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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather ... Read More
Vodohod – MS Lev Tolstoy cruise – September 13 to September 24, 2016: We returned home last week and I have a need to write my comments without delay to let people know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything Vodohod staffs did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but the company responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know the cruise staffs couldn't arrange the weather, but they arranged everything else and for that we thank them most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank Vodohod organization for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - they have our full endorsement! We will definitely contact Vodohod if we are planning another trip in near future. Two families Nguyen Montreal and Toronto Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other ... Read More
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other belongings and the room was always spic and span clean. Service onboard was superb....from our stewardess to the waiters in the dining room to the staff in the lounge to the tour escorts to management....all were totally competent, knowledgeable, and attentive. If you're considering a Russia river cruise you need to understand that between Moscow and St Petersburg there's a lot of distance and a lot of nothing! You will be cruising for many hours and spending a short time (usually 2-3 hours) in several different ports....that's just the nature of the geography. This didn't really concern us, though, for two reasons: 1) our main goal was to see Moscow and St Petersburg; 2) the ship is comfortable and the crew was great so cruising time was very pleasant. We took several optional tours and enjoyed them all....especially enjoyed seeing the Faberge Museum and "behind the scenes" at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Kremlin Armory in Moscow. The folk music concert in Moscow was great. The young couple who sang and played piano in the bar were excellent. Food onboard was above average....the chef tried to cater to as many different tastes as possible...some hits, some misses, but overall very good. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Have just returned from the most amazing trip just wish I had read more history books before I left!. Our first, and most certainly, not the last trip with Viking River. Russia has always had a mystery about it and the treasures of ... Read More
Have just returned from the most amazing trip just wish I had read more history books before I left!. Our first, and most certainly, not the last trip with Viking River. Russia has always had a mystery about it and the treasures of the Hermitage and The Armory in the Kremlin certainly highlighted those mysteries. From our two pre-cruise days in St Petersburg to the ride to the airport in Moscow, it was gold service all the way. They say a ship is " only as good as its captain" an in the case of Akun I firmly believe that. What an amazing young man is Captain Vladamir and Karolina, the hotel manager, waiting on the chilly deck for our safe return from shore excursions with hot towels at the ready, became Mother Hen. The ship is kept extraordinarily clean by a team of housekeepers, the cabin was bright and airy although the very cold days didn't allow time on the verandahs. The option to do as little or as much as you wanted was there for the taking, the lectures on Russia and its history by the 3 tour directors was fantastic. Travelling through 17 locks was a wonderfully new experience and to think they were all done before google and computers!!! Could go on forever but congratulations to the fantastic Akun staff, nothing ever a trouble, and I do miss my hot green tea, followed by a double shot coffee at 6 am in the Panorama Lounge and the warm smiles and hugs from Jefferina, Dasha and Gabriel. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My room was beautiful as was the ship's decor. On a river cruise your stateroom is smaller than on an ocean cruise because the ship has to fit in the locks. But they built amazing functionality into the room. It was also nice that ... Read More
My room was beautiful as was the ship's decor. On a river cruise your stateroom is smaller than on an ocean cruise because the ship has to fit in the locks. But they built amazing functionality into the room. It was also nice that they supply robe, slippers, and hair dryer - a few less things to pack. I had plenty of room to unpack and be comfortable. Each room has its own climate control to keep the temperature to your liking. The shower was big enough to bath comfortably. For women there is a lighted makeup mirror. The selection of TV channels was interesting. CNN International or BBC kept me updated on what was going on in the world. The bed was very comfortable and they will give you the kind of pillow you favor. Towels were always clean and refreshed. Stateroom was always cleaned by the time I returned from the morning excursion. I often took a nap in the afternoon and my bed was remade when I returned from dinner. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized ... Read More
We returned home last week and I have a need to write without delay to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Russia despite the cold weather and that we greatly appreciate everything you did to ensure that everything was organized to perfection. Since we took several ocean cruises before, we were therefore not easy clients, but you responded to all our queries and requests with speed, friendliness and efficiency. Our trip was wonderful and we continue to talk about our experiences often. We were very pleased with all aspects of the trip and enjoyed the boat very much such as Russian music, Russian lesson, dance and songs. We particularly enjoyed our tour guides- Katia & Gregory - they were all excellent. Our local drivers were also very good. The tour guide, Katia was knowledgeable and efficient and a lovely young person. The bad and cold weather contributed greatly to our overall excursion. I know you couldn't arrange the weather, but you arranged everything else and for that we thank you most warmly. We like to extend our appreciation to all local tour guides in Moscow, Uglich, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, Kizhi, Mandrogui to Saint Petersburg who were excellent, some were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They were very knowledgeable and professional. In addition they were engaging and willing to answer all of our questions. We enjoyed them all and found them very pleasant to travel with. We have traveled a great deal and had many guides over the years and found each of our guides on our trip to Russia were top quality. Despite the last day in Saint-Petersburg with light rain, they gave us an exciting day driving round Saint Petersburg and out to Pushkin and Pavlos for Catherine and Paul Palaces. The food served in the boat was excellent and different every time. The best plates for us were soups, salad, fish and chicken. We knew that beef and lamp might not be the best Russian plates. In the dinning room we like most was the crew dressed up differently almost every night which made the ambiance more cozy and exotic. Please extend our gratitude to Karina who had always smiled when serving us. It was a trip to remember and it was possible because our bus driver and local guide were so good and the Russian scenery was colorful, amazing and very exotic. We would agree to give four star ratings to the Vodohod organization, crew member, bus driver and tour guide, the places visited. However the accommodation was small and the shower was not very convenient for North American customers. Just a note to say thank you for the fantastic river cruise in September from Moscow to St Petersburg. We had an amazing time - enjoyed every minute of our trip. We are recommending the trip to all of our friends in Canada - you have our full endorsement! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We had a very positive experience on the Waterways of the Tsars river cruise, which is consistent with our prior cruises with Viking. First of all the level of service from the front desk to the restaurant workers to the shore excursion ... Read More
We had a very positive experience on the Waterways of the Tsars river cruise, which is consistent with our prior cruises with Viking. First of all the level of service from the front desk to the restaurant workers to the shore excursion staff and the cabin stewards were all top notch. These people could not do enough to make our trip comfortable and enjoyable. For example, during one shore excursion, front desk staff accompanied us to a small shopping area and brought our purchases back to our rooms for us so that we did not have to make a trip back to the ship before boarding our buses for the tour! The food at all 3 meals was excellent and very nicely presented, a nice blend of familiar favorites along with Russian regional specialties. Please try one (or all) of the homemade soups offered at lunch/dinner. These were especially delicious! The shore excursions were nicely paced and very interesting. To see examples of Russia's glorious architecture was spectacular. We had the good fortune of having 3 of the tour guides on board with us for the entire cruise; during "down" times, they gave Russian history presentations starting from the era of the tsars all the way to the present leader, Vladimir Putin. All well done. We do want to give a heads up to expect a lot of vehicular traffic in St. Petersburg and Moscow, especially at commuting times. It could take 45 minutes to an hour to reach the city centers. Also expect crowds at the most popular sites. For example, the included tour for the Hermitage required us to wait in line to enter (about 20 minutes) and once inside, it was so crowded we could not get close enough to any of the artifacts to see or take pictures. (Hint: If you purchase the optional tour to the Hermitage, you get to enter a couple of hours earlier thus beating the crowds). Also be aware that if you sign up for any of the optional boat tours, they operate rain or shine. We had signed up for the Moscow By Night excursion and was disappointed that the evening was cold and rainy. Not good conditions for sitting outside and seeing anything. All in all, it was a great trip and we are glad we went. Looking forward to our next adventure! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My wife and I are in our late 70's and Russia was one of the few countries that we had not visited. The river cruise appealed to us and we were not disappointed. Every aspect of the trip was superior. On and off the ship was without a ... Read More
My wife and I are in our late 70's and Russia was one of the few countries that we had not visited. The river cruise appealed to us and we were not disappointed. Every aspect of the trip was superior. On and off the ship was without a hassle, front desk was always easy to access and every question got a quick answer. Especially enjoyed the food service from 2 wonderful young ladies from Serbia, Maria and Anastasia. The food was, without exception, excellent.The Viking Burger was the best ! Everything that was promised was delivered and even the weather was excellent. Our tour guides were exceptional and the on board presentations were especially enlightening and seemed to provide a honest discussion of Russian history and life. My wife was sick one day and the on board Doctor gave her excellent advise, medications and the tour she had signed up for was cancelled with no problem. Excellent in every way! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We arrived in Moscow early, so we did have time to explore the city before the official cruise began. The early Moscow metro tour really helped acclamate us to the city. Once on the boat, the crew and staff were wonderful. They gave ... Read More
We arrived in Moscow early, so we did have time to explore the city before the official cruise began. The early Moscow metro tour really helped acclamate us to the city. Once on the boat, the crew and staff were wonderful. They gave exceptional personal service. Tour guides were outstanding. It is obvious that every employee enjoyed what they were doing. I will definitely take another Viking Cruise. I cannot wait to do another cruise very soon! This trip had a great balance between sight seeing and relaxation time. I enjoyed the shopping on the boat. The quality and cost of the items was very good. I would have liked having some exercise facility on the boat, but other than that I have nothing but good things to say about the cruise. I liked having the option to choose an more physically demanding tour. I also was surprised that the ship had an on board physician. Once again, an outstanding trip!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
All we can say after experiencing our first river cruise with Viking is WOW! The ship had about 200 passengers, which made the sailing more comfortable and relaxed. Our cabin with balcony was enjoyed, especially while sailing on the ... Read More
All we can say after experiencing our first river cruise with Viking is WOW! The ship had about 200 passengers, which made the sailing more comfortable and relaxed. Our cabin with balcony was enjoyed, especially while sailing on the river with the beautiful scenery. There were several included tours in St. Petersburg, along the river and Moscow. We found all of them interesting and enjoyed a few optional tours as well. The ship's tour guides spoke English and were able to fully explain what we were seeing and answer questions. The service on board was very good, and we found the food to be of excellent quality. Must tell you Jan, the restaurant manager, and Chef Danilo, along with their staff, run the best restaurant of any cruise we've been on. Our cabin steward kept everything ship-shape, and the bartenders were very capable of making us whatever drinks we wanted. Service with a genuine smile and friendliness by every staff member was awesome. Small issues, like a too hot cabin, were addressed immediately, and laundry was returned folded and hung up within 3-4 hours of dropping it off. We met many nice, interesting fellow travelers and other ship staff, along with experiencing the beauty of the country, which made this vacation one of our best ever! We will travel with Viking again and can heartily recommend them to anyone. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Russia and the Ocean cruise visits are restricted by virtue of being visa free - this means that you are 'herded' in organised groups; counted off and counted on. Vikings cruise from ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Russia and the Ocean cruise visits are restricted by virtue of being visa free - this means that you are 'herded' in organised groups; counted off and counted on. Vikings cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow was with Visa and meant that you had free time to visit as you pleased. The ships, Ingvar was ours, are larger than Vikings normal European river fleet. Wider and longer, giving an Ocean cruise feel. Beneficial because the lakes in Northern Russia are like seas. Vikings standards of cleanlines, service and cuisine are very high and the overall quality of the cruise was superb. Individual requirements for breakfast, lunch and dinner were catered for with the standard of presentation of dinner really good. Complimentary wine and beer served at lunch and dinner. The red wine was ok, but only just. You could, as we did on one occasion, select a different wine at extra cost. Sparkling wine was always available, which pleased my wife. The excursions that were included in the price were excellent and we saw all of the major attractions in St P and Moscow within the price of our cruise - no essential extras. There were optional visits at the usual £70 plus and we did pay to 'queue bust' at one notable location; the Peterhof Palace. We had been warned that queues could be as long as two hours for entrance; paying for this paid off as we were first in at 09:30 and out in time for the fountain show. That was the only thing we paid extra for. There are no gym, pool, sauna, solaria etc on board so typical river cruising. Compared with the Danube and Rhine we had done previously the Rivers of the Tsars cruise exceeded our expectations. So much so we would like to do it again but the other way round. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our fifth cruise with Viking. We love them and, as usual, they did a great job. The trip began with several days in Moscow at the beginning and several in St. Petersburg at the end. In between, we sailed on rivers and canals ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Viking. We love them and, as usual, they did a great job. The trip began with several days in Moscow at the beginning and several in St. Petersburg at the end. In between, we sailed on rivers and canals through rural Russia. Moscow was neat. Seeing places like the Kremlin, St. Basil's, and Lenin's tomb was memorable. The night cruise on the Moscow River with the city all illuminated was a highlight. St. Petersburg is spectacular. It is dominated by the wide Neva River with palaces and government buildings on both sides. Catherine's Palace outside the city is a mini-Versailles and it is incredible to believe it was built twice: The original was destroyed in WWII and completely rebuilt. In between these two cities the sights were, generally, not as interesting. It took a while for us to accommodate to the fact that tourist infrastructure in Russia is simply not nearly as developed as in Western Europe. Whereas in France we sailed from one charming village to another, in Russia we stopped at ports which showed us what they had. And, in many cases that was another Russian Orthodox church. While many of these were really beautiful, after a while we were tired of learning the differences between 16th and 17th century Russian icons. But, it is what it is. This country is still emerging from decades of Soviet rule. Still, in the rural portion of the trip, there were some fascinating things to see, including the island of Kizhi (I recommend readers Google it.) Good souvenir shopping in Mandrogy. We, also, visited a Russian family and, through their translator daughter, heard first hand about life in the USSR and the difficult transition after 1989. They showed great resilience and have done fine. The Viking guides were great and we learned much about Russian history, cuisine, dance, etc., etc. They did extended lectures on the Soviet period, the fall of the USSR, and the last 25 years, including the current regime of Putin. I would have given this an Excellent rating if not for the middle portion of the trip which was not what we have enjoyed on other Viking cruises. But, that is not the fault of Viking, it is simply the current state of this formerly Communist nation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Outstanding crew and service - our cruise was simply magical! The guides were exceptional - highly knowledgable and always went out of their way to accomodate special needs. Great variety of shore excursions or delightful to simply stay ... Read More
Outstanding crew and service - our cruise was simply magical! The guides were exceptional - highly knowledgable and always went out of their way to accomodate special needs. Great variety of shore excursions or delightful to simply stay aboard ship and relax. Of course the dining experiences were extraordinary, food always exceptional and waiter staff superior. We would definitely go again and recommend highly to our friends. Viking gave us great value and we look forward to many more cruises with them. A highlight of our cruise was meeting new friends that share our interests and love of traveling. We've already planned to cruise again with delightful couple from British Columbia we met on board this cruise. Again I can't say enough about the "above and beyond" level of service, friendliness and professionalism of the entire crew - Viking indeed absolutely spoiled us and set the bar higher other cruises. Read Less
9 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
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
this is my 8th river cruise w/uniworld. I was picked up at the airport and whisked to the ship in time for dinner. I realize river Victoria was rented, but from experience I expected better experience. the dining room staff didn't ... Read More
this is my 8th river cruise w/uniworld. I was picked up at the airport and whisked to the ship in time for dinner. I realize river Victoria was rented, but from experience I expected better experience. the dining room staff didn't speak English yet a server told me they were all students picked because of their English language skills then trained to serve. the dining room manager told me they were difficult to supervise because they were not a team. dinner usually took 3 hours due to the very slow service and complaining to the manager didn't help. it was also difficult to get needs met when no one but the manager spoke English. the food was ho-hum. the menu had one meat, one fish and one vegetarian whereas the cruises in Germany also had a 'healthy choice' and if you didn't like anything on the menu there were also steak, chicken, caeser salad etc. offerings. Uniworld had brought a senior chef from Germany, but that didn't help. still mediochre fare. I always get a class 2 or 3 cabin and I was pleased to have a balcony, but when we cruised north from Moscow it was too cold and rainy to sit there. big disappointment since one of the pleasures of river cruising for me is having my morning espresso on the balcony and watching the sunrise. as well as the cold we sailed on two lakes in northern Russia where the wind blew so hard the shipped rocked. one of the reasons I river cruise is to avoid seasickness. it's the first time on any river cruise I had to take Dramamine. the itinerary was too exhausting. the first day we left the ship at 8:30 and returned at 5 pm. unpleasant after a long plane ride and jetlag. besides the length half the day was spent in gum mall and Ararat shopping street. boring. on cruises in france or Germany uniworld only spent half day touring and then you could return to the town for the rest of the day or relax on the ship. besides the shopkeepers in the mall didn't speak English and souveneer stands had limited and standard items always offering nesting dolls, fridge magnets, postcards etc. the next day was just as long and since I do not believe 'more is better' I don't even remember what we did after the kremlin museum, I enjoy museums and art galleries, but over the yrs I have learned cramming too much into a day brings info overload and I don't retain what I saw in the museum. when we cruised north the days were either too long or spent shopping. arriving in st. Petersburg there were morning tours w/ optional tours in the afternoon. the cruise manager pushed the options on me, but I don't push easily. I took one option, the peter and paul fort, because I chose not to attend the ballet in the evening. the highlight for me was 'the hermitage w/ the option to return to the ship at 3 or 4 pm. i signed up for 4 and returned at 3 pm., tired but happy. the cruise ended poorly for me. I had arranged my own transfer to stay in a hotel near the hermitage and half way there realized we had not received notification to pick up our passports so i had to return to the ship. up until then I found the front desk staff helpful. part of my disappointment was cold and rainy Russia which is not uniworld's fault. the other half was I had come to expect excellence from uniworld (i've tried Viking) not exhausting itineraries and poor food/dining service. on the whole the front desk staff were helpful and courteous as was the dining room manager, the hotel manager and cruise manager. I cannot, however recommend this tour and it has soured my impression of uniworld. my eighth cruise may be my last. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We have recently returned from the Jewels of Russia River Cruise starting in Moscow and finishing in St Petersburg which has been great. We were met at the Airport and taken by Coach to the Ship Tsar where we were welcomed on board. The ... Read More
We have recently returned from the Jewels of Russia River Cruise starting in Moscow and finishing in St Petersburg which has been great. We were met at the Airport and taken by Coach to the Ship Tsar where we were welcomed on board. The ship itself is quite comfortable. (Not a space-ship), and, BALCONY CABIN adequate. Meals and service on board were of excellent standard, with drinks served for Lunch and Dinner. The staff were all very warming, friendly and dedicated, which helped create a relaxing atmosphere. Excursions, Concerts, Circus, Ballet, Cathedrals, Museums, Metro Subways etc. were all Highlights, and, very well organised throughout the cruise, with free time given. Once sailing, each village being Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi Is, and Mandrogi all have their own stories which are all interesting. Back on board it was time to relax and reminisce with fellow passengers, and staff. There were many fun activities for all. Vodka Tasting Session, Traditional Russian Doll making, Russian Language and Songs, Martryoshka painting class, and, Ice-Cream Parties to name a few over the 14 days. Each evening there was Live Music and Dancing with Surprise Entertainment the last night before arriving in St Petersburg, which was exceptional. To say what has been most enjoyed, would be difficult as the whole cruise was of high standard. Thanks to all involved for such wonderful memories to treasure. We continued on with Scenic to do the Baltic States Land Tour which has also been enjoyed by John (my husband) and myself. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious ... Read More
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience!" is what we were sold. This was supported by advertising propaganda provided to our travel agent, inserts in their Scenic Russia brochure and on-line advertising which states "travel without your wallet"! and shows pictures of a butler cleaning shoes, etc. On boarding the ship the story is very different, with passengers being asked to sign paperwork for their "on-board account" as soon as they board the ship. Nothing is at request, with access to food and drink only at meal times unless you pay. The only exception being tea and coffee which can be obtained from a machine at any time. Dispite being asked to provide dietary requirements months in advance, these are only catered for as an after-thought by removing what can't be eaten (no special meals) and if it can't be removed, expect to be offered very little to eat. There is no butler, no assistance for elderly passengers, no laundry, a Dr is on board but all medical services must be paid for. Rooms are modest. The fitness centre is a walking machine and a bike in the upstairs bar. Live entertainment is rare, most evenings this will entail the sad sight of a member of crew DJing. In no way the five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience it was billed as being. In the very least, knowing the truth would have allowed us to pack and budget differently. But in reality had we known the truth about what was on offer, we would not have taken this tour. To say we are dissappointed is an understatement. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. ... Read More
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship. First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it wold be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space. Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner. Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon. The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask. We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both. Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. ... Read More
Having experienced the amazing service of Scenic on an Amsterdam to Budapest cruise we were happy to entrust our next holiday to them. We understood that river cruising in Russia was going to be different from Europe and planned for it. We were met at the airport by one of the lovely tour guides who saw us into a lovely BMW that speedily transferred us to the ship. First the Ship - Scenic Tsar is a lovely ship. We had a cabin on the middle deck about half way along the ship. The cabin was not huge but it was very well organised with adequate storage for our gear. The only negative was the tiny shower - fine for us but I imagine it would be a struggle for bigger folk. The private balcony was a bonus as it gave us a place to sit in our cabin that was not our 'bedroom'. It was wide and very spacious - perfect for an afternoon wine or a morning cuppa. It was also big enough to hang out the 'smalls' we hand washed each evening without them intruding on our relaxation space. Meals without exception were excellent. I am coeliac so eating gluten free was essential for me. The staff it the dining room and the lounge knew after the first day and always brought me appropriate substitutes. Even at the self-serve tea/coffee station which had a small selection of sweet treats, I only had to ask and I was brought some gluten free treats. Free flowing wine and beer was served with all on board lunches and dinners. It was of a good quality and we found that we could always leave the dining room with a full glass to relax in the lounge or on the top deck if we so wished. We had $200 on board credit that we thought we'd use easily for extra drinks but found we actually spent the last couple of days working out how we cold use as, whilst the brochures all say drinks with meals only, there were lots of 'special occasions' where drinks were served before dinner. Evening entertainment whilst cruising was limited but enjoyable. In both Moscow and St Petersburg we enjoyed evenings out like Moscow Circus, choir recitals in and art gallery, ballet, evening cruises and on the ship we were entertained by a pianist each night, opera singers another night, a vodka tasting, piano recitals by one of the talented guides, and a few other fun activities that involved both crew and passengers. We found that as we had been so busy during the days, often with early starts that we weren't up for late nights of carousing anyway. We did enjoy warmly rugging up and taking a glass of wine for a stroll on the top deck after diner to watch the sun slowly sink to the horizon. The shore excursions were all amazing - interesting, insightful and some amazing places. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and open to absolutely any questions we wanted to ask. We finished our trip in St Petersburg and pretty much had a free day on the last day. We had to be out of our cabins by 9am but were welcome to enjoy explore on our own or relax in the lounge or top deck facilities until our afternoon transfer to the airport - we did a bit of both. Would we do it again? Absolutely. I would love to return to Russia and because the tour was so richly intense, a repeat trip would still be most enjoyable. Would I do it again with Scenic? A resounding yes! We are in fact now planning our next trip with Scenic for 2017. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my first cruise experience and it was a blast. Hats off to Viking Cruises for the very efficient handling of everything: from the flight bookings, to airport transfers, embarkation and disembarkation to and from the ship, the ... Read More
This was my first cruise experience and it was a blast. Hats off to Viking Cruises for the very efficient handling of everything: from the flight bookings, to airport transfers, embarkation and disembarkation to and from the ship, the tours, the accommodations. The staff was just great, from the kitchen, restaurant, housekeeping, entertainment to the tour guides. I have spread the word to family and friends that if they want a great cruise experience, they should try Viking first. There is nothing like a river cruise vs. an ocean cruise. It just makes a difference having a few hundred people to thousands of people traveling with you. I cannot say enough of the guides who were very knowledgeable and just a fountain of information. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably ... Read More
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably assisted by our very knowledgeable Russian Guide Victoria. She seemed to know everything and used her skills as a guide along with her amazing grasp of the English language and the English sense of humour. The cruise took in some wonderful palaces at which we stopped for a tour and some free time. Uglitch, Kizi Island and it amazing wooden church and several other places. Our destination was St Petersburg, without a doubt the Jewel in the Crown. So much to see and so little time as the saying goes. The Hermitage, Peterhoff Palace, the list could be endless but you must do your own homework. As I said at the beginning August is a little cold but snuggled under a warm (provided) blanket drinking coffee under the ever moving stars was just priceless, (oh and the Vodka Tasting evening is good fun as well). Go you will not regret it. The sail date may be slightly wrong, cant remember the exact date we sailed. Read Less

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