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144 Viking River Moscow Cruise Reviews

We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to ... Read More
We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to visit made it all so easy. The food was excellent too. We would say that it would have been good to have had more free time, perhaps fewer events would be better. Sometimes, our free time was taken up waiting to get to toilets. The cathedrals were all spectacular, but maybe there were too many visits to such religious sites. The boat trip in St Petersburg was a bit rough and ready, not quite Viking standard, We were also concerned that one older lady fell getting off the bus for this but our guide was already away out front and had to be called back. Guides should check everyone is ok before setting off. However, the whole experience was excellent and we would defrinitely go Viking again - if we can afford it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We enjoyed the Russian river cruise on the Rurik in September 2013 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We were impressed with cruise director Kris and hotel director Caroline and how well they ran the cruise, particularly when nasty weather ... Read More
We enjoyed the Russian river cruise on the Rurik in September 2013 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We were impressed with cruise director Kris and hotel director Caroline and how well they ran the cruise, particularly when nasty weather threw in some real challenges. They were more than up to the task and we hardly missed a beat, despite arriving in St. Petersburg more than 12 hours late. Major kudos to them and their staffs! Viking’s bottom line on that trip took a real hit, I’m sure. Cabin: Very nice: Our cabin was nicely appointed and the veranda was lovely, though rarely used due to time of year. The L’Occitane bath products were impressive. Lubow, our cabin attendant, made sure it was always clean and straightened up. The television was good and having the safe was a big plus, as was having bottled water replenished whenever it was running low in the cabin. Need more hangers? Call the front desk and someone brings you the number you request. Everyone was responsive to requests and inquiries. Staff: Superlative. The Filipino wait staff was superb. We found Chester, Jefrena, Gabriel, and Cherilyn in Panorama and Sky Bar incredibly personable. We arrived at 9:30 p.m. the first day and they still knew our names the second day. Rommel, Norman, Rosie, Djober, and others were really good wait persons in the Neva Restaurant and made the dining experience fun. Viking would be lost without the Filipino staff. They have a work ethic that is beyond impressive. Speaking of dining, let’s give a hand to Julian and Sofia, in charge of the dining room. Oh, and they put on a pretty mean Vodka Tasting, too! And by ‘mean,’ I mean hilarious. Definitely one of the premium onboard events worth the money and I don’t usually do shots of anything! The food was good, and we appreciated and enjoyed the Russian specialties that were regularly featured. We found the food a bit bland, though. We wouldn’t expect the chef to make it to our tastes, but the addition of some condiments other than salt and pepper would have helped. Meals offered another bonus: Meeting fellow passengers. We chatted with quite a few over the course of the first week and then settled into a table with four other passengers for about the last week. We forged nice friendships and hope to see them again one day. Silver Spirits Package Not Recommended. My husband is not a wine lover, but he is a beer snob. I showed him the list of possible premium beers to be offered onboard such as a hefe weissen and several British and Belgian ales , so he insisted we pay for the Silver Spirits package. I am not a big drinker, but if one person in a cabin gets it, the other must be charged for it, as well. Imagine his surprise and massive disappointment when the ONLY beer served the entire 12 days was Baltica 7, a Russian lager. That was about $300 pretty much wasted on the Silver Spirits package. And Baltica was served at dinner and lunch. That is something to note: house wine and beer are served with dinner and lunch without charge. Silver Spirits is, apparently, for those who drink hard liquor . . . and a lot of it or who want to choose bottles of wine from the separate wine list. I managed to drink two bottles of wine off the list during the 12-day cruise because we had paid for the package, but it was not necessary. Lectures and Tours: Applause. The tour escorts, Sasha, Alexi , and Eleyna were extremely knowledgeable and their lectures, which we watched from our cabin, were informative, interesting and entertaining. Alexi and his rolled Rs always made me smile. Sasha has a wicked, dark and dry sense of humor that we loved. And local guides provided entertaining and enlightening insight into their hometowns. The home visit at Uglich was definitely a highlight of the trip. Cabin Noise: GRRRR. Please! Do Something! We were on Level 4 in a Veranda cabin toward the back of the boat directly above the Neva Restaurant. The noise and vibration were, at times, teeth-grindingly annoying, particularly when trying to sleep. One night I got up about midnight, turned on my phone to video, which also has audio, and recorded the noise. I’ve seen other comments about the vibration and noise and want to emphasize something needs to be done about it. Moscow Drivers: Great. Traffic: Awful. Moscow traffic is a nightmare. Sorry. I have to complain even though Viking is not at fault for the traffic. It is beyond anything I have seen anywhere else in the world. I will say, however, the drivers are the most considerate I’ve ever seen in a large city. Horns are not honking and cars and buses are allowed to change lanes and merge without being cutoff. But, every time we left the boat for a tour, it was at least an hour ride to get wherever we were going and at least an hour back. Not enjoyable. Also, please, please, please, tell the tour escorts to tell the guests they meet at the Moscow airport BEFORE they board the bus that the trip will take 2-to-4 hours so that they can make a bathroom stop beforehand. We were met outside baggage claim (after our flight and waiting an hour+ for luggage that did not arrive and then dealing with filing complicated lost luggage claims) and told to "stay right here; I’ll be right back.” The 2-hour bus ride we were warned of AFTER boarding was actually 3 ½. Miserable does not begin to describe the ride. I second (or third) the suggestion to take the Moscow-St. Petersburg cruise. Moscow is interesting and there are great things to see but, other than the gold onion domes, most of it struck me as being all the same gray color. We were very happy to begin sailing toward what can only be described in comparison as a Spring flower: St. Petersburg. Fantastic city. Truly breath-taking.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Chose this cruise since I've never been to Russia and Viking had the most recently refurbished ship. Furthermore, they seem to be dominating in the river and cruise liners with new ships added every year. Boy was I disappointed ... Read More
Chose this cruise since I've never been to Russia and Viking had the most recently refurbished ship. Furthermore, they seem to be dominating in the river and cruise liners with new ships added every year. Boy was I disappointed with the entire cruise. Our program director, Irina, was too young and inexperienced for the post. As per usual, during your briefing on the upcoming day they gloss over the attractions you will see on land and whilst sailing. This was a round trip type of cruise so the entire staff would work the route continuously for six months. I would expect they have the estimate as to when we will see certain sights down pat. Like the sinking belfry tower and the lady Volga statue. She was off the mark by over an hour for the former and 2 hours+ for the latter. Organization for the shore excursions were poorly executed. We were told to sit on any bus then try and stick to the same bus for the remaining tour. However when we reached ashore, the buses went to different locations so you couldn't pick "any" bus and again time wasted on trying to find another bus to get on. This was not a single incident. Previous experience on river cruises would segregate the shore excursions into different walking intensities to cater to the less mobile travelers. There was no such thing on Vikng except for the city tour in Moscow and St Petersburg. I felt sorry for the couple in our group who was on crutches and almost tripped several times during the Red Square/Kremlin tour. This lack of consideration was further reinforced during the ballet performance. The theatre was booked exclusively for Viking. We were each given a ticket, however, they know the layout of the theatre and should not make one of the passengers who clearly has impaired eyesight to climb to the top of the theatre and walk another unnecessary flight of stairs. When it came to the end of the performance, the poor passenger was in grave danger of being trampled on whilst everyone was trying to exit. Our stop to Kizhi was cancelled due to inclement weather but the program director failed to provide other activities on that day so we were cooped up with nothing to do. Food was also very ordinary and considering the passenger to staff ratio you would expect everything would be that little bit more attentive. The farewell dinner was the worst! Prawn was not fresh, beef was overcooked and dinner took longer than usual. On the exterior, they used top brands cutlery like villeroy & boch and Jura coffee machines. However, if you use inferior quality coffee beans the coffee would still taste like dishwater. There was one more annoying experience where my card to my cabin kept failing to work. This happened like 5 times! I've been on cruises and river cruises before and yes, it could happen like once during the entire trip not on a daily basis. It got so frustrating and the receptionist was argumentative and made these reissuing cards even more unpleasant! Apart from the nice l'occitane amenity, I do not have anything good to say about Viking. It was an expensive trip and money aside, the company lacked professionalism, ethics and organization skills that I would NEVER recommend them to even my worst enemy. Initially I was interested in trying the Viking cruise liner, however, I have abandoned that idea completely and going with scenic on my next 3 trips. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first time with Viking River Cruise. It was disappointing. My husband and I always want to visit Russia and Viking was the only river cruise line that went there in 2016. There is a pole in the center of the cabin and you ... Read More
This was our first time with Viking River Cruise. It was disappointing. My husband and I always want to visit Russia and Viking was the only river cruise line that went there in 2016. There is a pole in the center of the cabin and you have to be careful not to trip over it.. The flights Viking booked us was really bad with 3 connections. They could have get us there with only 1 or 2 connections. We spent long hours in the airport with cancelling flight and changing airline before even leaving the US. You paid what you got with Vikings. The food choices on board was limited, food tasted horrible and the presentation not appealing at all (always with two green onions on top, but they were not green onions) - didn't know what they were. We have been river cruising many times with other cruise lines and definitely this was the worst. Prawns were just small shrimps and there were no seconds. One of our table mate asked for more and was told initially "No", then later came up with a few. It seemed they did her a big favor. Tours were equally disappointing. Tour guide in Moscow did not tell you exactly where were the rest rooms in the G.U.M. store. It is a big store and if you don't speak Russian, then good luck. Tour guide walked in front of the group and not ensuring all her group were together. Most of the included shore excursions were poor. The head tour guide on the ship seemed very unfriendly. Fortunately the ship's other tour guides were much better. For the Helsinki extension - Save your money. It was not worthy at all. Helsinki Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, though centrally located, is old and outdated. Only one walking tour was included (not good) and the other tours, you had to pay for it. The only good things came out from this trip were our cabin steward, front office staff, and the dining room waitresses. They were helpful and friendly, providing good services. All in all, this was a bad experience with Viking River Cruise and most likely it would be our last river cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were eager to visit Russia and the river cruise seemed to be the simplest method of doing so. We had to request the Letter of Invitation from Viking, because they did not send it automatically. About 10 days after the emailed ... Read More
We were eager to visit Russia and the river cruise seemed to be the simplest method of doing so. We had to request the Letter of Invitation from Viking, because they did not send it automatically. About 10 days after the emailed request, we received the documents by email, written entirely in Russian and immediately applied for the Visas. We paid ILS an additional fee to transfer the information from the letter to the application. I hand delivered my Visa application, while my companion sent hers by express mail, which was returned to her the day prior to her departure. The Viking ships are docked about an hour's drive from Moscow center and traffic is very heavy. We spent much time on the bus, trapped in gridlock. Visits to attractions were shortened or skipped entirely, due to the time required to travel to them. Information about the following day's tours was provided in the evening, so it was difficult to make alternative arrangements at the last minute if we were not interested in those available. On one day, there were morning, afternoon, and evening tours, which meant a minimum of 6 hours on the bus, travelling between the boat and the city. Another day, we were provided with a snack when we left in early morning and returned to the boat at 9 pm for dinner; there was not sufficient time in one place during the day to enable us to eat in a restaurant. Food on the boat was extremely salty. I eat a low salt, low fat diet and apart from fresh fruit and salad without dressing, there was nothing that fit within my diet restrictions. Lunch always included a salad bar and pasta. A few sandwiches, etc. were available from a menu. Appetizers and salads could be ordered at dinner. The items on the menu which were said to be available at every dinner were not. The main course included a piece of meat, chicken or fish and mashed potatoes, or sometimes rice, always loaded with salt. For example, a piece of chicken Florentine proved to be chicken stuffed with more salt than spinach, butter and garlic, breaded and deep-fried, with mashed potatoes. A fast food restaurant would offer healthier selections. Room Service was not available. Between about 12 pm and 6 am, there was no food available to passengers. Mosquitoes were very prevalent during the cruise to St. Petersburg. We could not use our balcony, or even open the window because there were no screens. The boat vibrated considerably while underway, preventing sleep. Unfortunately, there is not much space to sit outside of the room. A few chairs are located at the top of the stairs on each floor. A small library with 2 computers and a printer contains a few chairs. The café at the bow of the ship has tables set with dishes for breakfast or lunch, which means that people who sit in this room place books, purses, laptops, etc. on top of the place settings which other people will later use when dining. While docked, the Viking ships are rafted, side by side. We didn't use our balcony at these times, because the railing on the next ship's balcony was touching ours. We kept our draperies closed, for privacy and because there was nothing to see but the interior of our neighbor's cabin. Daily briefings, entertainment, etc. were held in the bar on the sun deck, which only accommodated about half of the passengers on board. For the last few days, the briefings were repeated twice, to provide the opportunity for more guests to attend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Be careful - when reading the brochure. Torstein Hagen says in the intro that " no time is wasted with lengthy coach excursions as most of our cruises moor in the centre of towns and cities". This does not apply to the ... Read More
Be careful - when reading the brochure. Torstein Hagen says in the intro that " no time is wasted with lengthy coach excursions as most of our cruises moor in the centre of towns and cities". This does not apply to the "Waterways of the Czars" cruise;the boat in Moscow is between 60 and 90 minutes by coach from the city centre;it is a 20 min walk then 25 min metro journey to the centre. In St Petersburg it is 45 min min to the centre by coach;or 20 mins bus then 20 mins metro to the centre. The cabin details are incorrect.In the 2008 brochure the cabin has a plan showing a table abd two chairs by the window;these do not exist. There is a photo also showing this;in the 2009 brochure the plan has gone but the photo is still there (with a note saying it isn't an actual photo!) We booked the boat partly because we thought we could sit in our cabin looking out onto the waterways whilst sitting at our table reading,drinking etc etc.No. Other cabins were close to the engines,had a pillar AND a column (making easy access impossible);and ours had a set of steps and a table/chairs outside when the diagram did not show this. All in all,a MISLEADING brochure. Be careful - when booking.The booking staff are charming - and inefficient.On four separate instances mistakes were made in the documentation (no cabin allocated,wrong date on the visa application,wrong names on the transfer sheets,no documentation for transfer hotel provided etc). Doing it yourself is cheaper and more sure. Be careful - when at dinner.It is supposed to be open seating but some passengers can reserve seating;we never found out how (we had the most expensive cabin) but it would have been nice to avoid the twice daily bunfight for a couples table.Order your drinks BEFORE food if you want drinks with your meal rather than after.A couple of senior restaurant staff patrolled the dining area but never appeared to put right the clear deficiencies (the actual serving staff were fine but let down by the management/system). Be careful - in your interpretation of 5 Star.The other reason we booked this boat. In no way is this a 5 Star experience;the food was poor (re-formed calamari rings for god's sake!) and we would have expected 24hr availability of (at least) snacks. A really awful and nonsensical (and highly priced) wine list (when you could access it) just added to the disappointment. Be careful - when going on excursions.In Moscow the time taken to get anywhere lead to us having an evening meal at 23.30 (I kid you not);very little time anywhere. In St Petersburg we ended up at the back of every queue even tho' we set off at 07.30 to beat the rush;we were taken to a really awful "Russian" restaurant the NO ONE wanted to be at that really disrupted a reasonable day. A night at the (poor) ballet was followed by a very dangerous 40 min attempt on the part of a thousand or so people to get out of one door;and another late night back. Viking Cruises are on notice that this particular night could lead to deaths;the couriers say they have told Viking of this but they don't care. If you ignore this review and book with Viking (there are other agencies that use other lines at much cheaper rates) do not go on this excursion - you could die. Be careful - if you try to arrange for a special occasion to be celebrated (as they advertise in the brochure).We went on this excessively priced holiday because it was supposed to be the best (it can't be) and it was my wifes 60th birthday - a real treat. Despite pre-notification Viking ignored my wifes birthday,and half-heartedly did something for our 38th wedding anniversary a week later. Other cruises have managed to sort something from the passports,not ignored specific requests. So,Russia is super;the waterways are fantastic;Moscow and St Petersburg are tremendous. If you want a cruise,however,choose a different line to Viking - they don't deliver. If you want to see the cities,go to each separately as Viking really don't allow you to see them properly (if at all). Conclusion;Viking hugely disappointing and way over priced (did I get into the crap arrangements meeting us at Moscow airport - no,didn't have time). Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe ... Read More
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe how noisy it was. It turns out we were located right below the major air handler for the entire ship. Besides the loud air noise there was a throbbing pulsing noise that made it impossible to sleep. We complained and were told that there was nothing they could do to silence the noise. They had an empty suite but they would not let us use it unless we paid the upgrade fee. Their solution was to let us use a stateroom that was empty on the second floor to sleep in. This room was quiet but didn't have the veranda that we paid extra for so we didn't want to move to that room permanently. So every night for the entire cruise we would go down to the second floor to sleep and then back to 422 during the day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the ... Read More
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the shipboard experience fell far short of what was advertised and what we expected. Don’t believe the ads you see on tv. Food, mediocre at best. Service, the worst we experienced in our 50+ cruise experiences. Had very minor inconvenience on first day in dining room recognized by Assistant dining room staff and was blatantly ignored for the remaining 13 days of the cruise by Dining room manager and assistant. Management does not care about the customer experience, they chose to handle it by not addressing it. Ignore it and in 13 days it will go away. I expected a first class experience for the price we paid. We were totally underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted to see as much of Russia as possible in the 2 weeks time we had to spend. It looked on line like this cruise would offer us a lot to see. The flight started off great but after arriving at the airport in Russia it all went down ... Read More
We wanted to see as much of Russia as possible in the 2 weeks time we had to spend. It looked on line like this cruise would offer us a lot to see. The flight started off great but after arriving at the airport in Russia it all went down hill. We had to wait a long at the airport before being taken to the ship. Our cabin was not ready we we arrived at the ship. The food offered in the dining room was not what we had expected and not as good as other cruise lines we have been on. The entrainment on board was not very good. Every time you went on a shore excursion you were encouraged to tip everyone from the bus driver to the guides. It seemed you were encouraged to tip everyone on the ship at the end, I felt like I was paying part of there salary. Next time we take a cruise we will look for another cruise line besides Viking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation ... Read More
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation between cabins. We could even hear a TV blaring from across a corridor. The restaurant service is a bit hit and miss, and there efforts to provide a table service is pretty uneven. Often you will be at a table where you may have to wait for your main course whilst others have finished theirs as the galley is unable to cope with the demands put upon it, so it can be awkward. My wife has a allergy but despite notifying the Maitre D, he just said we should always try to sit on the same table that a waiter would get to know our requirements, but of course this was not always possible. The staff themselves were always courteous and work hard, but the system seems a bit shambolick at busy times. The tours were fine and well run, but if you do this cruise be prepared for some waiting in a bus in traffic jams in the major cities. Not a big problem , but a sad fact of life. To sum up, a curates egg of a cruise with a company whom I doubt will see my custom again Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
The purpose of this review is to explain why, after our recent cruise in Russia, my husband and I will avoid Viking River Cruises in the future, and why we will advise others to avoid Viking, too. We are experienced travelers, and we ... Read More
The purpose of this review is to explain why, after our recent cruise in Russia, my husband and I will avoid Viking River Cruises in the future, and why we will advise others to avoid Viking, too. We are experienced travelers, and we understand that no trip is going to happen exactly as planned. We do, however, expect that as conditions change we will be kept informed. The number of variations between what was sold and what was delivered, coupled with the failure to keep us informed of significant changes in the itinerary (detailed below), were significant enough that the term "bait and switch" kept coming to mind. A certain amount of trust between the travel vendor and the traveler is necessary for a good travel experience. After this Russian cruise, we do not believe we can trust Viking River Cruises. In addition, in spite of three attempts to contact Viking about these issues (twice via e-mail and once by letter), no one at Viking has responded. This leaves me feeling that, once they have your money, they lose interest in you. First: The condition of the ship was not as described in Viking brochures. When I made the booking with Viking in November 2009, I was advised by the Viking agent that the Pakhomov was an "excellent choice because it has just been renovated," something which figured heavily in my decision to book this cruise. In fact, per Stephan Busch, Hotel Manager, the Pakhomov had been scheduled for renovation in late 2009, but this renovation was not done. Mr. Busch told me on June 13, 2010, that he and others had made Viking Cruise Lines aware of the discrepancies between the ship as it was and the ship as it was described in Viking literature, but that "nothing had been done." In my view, therefore, we were sold something that did not exist. Second: Viking withheld information from us. In November 2009, I also booked the Helsinki extension, mainly for the "scenic ride though the rolling landscape," described in the Viking literature. Two or three days before that extension was to start we were informed that there would be no trains running between St. Petersburg and Helsinki on the day the extension began, and that we would be flying from St. Petersburg to Helsinki. Since our primary reason for booking the extension was to see more of the countryside, we would have preferred to fly home instead of going to Helsinki, but by the time we were informed only very costly alternatives were available. However, our air tickets for St. Petersburg to Helsinki were purchased by Viking BEFORE WE LEFT THE U.S. TO BEGIN OUR TRIP. In addition we were finally told, again just before the Helsinki extension began, that we would be in Finland during a National holiday, and almost all museums and restaurants in Helsinki would be closed. No optional tours were offered to take advantage of the holiday: we were simply left with a lot of free time in a virtually empty city. We were told in Helsinki that this Holiday had been celebrated for over 50 years - so Viking should have been well aware of it, but they didn't share that information. Third, there were numerous small things that, individually, would not have been of much concern but added up to irritation: • The "Itinerary & Departure Information" brochure states on page 6 that "Porters will...take your luggage to the transfer buses. Instead, one of the Viking guides pointed to luggage carts saying that we would have "a ways to walk before we got to our bus." When the bus finally came, one of the Pakhomov sailors loaded our luggage into the bus as we brought it to him. When we were in the bus, the Viking guide reminded us to tip the sailor. • The brochure states on page 25 that dinner is "generally" at 7:00 p.m. In fact, dinner was at 7 p.m. only once. Dinner was at 7:30 seven times, 9:30 once, 8:00 once, 7:20 once and 5:00 once. • The brochures states on page 26 that smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship. This apparently does not apply to the crew area. Heavy cigarette odors almost always emanated from the crew's quarters. Happily, this often served to cover-up the smell of raw sewage that wafted through the ship on a regular basis. • Again on page 26, the brochure indicates that staterooms aboard the Viking Pakhomov have safes and telephones. They don't. • From page 27, "staterooms aboard...Viking Pakhomov have televisions featuring channels with some U.S. or English programming." There was a television in the room, but most of the time - even in port - there was "no signal" and nothing on the television except the channel advertising Viking cruises. • Per page 28 of the brochure, "when possible, we will notify you of changes to your itinerary prior to departure; when not possible, your Program Director will advise you of changes. See discussion above about the Helsinki land extension. • The on-line description of the Category A Deluxe stateroom (the kind of room we booked) says that each has, "hotel-style beds (can be separated); large picture windows that open; private bathroom with enclosed shower; air conditioning; space under bed for storing suitcases; roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers; converter in the bathroom outlet." In fact, most hotels would be ashamed of the beds, which were small and furnished with thin mattresses. There is a large picture window, but we were advised never to leave it open because of the mosquitoes. There is a private bathroom in the stateroom, but the only thing that "encloses" the shower is a plastic shower curtain; thus it is nearly impossible to take a shower without getting the rest of the bathroom wet, too. There is an air conditioning unit in the room, but the desired temperature can only be approximated. There is space under the bed for storing small suitcases, but the "roomy wardrobe" isn't very roomy, and we had to sign for extra hangers if we wanted more than the few supplied with the room. There is no converter in the bathroom outlet; in fact, there is no outlet in the bathroom at all. And one more thing: there are only two public rest rooms on the boat. That was not an issue until the last day when all of us were required to leave our rooms early in the day, but many of us were not taken to the airport until late afternoon. I do wish to emphasize that the crew of the Pakhomov were friendly, helpful, and well-organized. I do believe that is very unfair to the crew to expect them to deal with a number of customers who have promised something by "the head office" which the crew cannot deliver. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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
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
Sail Date September 2017
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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date July 2016
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
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
Sail Date September 2015
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
Sail Date July 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 May 2014
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 June 2010
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
Sail Date July 2009
My river cruise was from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the Sukrov which wasn't the ship that I expected from the brochures. Very few if any, amenities on board to entertain the guests which were 168, not a full ship. Other than ... Read More
My river cruise was from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the Sukrov which wasn't the ship that I expected from the brochures. Very few if any, amenities on board to entertain the guests which were 168, not a full ship. Other than lectures, nothing else on a daily basis except Russian themed movies which were decades old. The dinner service was adequate but preparation was definitely lacking...no spices, bland food though the herring was great for me! No exercise activities onboard nor no spa type equipment. Without ones' books you'd be hardpressed to find something to do after dinner. This ship will be totally renovated into a deluxe all suite ship for the 2008 cruising season...let's look forward to many changes. A suggestion to all Russian river cruise companies: due to the heavy traffic in Moscow and St. Petersburg, all the passengers should be put up in local hotels in these two cities to cut down on the 2 hour drive from the boat to the city for sightseeing...so much wasted time and extremely tiring. There is an operator of river cruises that does exactly this..shouldn't be a big problem and very good for the passengers. Thanks see you on the river!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We enjoyed the cruise, despite the flights arranged by Viking. The flights home were particularly difficult - two layovers, not sitting together on 2 flights, chosen seats not provided - despite having paid for Premium Economy and Viking ... Read More
We enjoyed the cruise, despite the flights arranged by Viking. The flights home were particularly difficult - two layovers, not sitting together on 2 flights, chosen seats not provided - despite having paid for Premium Economy and Viking Air Plus. The ship's crew were wonderful, helpful, friendly and extremely attentive. The food was good and the service on board was excellent. The best aspects of the trip were Moscow and St Petersburg - they are fascinating cities and well worth visiting. However, the traffic in both cities was horrific. In both cities the ship docked far outside of the city centres, and too much time was wasted stuck on the bus in terrible traffic. We often spent as much time on the bus travelling to and from destinations as we did at the destinations themselves. The Hermitage in St Petersburg was a wonderful excursion, but marred by the time getting there and getting back, and by the lineups and crowds at the site. All in all, despite the glitches, it was a memorable trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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