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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
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We wanted to see the inland area of Russia as well as the bigs of Moscow and St P. To that goal- Mission accomplished. You should already know what you are getting when you book a river boat cruise, so if you miss the gym, casino and ... Read More
We wanted to see the inland area of Russia as well as the bigs of Moscow and St P. To that goal- Mission accomplished. You should already know what you are getting when you book a river boat cruise, so if you miss the gym, casino and choice of clubs shame on you. But the whole level of service is just a notch or two below what was expected also. After 12 days I still could not tell you my cabin stewards name although the cabin was cleaned to a satisfactory level. We had a lower level double cabin and except for the toe stubbing pole that ran up the middle of the room it was large enough for the two of us and all our luggage. Bathroom was small, shower was smaller but I am a person of size and again it was to be expected. Hot water never ran out. We were near the main desk and had excellent wi-fi connection most of the trip. A few folks further away from central complained about connection and the connection process was a bit challenging; but once connected I was thrilled that I never had to go to my back-up air card connection. Food is another story. Good points. Chef was a joy to have on the ship for his personality, always around and involved in ships happenings. We found several waiters who were spot on among the very best and we camped at their tables the rest of the cruise. No assigned seating although it did work out that way. We also had a couple of the worst waiters ever in our search for the right table. One while taking dessert orders was ask for coffee and replied "I can't handle that now." and when ask by guest for fresh fruit delivered a banana peeled and cut into slices. Only visit to his table. Certain spots in the dining room were very cool and the only possible adjustment was to close the air vents. Food itself was IMO poor. I knew I was going to be getting Russian fair and was ready for some new taste but very few meals had any entree that received rave reviews from anyone at the table. Exception soups in general and Chicken Cordon Blue which they ran out of. We had an American Hamburger one evening and it was so bad (Meat mixture) that I left it 75% uneaten. Even the server said "Next city has a Burger King - No problem." A few works on the tours. Love bus rides, this is the cruise for you. Love tour guides who are passionate about their country and/or cathedral, this is the cruise for you. Love tour guides who want to hear themselves talk for 3 hrs and 45 min of a 4 hour tour, this is the cruise for you. Most of the included tours were well done and gave you a full flavor of the Russian area we were in. The added (For Cost) tours had some duplication and made for extended days if you did not pass on the included tours to cut back. Tours did start on time but returns tended to be a bit late coming back unless there were more tours to follow. Some of this delay must be attributed to the Moscow traffic which is certainly not the fault of Viking. Unmentioned Viking policy - The ship will gladly arrange a taxi for you in Moscow. That taxi will take you wherever you want to go in the city for $40. There are no other taxis allowed in the port, you have a 10 min walk uphill to get out of the port. Taxi across town for 4 of us to a site not on Viking tour (60 min) was $40 shared fare. Subway most of the way back, $5 total. If we had called the ship for a taxi from the subway, Yup another $40. We negotiated one on our own for $10 with the tip. Did we get the tour we expected? Yes. Do we feel that we got our moneys worth? No Will we take Viking again? Very unlikely Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Arrived in Moscow to be picked up by Viking. Headed out to the boat to eat and sleep. Moscow is a traffic nightmare. The activities were great once you got there. We saw the changing of the guard in Red Square and sampled caviar in GUM ... Read More
Arrived in Moscow to be picked up by Viking. Headed out to the boat to eat and sleep. Moscow is a traffic nightmare. The activities were great once you got there. We saw the changing of the guard in Red Square and sampled caviar in GUM Department Store, the Kremlin, and walking tour. Those were the highlights of Moscow. Cruising down the river, we had plenty to do with touring and classes in Russian and their history. Highlights were Kizhi Island (wooden church) and Mandrogy (vodka tasting and the best shopping on the cruise). Next, we went to St. Petersburg. Pay extra and do the behind the scenes Hermtage. Trust me, it is pricey but so amazing. Also we loved Catherine the Great's Palace (bought some beautiful Champaigne glasses there with her seal, The Fortress, Peterhof, and the Church of the Spilled Blood. The train to Helsinki was only $42, so we added 4 days there, not through Viking, but on our own. The cruise itself was nice, but not the best we have been on. The maid refused to change our sheets as we had moved our bed apart, and she would not do it. The bed was a small queen. My husband and I are king bed people. She did not speak English, and I finally had to go to the head of housekeeping. The food was OK-good, the wine not so great, but the beer was better. My husband got the drink package, and the premier wines were fine. The guides were fun, and the night of the vodka tasting, we were laughing so hard we were crying. I would really give this a 3 1/2 star review, but that was not a choice. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Great trip - great crew but staying so far out of Moscow and St. Petersburg made for a six nights of 'parking' out of town. Did not get a chance to experience two fabulous cities outside of guided tours. No information was ... Read More
Great trip - great crew but staying so far out of Moscow and St. Petersburg made for a six nights of 'parking' out of town. Did not get a chance to experience two fabulous cities outside of guided tours. No information was volunteered about the subway. Would have taken it the first day, if we knew we were across the park from it. Tried the bus - too long - two hours each way - same for cabs. Going to dinner required a 6 hour trip with 80% of it in a vehicle. No maps of the area where the boat was moored to run/jog - nothing on board to use to exercise. An expensive trip $20,000 to sit on a boat with a few great tours. Money would have been better spent on hotels and a boat trip in the middle. Should be patterned after Viking's China cruise. Stay downtown Moscow for three days - then board the boat. Do the Volga River and upon arriving in St. Petersberg - debark for three or four nights in hotels in St. Petersberg and Peterof. Would not recommend for folks with a high activity level, best for those more sedentary. Food was excellent with Russian food choices at every meal. Advice - prepare a separate brochure for those wishing to walk alone, that is to say - avoid the "walking" tours where you take 100 steps and have to wait for half the folks to catch up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
The cruise was great fun and the positives were: 1. Staff friendly 2. Tours were on the whole good value for money 3. Cabin was clean and comfortable 4. Free water was very welcome Negatives: 1. Food was hit and miss especially the ... Read More
The cruise was great fun and the positives were: 1. Staff friendly 2. Tours were on the whole good value for money 3. Cabin was clean and comfortable 4. Free water was very welcome Negatives: 1. Food was hit and miss especially the captain's dinner when being allegeric to fish i ended up eating cheese and biscuits as no alternatives could be found. 2. Waiting staff in the restuarant were also hit and miss. Very slow at time and the same with the bar staff. 3. Pre-cruise - we were not advised of any optional trips. This seemed to be extremely random and not impressed at all with this. 4. Still waiting to find out why we didn't get the direct flight - again this seemed a random allocation and was really not impressed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Although Viking states that the Pakhomov has been remodeled, it's hard to find evidence of any renovation on this 20-year old vessel. The standard cabins have very small beds that are uncomfortable even for a normal sized person. The ... Read More
Although Viking states that the Pakhomov has been remodeled, it's hard to find evidence of any renovation on this 20-year old vessel. The standard cabins have very small beds that are uncomfortable even for a normal sized person. The cabins have a "yacht style" bathroom with a shower incorporated into a very small space containing a lavatory (usually cracked) and toilet AKA-a Wet bath. Storage is minimal with but a single small drawer per passenger and insufficient space to store empty luggage. Standard cabins have no TV and even the few deluxe suites that have a TV have no TV service except in Moscow or St. Petersburg. News aboard was handled via a "daily newspaper" with as much space devoted to sports scores as was devoted to news. These four-page papers were produced in Brit, American, and Aussie editions. Housekeeping service was good. Food service and quality was average to good although the breakfast buffet was underwhelming. The shipboard staff was usually able to handle routine requests without difficulty. Anything more than a routine request was generally met with a blank stare and a nebulous quasi-promise to "look into the matter". Shipboard cleanliness is good, but there are few amenities aboard these Russian river cruise vessels. The six guides travel aboard and are augmented with local guides in each port. Our guide was very difficult to understand and consistently spoke in a low monotone so that it was hard to differentiate the important information from the general patter. She also seemed to have somewhat of an "attitude" problem with some of the passengers in our tour group. Choose your guide wisely because the guide you choose on the first day's tour will be your guide for the duration. Having taken and been very impressed with the Viking China Cultural cruise previously, we were big Viking fans coming to this cruise. Now - we would be hesitant to recommend this cruise to anyone other than a person with a strong interest in cathedrals and religious icons. The museums, palaces, ballet, and symphony were interesting, but many of them charge an additional fee to take photos or videos. There are also 6-8 optional excursions to fill in "free time" in Moscow and St. Petersburg. These optional tours are expensive and they offer poor value for their cost. Viking seems intent on wringing every nickel out of each passenger on this Russian river cruise. All in all, we found this cruise to offer inadequate value and this opinion was shared by a majority of the other passengers we spoke with. Bottom line - even with a 2-for-1 deal, nearly free air transportation, and complimentary dinner wine, you will likely not get a "warm, fuzzy feel from this Viking river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
The Viking River Cruise "Waterways of the Czars" (July 31 - August 12, 2009) was our first cruise experience, and will likely be our last. While we enjoyed Russia and its many attractions, we were very disappointed in most ... Read More
The Viking River Cruise "Waterways of the Czars" (July 31 - August 12, 2009) was our first cruise experience, and will likely be our last. While we enjoyed Russia and its many attractions, we were very disappointed in most aspects of the cruise itself. Specifically: • Overall value for money: Most people we met on the cruise paid several thousands of dollars less than we did, and for supposedly better cabins. This knowledge lessened our enjoyment considerably. We advise others to book as late as possible for Viking river cruises, if you must take one, since they discount heavily closer to the sailing date to fill up the boat. • Food quality: Despite claims in Viking advertising, the food was of consistently poor quality, e.g., every fish dish I ate was tasteless, mushy, and obviously frozen not fresh. Other passengers with previous Viking experience agreed with us, but said that Viking cruises in Western Europe have much better food and service. Several other passengers also spoke with the "hotel manager" to note their unhappiness with food quality. • Service: The dining room staff was mostly young Philipinos, who were all eager to please but clearly not sufficiently experienced, properly trained for efficient service, and too few for a fully booked boat. Dinner normally took well over two hours, and we and many others had to cut short dinner in order to attend other scheduled events on board. • Our cabin: The cabin (227) was comfortable enough, except that it seemed to be directly above the engines used to stabilize the boat when going through locks. These engines were so noisy and vibrated so much that when lock passage occurred at night sleep was impossible. Viking should warn potential customers about this noise in main deck cabins, and advise them to bring ear-plugs to cope with the noise or select other cabins. • Doctor: The Kirov's Russian doctor, whose English skills were very limited, had a remarkably diffident manner when my wife banged her forehead on one of the Sky-Bar's glass doors. The clinic had no proper ice-bag, so to reduce the large swelling he recommended using a plastic garbage bag or laundry bag. Given the average age of Kirov passengers, shouldn't an ice-bag or two be among the clinic's supplies? The doctor also failed even to stand up during her visit to his office, declining as unnecessary a suggestion that he examine her forehead. Bottom line: We wrote to Viking about these problems, to which they responded with an offer of a $500 credit for a future Viking cruise. Our response to that will be "nyet." Read Less
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