47 Moscow River Cruise Reviews

We had taken 4 Viking River cruises previously, but we had never been to Russia. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Russia, and learning about the history of that country. We especially enjoyed the concerts and dance performances, and the ... Read More
We had taken 4 Viking River cruises previously, but we had never been to Russia. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Russia, and learning about the history of that country. We especially enjoyed the concerts and dance performances, and the on-board seminars about the history of the country and the present life in Russia. We also enjoyed the on-board entertainment very much, especially the opera singers from the Marinsky Theater. As always, the food selection at the buffets was very extensive, and complemented the menu listings. The food was well prepared and we were happy to see some Russian foods listed on the menu, and also available on the breakfast and lunch buffets. We enjoyed all of the included and optional excursions that we took. We were really enthralled with the performance of "Swan Lake" at the Hermitage. That is a show that is not to be missed. We were happy to see that in addition to the walking tours of cities, a "Panoramic" bus tour was also available, for those of us who need a more leisurely sightseeing adventure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We choose this river cruise as a 40th wedding present for ourselves, and anticipated it with excitement for months. We did not know what to expect, coming from the Midwest USA, and traveling to Russia, but it would be impossible for us to ... Read More
We choose this river cruise as a 40th wedding present for ourselves, and anticipated it with excitement for months. We did not know what to expect, coming from the Midwest USA, and traveling to Russia, but it would be impossible for us to leave the experience more pleased! Travel from Chicago to Moscow was grueling, but we expected that. What we did not expect, to this level, was the exceptional attention to detail when we arrived at Moscow airport, and for the next 13 days. EVERYTHING, (yes, everything) was designed to give the traveler every opportunity for the best experience ever. From the handling of our luggage, our boarding experience, the large and wonderfully appointed cabin, the excellent food (every meal!!!), to attentive housekeeping, and wait staff, both kitchen and the lounges, were magnificent. A sidebar about our luggage: one piece was lost by British Airlines, arriving to our room 48 hours later. The Helgi front desk pestered the airport/airlines several times each day, nagging, I think, like a grandmother whose child lost her doll, to make sure that it was found and delivered before we left Moscow. In the meantime, we received toiletries, robes and clothes, and free 3 hour laundry service. I believe that it is through adversity that the excellent prevail, and the Helgi crew did just that. Everyone had a smattering of the English language, with most speaking better than me. Absolutely no communication issues. The extra, unexpected events, like champagne in the hall to meet the captain and our new, temporary neighbors, to the daily briefings, cocktail hours was amazing. The exceptional service of Frank, the hotel/ship manager, Roland, the maître d'hôtel, Natred, our exceptional waitress whom we would have adopted in a heartbeat, to my new Siberian best friend Demetri, to Alvin, Jay, Tin, the excellent musicians, and others of whom I have forgotten their names but not their service, I tip my fedora. The vetting process of the Viking HR to find and retain such incredible staff (read: Family) must be outstanding, as they have employed the best of the best. While accommodations are important, it is the people who make the trip, and these folk certainly did this for us. We have traveled rather extensively over our many years, but this trip and experience climbs to the top of the list. Thank you, thank you!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather ... Read More
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything Vodohod staffs did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but the company responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know the cruise staffs couldn't arrange the weather, but they arranged everything else and for that we thank them most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank Vodohod organization for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - they have our full endorsement! We will definitely contact Vodohod if we are planning another trip in near future. Two families Nguyen Montreal and Toronto Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other ... Read More
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other belongings and the room was always spic and span clean. Service onboard was superb....from our stewardess to the waiters in the dining room to the staff in the lounge to the tour escorts to management....all were totally competent, knowledgeable, and attentive. If you're considering a Russia river cruise you need to understand that between Moscow and St Petersburg there's a lot of distance and a lot of nothing! You will be cruising for many hours and spending a short time (usually 2-3 hours) in several different ports....that's just the nature of the geography. This didn't really concern us, though, for two reasons: 1) our main goal was to see Moscow and St Petersburg; 2) the ship is comfortable and the crew was great so cruising time was very pleasant. We took several optional tours and enjoyed them all....especially enjoyed seeing the Faberge Museum and "behind the scenes" at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Kremlin Armory in Moscow. The folk music concert in Moscow was great. The young couple who sang and played piano in the bar were excellent. Food onboard was above average....the chef tried to cater to as many different tastes as possible...some hits, some misses, but overall very good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized ... Read More
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but you responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know you couldn't arrange the weather, but you arranged everything else and for that we thank you most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank you for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - you have our full endorsement! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My wife and I are in our late 70's and Russia was one of the few countries that we had not visited. The river cruise appealed to us and we were not disappointed. Every aspect of the trip was superior. On and off the ship was without a ... Read More
My wife and I are in our late 70's and Russia was one of the few countries that we had not visited. The river cruise appealed to us and we were not disappointed. Every aspect of the trip was superior. On and off the ship was without a hassle, front desk was always easy to access and every question got a quick answer. Especially enjoyed the food service from 2 wonderful young ladies from Serbia, Maria and Anastasia. The food was, without exception, excellent.The Viking Burger was the best ! Everything that was promised was delivered and even the weather was excellent. Our tour guides were exceptional and the on board presentations were especially enlightening and seemed to provide a honest discussion of Russian history and life. My wife was sick one day and the on board Doctor gave her excellent advise, medications and the tour she had signed up for was cancelled with no problem. Excellent in every way! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We arrived in Moscow early, so we did have time to explore the city before the official cruise began. The early Moscow metro tour really helped acclamate us to the city. Once on the boat, the crew and staff were wonderful. They gave ... Read More
We arrived in Moscow early, so we did have time to explore the city before the official cruise began. The early Moscow metro tour really helped acclamate us to the city. Once on the boat, the crew and staff were wonderful. They gave exceptional personal service. Tour guides were outstanding. It is obvious that every employee enjoyed what they were doing. I will definitely take another Viking Cruise. I cannot wait to do another cruise very soon! This trip had a great balance between sight seeing and relaxation time. I enjoyed the shopping on the boat. The quality and cost of the items was very good. I would have liked having some exercise facility on the boat, but other than that I have nothing but good things to say about the cruise. I liked having the option to choose an more physically demanding tour. I also was surprised that the ship had an on board physician. Once again, an outstanding trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our fifth cruise with Viking. We love them and, as usual, they did a great job. The trip began with several days in Moscow at the beginning and several in St. Petersburg at the end. In between, we sailed on rivers and canals ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Viking. We love them and, as usual, they did a great job. The trip began with several days in Moscow at the beginning and several in St. Petersburg at the end. In between, we sailed on rivers and canals through rural Russia. Moscow was neat. Seeing places like the Kremlin, St. Basil's, and Lenin's tomb was memorable. The night cruise on the Moscow River with the city all illuminated was a highlight. St. Petersburg is spectacular. It is dominated by the wide Neva River with palaces and government buildings on both sides. Catherine's Palace outside the city is a mini-Versailles and it is incredible to believe it was built twice: The original was destroyed in WWII and completely rebuilt. In between these two cities the sights were, generally, not as interesting. It took a while for us to accommodate to the fact that tourist infrastructure in Russia is simply not nearly as developed as in Western Europe. Whereas in France we sailed from one charming village to another, in Russia we stopped at ports which showed us what they had. And, in many cases that was another Russian Orthodox church. While many of these were really beautiful, after a while we were tired of learning the differences between 16th and 17th century Russian icons. But, it is what it is. This country is still emerging from decades of Soviet rule. Still, in the rural portion of the trip, there were some fascinating things to see, including the island of Kizhi (I recommend readers Google it.) Good souvenir shopping in Mandrogy. We, also, visited a Russian family and, through their translator daughter, heard first hand about life in the USSR and the difficult transition after 1989. They showed great resilience and have done fine. The Viking guides were great and we learned much about Russian history, cuisine, dance, etc., etc. They did extended lectures on the Soviet period, the fall of the USSR, and the last 25 years, including the current regime of Putin. I would have given this an Excellent rating if not for the middle portion of the trip which was not what we have enjoyed on other Viking cruises. But, that is not the fault of Viking, it is simply the current state of this formerly Communist nation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We had taken two previous Viking cruises and knew the quality would be wonderful. Also loved the opportunity to meet other guests which is impossible on the ocean cruises. It is a joy to be part of a ship's cruise that you are able to ... Read More
We had taken two previous Viking cruises and knew the quality would be wonderful. Also loved the opportunity to meet other guests which is impossible on the ocean cruises. It is a joy to be part of a ship's cruise that you are able to meet, tour and have meals with folks that you get to know. We loved Russia. We loved the tours, the tour guides were wonderful. The Russian food on the menu was wonderful, the staff is fabulous. All the food was terrific. The only down side for us was a guest (80 yr old man and his wife) who could not stop talking, loudly during the bus rides while the tour guide was speaking. Several folks asked him to stop, but he just did it anyway. Extremely rude. And interfered with the atmosphere aboard the buses. Unfortunately we were assigned a bus for all the tours and he was with us always. And I'm 75. By this age one should know better how to behave. If I start doing this at 80, please stop me!! But Viking is extraordinary. We loved it. Thank you!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My Husbands wish was to go to Russia. He loved every minute of the cruise, I was not as thrilled. Service was wonderful, our room was fine and the balcony was excellent. The food was very good. The amenities on the ship were fine. ... Read More
My Husbands wish was to go to Russia. He loved every minute of the cruise, I was not as thrilled. Service was wonderful, our room was fine and the balcony was excellent. The food was very good. The amenities on the ship were fine. The last two days on the ship we were in St. Petersburg, and the disappointing aspect was that I could no longer enjoy the views from my balcony because a ship had docked next to us! This was for TWO days!!!!!! Very disappointing. Tours were fine, people were fantastic. Our trip was not discounted in any way (check what we paid), but the flights over and back were horrible. My husband and I travel often to Europe and the Islands, and would never take another cruise if I could not upgrade my air travel. It was deplorable. We always travel Business Class on vacation, and were told it was not an OPTION!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This review is about our river cruise in Russia aboard the Viking Akun. If you've ever thought about going to Russia--or even if like us, you hadn't, we want to encourage you to go now. Russia proved to be so much more and so ... Read More
This review is about our river cruise in Russia aboard the Viking Akun. If you've ever thought about going to Russia--or even if like us, you hadn't, we want to encourage you to go now. Russia proved to be so much more and so different from what we thought, and the cruise was an ideal way to see and learn about Russia. We cruised on the Viking Akun (which isn't listed as a choice here), and everything about the trip was way beyond our expectations. We decided to go when one of those Viking brochures arrived, offering us too good a deal to pass up. Knowing what we know now, we'd go even without a good deal. We spent three days in Moscow, two seeing the city by foot or bus with Viking tours and one with a private tour we had arranged with TJ Tours (more about that great company below). Moscow was an eye opener. It was beautiful, clean, safe, and so much different from what we had expected. We thought it surpassed St. Petersburg. The Russians have done a remarkable job since the fall of Communism. Everyone on the cruise was amazed by what we saw and learned and kept saying, "This is so different from what I expected!" In Moscow we attended a concert of traditional Russian folk instruments that just blew us away. The next 5 days, we cruised and visited places we’d never heard of. First, in a village called Uglich, we had a brief vocal concert (excellent voices) and visited in the homes of locals. We were divided into groups of about 14-16 to visit a local home. There the host or hostess served us typical Russian moonshine with pickles and rye bread and later served tea and cake. Each one described his/her life and showed off the garden. Wow! We had felt uncomfortable about visiting in a home, but it proved to be one the trip's highlights. Next, a small city, Yaroslavl, where we saw an example of a formal ball and heard another brief vocal concert in the formal governor’s mansion. We also visited a school and learned lots about the Russian system, part from a ninth-grader (who had been studying English since the fifth grade and had just picked up her 14 textbooks for the coming school year). Some of the students did a traditional performance and showed off their crafts. The next day, we toured the Kirillo-Bolozersky Monastery, founded in 1397 and still functioning. It happened to be a special feast day, so we got to see the priests and congregates leaving the church service in a formal procession. Another day we visited a UNESCO heritage site, Kizhi, with a collection of Russian wooden buildings. These gave us a sense of how Russians lived and what they produced centuries ago. The enormous wooden cathedral (still under reconstruction) was especially impressive. The final stop before St. Petersburg was Mandrogy, a recently developed site for Russian artisans and the best place to buy real Russian crafts and watch the craftsmen make them. (Souvenirs in the cities are much more expensive and often are made in China.) St. Petersburg was our last stop. There we also had three days, with excellent walking and bus tours. Like friends who had visited from sea-going cruise ships, we thought it was beautiful, safe, and fascinating. We spent one day by ourselves, just sightseeing and shopping. But we were even more impressed with Moscow. Viking arranged our air transportation (with Delta partners KLM, Aeroflot, Rossiya, and Air France). The flights with KLM and, especially Air France, were more pleasant than can be expected these days. The food on Air France was especially good and very plentiful. Flying Aeroflot and Rossiya was typical of flying feeder airlines. Our layovers were just long enough. The Viking representative was waiting for us when we got through baggage claim and took us directly to the Akun. The ship is sparkling clean and very attractive. It was renovated in in 2013. Our room was small but plenty roomy for the two of us. Suitcases fit under the beds, the closets held what we'd brought, etc. And there was an American style plug at the vanity so we could charge all our devices easily. The staff and tour guides were excellent. They made us feel that they cared about us and about our seeing Russia. On board were three tour guides who led a number of the tours and provided daily lectures. They were great. In most ports, there were also good local tour guides. The food was good and plentiful. Of course, there weren't as many offerings on each menu as on a ship with 3,000 passengers, but there was always enough to choose from. We enjoyed the open seating which gave us a chance to meet and eat with a variety of different passengers. One day lunch was a buffet of traditional Russian dishes, served on the open-air upper deck. At some other meals, we had Russian dishes, but never too much that was unfamiliar. Breakfast was served in the dining room, and continental breakfast was also available in the bar upstairs, which offered a wonderful view of the river. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were available all day, with cookies and pastries available for snacks. White and red wines flowed freely at meals along with tea, coffee, and soft drinks. (I'm almost certain the coffee is instant, so serious coffee drinkers may want to bring their own coffee and French press coffee maker. Decaf. coffee was available only at meal times or in the bar. I bought a jar of instant in Moscow and was perfectly happy making it with the hot water provided for tea.) There were plenty on-board activities during the sailing times—Russian teas three afternoons, sailaways when we left several ports, evening dancing and a singing duo, a cooking demonstration, and two Russian language lessons, for example. The best part for us was the daily presentations about Russian history. Each presentation was clear and thorough. We liked them so much that we watched each one twice. (All presentations were given in the lounge area and were also carried live on in-room tv) Lots of our fellow passengers really enjoyed the optional vodka tasting event, featuring at least seven different types of vodka. Everyone seemed to enjoy sitting on their private balconies. We aren’t exaggerating when we say that the only negative about the whole trip was one optional event, a Cossack Folk Songs and Dances show. Don’t waste your time or money on it. Now about TJ Travel. We chose them for a tour of Moscow based on the positive reviews we’d seen. And like almost everything on this trip, they surpassed our expectations. They tailored our tour to our interests and even took us to a supermarket because we needed a couple items. Tatiana, the owner, was our driver and amazed us with her skill in some very confusing and congested traffic. Irene, our guide, was also superb. The first thing she showed us was worth the price of the whole day, a temporary collection of jeweled Russian icons. (BTW, we took a private tour because that’s what we’ve always done when cruising on ocean cruises; the ships’ tours always seem over priced and too crowded. The Viking tours were so good that we didn’t really need a private tour to learn about Moscow, but we are glad we chose the tour and TJ Travel.) We hope this review will encourage people to visit Russia. There are Viking tours available Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
this is my 8th river cruise w/uniworld. I was picked up at the airport and whisked to the ship in time for dinner. I realize river Victoria was rented, but from experience I expected better experience. the dining room staff didn't ... Read More
this is my 8th river cruise w/uniworld. I was picked up at the airport and whisked to the ship in time for dinner. I realize river Victoria was rented, but from experience I expected better experience. the dining room staff didn't speak English yet a server told me they were all students picked because of their English language skills then trained to serve. the dining room manager told me they were difficult to supervise because they were not a team. dinner usually took 3 hours due to the very slow service and complaining to the manager didn't help. it was also difficult to get needs met when no one but the manager spoke English. the food was ho-hum. the menu had one meat, one fish and one vegetarian whereas the cruises in Germany also had a 'healthy choice' and if you didn't like anything on the menu there were also steak, chicken, caeser salad etc. offerings. Uniworld had brought a senior chef from Germany, but that didn't help. still mediochre fare. I always get a class 2 or 3 cabin and I was pleased to have a balcony, but when we cruised north from Moscow it was too cold and rainy to sit there. big disappointment since one of the pleasures of river cruising for me is having my morning espresso on the balcony and watching the sunrise. as well as the cold we sailed on two lakes in northern Russia where the wind blew so hard the shipped rocked. one of the reasons I river cruise is to avoid seasickness. it's the first time on any river cruise I had to take Dramamine. the itinerary was too exhausting. the first day we left the ship at 8:30 and returned at 5 pm. unpleasant after a long plane ride and jetlag. besides the length half the day was spent in gum mall and Ararat shopping street. boring. on cruises in france or Germany uniworld only spent half day touring and then you could return to the town for the rest of the day or relax on the ship. besides the shopkeepers in the mall didn't speak English and souveneer stands had limited and standard items always offering nesting dolls, fridge magnets, postcards etc. the next day was just as long and since I do not believe 'more is better' I don't even remember what we did after the kremlin museum, I enjoy museums and art galleries, but over the yrs I have learned cramming too much into a day brings info overload and I don't retain what I saw in the museum. when we cruised north the days were either too long or spent shopping. arriving in st. Petersburg there were morning tours w/ optional tours in the afternoon. the cruise manager pushed the options on me, but I don't push easily. I took one option, the peter and paul fort, because I chose not to attend the ballet in the evening. the highlight for me was 'the hermitage w/ the option to return to the ship at 3 or 4 pm. i signed up for 4 and returned at 3 pm., tired but happy. the cruise ended poorly for me. I had arranged my own transfer to stay in a hotel near the hermitage and half way there realized we had not received notification to pick up our passports so i had to return to the ship. up until then I found the front desk staff helpful. part of my disappointment was cold and rainy Russia which is not uniworld's fault. the other half was I had come to expect excellence from uniworld (i've tried Viking) not exhausting itineraries and poor food/dining service. on the whole the front desk staff were helpful and courteous as was the dining room manager, the hotel manager and cruise manager. I cannot, however recommend this tour and it has soured my impression of uniworld. my eighth cruise may be my last. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have recently returned from the Jewels of Russia River Cruise starting in Moscow and finishing in St Petersburg which has been great. We were met at the Airport and taken by Coach to the Ship Tsar where we were welcomed on board. The ... Read More
We have recently returned from the Jewels of Russia River Cruise starting in Moscow and finishing in St Petersburg which has been great. We were met at the Airport and taken by Coach to the Ship Tsar where we were welcomed on board. The ship itself is quite comfortable. (Not a space-ship), and, BALCONY CABIN adequate. Meals and service on board were of excellent standard, with drinks served for Lunch and Dinner. The staff were all very warming, friendly and dedicated, which helped create a relaxing atmosphere. Excursions, Concerts, Circus, Ballet, Cathedrals, Museums, Metro Subways etc. were all Highlights, and, very well organised throughout the cruise, with free time given. Once sailing, each village being Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi Is, and Mandrogi all have their own stories which are all interesting. Back on board it was time to relax and reminisce with fellow passengers, and staff. There were many fun activities for all. Vodka Tasting Session, Traditional Russian Doll making, Russian Language and Songs, Martryoshka painting class, and, Ice-Cream Parties to name a few over the 14 days. Each evening there was Live Music and Dancing with Surprise Entertainment the last night before arriving in St Petersburg, which was exceptional. To say what has been most enjoyed, would be difficult as the whole cruise was of high standard. Thanks to all involved for such wonderful memories to treasure. We continued on with Scenic to do the Baltic States Land Tour which has also been enjoyed by John (my husband) and myself. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. ... Read More
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship. First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it wold be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space. Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner. Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon. The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask. We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both. Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. ... Read More
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship. First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it would be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space. Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner. Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon. The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask. We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both. Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were first-time river cruisers and had such a good time that we already have booked another one. We like the more intimate feeling of a longship, especially the open seating at meals. Informative lectures helped us understand more about ... Read More
We were first-time river cruisers and had such a good time that we already have booked another one. We like the more intimate feeling of a longship, especially the open seating at meals. Informative lectures helped us understand more about Russia, and the articles in the daily paper let us know more about the things we were seeing. The tour leaders are exceptionally trained and were able to answer any question from the group. Viking is well organized for on- and off-boat routines, tour bus numbers and groups, and keeping things moving. Do pay attention to the codes for levels of walking in the itinerary if you have any problems (knees, hips), and ask the tour director or guide before setting off about the distances and restroom availability (one on our bus was on water pills). Staff hands out bottles of water every time you leave the boat for a tour. Excellent! Do not miss the home visit in Uglich; it was the best stop on the trip. Wonderful homemade vodka, brown bread and dill pickles, followed by apple cake and tea, then a visit to their backyard to see a huge garden with nary a weed in it. The food was exceptional with many choices at every meal. Big buffet for breakfast with hot and cold choices. Buffet including salads, and a printed menu for lunch. Printed menu with many choices for dinner. Most nights there was a Russian specialty among the dinner choices. Also, we enjoyed the Russian dumpling class and the tea session with a samovar and platefuls of pastries. My husband liked the trip as the dress is casual. No suit, no tie. Yes, some people had a jacket for the welcome and farewell dinners, but most men were in khakis or slacks with a collared shirt or sweater. Women wore pantsuits, skirts, a few sparkly blouses, but no cocktail or formal dresses. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our second experience on a Viking River Cruise and once again, I am happy to report, the experience exceeded our expectations. Our timing may have been a little late in that the weather was less than favorable, but we were ... Read More
This was our second experience on a Viking River Cruise and once again, I am happy to report, the experience exceeded our expectations. Our timing may have been a little late in that the weather was less than favorable, but we were prepared for that eventuality., Our first impression of our ship, The Ingvar, was it appeared a tad tired. We understood that this was its final cruise of the season and attributed those minor imperfections to the conclusion of a busy season. Our cabin was adequate, but if I were king I would make the balcony smaller or even eliminate it in favor of a more spacious cabin. The fact that the sliding glass door opens would be ample for me. That again is just a personal observation The food was excellent if anything there may have been too much of it. On some days we barely finished breakfast and lunch was about to be served. The lunches could be lighter, but no one was forces us to eat. I thought our cruse director, Alina, was an empty uniform. Perhaps I do not have a complete understanding of her duties, but compared with the cruise director we had on an Avalon Trip from Basel to Amsterdam (we could not get on Viking). there was no comparison. We had a man named Dragan who was omnipresent and far more involved with the passengers. He personally led many of the tours and was a veritable mountain of information. On the tour of the bridge the Captain was nowhere in sight, and delegated that duty to the first mate. There may have been a reason for this, but it was not explained to the guests.. Our cabin was always cleaned nicely and the wait staff was courteous, cooperative, cheerful and attentive. In particular Rica and Antonio stood out as superior employees. After experiencing the trip I understand why so much time is spent in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There is simply little of interest between the two cities. Viking did an excellent job in adjusting to the low water situation by arranging to bus us to Yaroslavl. I was unimpressed with Mandrogy which came off as little more than a tourist trap selling authentic Russian Rubbish. Kizhi as an opportunity to walk in the fresh air. The visits to the school and the home also seem contrived. Some folks seemed to enjoy them and I may be a bit cynical, but they did little for me. The piano player and the singer became a little tedious by the 5th day. It would seem to me that an organized sing along or even an impromptu amateur hour have added some variety or spontaneous guest involvement. In summary, while I have offered some critical observations, I remain very pleased with our experience and have become an unpaid sales person for Viking by encouraging others to enjoy river travel. The fact that you only unpack and repack once is marvelous. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfect, I would rate our trip a 9.5. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg provided the opportunity to see urban Russia in the post-Soviet era. It also allowed a glimpse of the lives of the residents of the rural areas along the waterways. The best part was a chance to ... Read More
This cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg provided the opportunity to see urban Russia in the post-Soviet era. It also allowed a glimpse of the lives of the residents of the rural areas along the waterways. The best part was a chance to peer into the past and imagine the lives of the czars - their palaces, their art collections and their obscene wealth. The ship is not up to the standards of the new longships now in use elsewhere in Europe. Cabins are tiny and difficult for two people to share. The bathroom is ridiculous! Food is adequate, but nothing special. Perhaps provisioning is Russia is difficult. Service in the diningrooms was spotty. Some servers seemed much better than others. Many on the buffet line spoke little English. The simple query, "what's in this salad?" is met with a blank stare. Was it tuna? Perhaps it was chicken? Then again, it could have been chopped apple. If you have food allergies, that could be an issue. On several occasions, we watched servers reset vacated dinner table for the next monrning's breakfast by simply covering the food stains on the tablecloths with the colored runners used at the morning meal. Would you like to dine at a table with the remnants of others' meals right in front of you? I wouldn't take this cruise again, but I'll remember it for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We took the Waterway of the Tsars cruise on the Viking Ingvar in October of 2014. We were met at the airport by Viking staff and very efficiently whisked to a bus, but then it took 3 1/2 hours in horrible Moscow traffic to go the 15 miles ... Read More
We took the Waterway of the Tsars cruise on the Viking Ingvar in October of 2014. We were met at the airport by Viking staff and very efficiently whisked to a bus, but then it took 3 1/2 hours in horrible Moscow traffic to go the 15 miles to the boat. Once we got to the boat we found it immaculately clean and well-furnished. Both Moscow and St. Petersburg are beautiful cities. We enjoyed the tours of Red Square and the Kremlin. We took the Moscow by Night excursion, and the lights were lovely. However, when we returned to the boat, we had to descend two flights of unlighted steps to get down to the dock, which was very difficult for me as I was in a boot from a pre-cruise broken ankle. When I reported the problem to the front desk, I was met with complete disregard. The Hotel Manager and the Dining Room director were both very friendly and helpful. Our waiters were very good and the food was excellent. Our cabin was kept very clean as well. One negative was that nightly we had to complain that we could hear the music in the bar in our cabin, as could our co-travelers in the adjacent room. Strange, as we were 2 floors below the bar! Something needs to be done to correct this problem. We did not enjoy the small towns in between Moscow and St. Petersburg as much. In fact, one is just a cluster of wood buildings that were moved in as a shopping opportunity. As it was the last cruise of the season, some of them weren't even open. I would loved to have had more local talent onboard in the evenings, as we had on a previous Budapest to Bucharest cruise. We found the Russian people to be very unfriendly and solemn. Never once could I get a Russian to smile back at me. Sad... St. Petersburg was definitely the highlight. We talked our tour guide into letting us spend some time in the Church of the Spilled Blood, which was scheduled only as an outside visit. I would recommend that this be included as part of a standard tour, as it is the jewel of St. Petersburg. The day we visited the Catherine Palace it was cold and nasty, yet we were forced to walk around the grounds in 30 degree weather for 1 1/2 hours before we could get in for the tour. Maybe that's a good plan in August, but in late October, the plan should be changed in freezing weather. Finally, we were hit with a Lufthansa pilot's strike the day before we were to leave. Many passengers were told that morning that our tickets had been cancelled, and we would have to be rescheduled. That evening we were handed new tickets before bedtime. However. we were called at 3 a.m. and told that the second tickets had been cancelled! We were taken to the airport at 5 am. only to learn that they were not cancelled at all. We then had to wait at the very uncomfortable St. Petersburg for 9 1/2 hours until our flight departed. Obviously, there was some serious glitch in communication by Viking Travel that resulted in many people being quite inconvenienced. In all, this was our least favorite of the cruises we have taken with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
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
I really enjoyed the cruise because; It was small The food , service and ambiance was great The meals were excellent and I appreciated the the many choices and the portions were just right for me. The lectures were informative The ... Read More
I really enjoyed the cruise because; It was small The food , service and ambiance was great The meals were excellent and I appreciated the the many choices and the portions were just right for me. The lectures were informative The tours were good, however, it depended on the expertise and interest of the guides leading the tour. I would have liked to have had some input in what I wanted to see especially in the Hermitage and Armory. The rooms were very comfortable and I appreciated being able to watch lecures on the room TV.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably ... Read More
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably assisted by our very knowledgeable Russian Guide Victoria. She seemed to know everything and used her skills as a guide along with her amazing grasp of the English language and the English sense of humour. The cruise took in some wonderful palaces at which we stopped for a tour and some free time. Uglitch, Kizi Island and it amazing wooden church and several other places. Our destination was St Petersburg, without a doubt the Jewel in the Crown. So much to see and so little time as the saying goes. The Hermitage, Peterhoff Palace, the list could be endless but you must do your own homework. As I said at the beginning August is a little cold but snuggled under a warm (provided) blanket drinking coffee under the ever moving stars was just priceless, (oh and the Vodka Tasting evening is good fun as well). Go you will not regret it. The sail date may be slightly wrong, cant remember the exact date we sailed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from the trip that started in Moscow on August 24. About a week before leaving I finally read the reviews of this trip posted on this site and found them to be very mixed. Along with the political situation, some of the ... Read More
Just returned from the trip that started in Moscow on August 24. About a week before leaving I finally read the reviews of this trip posted on this site and found them to be very mixed. Along with the political situation, some of the reviews added to my doubts about whether this was the right trip to take. I have never posted a trip review before but wanted to address the concerns I read about, some of which I found to be accurate and others not of consequence. Some of them really depend on your expectations. Reading the reviews did help to properly set my expectations. Getting around Yes, the boat is docked quite a bit away from the center of both Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Moscow my husband studied the metro system (which is a sight in itself to tour!) and when we wanted to go somewhere during free time, we used the metro which was a 10-15 minute walk from the ship. It made me nervous at first but turned out to be quite safe and a pleasant way to get around. In St. Petersburg we never used the metro. Because of the timing of excursions and free time, on 2 out of the 3 days we chose to not return to the ship with the tour group but to stay in St. Petersburg after the Hermitage so we could visit the Faberge Museum and on the final day we took the hydrofoil from Peterhof back to St. Petersburg for more touring on our own. (Viking plans excursions so that you always return to the ship for lunch even if there are morning and afternoon tours. This does waste time.) The ship We have been on one other river cruise, not Viking, and that ship was newer and nicer. These ships were built in Russia and are rather old. Even with refurbishing they look a little run down in some of the common areas. But that was okay with me. Having read the reviews, my expectations were set. Our cabin was mid-ship, perfectly clean and beautiful, no special noise (yes you can hear some noise from adjacent cabins but the people travelling on this type of cruise are not really party people so no problem there). Twice a day the staff replaced towels, cleaned, everything sparkling. I cannot complain about the ship. Some said the bar areas were small and one was used for lectures and could not fit al the people. That is true, but they always gave 2 sets of the same lecture dividing the population so not a problem. Just once there was a welcome type of reception and the room was overflowing. The other river cruise I was on had a bigger bar/common area. But the Helgi had a number of smaller seating areas that were really a nice concept. You could go there and read, or sit with a small group of people. I liked these areas although they could use some sprucing up. Food Some people complained it was awful. I thought it was quite good. Someone complained that the wait staff were not properly trained. Maybe that was at the beginning of the season - don't remember the review. I found them to be quite good with a few exceptions here and there where it seemed my table was forgotten! Mostly though they were right there when you needed them, very pleasant and accommodating. Tours and tour guides Very good. The 3 tour guides were a wealth of information on all aspects of Russian life. They gave multiple lectures on Russian history. There was a final round table at which they answered questions. It was interesting to hear their opinions of Russian life. Some reviews said they could have done without the stops and tours between Moscow and St. Petersburg. This depends on what you are looking for. They do give a slightly different view of Russia but some were really just fill ins. There is a trade off between taking this river cruise and doing a land tour of Russia. On the river cruise you sacrifice more time touring areas that might be of more interest to you vs having some more relaxing time while the boat cruises (and this is the time when they had the lectures which I found very valuable). It really depends on what you are looking for. I looked at the itineraries for some land tours and other than St. Petersburg and Moscow which are always multiple day stops, they then visit other areas (Latvia, Estonia, etc) generally for one day at a time. So you are always packing up. Again, it is personal preference. Overall I am glad we did this trip. I learned a lot, saw some incredible sites, have lots of pictures, ate too much, enjoyed a mix of group and free time. This was my first Viking cruise and I think they did a very good job. Would I have preferred a land tour of this area? Will never know! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We had a fantastic trip filled with memorable experiences. Russia is an amazing country with awe inspiring monuments, museums, culture and heritage. The people are proud of their country and welcome visitors. They are shaped by many ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip filled with memorable experiences. Russia is an amazing country with awe inspiring monuments, museums, culture and heritage. The people are proud of their country and welcome visitors. They are shaped by many appalling events in their history. I think Moscow to St Petersburg is the best way to do it as I would not like to face Moscow traffic and travel times at the end of the trip. The crew on Viking Truvor were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, particularly the tour escorts who enhanced the experience. The ship is well appointed and there is no doubt that Viking is the major player in Russia and has preferred access to berths, tour destinations, buses etc. I have some complaints about Viking's organisation. They may seem petty but it is often the small things which make all the difference. I consider this to have been an expensive cruise (£10,000) and do not feel it was good value for money. Consider all the cruise companies who operate in Russia (and there are many) and perhaps these points may help you make up your mind. The deposit seems very high: £2000 paid over 1 year in advance. The flights are in line with most tour companies, but the transfer time was 1 hour, which is fine if all goes well, but our flight from St Petersburg was delayed (and I got the impression this happens quite often), we made our connection by running through Zurich airport, but our luggage didn't. We were unable to check in online with Swiss.com. The majority of fellow passengers were American and Australian. They seemed to have been offered a range of incentives which were not available to UK guests: 2 for 1, free flight, free gratuities, free premium drink packages, welcome bottle in cabin. So that's all the negatives, now for the cruise itself. Domodedovo airport Moscow is 2 hours from the river port. The traffic in Moscow is horrendous and trips to and from the port take 1 hour on average. We enjoyed all the tours in Moscow, but the Folklore Show was outstanding. The cruise along the waterways is relaxing after all the crowds in Moscow. We saw lots of ospreys but wildlife is not abundant. The ports of call are fascinating although I would have liked more free time to explore independently after the main tour, but the distances travelled are so large I don't think that's possible and of course you don't have to take the organised tour. Dollars seemed to be the preferred currency in most outlets. Life on board ship was very relaxed, the food was excellent and the service was prompt and efficient. The dock at St Petersburg is disappointing. It is not easy to travel into the city independently and there is nothing to explore in the vicinity. There were no tours scheduled for the final day, although you could purchase optional tours. I don't understand why we had 2 very heavy tours the day before. There are huge crowds, but we had early access to St Catherine's palace, although I think a lot of tour companies do this. L'Hermitage, the summer palace and the ballet are all amazing. So, although I have reservstions about Viking, I have no hesitation in recommending Russia as a truly memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014

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