We were first-time river cruisers and had such a good time that we already have booked another one. We like the more intimate feeling of a longship, especially the open seating at meals. Informative lectures helped us understand more about Russia, and the articles in the daily paper let us know more about the things we were seeing. The tour leaders are exceptionally trained and were able to answer any question from the group.
Viking is well organized for on- and off-boat routines, tour bus numbers and groups, and keeping things moving. Do pay attention to the codes for levels of walking in the itinerary if you have any problems (knees, hips), and ask the tour director or guide before setting off about the distances and restroom availability (one on our bus was on water pills). Staff hands out bottles of water every time you leave the boat for a tour. Excellent!
Do not miss the home visit in Uglich; it was the best stop on the trip. Wonderful homemade vodka, brown bread and dill pickles, followed by apple cake and tea, then a visit to their backyard to see a huge garden with nary a weed in it.
The food was exceptional with many choices at every meal. Big buffet for breakfast with hot and cold choices. Buffet including salads, and a printed menu for lunch. Printed menu with many choices for dinner. Most nights there was a Russian specialty among the dinner choices. Also, we enjoyed the Russian dumpling class and the tea session with a samovar and platefuls of pastries.
My husband liked the trip as the dress is casual. No suit, no tie. Yes, some people had a jacket for the welcome and farewell dinners, but most men were in khakis or slacks with a collared shirt or sweater. Women wore pantsuits, skirts, a few sparkly blouses, but no cocktail or formal dresses.
Very comfortable room for two of us. Suitcases fit under the beds (very comfortable beds), closet with a shelf and hangers for clothing. TV had channel choices, but we usually only watched some of the lectures from the lounge. Thick towels, good soaps, shampoo, etc., but a small shower. A bonus is the pull-out laundry line in the shower to hang any hand-washed items to dry. Refrigerator has two bottles of water, always cold.
Tour includes a ride on the Metro and chance to see Red Square.View All 38 City Tour Reviews
This is in Catherine's Palace and is gorgeous. No photos allowed, but postcards are available. Unfortunately with the crowds there is constant moving of people so there is little time to stay in the room and see everything.View All 114 Amber Room Reviews
Beautiful, informative, just lovely. Crowded, so the staff keep people moving.View All 226 Catherine Palace Reviews
A bus tour with a few stops at churches, although some may be closed depending on the day of the week.View All 378 City Tour Reviews
It's more about the building than the art, especially since the 19th and 20th-century art has been moved out of the building. Paintings by da Vinci, El Greco, Raphael, Rubens, van Dyck, and della Robbia porcelains.View All 377 Hermitage Museum Reviews