Viking Ingvar Cruise Review by ciduval
- Sail Date: June 2015
- Destination: Russia River
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Outside Stateroom
The destination - Russia - is not an easy one to organise with all the visa issues but once we arrived at the airport in St Petersburg and were met by one of the three fantastic on-board guides and taken to the Ingvar, our home for the next couple of weeks. all those stresses fell away.
Our cabin was small but beautifully formed. I'd only experienced ship life in the early 70s on ocean liners with 4 berth cabins, shared bathrooms (the usual Australian/UK pilgrimage) so to me the room was heaven. There was a place for everything and it was incredibly quiet especially since we were very close to the main desk.
The food was excellent and all the entertainment, informations sessions etc were great.
I loved the small size of the Ingvar as we were able to meet so many wonderful people. I needed to do a bit of work in the cabin at times but now regret that I spent so much of my 'free' time there because I missed the opportunity of mingling in the public spaces with so many interesting and fun people.
Sitting on the outside decks watching the world Russian countryside go by, chatting with whoever was there at the time or going on one of the many tours meant our trip was rich in so many different experiences.
The tours could be hectic but as everyone we spoke to said, you only do this once and you have to make the most of every moment. If we wanted a relaxing holiday we'd have gone to a resort and spent our time sitting by the pool!
As we like to be active, it was great to have the chance to go on a couple of walking tours in Moscow and St Petersburg, use the metro system and see these cities up close.
I can't speak more highly of the staff who never seem to run out of energy especially the tour guides who had to deal with a few difficult situations.
The only negative comment I'd make is about the tipping. When local guides are used there is the constant need to be tipping, and then there are the end of cruise tips. Americans are probably used to this but for others, it's not part of our culture as we expect personnel to be paid adequately upfront by the company so this detracted from the cruise experience.
However, this was one of those trips we'll always remember and would recommend it to others who want to get a good insight into Russian life but from the comfort of a well designed floating boutique hotel.
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