We booked the boat trip and our air fare with Viking. Paid an additional $100.00 which allowed us the choice of air lines. We chose Air France for their lie flat seats and their food. We got Delta which operates some of the AF routes. The seats and the food were not what we specified. We called Viking immediately when we were advised of the selection by Viking. We live two hours from the airport. In order to make our 7:00 AM flight we would have to leave home at 3:00 AM.We found an Air France flight that left at 10:30 AM still making the connection to Moscow with a three hour overlay instead of six hours. Viking said it would cost more than $1000.00 to cancel and rebook. We spent the night before our departure in a hotel near the airport and still had to get up at 4:00 AM. It might be that Viking travel only has booking access to the less attractive departure times. This was certainly not we expected nor what we paid for.
The Ingvar was spotless.Not a sign of rust or dirt anywhere. The rooms were also spotless. and orderless. Our first meal on board was not promising. The dining room staff was cheerful and friendly. The food was at best institutional. A Caesar salad was served with the lettuce lying in a wilted mass on the bottom of the bowl. Our table of seven had all ordered the salad and all of the servings were the same. The wine served with the meal was good. Breakfast was a buffet which was the freshest and the best meal. Except the bacon was deep fried and presented in a square mass which still had the shape of the packaging. Hollandaise sauce on the eggs Benedict was a congealed dark yellow mass which tasted like a pre-made mix. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. Lunch and dinner food selections, were not interesting and some times not at all appealing.
During the cruise we saw the Captain and his officers one brief time at the meet and greet reception where they were in a receiving line which they left as soon as everyone had shaken hands. We noticed the crew members stationed at the gangway when we boarded or left the ship never looked up or broke off a conversation with another crew member to meet our gaze or to recognize or presence.