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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand ... Read More
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand European Tour" The staff and service were excellent. The dining was outstanding. Chef and his crew served wonderful food with great presentations. A diet post cruise is almost mandatory. The wait staff in all of the dining venues were excellent. Dining room servers Jay-An and Sasha are in a class of their own, along with Alysa and Jefferina in the Skybar. We really enjoyed the Vodka tasting event and learned much more about this culture. The food was exceptional, the wine selection, was just OK, and limited since this was all Russian wine. The excursions, and the guides were excellent especially in Moscow, and St Petersburg. The Folk music concert was exceptional, and extremely enjoyable The Metro tour in Moscow was amazing Kizhi the buildings in were beautiful. Mandrogy, The Russian Banya was an unexpected treat. Also enjoyed cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside We added a 3 night extension in Helsinki and we really enjoyed Helsinki very much, easy to get around. We did not enjoy our Viking Air connections to Moscow 3 flight and Paris to Moscow was booked as Business class but all it relay was was Coach with no one in the middle seat.Our return fro Helsinki was better, but still 3 flights via Paris & Minneapolis Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This is our second Viking cruise. Loved 'Waterways of the Tsars' cruise. We loved the entire cruise, and all the tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. Viking also had three tour guides who traveled with ... Read More
This is our second Viking cruise. Loved 'Waterways of the Tsars' cruise. We loved the entire cruise, and all the tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. Viking also had three tour guides who traveled with us for the entire duration of the cruise. Andrei,Valeria and Dmitri are excellent tour guides. Their presentations on Russian history were excellent. The cabin was spacious and very clean. Would have loved if there was a walking track on the sun deck like in the long ships in Europe. We were very impressed with Moscow. Loved all the towns (Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kuzino, Kizhi, Mandrogy) we visited on our way to St. Petersburg. Liked how we sailed on canal, river, lakes and finally river again to get to St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is beautiful and also has so much history. Loved Swan Lake ballet. Food was excellent, waiters were wonderful and courteous. Got to taste Russian specialties. Maitre D was very nice and welcoming. I preferred to sit in the same area of the restaurant most of the time and so got to know our waitress Helga. She is so pleasant and accommodating.The pelmini cooking demonstration was funny! Our tour director Sasha was wonderful and has a good sense of humor. Daniel- the ship's manager was also wonderful and very funny. All in all it was a wonderful trip. Looking forward to more trips with Viking. Read Less
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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Wanted to visit Russia and see the magnificent art works and learn its history. The daily tours were very good and informative. Viking did an outstanding job of setting them up. Spent an afternoon with a Russian family in a rural area. ... Read More
Wanted to visit Russia and see the magnificent art works and learn its history. The daily tours were very good and informative. Viking did an outstanding job of setting them up. Spent an afternoon with a Russian family in a rural area. Very nice people. Vodka definitely flowed freely! The tours of the Kremlin and Red Square was excellent. We rode the Metro which was amazing in itself with the artwork in the stations. Did not expect to cross such large lakes as we thought it was a river cruise. No problem, but the lakes were huge. St Petersburg was wonderful. Catherine's Palace, St. Petersburg city tour,, the Hermitage and last but not least Peterhof Palace.. The magnificent art works was unbelievable. The food and service on board was excellent. Very good breakfast buffet with some dishes prepared per your order. Lunch on the upper decks were fun, especially when we went through locks.. Glad we took this cruise, highly recommend it to any age. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My wife and I had never been to Russia and we thought this cruise would give us a cross section of Russia, which it did. Moscow was a large city with a different subway. Red Square was bigger than expected. The river cruise through the ... Read More
My wife and I had never been to Russia and we thought this cruise would give us a cross section of Russia, which it did. Moscow was a large city with a different subway. Red Square was bigger than expected. The river cruise through the country side let us experience some everyday people and local sights. We met some interesting Americans on board and enjoyed their company and the small ship with less than 200 on board. The food and service was great, we were exposed to some local style food with lots of vodka. In the evenings we had a very good piano player and singer. There were Russian talks that explained about Russian history and culture. The different cities that we visited along the rivers, canals and lakes gave us a view of a typical Russian small village and some of the types of homes that we visited. Guides were excellent and all spoke English. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
The cruise was chosen for its itinerary, and for the Viking good reputation. We were on a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, with stops at small towns along the way. Both embarkation and disembarkation were organized and went ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for its itinerary, and for the Viking good reputation. We were on a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, with stops at small towns along the way. Both embarkation and disembarkation were organized and went very smoothly. Their organization and staff are excellent. The ship was a Russian ship, but had been redone recently by Viking. It was much nicer than the other river boats we crossed at a few ports. Our cabin had a balcony and patio door, and had great storage facilities and clean bathroom. The bed was very comfortable. All the meals on the ship were well prepared, excellent quality, and delicious. The dinner menu had a good variety of choices to please any taste. The Breakfast bar was great with a huge selection of foods for any taste. They offered a number of classes on the Russian language and on Russian history, which were very well presented by the knowledgeable guide staff. We also had an onboard musical presentation, were taken to a concert of Russian instruments, and to another Cossack musical review. We also were taken to a beautiful theater in St. Petersburg for a performance of Swan Lake. The service they provided was top grade. Our room was faultlessly maintained, the onboard staff were all charming and helpful, and their tour guides were excellent. The local guides they used were also wonderful. I felt that their choice of ports and shore excursions along the long waterway between Moscow and St. Pete were excellent. We had a home hosted visit and sampled local fare, visited a school and were entertained by students in costume who sang a folk song, visited an artists colony that had many interesting things, and an island with a fantastic wooden church that was build with no nails. The timing of our visits to popular destinations such at the Peterhof was perfect - we beat the crowds, and were given expert advice on how to avoid pickpockets. We did not travel with children. We would go on another cruise with Viking in an instant. To another destination - not that we didn't totally enjoy the Russian cruise, but because we want to experience other parts of the world. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise because of the price and our interest. It was our first river cruise, and I can't say enough about Viking and how we were treated! From our pick up at the airport to our return to the airport was top notch. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and our interest. It was our first river cruise, and I can't say enough about Viking and how we were treated! From our pick up at the airport to our return to the airport was top notch. We have mostly traveled on our own because we thought we wanted the independence. No more. We enjoyed being pampered and scheduled. My husband likened it to being at an adult summer camp!! We loved having our daily schedule delivered to our room along with the informative sessions about what we were to see the following day. We also enjoyed all the educational activities on board along with the interesting people we met-staff and other guests. My husband is a picky eater but thoroughly enjoyed the meals. On other vacations we get tired of deciding where to eat for all our meals and whether we needed reservations. It was a joy to get back to the ship after a full day of sightseeing with a little time to refresh and maybe take a quick nap before being waited on hand and foot at dinner. We are already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The ... Read More
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The tours of Moscow and St. Petersburg were excellent. I was a little disappointed at the tour of the Hermitage because they stuffed people through very narrow corridors. The Moscow by Night tour was amazing....touring Red Square at night and seeing the Kremlin and St.Basil's lit up was breathtaking. The home visit in Uglich was fun and very welcoming. The visit to the school was vey informative...the kids were such a pleasure to meet. St. Petersburg was very full of history and great architecture. We added Helsinki, Finland at the end of the trip and it was such a beautiful city to visit. We really appreciated all the effort by Viking and the crew of the Truvor to make our trip easy and memorable. Read Less
53 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Truvor Waterway of the Czars-Fantastic cruise, boat and staff. Several tips and tricks you need to know before booking and while on board. These were learned from experience! Given a choice, Moscow to St. Petersburg direction is ... Read More
Truvor Waterway of the Czars-Fantastic cruise, boat and staff. Several tips and tricks you need to know before booking and while on board. These were learned from experience! Given a choice, Moscow to St. Petersburg direction is better. • Reservations and getting ready 1. Often they offer two for one sales on these cruises in January of each year and they include airfare on some packages. We had Delta over and Lufthansa back. 2. You have to have a visa for Russia and to get one you need a letter of invitation from the tour operator (Viking). The Viking literature says that once you have filled out the paperwork they will furnish you with the letter of invitation to fit your schedule (a necessity since you have to send your passports and the letter into the agency you have chosen to apply for your visa and your passports are unavailable for international travel while they are in the hands of the visa agency). In my experience, they would not deviate from their schedule to fit mine. I had 4 international trips scheduled and only a small window to give them my passports. The invitation letter division of Viking would not send me the letter prior to their 90 day schedule. Luckily I found that the Caring-Hands-services (caring-hands-services.com) could get the visa done with short turnaround and no additional charge. I would highly recommend them. Faster turnaround is available for extra but not needed as their standard service is fast and excellent. Beware, when you get your visa back, check it carefully for accuracy. One lady had two numbers transposed on the visa and it took her hours at the airport to get it corrected. 3. The package we purchased included airfare and airport transfers. Unfortunately, Viking did not notify me of the reserved air tickets until it was too late for me to upgrade. Since Viking gets low fares as a tour operator or consolidator, the fares they supply are the lowest and cannot be upgraded once they are issued, therefore it is important to address upgrading your tickets as soon as you can. The buses and people used for transport are great and efficient. Best way to go if you can. 4. Once you have booked, Viking will send you a marketing pep talk email every day telling you all sorts of information about the trip. Unfortunately, the essential stuff is included in these pep talks and if you opt out of them you could miss information or deadlines. 5. Note that your passport has to be valid long past the end of your trip and have two blank pages for the visa. 6. Once you obtain your ticket data you need to contact the airlines to reserve a seat. 7. There are several River Cruise schedules to choose from and the one starting in Moscow and ending in St. Petersburg gives you time to recover from jet lag in Moscow (where there are fewer treasurers to explore) and more time at the end of the trip in beautiful St. Petersburg where you need it. The Truvor was the ship we were on and I believe it is the best choice (based only on conversations with other passengers). Viking runs 5 ships on this route (perhaps more) and each sailing has different options. • On Board: 1. The food is excellent! Breakfast and lunch both have buffets and a fixed choice menu is also available. Chefs on the buffet prepared dishes to order. Breakfast is probably the best meal (which we routinely slept through), offering standard fare too plentiful to list here. Lunch was varied and similar to breakfast choices but often with themes such as Russian fare, etc. Dinner was from a menu that changed daily and you could substitute if the offering didn’t conform to your taste exactly. Several items were always available such as filet with mashed potatoes, salmon, etc. Be prepared to put a new hole in your belt when you return! 2. While there are coffee machines available full time, there is little provision for taking coffee and cookies to your cabin in the morning (obviously I missed breakfast!). I learned to hide a dinner plate in the room refrigerator and use it as a tray to carry several cups of coffee and goodies back to the cabin. 3. The staff is unbelievable in their desire to help and fulfill your every need. Don’t even think hard about something you want while on board, because if you do, one of the crew will get it for you! The crew is attractive, well dressed, motivated, competent, extremely well trained, honest, and just plain nice. American HR could take a lesson from Viking. 4. Our cabin was located near the stern of the ship and, as such, we could feel the vibrations caused by the shafts when operated at high speed (12-15 MPH for Truvor). From my experience, this is usually caused by one of the shafts being bent or out of balance, and/or improper synchronization of the engines. Since the vibration came and went with a cycle of about 5-7 seconds, I believe is it more of a synchronization problem they could correct without great effort. When the vibration was present, it would rattle the mirrors, doors and ceiling panels. I overheard an interview with one of the ship’s officers and when asked about the problem he was unaware of the vibration. 5. The staterooms are laid out very well and are roomy. Soundproofing between cabins is almost non-existent and if you have noisy neighbors you get to know their business in great detail. Soundproofing in the bathroom is almost complete (so why couldn’t they have done the same with the cabin?). Be sure to let them know the desired bed configuration before the trip (the beds are very comfortable). 6. If you need Rubles once you are there for souvenirs or tips, a debit card used at a bank ATM will give you a good rate of exchange and the fees are often reimbursed by the larger banks if your account warrants it. 7. Charges on the ship can be paid in Rubles or Dollars. If you pay with a credit card they first convert the dollar cost to Rubles (at a rate advantage), then make the charge to your card in Rubles which your card company then converts back to Dollars (at their rate advantage) plus charges a foreign transaction fee for most cards. We purchased the Silver Spirit Beverage plan (highly recommended if you plan to drink even moderately) and it was $550 for two. I calculated a savings of almost $100 by paying in cash dollars rather than putting it on my American Express. Bring some cash to settle on board charges. 8. A number of people appeared surprised and irritated when they got their final bill from the ship as they hadn’t understood that the ship supplies beverages only at mealtime (except for coffee or tea). They found that they were paying for cola, drinks, and house wine when ordered outside of dining hours. Again, the Silver Spirit package covers all beverages, all of the time with the exception of vintage wines. This means you can drink single malt scotch, Limoncello, or rotgut of your choice all day without incurring additional charges. On the other hand, a Coke in the afternoon costs dearly if you are not on the plan. 9. The internet access is terrible but I hear this is universal with all of the ships on river cruises in Russia. I had an access point with me (T-Mobile) and often had good service with that when the ship’s system was down. • Tours and shore: 1. Being in crowds is not my forte, and thus, going on the shore excursions in a group was painful, especially when they moved like a sloth. The guides are good but in my personal opinion they continue to patter on even when stuck in traffic or waiting for the next phase of the tour. A little silence would be golden. 2. The Hermitage was far too crowded to appreciate the offerings. The Catherine Palace was fantastic. Not too crowded and well maintained. Get Helen as a guide if possible (based in St. Petersburg). She speaks English without a heavy accent, is funny, knowledgeable, and irreverent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
I had been to St. Petersburg before and consider it the most beautiful city I've visited. I wanted to see more, though, so I chose a Viking River Cruise and traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg and everywhere in-between. This was ... Read More
I had been to St. Petersburg before and consider it the most beautiful city I've visited. I wanted to see more, though, so I chose a Viking River Cruise and traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg and everywhere in-between. This was a truly fantastic trip -- very educational, informative, and beautiful in every way. The food onboard was terrific, and the whole experience gave me a lasting memory of this beautiful country. The room was comfortable, the beds small but comfortable, and plenty of storage. What I liked the best were the excursions. The ones provided as part of the cruise were top rate and provided much more education and information than I expected, with a nice mix of music, dance, art, and history. The extra excursions I added were exceptional as well. A hightlight of the trip was the Faberge museum, with the thousands of exquisite gems and, of course, the faberge eggs. If you're thinking about taking this cruise, by all means TAKE IT! Read Less
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