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Sail Date: September 2017
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always ... Read More
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always felt well taken care of by Viking. Enjoyed every land tour. The guides were excellent and very well informed, The buses were clean, and audio the ear plugs worked and were reasonably comfortable. The life on ship was relaxed. No one pushed us to finish meals before we were ready to move on to some other activity. Nothing was rushed. Be prepared for exceedingly heavy traffic in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Neither port is close to the center of the city. The journey to the tours was very slow! The bus drivers were excellent. We were very happy we extended our cruise/tour in St. Petersburg. It gave us extra time to enjoy a fantastic city and attend a ballet and organ festival. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having cruised with Viking before, we expected the best for our Russian experience, and we were not disappointed, with one notable exception. The Akun is smaller than the Viking Long-ship that we had sailed on before, but accommodations ... Read More
Having cruised with Viking before, we expected the best for our Russian experience, and we were not disappointed, with one notable exception. The Akun is smaller than the Viking Long-ship that we had sailed on before, but accommodations were excellent. The food was well above average when compared to other river and ocean cruises. Our chef stated at the start of the cruise that his objective was to make every passenger gain 5 pounds, and in my case, he succeeded! Dining room servers are in a class of their own. We especially appreciated Alamar, Natalie and Vitalii in the main dining room, as well as Alysa and Jefferina in the Skybar. Housekeeping was absolutely outstanding, and other shipboard personnel were consistently friendly and helpful. Personnel at the desk were also outstanding and eager to help. Local excursion tour guides were generally excellent, with only one exception. That brings me to the one significant problem (for me) on this cruise. There were three Viking tour guides. Two of them were excellent, but my experience with one of them gives me cause to question whether or not I want to cruise with Viking again. Mr. Vadim was our Viking guide for our tour of a Kommunalka communal home. This was an optional excursion that we paid extra for. We were keenly interested in this tour, because promised to offer a glimpse into life during the Soviet era. Seated around a long table in the owner's tiny main living room, Mr. Vadim opened the floor to questions for our host, with Mr. Vadim as the translator. People asked questions for 20 minutes or so without incident. One asked about ghosts in Russia, a question that was dealt with in all seriousness. I had been quiet throughout the session, but I eventually asked a question about income taxes in Russia. When I did so, Vadim threw his hands up in the air, laughed, and loudly stated that he had never heard such a question toward the end of a cruise. Other passengers laughed. He went on to say that he was going back to the ship to tell the other guides that they had failed miserably in their efforts to educate the passengers. He went on and on making fun of my "stupid" question, with other passengers laughing uproariously. So, ghost questions are fine, but tax questions are ridiculed at length. I did not pay $15,000 to be humiliated in front of my wife and other passengers. If you take this tour, I suggest that you avoid any excursions lead by Mr. Vadim, but if you end up on one, keep quiet, and don't ask any questions. Read Less
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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Four years ago I had spent 1 1/2 days in St. Petersburg on another cruise. It was not enough time and this opportunity came and we (3 other retired school teachers) planned the trip six months before our departure. I have previously been ... Read More
Four years ago I had spent 1 1/2 days in St. Petersburg on another cruise. It was not enough time and this opportunity came and we (3 other retired school teachers) planned the trip six months before our departure. I have previously been on Viking River Cruises and appreciate the educational forums and the included tours in each city. The home visits are always attractive to me and I appreciate the opportunity to meet others in the small group settings. The dining room staff was courteous, efficient, and always made us feel special. The food was excellent and I especially enjoyed the root vegetables prepared in numerous ways. I do have a "sweet tooth" and found some of the pastries to be a little bland. My traveling companions had not been on a Viking River Cruise previously and they were positively impressed, also. My next cruise may be to Iceland! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board ... Read More
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board lectures were well delivered and full of detail. The Russian lessons were fab! We enjoyed the ports of call which were explained in detail on board beforehand and well organised. Traffic was an issue in Moscow. We enjoyed the company of the other guests with whom we shared our travel experiences as they were all English speaking and of a broadly similar age to us. The free dining and quality of meals were excellent. The cabin was of a good size, well appointed and beautifully clean. However, the issue for us was the speed with which a viral illness fell amongst us all. It began when a couple boarded with what was probably flu and this spread through the passengers like wildfire. My partner succumbed on the fourth day but worse than that, by the end of the trip almost every cabin had someone with it - the coughs resounded wherever we all went. We tried on more than one occasion to have in-cabin dining as eating with others when obviously so ill is a 'no no' to all concerned. However this was not possible despite numerous requests to the passenger services manager whose name I have forgotten. Nor was dining later than the majority of others as the kitchens closed. There was nowhere we could eat in relative isolation from everyone else apart from upstairs in the bar area for continental breakfast or a light lunch but no dinner provision. This caused us a lot of distress and embarrassment plus obviously enabled the virus to spread. Sadly the illness which meant many missed excursions and emotional discomfort which greatly detracted from the overall enjoyment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Although my husband and I are not cruisers, we thought it was the best way to see Russia and we were right. The itinerary and the excursions offered were outstanding. We had opportunities to see other places that were not included by ... Read More
Although my husband and I are not cruisers, we thought it was the best way to see Russia and we were right. The itinerary and the excursions offered were outstanding. We had opportunities to see other places that were not included by taking the subway in St. Petersburg and in Moscow. The crew was superb and the guides Viking selected were very knowledgeable and helpful. We loved the trip and even if we still don't like to cruise, we recommend this cruise to see Russia. Chef Marcel was amazing and the food was incredible. Andre and Micha were fantastic waiters. Paulina, our guide for most of the excursions, was incredibly knowledgeable and generous with her answers. The local guides were equally knowledgeable. The tour director, Douglas, did everything to make our cruise fun and the excursions worth our while. We also appreciated the history lectures on board, as well as the language lessons. The itinerary was perfect because the villages we visited were all unique and different from one another which provided us with a remarkable experience.. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. ... Read More
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. First, the food was fantastic, as Viking always serves great food. The cabins and the longboat were immaculate. The daily tours were worth every moment as history unfolded in front of you. We enjoyed the guides giving optional free lectures on the history of Russia for during the days we were traveling between towns. The variety of tours covered all aspects of Russian culture and the Russian peoples lives from ancient days through current today. The variety of activities included night tours, city tours, tours by water in Moscow and St. Petersburg, museums, summer and winter palaces and plenty of churches with fascinating histories. We didn't really know what to expect and are so glad for the Russian experience with Viking Tours. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This was my first trip to Russia. I had been on a Viking River cruise before and was impressed with their service. We spent a number of days in Moscow to start and ended with a number of days in St. Petersburg at the end. We saw all of the ... Read More
This was my first trip to Russia. I had been on a Viking River cruise before and was impressed with their service. We spent a number of days in Moscow to start and ended with a number of days in St. Petersburg at the end. We saw all of the typical tourist sites - Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s, Hermitage, Catherine Palace, etc. The city tours were great, but be warned there were miles and miles of walking on some of them. The river cruising was beautiful and we stopped in a number of unique ports and interesting cities. We always had a local guide with us who was very informative. Some were delightful. There was lots of “wodka” available on the ship - at tastings, lunches, and events. The three Viking guides were very knowledgeable and we had classes on history and language. The cabins were very nice. A pleasant surprise was the very large veranda on our cabin. The ship used to be an ocean going vessel - the verandas were large and square, not like the small, narrow veranda I had in France. The food was excellent. The service was wonderful in the dining room. The reception staff were very helpful in recovering a tablet computer that had been left on a bus. The Viking flights were uneventful, but due to limited flights to/from Russia, we had to leave at 3:00 am on out disembarkation day. That made for a very long day. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including ... Read More
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including spending more time in Russia and learning more about a country we weren't familiar with. The ship, although older than the one we had taken on the Rhone River, still offered plenty of room, and we were looked after, not only on the ship but also on the shore. Viking paid our air fare from Seattle to Moscow and from St.Petersburg back home, and they met us on our arrival and helped us get to the airport on our return. Our cabin was well situated and comfortable, and we enjoyed sitting on the veranda occasionally. The food was plentiful and delicious for every meal, and we had choices that assured we would never go hungry. The dining area was attractive with seating for two people or up to eight per table.The food also included some Russian dishes. And breakfast or lunch were provided buffet style in a smaller lounge or in a smaller area of the dining hall. I was so impressed with the pleasant wait staff, who were efficient and friendly. Our entertainment onboard was most often lectures on various aspects of Russia, and we both learned so much before and after our on-land excursions. We had time to shop a bit at street stands, art or history museums, or even on the ship. Among the activities that most impressed us were visiting a home in Uglich for refreshments including homemade vodka, visiting a local school in the same town, attending a ballet in St. Petersburg,riding on the subway in Moscow, cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside, and touring significant churches and museums. Our tour guides were so knowlegable and answered our questions easily and with complete candor, and our tour bus drivers were polite and offered us such smooth travel. I would definitely go on this cruise again and would be assured I would learn something new, despite the past lectures and tours. This cruise was so different and so significant that my husband and I probably bore our friends by talking about it often and showing photos! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We had heard from neighbors and friends that the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg was excellent. With the Hermitage Museum as one of the highlights of this cruise, we signed up! Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ... Read More
We had heard from neighbors and friends that the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg was excellent. With the Hermitage Museum as one of the highlights of this cruise, we signed up! Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The Viking Akun was a lovely ship, and our veranda cabin was perfect. The dining was outstanding. Chef Leonides and his crew served wonderful food with great presentations. Cruise Director Margo had wonderful games in the lounge in the evening and encouraged all of us to dance. The Russian history and language lessons were wonderful. The crew were impeccable in their service. We enjoyed all of the ports and shore excursions. My husband and I traveled alone - no children. Yes - I would go again and highly recommend this cruise. Highlights of the trip include Moscow and its Red Square, the Kremlin, the Astronaut Museum; Yaroslavl, and of course St. Petersburg - the Venice of the North - with delights such as the Hermitage Museum and Catherine's Palace. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Have traveled the world during 27 years in the Us Navy. Never been to Russia before. Not only were we shown the country, our Viking guides provided us with in-depth political and social background to better understand the mind set on the ... Read More
Have traveled the world during 27 years in the Us Navy. Never been to Russia before. Not only were we shown the country, our Viking guides provided us with in-depth political and social background to better understand the mind set on the Russian people in 2017. We sometimes were breasted outboard of other cruise boats. On every such occasion, I noticed that our Viking staff manning the quarter deck were more attentive, better dressed and the gangway cleaner than those on the other boats. My wife has celiac disease and therefore allergic to gluten. We explained that to the chef when we embarked, then never had a problem with the food. At each and every meal, special tension was given to my wife’s meals to ensure nothing served to her contained wheat. The was a huge relief ot her and greatly appreciated by me. Because our initial experience aboard Helgi was so positive, we are sailing with Viking again next spring to Eastern Europe. Four of our friends are joining us!. Read Less
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