1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Viking River Cruises
  4. Viking Rurik Review

Viking Rurik Review

Viking Rurik
Viking Rurik

Find a Viking Rurik Cruise from

By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Viking Rurik
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Passengers 196
Crew 105
Passenger to Crew 1.87:1
Launched 2012
Shore Excursions 26

Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor

Viking Rurik Overview

There's something about Russia that stumps even the most intrepid traveler. The language is daunting, the Cyrillic alphabet is difficult, and its 20th-century incarnation as the Soviet Union, aka the "Evil Empire" to Westerners, still lingers in the minds of many.

Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Viking Rurik price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Viking strives to make this complex country approachable for its North American, British, Australian and New Zealand audience. With five of its own ships on the Russian rivers -- most of the competitors charter their boats -- the company has made a commitment to this region that's evident in its programming and excursion choices.

Viking Rurik, refurbished in 2012, maintains Viking's signature Scandinavian style with blonde wood, muted colors and simple, attractive design. Because it sails on some of Europe's largest lakes, Rurik is constructed to handle waves so it doesn't appear as "flat" as Viking's European longships. Still, those with sensitive stomachs should bring seasick medication, as waters on Lake Ladoga, the largest freshwater body of water in Europe, can get rough. One aspect of the decades-old ship that couldn't be redone: the stairs, which are among the steepest we've ever seen. (Step angles were 68 degrees, as measured by an iPhone app.) Many people opted for the elevator, which runs to all four public decks.

Another feature that required some adjustment is the ship's main lounge, the Sky Bar. Unlike those on most other European river ships, this lounge is on the Sun Deck level and therefore isn't big enough to handle all 210 passengers at once. Passengers learned to come early for port talks, lectures and enrichment programs, which were often staggered and telecast into the cabins so everyone could hear.

Despite the cramped lounge, Rurik's staff did an admirable job of managing passenger flow, and the ship itself rarely felt crowded. Passengers disembarked in groups, usually without too many complaints or backups. Russian-language posters, evocative photos and artwork throughout the public areas imbued a sense of place, while Russian movies -- both contemporary and classic -- played every day on the in-room TV's. Standout optional excursions, such as a traditional Russian banya (bath), a behind-the-scenes look at the Hermitage vaults and tickets to the Bolshoi Ballet, kept even the most veteran travelers excited and engaged.

All in all, a Russian river cruise on Rurik gives passengers plenty of opportunities to explore the country's elaborate palaces, breathtaking art collections and onion-domed churches. While getting a handle on all things Russian could take a lifetime, 12 days spent onboard provide the perfect beginning.

Fellow Passengers

The average age of Viking Rurik's passengers has been decreasing every year, according to the ship's hotel manager. While the trip used to draw mostly those in their 70's, passengers are now typically in their late 50's and 60's, with a smattering of younger (for a river cruise) passengers in their 40's. The ship is also drawing more people outside North America, with British, Australian and New Zealand passengers onboard. Most people have taken at least one other river cruise before tackling Russia, and you'll hear stories of China, the Danube and the Rhine at dinner.

Viking Rurik Dress Code

As with most river cruises, the ship eschews formal nights, and onboard dress is casual. Shorts and jeans are not permitted at dinner, however. Russia's weather can be iffy, even during the summer, so layers are a must. While dress at the Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners seemed no different than it is on other nights, men and women who want to explore the theater scene in St. Petersburg and Moscow might want to throw in a sports coat, a dress or a nicer top and pants. You'll also want comfortable walking shoes for touring, as many towns have cobblestone streets. Women won't need heels.

Viking Rurik Gratuity

The ship's onboard currency is the euro. While the front desk can't exchange money, staff know the locations of ATM's in port so passengers can pick up rubles. (On our cruise, a stop was even made to convert U.S. dollars at the beginning of the trip.) Travelers checks are not accepted; credit cards include Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Gratuities are included in the fare for Australian and New Zealand passengers. For other passengers, gratuities for the crew are paid at the end of the trip, in cash or with your credit card as an addition to your total bill. The company pools tips, and you can also give individual amounts to waiters or housekeeping staff if you desire. The recommended amount is $15 per person, per day. The tour director receives a separate tip, with a recommended amount of $10 per day. And, finally, you'll want to budget small bills, preferably in local currency, for frequent tips for local guides and bus drivers.

  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Main Deck
Middle Deck
Upper Deck
Sun Deck

Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Viking Rurik price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More about Viking Rurik

Where does Viking Rurik sail from?
Viking Rurik departs from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Where does Viking Rurik sail to?
Viking Rurik cruises to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
How much does it cost to go on Viking Rurik?
Cruises on Viking Rurik start from $4,999 per person.

Viking Rurik Member Reviews

Viking Rurik
Sail Date: Aug 2019
While we were questioned by family and friends, and found out almost everyone else on the cruise as well, as to why did we want to go to Russia? Our family were concerned about our safety, especially after weeks of...Read More
Viking Rurik
Sail Date: Jun 2013
- This was our first European River Cruise, but not our last! The Viking Staff was professional, polite and very responsive to all our requests. As we were coming from the Mountain Time Zone, we decided to take...Read More
Viking Rurik
Sail Date: Oct 2014
It was fantastic on so many levels. It was more than I ever expected. The crew was so professional and personable. Loved the meals and the wine to go with. Loved the tour guides on the ship. They were very well...Read More
Viking Rurik
Sail Date: Oct 2014
I really enjoyed the cruise because; It was small The food , service and ambiance was great The meals were excellent and I appreciated the the many choices and the portions were just right for me. The lectures...Read More

Viking River Cruises Fleet