Read biographies of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great and became very interested in Tsars and the history of Russia. Had no idea what to expect from the cruise, since it was our first. It far exceeded anything we had hoped for. Wonderful staff. Very friendly and well trained. Service was excellent. Delicious food. Many choices and staff were very helpful in explaining what all the dishes were. Excellent shore tours. Far more options than you can fit in. Days were filled with interesting and educational experiences. Plus a number of evening experiences such as ballet in Catherine's theater, traditional Russian instrument concert, male choruses, etc. Viking was exceedingly well organized, from meeting our flight into Moscow, to getting people on and off the boat and onto the correct buses for the various tours. Everything went very smoothly. I would highly recommend both Viking in general and the Waterways of the Tzars cruise. Planning on taking more Viking cruises as soon as we can get the time.