I thought the Waterway of the Tsars cruise was excellent!
Everything was done to make passengers feel comfortable and we had so many interesting experiences I am still in awe thinking about it.
I also enjoyed talking to the tour guides and other people who worked on the ship, which I felt gave me more of an idea of what life is really like in Russia.
Of course this cruise was just a brief overview, and life on a daily basis is much different from a short ship adventure, but I was impressed at the intelligence of the guides, the quality of the food, the service, and the helpfulness of most everyone on board.
It must be a bit like herding cats to deal with such a large group of people, and I thought that every attempt was made to make it a great experience.
You could opt for whatever extras you wanted, or just opt to hang out on the ship and do as you pleased.
Several people on this cruise especially impressed me. These included Kathrin, the Program Director, Alexei Kostukov, one of the guides, and another guide, Misha Ryabokorov. I didn't get to talk to the third guide as much, Andrej, but he was also very helpful.
I also enjoyed two of the wait staff and thought they were very helpful, a young woman from Siberia named Anastasia, and a man from the Phillipines, Rommel.
I am still in a state of shock at how wonderful the culture of Russia is and how different and yet the same life there seems to life here.
I only knew of Russia from books, movies and music, and seeing and experiencing it in person gave me more of a sense of the place as it really is.
The cabin was comfortable, and very nicely maintained. I even liked the art on the wall between the beds.
The bathroom was also pleasant, and provided me with a retreat when I couldn't sleep and didn't want to disturb my friend who was sleeping.
I am a tall, rather large woman and I found the beds in the cabin a bit small, but I don't see how Viking could do anything about my size.....It was fine, and I liked the duvet on the bed. The room was warm enough, and it was great fun to get up during the night and look out the window at the water.
Not my favorite part of Catherine Palace. So there is a lot of Amber. So big deal.
Incredibly beautiful place, rich with cultural heritage and a fascinating history. Shows the love of the Russian people for their culture, and also how well they have taken care of it, given wars and difficulties.View All 226 Catherine Palace Reviews
As an artist, I thought the place was special beyond belief, so much detail, so much color, a real treat to see it. I never knew of it before this trip.
Too much to take in in three hours. Would need years to do it justice. But a great sampling.
I learned a lot about Russian Architecture that I didn't know from school.
I'm glad I was able to take the walking tour of St Petersburg. I feel like I got much more of a feel for the central city from taking the walking tour than I ever would have from being on a bus. I loved walking on the large plaza adjacent to the Hermitage, seeing the Eliseevsky Emporium (although would have liked a bit more time there to shop) and also the plaza adjacent to that. Actually the entire walking tour was a pleasure.View All 9 Petroverets Walking Tour Reviews
Great production, happy ending....fun costumes. Knew the music of Swan Lake but didn't know the folktale behind the story---the prince who falls in love with a bewitched dancer in the guise of a swan. Misha made the folk tale entertaining by treating it in a comic way....It was also interesting to me that the ballet can be done with a variety of endings, depending on who the ballet director is. IE it does NOT always have a happy ending. Made me think of the American Film, Black Swan, about a tortured ballet dancer whose mother ruins her life while she is striving to be a good dancer.View All 99 Russian Ballet Show Reviews
FUN!View All 53 Russian Folk Dance Reviews
I enjoyed Red Square. Not of a nature to go shopping at a high-end shopping mall, but Red Square itself was huge and diverse and fun to just be in. Got to see St Basil's from a distance....looks as good as in the pictures... Also enjoyed the tourist stand right outside the square, and the food displays that were based on a 19th(?) century Italian painter's painting of a face made of food. Incredibly clever. Wish I had been told about the underground shopping mall adjacent to Red Square instead of GUM. It was fun to see GUM given it's history, but I would have been far more interested shopping somewhere that regular Russians shop instead of the high end. There really wasn't much time to shop anyway.I recall a stop to use the bathroom, where workers were planting flowers, and the bathroom was free. I found it bizarre that the stall doors started at the waist....
I also enjoyed seeing the University of Moscow, with the view of the main part of the city, the ski jump on the river, the convent, a local bikers group were there, also the wonderful Sparrow Hill manhole covers, and the mysterious highrise university itself, in the fading light.View All 38 City Tour Reviews
Two amazing churches, with fantastic icons. The huge cannon that was never fired---didn't need to due to its size!! The bell with the missing piece. Andrej the guide took my picture in front of it wearing a commissar hat I had bought in Red Square. He also helped me find the ATM in the Metro nearby.View All 39 Kremlin Reviews
See description of City Tour, since this is what I recall the most from it. I also recall a stop to use the bathroom, where workers were planting flowers, and the bathroom was free. I found it bizarre that the stall doors started at the waist....
I also enjoyed seeing the University of Moscow, with the view of the main part of the city, the ski jump on the river, the convent, a local bikers group were there, also the wonderful Sparrow Hill manhole covers, and the mysterious highrise university itself, in the fading light. Again this should be in the City Tour section of this review, not here , so take that for what it is.View All 35 Red Square Reviews
I was fascinated to see so much beautiful Russian art. A friend told me it was not to be missed, and I agree! This work has never been seen in the US, as far as I know. I wish I had gotten a good catalog. May try to buy one online.
The architecture of the Treyakov is also stunning, drawing on Russian folk themes.View All 6 Tretyakov Gallery Reviews
Cold at night, but beautiful to see the city from the water, with all the colored lights, and monuments on the way. The large statue of Columbus was funny. It is godawful, and I forget it's history, but I can see why America might refuse to take it, it was no Statue of Liberty. I objected to it's appearance, not to whatever historical significance it may have as a proposed gift.View All undefined undefined Reviews