A comfortable leisurely way to an introduction to Russia, from large cities (beginning & end) to the countryside. We recommend ending in Moscow, making the whole trip a build-up. The ship was very comfortable, the food good, the service impeccable; it was the right size of ship. The excursions were varied, interesting, even intimate, without being overwhelming in number and size; scheduling was excellent. The guides were very professional, informative and friendly, and always available.
We picked a time period which was cool / cold (could not really use the outer deck effectively), but this ensured that the places visited on excursions were not over-crowded. Some of the events -- ballet, concerts -- were particularly enjoyable, as was the banya (Finnish sauna & plunge).
The embarkation and disembarkation experiences were extremely smooth and easy; Viking was very well organized for a glitch-free entry / exit.
We would gladly book with Viking again on another such trip elsewhere; we tend not to repeat trips. Timing is critical on any trip because associated popular excursions can easily be over-crowded, detracting from the enjoyment.