4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Moscow and other cities in Russia that were visited on this cruise. I had already been to St. Petersburg but I new that it, too, must be different than when I visited in 2004. I didn't ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Moscow and other cities in Russia that were visited on this cruise. I had already been to St. Petersburg but I new that it, too, must be different than when I visited in 2004. I didn't know what to expect. I never expected some of the things I saw. Red Square at night was like a light show. The building were outlined with white lights, St. Basil's Cathedral was just magnificent with the spotlights on it. It is also beautiful in the daytime. I was surprised at the number of churches that I saw. I know that for many years that people could not worship openly. I never expected to see churches that were breathtakingly beautiful inside. Every inch was covered with gold, paintings. mosaics and more. Spectacular. This was the third Viking River cruise for me. I really didn't know what to expect on the first one but I learned quickly that the staff on Viking ships are friendly and helpful. They are respectful to the guests. The cabin was always made up when I returned from an excursion. Housekeeping was quick to send anything that I needed. The menu was varied each night. I especially liked the dishes that were native to the region where we were. The Russian menus were great. There were selections with which I was familiar because they were made in my family. It was fun to eat them on the ship. The service was excellent. I looked forward to the excursions every day because I didn't know what to expect. One excursion was to Khizi island where 60 people live. It was educational. We saw an church that was being restored. Everything was done with wood. The guides in Russia were well informed and answered any questions. I recommend the Russia cruise. You will know a lot more than before you visited. I am already scheduled for cruises 4 and 5 this year - Viking Ocean Cruise - Venice to Athens and Viking River Cruise - Portugal-The River of Gold. Can't wait. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian ... Read More
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian language lessons and the games. We liked the history lectures. We enjoyed all of the tours. But it is tough when you have to choose between 2 at the same time. All of the tour guides did a great job. I did do one comment card about the Moscow subway for I felt that the directions should have been given above ground where you could hear. You could not hear on the whisperers down in the station and I felt that some of our group were very uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go on the Moscow subway so please keep that in. We enjoyed the ballet in St. Petersburg but would have also liked to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Loved the Cossack show. Enjoyed the vodka tasting. Thought that the meet your neighbor was a great idea--did not have that on a previous Viking Cruise. Loved the balloons when we left Moscow. It was a really great cruise and I have told many people about it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were informative, the entertainment was a singer and a man playing the piano every night. The service of most of the ship members was good, what you would expect, with the exception of the dining room. The excursions all seemed to include three churches, which got old. St Petersburg was nice, Moscow not so much. In between we stopped in small towns, toured the churches and looked at icons. But we did have one major problem. When we booked we let Viking know we have a special diet; for health reasons we don't eat meat or dairy products (vegan diet). They said it wouldn't be a problem and it wasn't last time so we were really looking forward to the cruise from St Petersburg, Russia to Moscow. We got on board and were encourage to buy future cruise credits. We signed up to buy four. At dinner the first night we asked to speak with the head waiter to let him know we were the passengers with the special diet. I told him that for us, enjoying good food really makes for a good cruise. I let him know instead of expensive meat and deserts, we like beans, black, pinto, kidney, tofu, steamed or grilled vegetables and potatos. He said oh, we have limited amounts of those. We were docked in St. Petersburg four days and a grocery store was within walking distance, if Viking would have cared to get these items. At our request, the head waiter would bring us the menu for the next day so we could see what we could eat and request additional items. Every night we would ask for some additional vegetables, rice, potatos or beans and almost every day we came to lunch and dinner and did not get any of these items. When we asked our server where are the vegetables we asked for, they would respond, the chef didn't make them. This went on day after day, until the ninth day. For lunch we were given a bowl of hot water with a few pieces of potato in it and a small bowl of rice. We asked for the vegetables we ordered and were told the chef did not make them. I left lunch hungry and it was six hours until dinner. At dinner I was so hungry, I called over the head waiter, raised my voice and told him what has been happening is unacceptable. Day after day we ask for inexpensive food that is easy to prepare and we come to the table and get nothing! How do you expect us to enjoy the curise when we are walking around hungry all the time? We have been on almost 20 cruises and have never had such poor food in quality or quanity. The last three days of the cruise, the food improved. The chef said at the beging of the cruise we would gain five pounds, I lost two pounds and had to tighten my belt a notch so my pants wouldn't fall down. UNBELIVABLE! Needless to say, we cancled purchasing future cruise credits. This was our second and last Viking cruise. At the conclusion of the cruise I filled out a survey and let Viking know about our unpleasent experience. We have been home well over a month now and Viking has not sent an email or called to explain the horrible service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow ... Read More
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg best met our needs at this time. Partly because of the language barrier, partly because of the current world tensions, and partly because of security concerns. We learned the Russian alphabet and mastered a few key phrases (but English was spoken almost everywhere), international tensions were not an issue as the Russian Federation appears to use tourism as a major source of income, and Viking or local representatives were with us every day should some unforseen event occur (very helpful and conscientious) - no issues whatsoever. Representatives from Viking met us after we exited Moscow immigration and customs. They had lists of who was arriving on what airline, by time, and flight number. Our baggage was placed on carts and we did not see them until we entered our room on the ship. A bus was waiting for us a took us directly to the boat. During that transition time, the Viking representative explained the arrival process at the ship as well as pointed out several local sites. Checking into our room on the Akun was easy and uncomplicated. Very smooth and organized process from airport to room. Viking offered multiple included tours and additional paid tours options. Our days were full - often starting first thing and ending late at night. Consequently, we had not fully recovered from jet lag before beginning our scheduled tours. We highly recommend arriving one full day before your cruise to get acclimated. Several of our fellow trip goers, who have taken many river cruises, stated they always arrive a day or two early. Viking put them up at very nice hotels - even if they do not sign up for the extended before and after tour options (which we did not). The Viking Akun was ship worthy and functioned very well. We hardly knew we were on the water. No smell of exhaust fumes. The boat's floorplan was well designed and posted at several locations for ease of finding restaurants, bars, meeting places, library, business center, entertainment, gift shop, stairs, elevator, and front desk. Exits were marked and getting on and off the boat was easy. Our cabin was light, airy, and well maintained. The bed was comfortable and we slept well. More comments are in the Cabin Remarks section of this survey. Meals were excellent with samples of Russian cuisine as well as American favorites. Breakfast offered typical American buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, rolls, juice, coffee, etc. as well as the more European Continental meal. Lunch and Supper were menu offerings. We ate our breakfast and lunch meals in the forward panoramic bar since we prefer Continental bills of fare. Breakfast in the restaurant was too plentiful and the bar at lunch offered at least two of the main menu lunch items. Evening meals were always in the restaurant and we tried all the Russian food offerings. As with any food in any country, much of it was very tasty and a couple items less palatable. One note, if you enjoy alcohol libations we highly recommend the "Silver Drinks Package". Our participation in on-board activities were limited as we signed up for multiple off-ship tours. We were too tired to partake in the evening games, dances, musicians, and singers events. Although we did hear from many guests who stated they had a great time at those activities. That being said, we participated in a few events: the Russian wine tasting, Vodka tasting, and lectures on Russian history, the Czars, the Soviet era, Perestroika and Glasnost, and the Russia government today. Those lectures opened the door to discuss, in more detail, Russia today with some of the local guides. As we learned Russian before our trip, we did not participate in the Russian language classes on the boat. Overall service was wonderful. The staff was friendly and were gracious hosts. Many were open to discussing where they were from, how they became Viking employees, what they did outside of tourism (expecially when the river froze and during off-season), and what was their original field of endeavor. Prices in the gift shop were modest, competitive, and not overly expensive as with most places of similar nature. We were not "gouged" because of our captive audience status. At only one restaurant meal was the service "off" as we seemed to have been ignored. We think that was because we may have inadvertantly offended or embarassed the server by pointing out to the Maître d' her excellent performance the previous night. There was no issue with ports of call. All, except one, were located in or within walking distance of the local community. Shore excursions were well orchestrated and informative. Local guides offered insights not provided by "company" tour guides. Often, we were allowed entry into the venue an hour before the general public. The only disappointing aspect were the hour-long bus rides, from the boat to the event, through city traffic in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. However, those were offset by the knowledgeable guides who passed the time pointing out additional key sites, talking Russian history, or answering tourists' questions. For specific events, we recommend the Russian Ballet and Cossac Dancers. Sites worth your time are: Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin in Moscow (and again at night); the Hermitage extended tour, the Winter Palace, and Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg. We took both local river cruises. Moscow at night was disppointing, but necessary to see Red Square lite up at night. For the adventurous, one could go there on their own. The daytime river cruise in St. Petersburg was shotened because of heavy rains which flooded the river and prevented the boat from passing under multiple bridges. So, we cannot offer a full opinion. The communities and sites along the rivers and lakes between Moscow and St. Petersburg are worth the trip, as well. Checking out of the Akun, paying our bill, and leaving Russia was as coordinated, orgainized and easy as arriving. Our luggage was handled by Viking until we got to the airport. The Viking representative expedited our processing through security and baggage screening. Having been through similar scrrenings in other countries, we are sure having a Viking person at security afforded less scrutiny that usual. We are definitely considering additional Viking River Cruises as well as Ocean Cruises which we have never before taken. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Our cruise from Saint Petersburg to Moscow was an adventure only dreamt of in an earlier time. The exposure to this fascinating nation—her engaging people, her clean and civil cities, her beautiful countryside and historical sites—was ... Read More
Our cruise from Saint Petersburg to Moscow was an adventure only dreamt of in an earlier time. The exposure to this fascinating nation—her engaging people, her clean and civil cities, her beautiful countryside and historical sites—was an experience to treasure for a lifetime. And this was facilitated by the our crew and tour entourage who made our cruise the most wonderful time. They were engaging and polite, responsive to the most trivial request, thourough and efficient while managing the excursions off the boat, and even had a doctor onboard who helped with an head-cold! Also, we had the misfortune of having our luggage lost enroute from the United States. But the Viking personnel ensured we had the clothes cleaned which accompanied us, provided basic toiletries, and gave assistance to a shopping mall to allow us to purchase items in the event our luggage failed to arrive before we began our cruise. All of this was gratis, and deeply appreciated. (Our luggage arrived!) The tours which are provided are extraordinary. Apart from the subject matter and focus of the tours, the streamlined efficiency with which they are provided is impressive: no long waits, and no concern about being hurried. A modicum of preparation for the visit to Russia should be made if one wishes to have a good appreciation of what is seen. We would suggest reading the biographies of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov. Make an effort to read “War and Peace” (actually six books in one!). It provides a great background to the origin of political difficulties in Europe today. Also, consider reading “Fathers and Sons” and “The House of The Dead.” These books give insightful background to the society of Russia prior to the Communist Revolution. To help us understand much of Russian history, lectures were provided by Russian nationals onboard which were extremely informative. Of the onshore excursions, the visit to the Hermitage was a dream come true. Consider going on the “behind the scenes” tour as well; there are more phenomenal historical items worth seeing. The tour of the Peter Hof was exquisite, and in our estimation was more impressive than Versailles. Also highly recommended is the Uglich Walking-Tour and Home-Hosted visit. Our hostess was a dear woman, and was proof that people are essentially the same everywhere. The initial anxiety we had regarding our arrival and departure from Russia was unnecessary as we were met by Viking personnel upon our arrival, and accompanied by them all the way to security during our departure! It could have been no better! Thank you Viking Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other ... Read More
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other river cruises. But once the cruise was started and we could feel the open waters we were cruising we understood the reason why. We absolutely loved our cruise. The biggest factor contributing to this result, other than the amazing Russian cites we visited , was the crew onboard the Akun. They went above and beyond to make sure each passenger was enjoying themselves. Those working the front desk went to great extremes to accommodate a special sightseeing request that my sister and I had to tour the Hermitage storage facility. The staff in the dining room were special. Very attentive, engaging and friendly. We developed a fond friendship by the end of the cruise. We hated to say goodbye to "our girls". Some of my fondest memories came from the home hosted visit in Uglich and a tour of the children art center in Kuzino. Although we enjoyed all the tour excursions. We arrived in St. Petersburg a few day prior to departure and the hotel arranged by Viking was centrally located to allow easy touring on our own. Plus there was always a Viking representative available during the day for tips regarding restaurants and sightseeing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport ... Read More
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport and whisked away to our very nice hotel right downtown across the street from St. Isaac's Cathedral. We spent some time exploring the city on our own, then went on a Viking sponsored walking tour as well. Finally we checked out of our hotel and Viking collected our luggage and bussed us (and other Viking Passengers) out to where the Ship was moored. We spent a couple more days in St. Petersburg exploring more of the city and surrounding countryside. We did Viking Bus tours, Walking Tours, and even a boat tour seeing all of the major sites in and around the city. Our Guides were all very knowledgeable and professional and had unique access to a number of the sites. The ship has appx. 200 passengers on board. Our cabin was spacious enough so we could easily unpack all of our clothes and not worry about re-packing and moving as if staying in a hotel. Our room had all the amenities of a modern hotel. The ship was very clean and the staff super friendly. Most all meals were on board the Ship and were bountiful and tasty with a wide variety of food choices, including Russian and regional dishes. Both Ala Carte and Buffet dining options are available. The cost of all your meals and drinks with dinner are included in the cruise price. There is no assigned seating for meals, so we dined with many different interesting people. Other activities while on board include informational lectures about Russia, both historically & current times, and Russian Language lessons. Viking offers several onboard fun activities like Vodka Tasting too. There is plenty to do while on board: there is a small gift shop, a small library, of course a bar/lounge with musical entertainment, an open air deck topside with a covered area, and a second lounge area at the stern. The crew and staff work hard so you feel like a pampered guest, and they succeed. The ship stops every day to visit interesting places along the way with shore excursions. We stopped at two open air museums (Kizhi & Mandrogy) with buildings that had been brought in from various parts of Russia, these were often staffed with period correct craftspeople who could answer questions, as well as sell hand crafted items. We also stopped at a small city (Uglich) where we went on a walking tour and visited a local Russian couple in their home to talk of their life in Russia. And we visited a larger city (Yaroslavl) for a walking tour, a visit to the food & craft market and visits to other sites. We visited many religious sites (Russian Orthodox), Churches, Cathedrals and Monastaries. I was surprised by the amount of religious art, treasure and influence that has survived in Russia. There are also ample shopping opportunities along the way & your guides will let you know where you can get the bes deals. Finally it was on to Moscow for the finish of our trip. We spent several days in Moscow, again seeing all of the major sites through walking tours, bus tours, and a boat tour. The only downside in both St. Petersberg & Moscow is the ship docks are outside the cities a ways, so you will be in for daily bus rides of an hour to an hour and a half to get from the ship to the city centers. Overall on this trip I feel like we saw the best parts (and a wide variety) of Russia. Both St. Petersburg and Moscow are large cosmopolitian cities with lots of attractions to visit. The Russian people were friendly and open and honest with us. The open air museums give a sense of what life in the countryside was like, and it helped to visit smaller towns and cities to see what daily life in Russia is like. We went to many museums and palaces and religious sites. The guides of Viking are terrific and knowledgeable as are the site specific guides they use. This was a very enjoyable and easy trip and I would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the ... Read More
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the entire boat. The entrainment on the boat was very poor. We were not into playing quizzes and the panic player and singer were so, so. We love the shore excursions but some of the guides were not capable of walking and talking at the same time. Some times looking at one thing for 15 minutes got a bit boring. The extra tours were a bit pricey, so we chose not to do any extras. The staff on the boat were extremely friendly and went out of their way to accommodate us. Would I highly recommend this cruise very much so, in fact I already have to several friends. Would I love to go back. Yes in a few years I would like to do it again. This should go on everyone’s bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the ... Read More
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the akun!...fabulous, clean cabin. large window for a wonderful view of the countryside and made our cabin so bright! the dining was 5 star every day. how they could make that many fabulous meals and get it perfect every day is beyond me! the activities and entertainment was first class. no request was too much for the crew to deal with. i was treated like a superstar! the itinerary was perfect! we saw all the sights, met the people, sampled the cuisine and absorbed every minute on and off the ship! russia is the most fascinating country. the people are so friendly and love sharing their culture. i'd go back in a heartbeat....but i want to see all the other spots viking has to offer. they take all the worry and 'fret' out of traveling. viking wrapes me in the finest silk and guides me through the joys of seeing new adventures. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We throughly enjoyed the cruise. It really showed us Russia. The excursions presented by Viking gave us a true feeling of the culture and people. It provided us with a new appreciation of Russia, her people and history. The food ... Read More
We throughly enjoyed the cruise. It really showed us Russia. The excursions presented by Viking gave us a true feeling of the culture and people. It provided us with a new appreciation of Russia, her people and history. The food was excellent. There was a great variety and the Russian cusine was very good. The soup with each dinner was the best. The ship and common areas were nicely decorated and kept clean and inviting.The cabin was a little small but about the same as on other ships. It was nicely decorated and the balcony was great. Everything was kept clean and neat. All of the crew were friendly and did their job well. I would definetly reccomend this cruise to anyone. However, I am not sure young children would enjoy it. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth. We took the 3 day extention to Helsinki and loved it. We can hardly wait to go on our next Viking Cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted to see St. Petersburg, and this trip was over our anniversary. (July 6 - 18), The whole experience was amazing. Boat is small, but you can always find a nook to be alone or join a group. Food was excellent and NEVER ... Read More
We wanted to see St. Petersburg, and this trip was over our anniversary. (July 6 - 18), The whole experience was amazing. Boat is small, but you can always find a nook to be alone or join a group. Food was excellent and NEVER SUPERSIZED. Not much time for entertainment, but they make the most of it. The Vodka tasting is so much fun! Be ready to walk miles every day on all the tours, hosted by fantastic experts. Moscow and St. Petersburg are not the Russia we grew up hearing about. The countryside is beautiful, and the pace on the boat is just right. Not much internet or cell service, so it was pleasant not seeing everyone with a phone in their face. We met 2 wonderful couples and hung out together, as well as other couples at dinner (open seating, just join in). The crew was fabulous, the boat immaculate. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I visited Russia in 1998 and wanted to see the changes in the past 20 years. We were blown away! Infrastructure construction (great roads, utilities, etc.) plus the number of western (European and US) retail outlets and ... Read More
My wife and I visited Russia in 1998 and wanted to see the changes in the past 20 years. We were blown away! Infrastructure construction (great roads, utilities, etc.) plus the number of western (European and US) retail outlets and manufacturing plants were the most noticeable. On our last visit, skies were smoky gray most of the time so we were impressed at how clear the air was in the big cities (St Petersburg and Moscow) this time. Also, even though traffic volume had increased tremendously, we were amazed at how smooth and orderly things seemed to be (lot less honking and sirens than in the US). The Viking shore excursions were well designed and almost all were properly described (including level of activity) so there were no surprises. Guides (for the most part) were knowledgeable and personable. Finally, the Viking Akun crew and staff made us feel right at home from Day One and throughout our voyage. The Chef and his staff prepared a sumptuous array of locally-inspired and continental cuisine; dining areas never felt crowded; and the wait staff's familiarity with ingredients of every menu selection helped me avoid food allergens. If you enjoy river cruising - put "Rivers of the Tsars" on your bucket list. If you've never done river cruising, there's no time like the present or itinerary like this to begin. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the ... Read More
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the shipboard experience fell far short of what was advertised and what we expected. Don’t believe the ads you see on tv. Food, mediocre at best. Service, the worst we experienced in our 50+ cruise experiences. Had very minor inconvenience on first day in dining room recognized by Assistant dining room staff and was blatantly ignored for the remaining 13 days of the cruise by Dining room manager and assistant. Management does not care about the customer experience, they chose to handle it by not addressing it. Ignore it and in 13 days it will go away. I expected a first class experience for the price we paid. We were totally underwhelmed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
To see Russia personally, and it was more than our expectation. The country was just like any other European countries. Transportation was easy and friendly. Our only wish was to have had chance to have a half day free time to explore ... Read More
To see Russia personally, and it was more than our expectation. The country was just like any other European countries. Transportation was easy and friendly. Our only wish was to have had chance to have a half day free time to explore Moscow by our self. People were kind and friendly and the country was rich culturally, The host visit was an excellent idea and an eye opening for us. Viking did a beautiful job to introduce the host country's culture. The museums was breathtaking and we appreciate that opportunity given to us. Not to forget the Moscow night option was also an excellent one. Our congratulation to the master chef for serving a variety of Russian foods and some menu from neighboring states. our only concern was when Viking offered excursions in Russia there should have been a bold statement about obtaining Russian visa long ahead of time so we could have plenty time for application to be processed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Regardless of which direction the ship was sailing, the scheduling of the ports of call was outstanding. The inclusion of the Russian history coordinated with the ports of call and the individual sites being visited added to the quality of ... Read More
Regardless of which direction the ship was sailing, the scheduling of the ports of call was outstanding. The inclusion of the Russian history coordinated with the ports of call and the individual sites being visited added to the quality of the tours in ways that are just now becoming clear to us. It was easily imaginable to envision the sweep of history regarding each of the locales. Regarding the local tour guides, they were very knowledgeable, were able to put what was being described and seen into historical and geographic context and seperately they were very considerate of the physical limitations of the tour group. With respect to the onboard ship services that were offered, they were outstanding, the food exquisite and the evening entertainment engaging. The ship's staff was not only helpful, respectful and polite, they were friendly, engaged and it created a sense of sincere sadness when the cruise was at an end. Finally, the Viking staff made sure that our return home was properly started when they accompanied us to the airport, described local security procedures and saw us to the correct path to Immigration and Customs. We knew what to expect so that the there was nothing to concern ourselves with. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Viking is very well organized from beginning to end. Airport pick up went smoothly. The Akun has been refurbished beautifully and the public spaces are well appointed. All of the staff were professional and friendly, always ready to go ... Read More
Viking is very well organized from beginning to end. Airport pick up went smoothly. The Akun has been refurbished beautifully and the public spaces are well appointed. All of the staff were professional and friendly, always ready to go that extra mile for guest comfort and satisfaction. Meals were superb, well plated and varied, with many choices and very fresh ingredients. Our cabin was comfortable but a bit noisy because of vibration in the shallower canals and rivers but quiet in the open waters of the lakes. On board entertainment and lectures were enjoyable and informative about the culture, history and politics of Russia. Ports were very easy to negotiate particularly in Moscow as we were close to the Metro allowing us to explore on our own. St Petersburg's port does not have the same advantage however. It would be nice if Viking might arrange a shuttle to a nearby metro allowing guests to get back into the city center on their free time. Excursions were well organized and the local and ship guides were excellent and informative about history, politics and culture. Viking should consider guests abilities and disabilities when setting tours. As an able bodied guest, I was frustrated with the pace of those guests unable to navigate with out a wheel chair or walker. I would have preferred that those guests were able to choose a leasure tour with someone from the staff to handle wheelchairs so that other guests would not be put upon to help getting chairs up stairs etc. All in all Viking more than met my expectations in every way. The boat was beautiful and the staff excelled in service and professionalism making my first river cruise an unforgettable experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We selected Russia because I always wanted to see St. Petersburg. We enjoyed the opulence of St Pete then the quaint stops along the river on our way to Moscow. To our surprise, Moscow was our highlight. Beautiful city. Do take advantage ... Read More
We selected Russia because I always wanted to see St. Petersburg. We enjoyed the opulence of St Pete then the quaint stops along the river on our way to Moscow. To our surprise, Moscow was our highlight. Beautiful city. Do take advantage of the Moscow by night excursion. Seeing GUM all lit up and being in Red Square at night was breathtaking. We thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the trip except the unseasonably cold and rainy start. We expected 60s and temps were in 40-50 range for a few days. We just layered up and kept going. There is not much sunshine in Russia but the people were friendly. The home tour was another one of our favorites as we visited a school and home. Wonderful! The Akun was a delightful boat. Soups were excellent as was all food on board. Staff was attentive and personable. Highly recommended - especially for history buffs. The onboard talks on Russian politics was fascinating. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always ... Read More
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always felt well taken care of by Viking. Enjoyed every land tour. The guides were excellent and very well informed, The buses were clean, and audio the ear plugs worked and were reasonably comfortable. The life on ship was relaxed. No one pushed us to finish meals before we were ready to move on to some other activity. Nothing was rushed. Be prepared for exceedingly heavy traffic in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Neither port is close to the center of the city. The journey to the tours was very slow! The bus drivers were excellent. We were very happy we extended our cruise/tour in St. Petersburg. It gave us extra time to enjoy a fantastic city and attend a ballet and organ festival. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having cruised with Viking before, we expected the best for our Russian experience, and we were not disappointed, with one notable exception. The Akun is smaller than the Viking Long-ship that we had sailed on before, but accommodations ... Read More
Having cruised with Viking before, we expected the best for our Russian experience, and we were not disappointed, with one notable exception. The Akun is smaller than the Viking Long-ship that we had sailed on before, but accommodations were excellent. The food was well above average when compared to other river and ocean cruises. Our chef stated at the start of the cruise that his objective was to make every passenger gain 5 pounds, and in my case, he succeeded! Dining room servers are in a class of their own. We especially appreciated Alamar, Natalie and Vitalii in the main dining room, as well as Alysa and Jefferina in the Skybar. Housekeeping was absolutely outstanding, and other shipboard personnel were consistently friendly and helpful. Personnel at the desk were also outstanding and eager to help. Local excursion tour guides were generally excellent, with only one exception. That brings me to the one significant problem (for me) on this cruise. There were three Viking tour guides. Two of them were excellent, but my experience with one of them gives me cause to question whether or not I want to cruise with Viking again. Mr. Vadim was our Viking guide for our tour of a Kommunalka communal home. This was an optional excursion that we paid extra for. We were keenly interested in this tour, because promised to offer a glimpse into life during the Soviet era. Seated around a long table in the owner's tiny main living room, Mr. Vadim opened the floor to questions for our host, with Mr. Vadim as the translator. People asked questions for 20 minutes or so without incident. One asked about ghosts in Russia, a question that was dealt with in all seriousness. I had been quiet throughout the session, but I eventually asked a question about income taxes in Russia. When I did so, Vadim threw his hands up in the air, laughed, and loudly stated that he had never heard such a question toward the end of a cruise. Other passengers laughed. He went on to say that he was going back to the ship to tell the other guides that they had failed miserably in their efforts to educate the passengers. He went on and on making fun of my "stupid" question, with other passengers laughing uproariously. So, ghost questions are fine, but tax questions are ridiculed at length. I did not pay $15,000 to be humiliated in front of my wife and other passengers. If you take this tour, I suggest that you avoid any excursions lead by Mr. Vadim, but if you end up on one, keep quiet, and don't ask any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. ... Read More
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. First, the food was fantastic, as Viking always serves great food. The cabins and the longboat were immaculate. The daily tours were worth every moment as history unfolded in front of you. We enjoyed the guides giving optional free lectures on the history of Russia for during the days we were traveling between towns. The variety of tours covered all aspects of Russian culture and the Russian peoples lives from ancient days through current today. The variety of activities included night tours, city tours, tours by water in Moscow and St. Petersburg, museums, summer and winter palaces and plenty of churches with fascinating histories. We didn't really know what to expect and are so glad for the Russian experience with Viking Tours. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This was my first trip to Russia. I had been on a Viking River cruise before and was impressed with their service. We spent a number of days in Moscow to start and ended with a number of days in St. Petersburg at the end. We saw all of the ... Read More
This was my first trip to Russia. I had been on a Viking River cruise before and was impressed with their service. We spent a number of days in Moscow to start and ended with a number of days in St. Petersburg at the end. We saw all of the typical tourist sites - Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s, Hermitage, Catherine Palace, etc. The city tours were great, but be warned there were miles and miles of walking on some of them. The river cruising was beautiful and we stopped in a number of unique ports and interesting cities. We always had a local guide with us who was very informative. Some were delightful. There was lots of “wodka” available on the ship - at tastings, lunches, and events. The three Viking guides were very knowledgeable and we had classes on history and language. The cabins were very nice. A pleasant surprise was the very large veranda on our cabin. The ship used to be an ocean going vessel - the verandas were large and square, not like the small, narrow veranda I had in France. The food was excellent. The service was wonderful in the dining room. The reception staff were very helpful in recovering a tablet computer that had been left on a bus. The Viking flights were uneventful, but due to limited flights to/from Russia, we had to leave at 3:00 am on out disembarkation day. That made for a very long day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We had heard from neighbors and friends that the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg was excellent. With the Hermitage Museum as one of the highlights of this cruise, we signed up! Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ... Read More
We had heard from neighbors and friends that the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg was excellent. With the Hermitage Museum as one of the highlights of this cruise, we signed up! Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The Viking Akun was a lovely ship, and our veranda cabin was perfect. The dining was outstanding. Chef Leonides and his crew served wonderful food with great presentations. Cruise Director Margo had wonderful games in the lounge in the evening and encouraged all of us to dance. The Russian history and language lessons were wonderful. The crew were impeccable in their service. We enjoyed all of the ports and shore excursions. My husband and I traveled alone - no children. Yes - I would go again and highly recommend this cruise. Highlights of the trip include Moscow and its Red Square, the Kremlin, the Astronaut Museum; Yaroslavl, and of course St. Petersburg - the Venice of the North - with delights such as the Hermitage Museum and Catherine's Palace. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including ... Read More
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including spending more time in Russia and learning more about a country we weren't familiar with. The ship, although older than the one we had taken on the Rhone River, still offered plenty of room, and we were looked after, not only on the ship but also on the shore. Viking paid our air fare from Seattle to Moscow and from St.Petersburg back home, and they met us on our arrival and helped us get to the airport on our return. Our cabin was well situated and comfortable, and we enjoyed sitting on the veranda occasionally. The food was plentiful and delicious for every meal, and we had choices that assured we would never go hungry. The dining area was attractive with seating for two people or up to eight per table.The food also included some Russian dishes. And breakfast or lunch were provided buffet style in a smaller lounge or in a smaller area of the dining hall. I was so impressed with the pleasant wait staff, who were efficient and friendly. Our entertainment onboard was most often lectures on various aspects of Russia, and we both learned so much before and after our on-land excursions. We had time to shop a bit at street stands, art or history museums, or even on the ship. Among the activities that most impressed us were visiting a home in Uglich for refreshments including homemade vodka, visiting a local school in the same town, attending a ballet in St. Petersburg,riding on the subway in Moscow, cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside, and touring significant churches and museums. Our tour guides were so knowlegable and answered our questions easily and with complete candor, and our tour bus drivers were polite and offered us such smooth travel. I would definitely go on this cruise again and would be assured I would learn something new, despite the past lectures and tours. This cruise was so different and so significant that my husband and I probably bore our friends by talking about it often and showing photos! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand ... Read More
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand European Tour" The staff and service were excellent. The dining was outstanding. Chef and his crew served wonderful food with great presentations. A diet post cruise is almost mandatory. The wait staff in all of the dining venues were excellent. Dining room servers Jay-An and Sasha are in a class of their own, along with Alysa and Jefferina in the Skybar. We really enjoyed the Vodka tasting event and learned much more about this culture. The food was exceptional, the wine selection, was just OK, and limited since this was all Russian wine. The excursions, and the guides were excellent especially in Moscow, and St Petersburg. The Folk music concert was exceptional, and extremely enjoyable The Metro tour in Moscow was amazing Kizhi the buildings in were beautiful. Mandrogy, The Russian Banya was an unexpected treat. Also enjoyed cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside We added a 3 night extension in Helsinki and we really enjoyed Helsinki very much, easy to get around. We did not enjoy our Viking Air connections to Moscow 3 flight and Paris to Moscow was booked as Business class but all it relay was was Coach with no one in the middle seat.Our return fro Helsinki was better, but still 3 flights via Paris & Minneapolis Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise because of the price and our interest. It was our first river cruise, and I can't say enough about Viking and how we were treated! From our pick up at the airport to our return to the airport was top notch. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and our interest. It was our first river cruise, and I can't say enough about Viking and how we were treated! From our pick up at the airport to our return to the airport was top notch. We have mostly traveled on our own because we thought we wanted the independence. No more. We enjoyed being pampered and scheduled. My husband likened it to being at an adult summer camp!! We loved having our daily schedule delivered to our room along with the informative sessions about what we were to see the following day. We also enjoyed all the educational activities on board along with the interesting people we met-staff and other guests. My husband is a picky eater but thoroughly enjoyed the meals. On other vacations we get tired of deciding where to eat for all our meals and whether we needed reservations. It was a joy to get back to the ship after a full day of sightseeing with a little time to refresh and maybe take a quick nap before being waited on hand and foot at dinner. We are already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
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