6 Moscow First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We wanted to do a safe mother daughter trip in Russia. We started In Moscow and ended in St. Petersburg. We loved the trip. The included tours and lectures were great. The local guides were wonderful. Our ship guides, Alexei, Vadim, and ... Read More
We wanted to do a safe mother daughter trip in Russia. We started In Moscow and ended in St. Petersburg. We loved the trip. The included tours and lectures were great. The local guides were wonderful. Our ship guides, Alexei, Vadim, and Sasha were wonderful, knowledgeable, and open to any questions. They made the trip. We paid extra for a behind the scenes trip to The Hermitage that was well worth the money. All the workers on board were helpful and friendly. Constantine, the videographer, did a super job. We enjoyed all the stops along the river, especially Uglich and Kizhi. We were glad to be on the right side of the ship as we were able to see many of the stops as we approached them. Viking took care of us when our luggage was two days late. The Viking Doctor took good care of my daughter when she was ill. Be sure to go the ballet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my first Viking river cruise and it did not disappoint in any way. Russia was nothing like we expected. It was warm and friendly, with culture coming from all sides. The architecture and places we were escorted to. The food ... Read More
This was my first Viking river cruise and it did not disappoint in any way. Russia was nothing like we expected. It was warm and friendly, with culture coming from all sides. The architecture and places we were escorted to. The food on the ship along with the whole layout of the dining arrangements. The knowledgable guides who not only escorted us and had an incredible knowledge of all aspects of Russia but gave lectures (talks) on the history of Russia. The entertainment delivered on the ship by the most experienced and caring hotel staff. The cleanliness and the care of the cabin by the cleaning staff was brilliant. All of the above plus more made this holiday one of the best we have taken. I could not recommend it highly enough. Although this holiday was not cheap, it was worth every penny we spent. Saw some amazing places and met some lovely people from all over the world. Will definitely be going on another Viking cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I was thoroughly impressed with Viking River Cruises, from the cleanliness and comfort of the stateroom (which we weren't in very often) to the on-board and local tour guides, to the food and service, and the overall value. I had a ... Read More
I was thoroughly impressed with Viking River Cruises, from the cleanliness and comfort of the stateroom (which we weren't in very often) to the on-board and local tour guides, to the food and service, and the overall value. I had a wonderful vacation and learned a lot. The weather was gorgeous throughout the trip, although since we traveled in October, it got a bit chillier than expected as we neared St. Petersburg. Viking was very attentive and provided detailed daily itineraries explaining in advance which tours were included or optional. All of the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and enjoyable. Our favorite part of the trip was the home visit in Uglich-- connecting one-on-one with ordinary people like us. The only thing I can complain about is that we didn't receive many communications in advance of the trip, which would have been nice for first-time travelers (and had been mentioned, so we were expecting that), but it is easy enough to read up on the places you'll visit and make your own plans, I guess. I traveled with my mother, who used a walker. She found most of the tours to be physically challenging, and the gangway(?) from the ship to the pier in St. Petersburg was very steep and slippery. Otherwise the ship was great. Viking staff were very helpful, but it was still not very comfortable for her, and she declined to take part in some tours. Russia is not set up to accommodate disabled people; we didn't see anyone else with a walker the entire time we were there. There aren't curb cutouts in big cities, for example. So beware this fact if it applies to you or your traveling companions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
It was fantastic on so many levels. It was more than I ever expected. The crew was so professional and personable. Loved the meals and the wine to go with. Loved the tour guides on the ship. They were very well informed on the history of ... Read More
It was fantastic on so many levels. It was more than I ever expected. The crew was so professional and personable. Loved the meals and the wine to go with. Loved the tour guides on the ship. They were very well informed on the history of the country as well as being fun and personable. Same with the Russians hired to do the tours. Loved the smaller amount of people that the Rurik ship could accommodate. I really do not think any other Viking cruise could top this one. Hopefully, I am wrong about this. Room was perfect. Always kept very clean.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My husband and I wanted an immersive experience of Russia, and we decided that a river cruise would be the best way for us to experience it. We have sailed with Regent and Crystal previously (3 ocean cruises in total) and this was our ... Read More
My husband and I wanted an immersive experience of Russia, and we decided that a river cruise would be the best way for us to experience it. We have sailed with Regent and Crystal previously (3 ocean cruises in total) and this was our first time on a river cruise. From our first interactions with Viking sales representatives at the London cruise show in March 2014, we were confident we had chosen a good cruise line. The traffic in Moscow and St. Petersburg was terrible, but we used the time to listen to the tour guide, gaze out the window and watch the world go by, people watch, and occasionally we would read books that we had borrowed from the Viking library. This is a key consideration for some people, and we knew about this in advance, so I think it helped to have our expectations set. A key difference between this cruise and our previous ocean cruises was that there were three Russian tour guides who were on board with us the whole time, and all three of them were highly regarded. They were assisted at some ports by additional local guides, but most of our tours were hosted by one of these three guides (who was exceptional). Our three host tour guides also delivered outstanding lectures, as well as fielding questions at a round table Q&A, to finish off the lecture series. The overall standard of the lectures and excursions was much higher than they have been on the ocean cruises, which can be more hit and miss, and we felt that we learned a lot more and had a better experience overall due to this consistency and the very high standards that Viking has for their staff. We were not expecting the food to be exceptional, but it surpassed our expectations. We were pleased that there were a lot of Russian menu items to choose from, as well as more standard fare. We had a German head chef whom the Russian tour guides said had varied the recipes, so if you are looking for 100% authentic Russian food all of the time, be aware that you may have variations, but in our view, this was a good thing. Beef Stroganoff served with spaetzel (small dumplings) was simply perfection. The crew were very friendly and the management were very professional. Entertainment was more "local", with Viking taking us to music and dance performances, and even bringing two local performers onto the boat for the farewell evening show. This was a refreshing change for us, as we have not particularly enjoyed the larger ship production shows on our previous cruises. A few things to mention that might be helpful for first time Viking cruisers: We managed to walk through all of the other Viking Russian cruise vessels, and they all looked the same to us, except for the Akun, which had more/brighter lighting in the corridors. The stairs on the boat are very steep. Be very careful, and watch your step at all times. One of our fellow passengers slipped on staircase upon embarking, and sprained her wrist. She had to wear her arm in a sling for the entire cruise. Bottled water was provided free of charge. This saved me a small fortune, as I drink a lot of water! The walls between staterooms are thinner than on a larger cruise vessel, so be prepared to hear your neighbours. Our neighbours were very polite and did not speak loudly in their rooms, and we tried to be equally respectful. As there are no exercise facilities on board some of the river boats (including the Helgi), you'll need to find other ways to get your exercise. Fortunately, the boat was docked in safe areas (including the outskirts of Moscow and St. Petersburg) and it was possible to walk/jog/run in each of the dock areas if desired. On embarkation day, we initially sat in the front of the restaurant for our first meal, then we decided we weren't happy sitting there and we moved to the back of the restaurant. The key difference is the amount of natural light. Some people preferred the more "clubby" ambience in the front, and others preferred the windows and light available in the back. This is an important choice to make, because you will be encouraged (but not required) to sit in the same section of the restaurant for all of your meals. This helps the wait staff to learn your names and your preferences, and it also enables you to sit with the same people more easily, or to move around and sit with other people at meal times. I am only focusing on the positives, because the cruise was overwhelmingly a positive experience for us and we look forward to our next river cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This review will not cover the stops on the trip as those can easily be reviewed on Vikings web site and the company's descriptions are an accurate depiction of the place you will see. In fact, I think it is safe to say that all ... Read More
This review will not cover the stops on the trip as those can easily be reviewed on Vikings web site and the company's descriptions are an accurate depiction of the place you will see. In fact, I think it is safe to say that all information on their web site is honest and forthright. The scheduling of our trip with Viking could not have been smoother. Our documents were accurate, arrived as scheduled, and the flights and transfers went without a hitch. We were very surprised to see our transfer guide still there waiting for us after our delayed flight and long customs entry. We fully expected to have to find the ship on our own in Moscow- but no - she and the van were still there! We knew it was going to be a good trip after that kind of service. What I will tell you is that the staff was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and available at all times. They were very organized and did what they said they were going to do. The food was good, presented well, and served by staff who were pleasant and anxious to serve well and learn more about their guests. We were also anxious to learn about them and so it was always a time to look forward to for us. Our daily shore excursions were wonderful and better than the Viking descriptions of course. And the opportunity to follow-up with questions at the daily lectures on Russian history was great. You will not be impressed with the ship if you have taken their other upgraded ships and you are touring in 2010 but it is comfortable, clean and will be upgraded for 2011. We found that it was exactly as they described it so no surprises there. In summary, a great trip that we highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010

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