best available’ coaches in the rural areas were often old and not well maintained (eg dirty windows). On all the excursions there was a generous handout of bottled water. We enjoyed all the excursions, some of which were included in the trip’s basic price, and some of which were optional at additional cost. Our three favourite excursions were ‘Moscow by Night’; the trip to Peterhof; and a visit to the Faberge Museum in Saint Petersburg – all of these were hosted by Slava, the best of the Viking guides. We chose the following optional tours: Sergiev Posad (very good – would have been excellent if the guide’s English had been a little better, and two Viking staff had not talked constantly on the coach); Moscow by Night (excellent); The Hermitage Behind Closed Doors (excellent, although tiring and expensive); Peterhof Palace & Park (excellent); Feberge Museum (excellent and amazing). On a previous trip to Saint Petersburg in 2008, we had not felt entirely safe and were not prepared to explore the city on our own. Nowhere on this trip did we feel the same apprehension, even in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. On the whole, the Russians we met were pleasant and friendly, although due to the ongoing Football World Cup there was often a large police/security presence. Tipping on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ was discretionary with a suggestion of $15 per guest per day, but no formal system was offered to do this. Most guests seemed to prefer to tip individual members of staff that they had had personal contact with. Overall, we had a very enjoyable cruise on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ being particularly impressed with the quality of the boat, the range of excursions, the organisation of the excursions, and the evident lack of ‘penny-pinching’ that tends to prevail with some cruise companies, although Viking’s prices are at the top of the range. The most negative aspect was the provision of some distinctly unexciting menus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We wanted to visit Russia and thought that this would be a good way to see our primary interests. The Viking Cruise had an appealing itinerary at a reasonable cost. The staff was lovely....all of them and everyone. Each day the ... Read More
We wanted to visit Russia and thought that this would be a good way to see our primary interests. The Viking Cruise had an appealing itinerary at a reasonable cost. The staff was lovely....all of them and everyone. Each day the activities were interesting, though we did do quite a few optional tours at an added expense. They were worth the money, and we particularly enjoyed Moscow by night. There were a couple of wrinkles in the trip. First, we went when the World Cup was in Russia. It wasn't Viking's fault, but the Red Square was closed to tours, so we never got to see it. A number of us thought that Viking should have provided shuttle service in so that we could at least walk around the perimeter of the Square, after the group tours were turned away. There was time the next morning to do so, but Viking elected not to. We were in cabin 301 which I would not recommend. Though it was large and well appointed, we were woken most mornings when the staff was refilling the beverage station outside the restaurant doors and/or by patrons gathering in front of the doors before the restaurant opened. (In other words, it was a noisy neighborhood due to being the room next to the elevator where the trays of glassware were transported and being next to the restaurant.) It was a big enough inconvenience that I would not accept either that room or the one across the hall on another trip. The duration was appropriate, the evening activities were fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were considering a Baltic Cruise, but decided we didn't want to miss out on seeing Moscow. We decided on Viking's Waterway of the Tsar's and were so glad we did. The entire trip was fabulous, from our first encounter at ... Read More
We were considering a Baltic Cruise, but decided we didn't want to miss out on seeing Moscow. We decided on Viking's Waterway of the Tsar's and were so glad we did. The entire trip was fabulous, from our first encounter at the airport to our flight home. Due to airline problems, we arrived in Moscow a day and a half late, but Viking was there, in the middle of the night to take us to the hotel. We enjoyed all of our tours tremendously. They were interesting, informative and the guides made everything entertaining. They truly make the trip exciting and fun. I had done some reading on Russian history before we left and it was nice to see so many important historical sites. We really enjoyed the Kremlin Armory tour and the Moscow By Night tour, although they were long exhausting days. The river towns were beautiful and interesting and of course, St. Petersburg was spectacular....in spite of the crowds!! I feel like we touched on the highlights, but we definitely would like to go back for a more in depth look. The food was very good and we enjoyed trying the Russian specialties. The Chef and Maitre d Daniel made sure that I was gluten free the entire trip. The service was always with a smile and everyone went out of their way to accommodate the passengers. We were so impressed with the guides knowledge, patience, and humor. I'm sure there are times when they want to pull their hair out, but they never let us feel that way. It will always be a favorite trip for us. Our room did not have a balcony and it would have been nice, but we were very happy with our room. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have always wanted to visit Russia and took the plunge. The food was very good with plenty of choice and a chance to taste Russian cuisine as well as fairly standard fare. The 24hr coffee/tea/chocolate station was excellent. I am a ... Read More
We have always wanted to visit Russia and took the plunge. The food was very good with plenty of choice and a chance to taste Russian cuisine as well as fairly standard fare. The 24hr coffee/tea/chocolate station was excellent. I am a discerning coffee drinker and it was of very good quality, better than the coffee served in the restaurant! The staff were all very friendly and the couriers, especially the local ones, were full of interesting information. There were a few concerns though mainly to do with sustainability/environmental policies. We did not require wash cloths to be changed twice daily - we used them and hung them on the pull out line provided but as the room was serviced twice daily, these and the shower mat were changed when not required to be. Also the use of plastic containers for the plentiful toiletries - this approach needs to be reconsidered to cut down on plastic. Also the disposable plastic water bottles handed out before excursions need to be abolished. We had brought our own containers and filled them from the glass water bottles replenished at least once daily. Perhaps Viking could provide reusable bottles and passengers could be encouraged to refill these. The excursions we participated in were all, bar one, excellent and of a very high quality. The one that was disappointing was the Folk Music evening whilst in St Petersburg - not worth the money we paid even if it did include some vodka. The music was OK, it was just the surroundings and the way it was presented after other excursions such as the ballet and music evening in Moscow. Not having been on anything like this before, I did struggle with not having anywhere really to walk so had to make do with going along each deck inside and up/down the stairs. Most days to be fair we had excursions so I tried to walk quickly but sometimes this was not possible as we were ambling in order to view and take photos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. ... Read More
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. There was always a local guide and someone from the ship to make sure no one got separated from the group. The wait staff were warm and they always had a smile. They knew our names and how we liked our coffee and what juice we liked starting from the second day. The games were hilarious and the historical presentation were Educational .We especially like the fact that the senior crew members mingled with the passengers . We also liked the meeting your neighbor activity. There was variety of meals to choose from and they were prepared well. We are sold on viking River Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this at the last minute after having to cancel another trip the month before. We were so glad that we did. Everything Viking did was first class and the many little surprises they added made it extra special. The service and ... Read More
We chose this at the last minute after having to cancel another trip the month before. We were so glad that we did. Everything Viking did was first class and the many little surprises they added made it extra special. The service and food were outstanding and the staff was extremely courteous and helpful. The cabins were very clean. The excursions were designed to let you truly experience the culture of Russia. The Russian cities were more beautiful than we'd expected. The subways were far better than those we've experienced in the US and Europe. Our biggest surprise was how friendly and helpful the Russian people were. We had an unplanned stop due to bad weather in a city not usually visited by tourists. A lady who was working in her yard motioned for us to wait a minute while she went over to her garden and picked a bouquet of flowers to offer us. She didn't speak English and we didn't speak Russian, but we had the greatest conversation ever. The whole trip was well organized and we always felt safe. I've recommended this trip to many friends since our return (including our many friends who, when they heard we were going to Russia, commented, "I hope you come back." They could not have been more wrong and need to go and see for themselves.) We also made friends on the cruise that we continue to stay in touch with. It was just an awesome experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Actually, my travel partner chose this cruise in Russia, but I was happy to go along. The stateroom was nicely appointed, although the bathroom was a bit cramped. We went so late in the season that we didn't get to enjoy the ... Read More
Actually, my travel partner chose this cruise in Russia, but I was happy to go along. The stateroom was nicely appointed, although the bathroom was a bit cramped. We went so late in the season that we didn't get to enjoy the verandah much due to the cold and sometimes rainy weather. The excursions were well planned with a variety of activities. Tour guides -- both from the ship and local -- were extremely knowledgeable and proficient in English (big PLUS). The food was varied, plentiful, and very delicious. The meals were timed to accommodate our tours, so we never had to worry about getting to the dining room at a particular time. Crew members were always friendly and helpful. We especially enjoyed the native dancers in St. Petersburg, the concert in Moscow, and the Swan Lake Ballet at the Hermitage Theater. As I am an inexperienced traveler, I appreciated the all-inclusive aspect of this trip -- housing, transportation, tickets, special events, tours, etc. Highly recommend this cruise and this company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We travelled as a group from Hawaii. There were 24 people in our group. A few were not from Hawaii, but they all had Hawaii '"connections". Our group leader was Deanne Horie. The staff of the Ingvar was outstanding. ... Read More
We travelled as a group from Hawaii. There were 24 people in our group. A few were not from Hawaii, but they all had Hawaii '"connections". Our group leader was Deanne Horie. The staff of the Ingvar was outstanding. "Sasha from Russia" was so informative but also very entertaining. Also, the dining room crew took care of our group like family. They saved off a couple of tables for us so that we could enjoy our meals together. This made the trip more enjoyable for us. I enjoyed rehashing the day's activities with friends over a nice dinner. This was my first experience in going through locks. I had read about locks and how they work, but had never actually gone through one. It was quite an experience for me. Glad I was able to experience it while I'm still able to travel. I was surprised to learn that most of the Russian people actually hate communism more than Americans do. We know about communism intellectually, but they had to actually live through it. Our visit to a Russian family in their own home was an unforgettable experience for me. That visit to the local school was also quite impressive. Our guide was an eighth grade student. I was blown away with how smart and confident she was. Their school system allows students to decide on how they want to spend their remaining three school years. They can prepare for university, or they can start learning a trade. Most kids in the US wouldn't have a clue after the eighth grade on what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I wonder how this is working out for the Russian kids? Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Four years ago I had spent 1 1/2 days in St. Petersburg on another cruise. It was not enough time and this opportunity came and we (3 other retired school teachers) planned the trip six months before our departure. I have previously been ... Read More
Four years ago I had spent 1 1/2 days in St. Petersburg on another cruise. It was not enough time and this opportunity came and we (3 other retired school teachers) planned the trip six months before our departure. I have previously been on Viking River Cruises and appreciate the educational forums and the included tours in each city. The home visits are always attractive to me and I appreciate the opportunity to meet others in the small group settings. The dining room staff was courteous, efficient, and always made us feel special. The food was excellent and I especially enjoyed the root vegetables prepared in numerous ways. I do have a "sweet tooth" and found some of the pastries to be a little bland. My traveling companions had not been on a Viking River Cruise previously and they were positively impressed, also. My next cruise may be to Iceland! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This is not a first cruise for anyone. It's a cruise for people who've seen a lot, and want more. The "river" between St. Petersburg and Moscow is a combination of lakes, rivers, and canals. Near St. P, it's ... Read More
This is not a first cruise for anyone. It's a cruise for people who've seen a lot, and want more. The "river" between St. Petersburg and Moscow is a combination of lakes, rivers, and canals. Near St. P, it's mostly uninhabited area. Near Moscow, it's more inhabited. Of the 5 stops on the "river," only two (Yaroslavl and Uglich) are real towns. Kizhi is fabulous, as a recreated ancient community. Mandrogy is an artisan village, and fun (and expensive if you shop), but for tourists. The monastery stop was interesting, but due to fog, we were shepherded past any vendors and didn't see a real town. St. Petersburg and Moscow were fabulous - and exhausting! You walk your feet off. It's worth it, but just be warned. The worst crush was The Hermitage in St. Petersburg - and I was there in a shoulder season! But the fabulous art is incredible and not to be missed. As are any of the St. Petersburg tours, and definitely Moscow by Night. The Kremlin (included) tour was very good, but I wish I'd done the optional tour that included the carriages, jewels, dresses, etc. We saw St. Basil's in the afternoon, which will NOT get you good pictures. You need to be there in the morning. Best souvenirs: Uglich. We skipped the tour and just shopped for 3 1/2 hours. Do not try to buy souvenirs in Moscow; for some reason, they are scarce and expensive. At the St. Petersburg port, there is a souvenir shop, which is better than nothing. Do not bring rubles; banks charge too much. I got rubles 4 times at ATM's, with a charge of $1 each withdrawal, and the best rates. Dollars are almost universally accepted, too. Though outside of vendors, very few people speak English. On the ship, we were coddled by the staff. In the dining room, Jeremiah, Mikey and Dino took fabulous care of us, including telling us to wait til Uglich to shop. In the bar, Dasha and Egor were attentive and helpful. Sasha (from Russia) was a terrific tour director. Andrey was a terrific tour guide. Daniel was the M'd with a sense of humor! Don't miss the pelmini cooking demo, or the vodka tasting! Russia has changed incredibly in the past couple of decades. Not a complete capitalist country, but growing so! The people were warm and friendly (they want our dollars). If you go, you'll love it. I wish you good cheer! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My husband has been wanting to see Russia for years....I always hedged......but finally agreed to go this summer. Wow! What an eye opener. What was I thinking? Russia is just beautiful! We started our cruise in St. Petersburg where we ... Read More
My husband has been wanting to see Russia for years....I always hedged......but finally agreed to go this summer. Wow! What an eye opener. What was I thinking? Russia is just beautiful! We started our cruise in St. Petersburg where we visited the famous Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, the Marlinsky Ballet (stunning performance of Swan Lake) etc., and made our way to Moscow visiting quaint towns, UNESCO villages, gorgeous churches, monasteries, home visits, and then Moscow. Moscow with its beautiful subway, GUM department store, Kremlin, St. Basil's cathedral and endless other sites. The small boat ride at night was serene and gorgeous. The Viking Ingvar crew was incredible. All of them from Captain Igor, Sasha (our program director) who was organized, always pleasant, with a great sense of humor, Joachim (our executive chef), Daniel (maitre d), witty and talented both, to the crew behind the scenes were without equal. Our sweet waitress Helga and her assistant Yaro made mealtime happy. Valaria, Andrei and Dimitri were our wonderful, knowledgeable escorts. They did a terrific job. I truly believe this has to be the ship with the best crew.... Go to Russia! Go on the Ingvar!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Viking Ingvar Ratings
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