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Sail Date: July 2014
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: September 2013
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
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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: August 2008
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
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: June 2016
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
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