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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
3 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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: September 2014
We have been on 5 Viking cruises and this was the best. Liked the fact that we lived on the ship the whole time including the 3 days in Moscow and 2 days in St. Petersburg. The crew was excellent as was the food. The ports of call were ... Read More
We have been on 5 Viking cruises and this was the best. Liked the fact that we lived on the ship the whole time including the 3 days in Moscow and 2 days in St. Petersburg. The crew was excellent as was the food. The ports of call were very interesting and the included tours were great. As usual Viking did a great job in making sure that we enjoyed ourselves. From the time we left San Francisco until the time we got home our experience was outstanding except of course for the long, uncomfortable flights. That is not the fault of Viking. No airline flights are comfortable these days due to the lack of space and the less than adequate quality of food service. The visit to Moscow was remarkable in many ways. Commute Traffic was horrendous. The abundance of churches was amazing. The rapid transit, a lot of it underground, was excellent in spite of not being able to read Cryllic. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
3 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We had never been on Viking River Cruise previously, but the line was highly recommended by our travel agent as well as a friend who has been on a Viking river cruise previously. We cannot fault the line, staff or the tour guides. It was ... Read More
We had never been on Viking River Cruise previously, but the line was highly recommended by our travel agent as well as a friend who has been on a Viking river cruise previously. We cannot fault the line, staff or the tour guides. It was an amazing trip and very enjoyable and enlightening. The Rurik has been updated apparently, and the only challenge are the steep stairs. There is a lift (elevator) but only one at the back of the boat. We had a fantastic trip and the staff were excellent. The local tour guides were very helpful and went out of their way to ensure that questions, comments and information were addressed. The only challenge we had was at Peterof, but that was our fault. We did not listen to information where the bus would be parked. The Cruise Director, Christopher, went out of his way to help us and gave us information on St Petersburg which was invaluable. We are looking at other Viking Cruises for future trips. Hope they pick up Amazon cruises on their list.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I am not easily impressed, but our first river cruise (Moscow to St. Petersburg) was just great! Russia was so surprising - I grew up thinking that all buildings in Russia were old and gray. Just the opposite: Moscow was very modern. In ... Read More
I am not easily impressed, but our first river cruise (Moscow to St. Petersburg) was just great! Russia was so surprising - I grew up thinking that all buildings in Russia were old and gray. Just the opposite: Moscow was very modern. In St. Petersburg, we found beautiful 17th / 18th century buildings. For me, the most amazing part of Russia was the churches. I thought that the socialists there had destroyed all the churches, and they did do that to many, but there were a lot of beautiful Russian Orthodox churches throughout our trip. Beautiful icons covered the walls of the churches, some of which were 500 years old. While we saw many sites, Peter the Great's Palace and Catherine the Great's Palace were fantastic. Secondly, no trip is enjoyable if the boat and the crew are not of high quality. The Rurick had been renovated a year ago, so it was like new. While our room was small, we had no problems with it. The Veranda was great to watch the scenery as it went by . The restaurant was very nice with good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maybe most important was the crew. They were great! 100%. They learned our names in a day. They solved any issues we had. When we stopped on the river, the crew would tell us exactly where to go to buy items and where not to go. In the restaurant, the waiter and waitress we had (we sat with others at a corner table) would essentially "reserve" our table by serving the drinks that we liked before we even got there. There was always something to do on the boat. I really liked the afternoon talks we had about the history of Russia. They were not political - mostly just the facts, I understand a lot more about Russia now. Because this river cruise was so good, we are taking another river cruise in Europe in 2015. The cruises aren't cheap, but you get your money's worth. And as they say, "You can't take it with you". Nick G.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Warren and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2014. So much so, in fact, that we put together a booklet containing historical facts, our insights, and pictures of the sites we visited for our ... Read More
Warren and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2014. So much so, in fact, that we put together a booklet containing historical facts, our insights, and pictures of the sites we visited for our friends and relatives. We have heard back from many of them about how they would like to take a cruise with Viking too. We were helped every step of the way, from obtaining our visas to arranging for our airline tickets. We were met by our tour guides at the airport after we had arrived in Moscow, and were assisted by them when it came time to leave. The tours were educational as well as well planned. We not only learned about the history of the places we visited, but gained an appreciation of the culture of the Russian people. The accommodations exceeded our expectations.. The staff were friendly, the rooms were clean and the beds were very comfortable. The food, however, was good enough for royalty!!! Our tour guides not only knew their stuff, they had a sense of humor. That makes touring a real pleasure. We loved our trip so much, we are already planning our next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Wow, where to begin. We would have never travelled to Russia on our own. After seeing how Viking handled our two week "Grand European" tour in 2013 from Budapest to Amsterdam during the "500" year flood, we knew that we ... Read More
Wow, where to begin. We would have never travelled to Russia on our own. After seeing how Viking handled our two week "Grand European" tour in 2013 from Budapest to Amsterdam during the "500" year flood, we knew that we would always be safe and stress free with Viking. We were right. It was a marvelous trip to a country we would have never put on our wish list if Viking was not hosting it. They continue to amaze us. The staff, the service, the food, the cleanliness and the tours are all 5 star. They offer us interesting places to visit not only stress free but with a feeling of security. In addition, their teams are friendly, helpful and full of fun and enjoy their work. Great service is the norm. As I said before, "Viking rules the rivers". Gord Haddock, Saskatchewan, Canada PS We are already booked on Vikings first ocean going ship the Star on their maiden voyage. I already know that we are going to have a wonderful trip. It's Viking........that's all we need to know. Read Less
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