River Victoria Cruise Review by dencruiser170
- Sail Date: June 2018
- Destination: Russia River
- Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
All of the boat staff were Russian, except for the concierge, who was Bulgarian. Absolutely great service and enthusiasm - five stars for the staff!. The guides were great, the buses pretty new and we took advantage of all the "Do as the Locals do" tours and walking alternatives (instead of busses). Food was always great. Lots of non-meat alternatives. Breakfast & Lunches (and some late dinners after the ballet or other shows) were buffet-style. Wine was like other cruises, just so-so. Older well-traveled crowd, no children. No pool, walking deck, kid-type games; this cruise is for adults who aren't afraid to travel and interact with other cultures. Everything perfectly safe and enjoyable.
This was our ninth cruise (fifth river cruise) and, except for a small-boat cruise down the interior Amazon, probably the best. Fairly basic on-board facilities, especially for a Uniworld cruise. Very small fitness room and library. Massage was just OK. Very nice 24-hour coffee/cookie rooms which we used every morning. Onboard entertainment was simple but very nice; nightly musical concerts from a pianist and/or a saxophone player and/or a balalaika player and/or two singers. Daily lectures about Russian history and culture which were frank, open and extremely well done.
Three days in St Petersburg were not enough (we actually had four, because we arrived early) and three days in Moscow also not enough. The week on the rivers (we were on four) was a good break from the cities; small towns, more free time, interesting rural river views. The weather in late June varied from the low 60's to the mid 80's. We are fairly well-traveled (over sixty countries to-date) and we enjoyed every stop and tour. If you're main interest is the boat - plush, super-comfortable cruise facilities - you will probably be disappointed. If you are looking to preliminarily explore Russia in a comfortable and safe manner with helpful staff, and great guides, you can't miss with this cruise.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
City TourOur experience may not be typical because the World Cup was ongoing and the FIFA crowds were huge and enthusiastic. We loved Moscow and walked around on our own after the walking tour (we put in over 8 miles that day), using the Metro to return to the boat on our own. We loved Moscow and St Petersburg so much that we are already planning a return trip on our own. On the walking tours, be prepared to walk!View All 30 City Tour Reviews
KremlinI always had the (uneducated) impression that the Kremlin was just the governmental offices of Russia. I was wrong; the Kremlin (which means "fortress" and almost every Russian town of any size has one) contains historic churches, gardens and the Armory museum (which is contains all of the jewels, gowns, carriages and 11 of the Faberge eggs owned by the Tsars) is a must-see.View All 30 Kremlin Reviews
Catherine PalaceAgain, a terrific one-of-a kind experience, although somewhat akin to Versaille. Still being reconstructed after terrible damage by the Germans in WW II, the amount of actual gold gilding is outstanding. The "new" Amber Room (the original was stolen by the Germans and is now lost) is wonderful and a world treasure.View All 196 Catherine Palace Reviews
City TourThe City is fantastic - compares favorably to Paris, London, Rome and Vienna. The Russian ballet show was mainly for tourists but was very good and in a historic theatre. St Peterof should not be missed; we like it more than Versaille. Same with Catherine Palace. It should be noted that both of the latter were heavily damaged during WWII (they were occupied by the Germans for two years) and are heavily reconstructed (although most of the paintings and furnishings were taken to safety before occupation and are original). The Hermitage is unbelievable but so are the numbers to tourists. You will not be able to see much in the two hours you are there. We have resolved to return on our own.View All 322 City Tour Reviews
Hermitage MuseumThe Hermitage itself is a 5+++ but be prepared for a crush of tourists. The Uniworld tour allows you to enter an hour before the museum officially opens but all the other cruise line and other group tours arrive when you do. If you aren't on a tour, you have to wait in line about 2 hours (the museum is only open about 8 hrs).View All 315 Hermitage Museum Reviews
Peterhof PalaceExcellent, excellent one-of-a kind experience. A little longer bus ride (45 minutes) because it is well outside of the City but you have a lot of free time to wander the gardens after the tour.View All 202 Peterhof Palace Reviews
Russian Ballet ShowAll-tourist audience but the ballet is very enjoyable and the theatre is a historic venue. If you are a real ballet fan, you may want to independently book the main St Petersburg ballet (book well in advance and prepare to pay a lot!).View All 78 Russian Ballet Show Reviews