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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Moscow and other cities in Russia that were visited on this cruise. I had already been to St. Petersburg but I new that it, too, must be different than when I visited in 2004. I didn't ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Moscow and other cities in Russia that were visited on this cruise. I had already been to St. Petersburg but I new that it, too, must be different than when I visited in 2004. I didn't know what to expect. I never expected some of the things I saw. Red Square at night was like a light show. The building were outlined with white lights, St. Basil's Cathedral was just magnificent with the spotlights on it. It is also beautiful in the daytime. I was surprised at the number of churches that I saw. I know that for many years that people could not worship openly. I never expected to see churches that were breathtakingly beautiful inside. Every inch was covered with gold, paintings. mosaics and more. Spectacular. This was the third Viking River cruise for me. I really didn't know what to expect on the first one but I learned quickly that the staff on Viking ships are friendly and helpful. They are respectful to the guests. The cabin was always made up when I returned from an excursion. Housekeeping was quick to send anything that I needed. The menu was varied each night. I especially liked the dishes that were native to the region where we were. The Russian menus were great. There were selections with which I was familiar because they were made in my family. It was fun to eat them on the ship. The service was excellent. I looked forward to the excursions every day because I didn't know what to expect. One excursion was to Khizi island where 60 people live. It was educational. We saw an church that was being restored. Everything was done with wood. The guides in Russia were well informed and answered any questions. I recommend the Russia cruise. You will know a lot more than before you visited. I am already scheduled for cruises 4 and 5 this year - Viking Ocean Cruise - Venice to Athens and Viking River Cruise - Portugal-The River of Gold. Can't wait. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian ... Read More
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian language lessons and the games. We liked the history lectures. We enjoyed all of the tours. But it is tough when you have to choose between 2 at the same time. All of the tour guides did a great job. I did do one comment card about the Moscow subway for I felt that the directions should have been given above ground where you could hear. You could not hear on the whisperers down in the station and I felt that some of our group were very uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go on the Moscow subway so please keep that in. We enjoyed the ballet in St. Petersburg but would have also liked to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Loved the Cossack show. Enjoyed the vodka tasting. Thought that the meet your neighbor was a great idea--did not have that on a previous Viking Cruise. Loved the balloons when we left Moscow. It was a really great cruise and I have told many people about it. Read Less
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Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism ... Read More
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism of the Viking crew and guide specialists was without equal. All of the towns and cities we visited on shore excursions had their particular charm and interesting history. The Swan Lake opera, my first ever, was simply awesome. The Russian symphony was unbelievable. Don't miss it. As for the ship Helgi, it was a total positive experience. The cabin was comfortable ands provided all of the room we needed. The dining experience was exceptional each and every day. Wonderful, perfectly prepared food was served at each meal. Our servers, Nastia, Chazie, and Jill made certain we were happy. Visiting Moscow and St.Petersburg for 3 days each taught us much about the citizenry. Take the trip, you'll not regret it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow ... Read More
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg best met our needs at this time. Partly because of the language barrier, partly because of the current world tensions, and partly because of security concerns. We learned the Russian alphabet and mastered a few key phrases (but English was spoken almost everywhere), international tensions were not an issue as the Russian Federation appears to use tourism as a major source of income, and Viking or local representatives were with us every day should some unforseen event occur (very helpful and conscientious) - no issues whatsoever. Representatives from Viking met us after we exited Moscow immigration and customs. They had lists of who was arriving on what airline, by time, and flight number. Our baggage was placed on carts and we did not see them until we entered our room on the ship. A bus was waiting for us a took us directly to the boat. During that transition time, the Viking representative explained the arrival process at the ship as well as pointed out several local sites. Checking into our room on the Akun was easy and uncomplicated. Very smooth and organized process from airport to room. Viking offered multiple included tours and additional paid tours options. Our days were full - often starting first thing and ending late at night. Consequently, we had not fully recovered from jet lag before beginning our scheduled tours. We highly recommend arriving one full day before your cruise to get acclimated. Several of our fellow trip goers, who have taken many river cruises, stated they always arrive a day or two early. Viking put them up at very nice hotels - even if they do not sign up for the extended before and after tour options (which we did not). The Viking Akun was ship worthy and functioned very well. We hardly knew we were on the water. No smell of exhaust fumes. The boat's floorplan was well designed and posted at several locations for ease of finding restaurants, bars, meeting places, library, business center, entertainment, gift shop, stairs, elevator, and front desk. Exits were marked and getting on and off the boat was easy. Our cabin was light, airy, and well maintained. The bed was comfortable and we slept well. More comments are in the Cabin Remarks section of this survey. Meals were excellent with samples of Russian cuisine as well as American favorites. Breakfast offered typical American buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, rolls, juice, coffee, etc. as well as the more European Continental meal. Lunch and Supper were menu offerings. We ate our breakfast and lunch meals in the forward panoramic bar since we prefer Continental bills of fare. Breakfast in the restaurant was too plentiful and the bar at lunch offered at least two of the main menu lunch items. Evening meals were always in the restaurant and we tried all the Russian food offerings. As with any food in any country, much of it was very tasty and a couple items less palatable. One note, if you enjoy alcohol libations we highly recommend the "Silver Drinks Package". Our participation in on-board activities were limited as we signed up for multiple off-ship tours. We were too tired to partake in the evening games, dances, musicians, and singers events. Although we did hear from many guests who stated they had a great time at those activities. That being said, we participated in a few events: the Russian wine tasting, Vodka tasting, and lectures on Russian history, the Czars, the Soviet era, Perestroika and Glasnost, and the Russia government today. Those lectures opened the door to discuss, in more detail, Russia today with some of the local guides. As we learned Russian before our trip, we did not participate in the Russian language classes on the boat. Overall service was wonderful. The staff was friendly and were gracious hosts. Many were open to discussing where they were from, how they became Viking employees, what they did outside of tourism (expecially when the river froze and during off-season), and what was their original field of endeavor. Prices in the gift shop were modest, competitive, and not overly expensive as with most places of similar nature. We were not "gouged" because of our captive audience status. At only one restaurant meal was the service "off" as we seemed to have been ignored. We think that was because we may have inadvertantly offended or embarassed the server by pointing out to the Maître d' her excellent performance the previous night. There was no issue with ports of call. All, except one, were located in or within walking distance of the local community. Shore excursions were well orchestrated and informative. Local guides offered insights not provided by "company" tour guides. Often, we were allowed entry into the venue an hour before the general public. The only disappointing aspect were the hour-long bus rides, from the boat to the event, through city traffic in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. However, those were offset by the knowledgeable guides who passed the time pointing out additional key sites, talking Russian history, or answering tourists' questions. For specific events, we recommend the Russian Ballet and Cossac Dancers. Sites worth your time are: Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin in Moscow (and again at night); the Hermitage extended tour, the Winter Palace, and Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg. We took both local river cruises. Moscow at night was disppointing, but necessary to see Red Square lite up at night. For the adventurous, one could go there on their own. The daytime river cruise in St. Petersburg was shotened because of heavy rains which flooded the river and prevented the boat from passing under multiple bridges. So, we cannot offer a full opinion. The communities and sites along the rivers and lakes between Moscow and St. Petersburg are worth the trip, as well. Checking out of the Akun, paying our bill, and leaving Russia was as coordinated, orgainized and easy as arriving. Our luggage was handled by Viking until we got to the airport. The Viking representative expedited our processing through security and baggage screening. Having been through similar scrrenings in other countries, we are sure having a Viking person at security afforded less scrutiny that usual. We are definitely considering additional Viking River Cruises as well as Ocean Cruises which we have never before taken. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. ... Read More
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. We have been on several River Cruises but this was our first Viking experience. Viking's staff and service beat our other experiences hands down. Every member of the Viking Team went over and above to delight us.First Jason, who we booked the tour with was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The Air Plus team did a great job. There was a hurricane looming on the East Coast and the Air Plus team worked diligently to try to help us avoid any issues. THEN, we arrived in Russia and were welcomed right away by the Viking Team. They made us feel so welcome and comfortable. The service on board was amazing. The chef was outstanding, overseeing the preparation of delightful dishes from morning to night. They were able to accommodate special dietary needs with no problem. And RUSSIA! We were in awe of the beauty at every turn. There were so many wonderful sights. The ports and shore excursions were outstanding. Our experience with the people of Russia was so positive. We felt comfortable and welcome everywhere. The itinerary enabled us to start in Moscow and remain there for 3 days and end in St. Petersburg and remain there for several days. It was so nice to be able to stay in one place for the duration of our trip. We were so pleased with our Veranda cabin and the private balcony. We also were delighted that we could watch the port talks and history discussions from the comfort of our cabin. The entertainment and activities were fun and informative. Viking held a "meet and greet" hallway cocktail party to enable us to meet all the folks in the nearby cabins. That was FUN. This is a great trip and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the adventure of a lifetime! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I ... Read More
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I believe it is possible to take a city bus to the Metro station on the other side of the river. There is an ATM in a souvenir shop on the dock if you need Rubles. In Moscow the Metro station is closer to the dock if you want more free time in town. We were able to see a lot in St Petersburg and Moscow, but the river trip between them really gave me a change to see more of Russia. Unlike the western Europe trip there was more time spent on Russian History, the Russian language and showing us a Russian home, which I found interesting. I was surprised at how open and honest our guides were. They did a great job showing us their country. I returned with a better understanding of Russia and its people than I had before. I felt safe everywhere we went, and really enjoyed the trip. The ship and cabin were very nice but the ships on the Rhine had a better layout. The food was very well prepared and I really liked that a lot of the staff were Russian. On our Rhine cruise there was one management level person who was Austrian, the rest were from the Philippines. They were all competent on both trips, but it was great to interact with the people from the country you are visiting. One mistake we made was not taking the optional tour of the Hermitage. The museum was extremely crowded and difficult to see much. Skip one of the other optional tours in St Petersburg but take the optional Hermitage tour and also Peterhof Palace and garden. We had a great time in Russia. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the ... Read More
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the entire boat. The entrainment on the boat was very poor. We were not into playing quizzes and the panic player and singer were so, so. We love the shore excursions but some of the guides were not capable of walking and talking at the same time. Some times looking at one thing for 15 minutes got a bit boring. The extra tours were a bit pricey, so we chose not to do any extras. The staff on the boat were extremely friendly and went out of their way to accommodate us. Would I highly recommend this cruise very much so, in fact I already have to several friends. Would I love to go back. Yes in a few years I would like to do it again. This should go on everyone’s bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the ... Read More
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the akun!...fabulous, clean cabin. large window for a wonderful view of the countryside and made our cabin so bright! the dining was 5 star every day. how they could make that many fabulous meals and get it perfect every day is beyond me! the activities and entertainment was first class. no request was too much for the crew to deal with. i was treated like a superstar! the itinerary was perfect! we saw all the sights, met the people, sampled the cuisine and absorbed every minute on and off the ship! russia is the most fascinating country. the people are so friendly and love sharing their culture. i'd go back in a heartbeat....but i want to see all the other spots viking has to offer. they take all the worry and 'fret' out of traveling. viking wrapes me in the finest silk and guides me through the joys of seeing new adventures. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river ... Read More
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river cruise in Russia. She was absolutely correct! At her suggestion we read Catherine the Great and Nicholas and Alexandra by Massie before our departure so that St. Petersburg would be more meaningful. The tours that Viking arranged in St. Petersburg were excellent and the guides were very knowledgeable. Visiting the Hermitage, touring St. Petersburg's canals by boat, the Catherine Palace, and Peterhof Palace were highlights of our stay. There were other activities we elected not to do but the very fact that they were available speaks to the commitment Viking has to offer a variety of local things of interest. Once on the waterways there were opportunities to visit villages and world heritage sights as well as to relax in the comfort of our room or the public areas of the ship. Going through the first lock was a novel experience for many of the passengers and exclamations led to introductions and new acquaintances. Viking provided at no additional costs many other opportunities to "meet the neighbors", from a champagne get together outside of our cabins, to a toast from the captain to the guests, to a Taste of Russia lunch on the sun deck. Our last three days were in Moscow and the tours there were exceptional. Our favorited was Moscow by Night. I am sure that very few travelers have been fortunate enough to experience that incredible show of light on buildings, statues and water! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! ... Read More
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! All the palaces are beyond belief. The days that weren't so packed were a welcome relief to just relax on our veranda and enjoy the scenery and go through the locks. The Russian people were so friendly - don't be afraid to go - and don't stereotype them. The Visa application is worth it. The Viking staff were wonderful - the room was great - and the food was good. All of our transportation vehicles were clean and comfortable. Our most fun excursions were the home visits and the school visit that Viking arranges. My husband did the "banya" experience and had some great stories to tell when we got back. Kizhi Island is also very beautiful. Remember to do the vodka tasting on the ship :) Had the best time. Don't hesitate to go or let your friends try and talk you out of it. Read Less
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