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47 Russia River Senior Cruise Reviews

We chose Volga Dream over other cruises as the nights in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg were spent in 5* hotels in the city centres. We opted for the Platinum package for the smaller tour group and extra visits such as Faberge Museum and ... Read More
We chose Volga Dream over other cruises as the nights in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg were spent in 5* hotels in the city centres. We opted for the Platinum package for the smaller tour group and extra visits such as Faberge Museum and Gold Room in Hermitage. The sight seeing tours in both Moscow and St Petersburg were excellent. Both our guides were excellent and being in a small group we often had priority over larger groups visiting museums and palaces. The provided lunches on the city tours were very good with one exception. Transportation in the minivan was always door to door. The sightseeing days did involve up to 8-9km of walking in total. The cruise ship although an old has been well modernised and is a pleasant environment. The staff without exception were a delight, helpful and charming. The food was very good and served dinners were beautifully presented and the wine flowed. Professor Ludmila was brilliant giving interesting relevant lectures each day with such enthusiasm and was very interesting to chat to at mealtimes. Other on board activities such as language lessons and cooking class were fun. The excursions were well organised with local guides who were generally excellent. Sadly we missed our first stop at Uglich due to fog preventing navigation for some hours Airport transfers went smoothly and we had an amazing time. Thank you Volga Dream. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had dreamed of visiting Russia and decided to go with another pair of friends . We found The Volga Dream Program: 3 days in St. Petersburg, 6 days on board and 3 days in Moscow. Everything was perfect: the five-stars hotels, Grand ... Read More
We had dreamed of visiting Russia and decided to go with another pair of friends . We found The Volga Dream Program: 3 days in St. Petersburg, 6 days on board and 3 days in Moscow. Everything was perfect: the five-stars hotels, Grand Hotel Europe in St.Petersburg and The Ararat in Moscow, both are excellent and located in the best place of the each city. The boat was very good, the itinerary was varied. We visited small towns like Svirstroy where we were at old lady, who told us about Russian lifestyle and traditions and the unforgettable time we passed at the primary school and beautiful cities like Yaroslavl and Uglich. Time on board was very well planned: Russian and cooking lessons but the Prof. Ludmila Selezneva´s lectures were outstanding. I realized about my ignorance about the different topics of the Russian History, Art and Politics. I learned a lot thanks to Prof. Selezneva. The service was impeccable, our cabin was always clean and tidy on time and at the dining-room we've had the best waitress in the world: Luzmila. Congratulations to the Cruise Director Catherine Panfilova. Special mention deserve all the local guides; well prepared, high English Level and very helpful ladies. I recommend Volga Dream experience widely!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other ... Read More
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other river cruises. But once the cruise was started and we could feel the open waters we were cruising we understood the reason why. We absolutely loved our cruise. The biggest factor contributing to this result, other than the amazing Russian cites we visited , was the crew onboard the Akun. They went above and beyond to make sure each passenger was enjoying themselves. Those working the front desk went to great extremes to accommodate a special sightseeing request that my sister and I had to tour the Hermitage storage facility. The staff in the dining room were special. Very attentive, engaging and friendly. We developed a fond friendship by the end of the cruise. We hated to say goodbye to "our girls". Some of my fondest memories came from the home hosted visit in Uglich and a tour of the children art center in Kuzino. Although we enjoyed all the tour excursions. We arrived in St. Petersburg a few day prior to departure and the hotel arranged by Viking was centrally located to allow easy touring on our own. Plus there was always a Viking representative available during the day for tips regarding restaurants and sightseeing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This ship was renovated end of 2017 and beginning 2018. Our cabin all new carpets, bedding, new bathroom, no chipped furniture anywhere. I was worried after previous reviews. Our cost was half the fare on other cruise lines. Cocktails ... Read More
This ship was renovated end of 2017 and beginning 2018. Our cabin all new carpets, bedding, new bathroom, no chipped furniture anywhere. I was worried after previous reviews. Our cost was half the fare on other cruise lines. Cocktails $8.00 aud. We had two English speaking guides, Sasha and Dasha, who were great. They made us laugh and were so helpful. Nothing was too much trouble, even to booking some private tickets to help us off the ship.Only one free drink at dinner(beer, wine soft drink) but costs weren’t very expensive. A couple of optional tours for St Petersburg and Moscow . The ones we chose cost approx $65.00 aud each. There is a great review on trip advisor from July 18. Worth the read. Bottled water and bathroom products replenished daily. I was always able to find food in the restaurant that I likes. As it is Russian style food it seems more basic than on ocean cruises. A tip. If you put Yandex taxi app on your phone, it is far cheaper for transport in both St Petersburg & Moscow. It worked well for us, both for trip from hotel to ship and to Catherine Palace. Unlimited wifi available on the ship and most times good reception. We did not have wifi set up on phone, just used hotspots. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the ... Read More
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the entire boat. The entrainment on the boat was very poor. We were not into playing quizzes and the panic player and singer were so, so. We love the shore excursions but some of the guides were not capable of walking and talking at the same time. Some times looking at one thing for 15 minutes got a bit boring. The extra tours were a bit pricey, so we chose not to do any extras. The staff on the boat were extremely friendly and went out of their way to accommodate us. Would I highly recommend this cruise very much so, in fact I already have to several friends. Would I love to go back. Yes in a few years I would like to do it again. This should go on everyone’s bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Pre & post embarkation tours of Moscow & St. Petersburg busy & somewhat tiring but good. In our case due to length of flights, visits to both cities a bit short with so much to see & do and so many fellow tourists doing ... Read More
Pre & post embarkation tours of Moscow & St. Petersburg busy & somewhat tiring but good. In our case due to length of flights, visits to both cities a bit short with so much to see & do and so many fellow tourists doing the same. Mini tour buses had small windows & did not allow for easy viewing of the city sites. All guides in cities & on shore excursions very knowledgeable with excellent English skills. Embarkation & disembarkation went well. Ship a bit dated but comfortable, clean & well maintained. Cabin & bathroom both a reasonable size Good on board entertainment & activities. Daily information sheet provided good information on activities & future sites. Speaker who lectured on history, politics, arts, social issues very interesting & knowledgeable. Food & beverages excellent! A wide, tasty variety of food. We still don't know how they managed to produce such good, fresh food on such a small ship. All staff very friendly & helpful. Nice mix of people cruising, mainly seniors. Good value for the money. An excellent introduction to Russia & the Russian people. Would go again with longer visits in Moscow & St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise stood out from the rest because we could stay in hotels while touring Moscow and St Petersburg rather than needing to return to the ship each day. This was such a plus in terms of not wasting time in traffic, being a few ... Read More
This cruise stood out from the rest because we could stay in hotels while touring Moscow and St Petersburg rather than needing to return to the ship each day. This was such a plus in terms of not wasting time in traffic, being a few minutes away from attractions when exploring in free time and enjoying comfort and space in really lovely hotels. The city tours hit all the main spots with great guides and a reasonable amount of time at sites but I would recommend extra days in Moscow and St Petersburg because there is so much to see and do. Embarkation and disembarkation were pain free and reasonably swift, given the boat was fairly small. The ship was very nice and comfortable, with lots of quiet spaces to sit and watch the scenery. The cabin was standard ie average size - not large but sufficient to needs. It was light and airy and not claustrophobic The bathroom was small but roomier than any I have seen on other ships of the same or larger size. The servicing of the room was excellent and typical of the service on the boat. Everyone was helpful, friendly and efficient and went above and beyond what could reasonably been expected. The food was fantastic, plentiful and great quality and variety table service at dinner was wonderful. The activities are plentiful and fun. The on board lectures on history and culture were a highlight and should not be missed. Fun to go through the locks and interesting scenery. Though someone said it was monotonous, this could be said of cruising Alaska (snow and trees) or the Nile (desert). I didn't think so as the scenery changed from dachas and occasional monasteries to pristine forests or the lakes. The ports and shore excursions were well chosen, with very good local guides and I learned a lot (and they are all free except for tips to guides which are optional.) The tour groups were small and helped with getting to know fellow passengers. Most were manageable for people with difficulties walking. The majority of passengers were over 50. I would definitely recommend the Volga Dream for these reasons. It's a fun cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard ... Read More
Itinerary great, view going along the river very nice. She is very clean but most definitely 3 stars. In fact when someone was complaining at the reception desk that is what the reception said " We are a 3 star ship". It is hard to get use to the cot size twin beds. The company Nexus that i booked with did not have any option to upgrade to a double bed. I think there might just be a handful on the ship. You have to pay for drinking water on the ship only tea or coffee at lunch and dinner. They give you a mini fridge in your room, so on your first jaunt off the boat pick up some bottles of water, juice, pop and liquor to fill the fridge if you like, you are allowed to bring your own drinks to the dinning table. Did not like the entertainment on board( a singer with disco lights and a classic piano player who also plays accordion. Local musicians with costumes. In fairness only saw the first show and my husband and i watch shows on our tablet that we had downloaded before leaving home. WIFI is useless (maybe you sometimes get your email but that is it). Lots of time to read before you get to the shore excursion which can be very intense. Not for people that have mobility issues. No elevator and you are going up and down stairs a lot and a LOT of walking off the ship. I have got problems with my ankle and brought walking sticks that helped a bit but Russia is not Handicap friendly. Very few churches have a place to sit (supposedly people stand in Russian Orthodox churches). It was very hot when we were there and most places are not air conditioned. Make sure you bring your own shampoo and Kleenex, you are only supplied with 2 bars of soap and toilet paper (which i used for Kleenex). Ask for a second pillow when your get on board as you are only given one. Have to go to the reception desk for info as you have no phone in your room to ask questions. There is a intercom in your room just to call you for meals and to get off the boat for shore excursions. Food was okay, you get to chose fish, (lots of small bones in the fish which turn me off) meat or vegetarian for lunch and dinner the day before on a menu check at your assigned table. You will not go hungry but definitely 3 star. Paid $3,800.00 which included flight from Toronto, Canada and back and most shore excursions. Paid a extra hundred for the middle deck(not really worth it as you have to leave keys with reception on the 2nd floor when you get off the boat and you get off on on the boat on the second floor). So I got what a paid for in my opinion. When I priced other ships doing the same itinerary it was more then double. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
With a career in retail management, I traveled all over the world: Europe, Asia, India, but I never experienced Russia. As Viking Cruise HQ is two blocks from my home, I wanted to experience a Viking River Cruise. So #1 on my bucket list ... Read More
With a career in retail management, I traveled all over the world: Europe, Asia, India, but I never experienced Russia. As Viking Cruise HQ is two blocks from my home, I wanted to experience a Viking River Cruise. So #1 on my bucket list was a Viking River Cruise of Russia. It did not disappoint. The trip was outstanding in all areas. The ship was beautiful. The rooms were so well designed that they comfortably held two weeks of clothing, accessories and toiletries. The time in port was ideal with three days in Moscow and St Petersburg at the beginning and end of the cruise. The days in between were spent sailing into small Russian Hamlets that were primarily a source of cruise souvenirs. My only recommendation is that Viking describes that day tours as strenuous; my husband and I needed to improve our physical stamina to better enjoy the daily outings. (The excursions in Moscow were too hard for us physically.) The special sights of Moscow's Red Square and the Kremlin were breathtaking, as was the Hermitage in St Petersburg, The evening entertainment of the Ballet and the Cossack Dancing were very enjoyable. The food service under Manager Damien was a delight. The special service by the two waiters Bim and Armando treated us like royalty. The meals were delicious and the menu varied enough for all tastes. Cruise Manager Daniel made sure every aspect of the trip was superior. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
#1 on my bucket list was visiting Russia. On July 3rd we embarked on the Viking Truvor from Moscow to St Petersburg. We spent three days in Moscow touring Red Square, the Kremlin, three ornate Russian Orthodox Cathedrals, and other ... Read More
#1 on my bucket list was visiting Russia. On July 3rd we embarked on the Viking Truvor from Moscow to St Petersburg. We spent three days in Moscow touring Red Square, the Kremlin, three ornate Russian Orthodox Cathedrals, and other sites. We then sailed for five days through hamlets in the Russian Countryside to reach St Petersburg. We spent four days in St Petersburg, a rich cosmopolitan city. St Petersburg was amazing with tours of the Pushkin Museum of Art, the Hermitage Museum, two famous Russian Orthodox Churches, the Ballet, Cossack Dancing and more. The trip was marvelous. The rooms were very comfortable, laid out to easily accommodate clothing and furnishings for 13 days. The food was excellent and the restaurant staff service was exceptionable. The tour guides were very knowledgeable. We will certainly take another Viking River Cruise!!! One word of advice: get in shape. The tours are physically demanding both in length, terrain and duration. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our 50th Anniversary trip (of a lifetime) and our 2nd Scenic River Cruise. I was somewhat disappointed with the young lady who greeted us at the airport... no 'welcome to Scenic'.. no conversation on the bus... but ... Read More
This was our 50th Anniversary trip (of a lifetime) and our 2nd Scenic River Cruise. I was somewhat disappointed with the young lady who greeted us at the airport... no 'welcome to Scenic'.. no conversation on the bus... but found out she worked for the ground operator not Scenic. The 'official welcome' started right away as soon as we departed the bus at the ship. The greeting was so warm and welcoming.... dispelled any misgivings on the bus. The front desk crew, under the direction of Anna were excellent. Within a day they knew our cabin number and simply handed us the key without asking. Always a welcoming smile and greeting! I cannot speak high enough about the Cruise Director and staff. Their knowledge, their openness, their story telling ability and their care about quality was outstanding. The food, produced under a young but very talented Chef was outstanding. We both enjoyed a massage ..and would recommend it as a perfect way to really get into the vacation mode. The Dining Room staff were amazing. Scenic trained (although not actual Scenic employees) they seemed to love their job. So personal. Greetings with such warm smiles. They bent over backwards to ensure your dining experience was a total pleasure. Our cabin was excellent. A workspace with ample plugs (bring adaptors) for my computer etc. The bed was too comfortable (didn't want to get up some mornings).... the bathrooms equipped with excellent bath and hand towels, good shampoo and conditioner and a hook for my shaving kit. I should add, a GREAT shower! The blackout curtains were so appreciated, since the sun doesn't really set until about 2am and stays dark for all of 90 minutes. The beauty of Scenic, there are not really any decisions to make. ALL of the tours are included. All of the tips are included. The wine etc at meals (this is the only difference we experienced from our previous Scenic cruise where the bar seemed to be free 24/7). My personal gripe was that my wife could drink all the wine she wanted at dinner but I had to pay for my non-alcoholic beer). A small gripe but we were warned that th Russia Cruise was a little different from the regular Scenic offerings. I can't say enough about the included tours.... everything from the Moscow Circus to a private reception with a 4-piece orchestra and amazing Champagne / vodka buffet of canapés and caviar. We adjourned to a theatre that sat our 90 fellow Scenic travellers very comfortably... a FULL orchestra and a 60 minute presentation of various famous ballets. An evening never to be forgotten. When asked about our impression of Russia... all we can say is how open and honest the people are about the changes that they are experiencing under the Federation. All preconceptions about Russia were dis-spelled. An awesome trip that I cannot recommend highly enough. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted to do something different. All of our friends are going to Europe ie Italy, Greece Germany. We wanted to learn more about how the average Russian people live, eat & work. The guides were Russian and their English was ... Read More
We wanted to do something different. All of our friends are going to Europe ie Italy, Greece Germany. We wanted to learn more about how the average Russian people live, eat & work. The guides were Russian and their English was excellent. One of them described her family life as a child growing up in Russia. The meals were excellent and we got to taste many Russian meals. One day they set up stations which had various Russian dishes. The names of each dish was typed and labeled beside each dish. Our room was always clean and refreshed every day. We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Viking left us a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates in our room wishing us a Happy Anniversary. We asked if it was possible to visit one of the oldest synagogues in Europe which was in St Petersburg. They happily set us up with a very knowledgeable guide and private tour of the synagogue to include transportation to and from the synagogue. All of the Viking personnel on board the ship treated us as though we were special guests. This made our trip special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. ... Read More
This was a very stress free tour. We were in good hands from the time we were met at the airport to the time we were accompanied back to the airport after the cruise was over. The tours were very organized and they kept the group small. There was always a local guide and someone from the ship to make sure no one got separated from the group. The wait staff were warm and they always had a smile. They knew our names and how we liked our coffee and what juice we liked starting from the second day. The games were hilarious and the historical presentation were Educational .We especially like the fact that the senior crew members mingled with the passengers . We also liked the meeting your neighbor activity. There was variety of meals to choose from and they were prepared well. We are sold on viking River Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always ... Read More
Crew staff was fantastic and hard working. . .very personable! Cabin cleaner, servers, gift shop manager, guides, and front desk were all the best! Tours were well done and very interesting. Russia was a great country to visit. Always felt well taken care of by Viking. Enjoyed every land tour. The guides were excellent and very well informed, The buses were clean, and audio the ear plugs worked and were reasonably comfortable. The life on ship was relaxed. No one pushed us to finish meals before we were ready to move on to some other activity. Nothing was rushed. Be prepared for exceedingly heavy traffic in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Neither port is close to the center of the city. The journey to the tours was very slow! The bus drivers were excellent. We were very happy we extended our cruise/tour in St. Petersburg. It gave us extra time to enjoy a fantastic city and attend a ballet and organ festival. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
A comfortable leisurely way to an introduction to Russia, from large cities (beginning & end) to the countryside. We recommend ending in Moscow, making the whole trip a build-up. The ship was very comfortable, the food good, the ... Read More
A comfortable leisurely way to an introduction to Russia, from large cities (beginning & end) to the countryside. We recommend ending in Moscow, making the whole trip a build-up. The ship was very comfortable, the food good, the service impeccable; it was the right size of ship. The excursions were varied, interesting, even intimate, without being overwhelming in number and size; scheduling was excellent. The guides were very professional, informative and friendly, and always available. We picked a time period which was cool / cold (could not really use the outer deck effectively), but this ensured that the places visited on excursions were not over-crowded. Some of the events -- ballet, concerts -- were particularly enjoyable, as was the banya (Finnish sauna & plunge). The embarkation and disembarkation experiences were extremely smooth and easy; Viking was very well organized for a glitch-free entry / exit. We would gladly book with Viking again on another such trip elsewhere; we tend not to repeat trips. Timing is critical on any trip because associated popular excursions can easily be over-crowded, detracting from the enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. ... Read More
The time of year was an important consideration, because we didn't want to go during the height of the summer heat or as weather was turning cold. We have spent a lot of time in Western Europe and thought it was time to go to Russia. First, the food was fantastic, as Viking always serves great food. The cabins and the longboat were immaculate. The daily tours were worth every moment as history unfolded in front of you. We enjoyed the guides giving optional free lectures on the history of Russia for during the days we were traveling between towns. The variety of tours covered all aspects of Russian culture and the Russian peoples lives from ancient days through current today. The variety of activities included night tours, city tours, tours by water in Moscow and St. Petersburg, museums, summer and winter palaces and plenty of churches with fascinating histories. We didn't really know what to expect and are so glad for the Russian experience with Viking Tours. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including ... Read More
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including spending more time in Russia and learning more about a country we weren't familiar with. The ship, although older than the one we had taken on the Rhone River, still offered plenty of room, and we were looked after, not only on the ship but also on the shore. Viking paid our air fare from Seattle to Moscow and from St.Petersburg back home, and they met us on our arrival and helped us get to the airport on our return. Our cabin was well situated and comfortable, and we enjoyed sitting on the veranda occasionally. The food was plentiful and delicious for every meal, and we had choices that assured we would never go hungry. The dining area was attractive with seating for two people or up to eight per table.The food also included some Russian dishes. And breakfast or lunch were provided buffet style in a smaller lounge or in a smaller area of the dining hall. I was so impressed with the pleasant wait staff, who were efficient and friendly. Our entertainment onboard was most often lectures on various aspects of Russia, and we both learned so much before and after our on-land excursions. We had time to shop a bit at street stands, art or history museums, or even on the ship. Among the activities that most impressed us were visiting a home in Uglich for refreshments including homemade vodka, visiting a local school in the same town, attending a ballet in St. Petersburg,riding on the subway in Moscow, cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside, and touring significant churches and museums. Our tour guides were so knowlegable and answered our questions easily and with complete candor, and our tour bus drivers were polite and offered us such smooth travel. I would definitely go on this cruise again and would be assured I would learn something new, despite the past lectures and tours. This cruise was so different and so significant that my husband and I probably bore our friends by talking about it often and showing photos! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
On board now and loving it. When researching I did not find too much informaion. The Volga dream is the name of the company and it has been wonderful. Quiet unknown in Australia. Rooms are basic but comfortable. Food more than ... Read More
On board now and loving it. When researching I did not find too much informaion. The Volga dream is the name of the company and it has been wonderful. Quiet unknown in Australia. Rooms are basic but comfortable. Food more than adequate, wine flows freely for lunch and dinner. Awesome staff and the organisation was first rate. Could not fault them or the trip in any way. I would not take the bottom cabins though. only have a small porthole. Some rooms have had an issue with smells coming up through the pipes , but not in our room. Would love to come back and do another cruise with the company again for sure. The fitness room is not that fantastic however. I would have liked to have had a bit longer in each of our ports of call even for just one more hour, they felt a bit rushed. The excursions were at a gentle pace. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Having spent 3 days in a Moscow hotel, we travelled to St Petersburg on the Volga Dream, and the voyage was simply superb. We were in cabin 302, which was extremely quiet, apart from when the vessel was moving in to docks or ports. The ... Read More
Having spent 3 days in a Moscow hotel, we travelled to St Petersburg on the Volga Dream, and the voyage was simply superb. We were in cabin 302, which was extremely quiet, apart from when the vessel was moving in to docks or ports. The cabin was great, considering how little time is spent in it, and was kept spotlessly clean - as was the whole of Russia, it seems. There was an excellent choice of food for breakfast, including eggs cooked to order. Lunch was a buffet, but with a very good choice, with meat, fish, veggie, and other options, soup, salads, choice of puds. Evening meals were not only beautifully cooked, they were extremely well presented, always with at least 4 courses. None of the food would have been out of place in a top hotel, and always arrived hot, and served extremely efficiently - usually by the charming Maria. There were a very good range of on-board activities, with the guest speaker - a Russian historian, being particularly interesting, but there were also chances to cook Russian food, learn about, or practice Russian art and crafts, as well as quiz nights, and outstanding piano recitals from the resident pianist. Shore excursions all had excellent guides, all of whom spoke English extremely well, and were genuinely interested in their villages, etc. Timings of excursions were very good, and there was never a problem disembarking or boarding. Few excursions needed minibus transport, but when they did, these were always on time, and in very good condition, fully equipped with seat belts, etc. On board, there were opportunities to view the bridge, kitchens, and engine rooms, all of which were extremely interesting. Olga, the Hotel manager, was an absolute star, always cheerful, friendly and helpful, and involved directly with passengers on a daily basis. Indeed, it made me realise how much most hotel managers have to learn from her. Our only previous experience of cruising, had been on a small boat with only 6 cabins, on the river Nile, which had been amazing. I am glad to say that the Volga Dream was also a fabulous experience. Indeed, all the staff were extremely pleasant, polite, cheerful and helpful. Just one small niggle. The Volga Dream is not cheap, and while it is definitely worth the money, and I would recommend it without question, on board wifi was an additional cost, and was very expensive - over £10 a day. We opted to avoid this, but I would have prefer to see the cost of wifi, and staff tips, included in the price. That said, if I had known in advance what I know now about the Volga Dream, I would definitely have booked the holiday. If you are planning on cruising between Moscow and St Petersburg - in either direction, you simply do not need to look elsewhere. The Volga Dream can not be topped. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand ... Read More
We joined two other couples on this cruise. I was not in our plans, but we decided to join them, and we're glad we did. This was our 2nd Viking cruise, and we high expectations, based on our previous Viking cruise "The Grand European Tour" The staff and service were excellent. The dining was outstanding. Chef and his crew served wonderful food with great presentations. A diet post cruise is almost mandatory. The wait staff in all of the dining venues were excellent. Dining room servers Jay-An and Sasha are in a class of their own, along with Alysa and Jefferina in the Skybar. We really enjoyed the Vodka tasting event and learned much more about this culture. The food was exceptional, the wine selection, was just OK, and limited since this was all Russian wine. The excursions, and the guides were excellent especially in Moscow, and St Petersburg. The Folk music concert was exceptional, and extremely enjoyable The Metro tour in Moscow was amazing Kizhi the buildings in were beautiful. Mandrogy, The Russian Banya was an unexpected treat. Also enjoyed cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside We added a 3 night extension in Helsinki and we really enjoyed Helsinki very much, easy to get around. We did not enjoy our Viking Air connections to Moscow 3 flight and Paris to Moscow was booked as Business class but all it relay was was Coach with no one in the middle seat.Our return fro Helsinki was better, but still 3 flights via Paris & Minneapolis Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We travelled in Russia along the Volga River with Scenic in mid-to late June 2017. Be prepared for weather that's on the cool side - mid-teens - and expect some rain. My puffy jacket, boots, umbrella, heavy weight cotton pants, long ... Read More
We travelled in Russia along the Volga River with Scenic in mid-to late June 2017. Be prepared for weather that's on the cool side - mid-teens - and expect some rain. My puffy jacket, boots, umbrella, heavy weight cotton pants, long sleeve tops, and sweater that I had packed got good use on those cool days we were out sightseeing. All of the museums have free coat/umbrella checks so it was comfortable viewing displays indoors. For me, being dressed comfortably for the weather helps me to enjoy the trip. The most important thing that I look for when I book a cruise is the itinerary. This cruise was well named for the 2 jewels on this cruise were Moscow and St. Petersburg for me. In each city our itinerary allowed 4 days. These 2 days were very busy with early starts and late nights while the other 4 days, cruising on the Volga to visit 1 small rural town each day for 2 hours, were very relaxing. We booked Scenic's Volga cruise because of their sight filled itinerary and discounts offered to previous customers. The itinerary included attending evening performances to cultural events in both cities. For example, in Moscow we saw the Moscow Circus which included some amusing animal acts (seals and monkeys), acrobats, clowns, and even some magic. Another night we heard folk singers dressed in a variety of Russian ethnic costumes while they did ethnic dances. Beautiful pictures of an ethnic region were shown as a background behind them. One morning we listened to a most engaging retired Russian cosmonaut speak about his astronaut experiences after we visited the displays in the Cosmonautic Museum which he now was the director of. We had a guided tour of the Armory, located in Red Square, to see some of the Tsars' treasures, followed by a walking tour within the Kremlin walls and a visit to one of its 3 churches - Cathedral of the Archangel - as well as to St. Basils's Cathedral. We had a guided tour of 4 Metro stations each well known for their artistry. We rode on different lines to view these stations for either one or three stops. Although I enjoyed that experience, I wondered if I could find the right hall, the right platform, the right train direction without a guide as all signage was in Russian. I found that when the Metro didn't have several lines using the same station, it was simple finding the right platform and train direction. The Metro token is easily bought at the Metro cashier inside the station (no need to use the ticket machines) and is good of all transfers as long as you don't exit the station. The last day in Moscow I selected to see the Tretyakov Art Gallery to see the paintings of Russian artists while my hubby chose to visit the Museum of Armed Forces. The local guide told the story behind many of the paintings or painters and that commentary made the visit so much more enjoyable. The bus ride into Moscow from the ship's dock will take about 1 1/2 hours due to road construction limiting the number of lanes on the highways/city streets, and the number of cars on the road. It seemed like rush hour traffic that we experience in my city for a few hours lasts all day in Moscow. On a holiday, the traffic is much less, decreasing the ride from dock to city center to 1/2 hour. Our visits to Moscow's sights, passengers were loaded onto 3 buses. Each bus had Scenic's tour guide as well as a local guide who provided the commentary. There were just over 100 guests on this cruise so 3 buses made for comfortable travelling between sights and ship and small group visits to the sights. These Russian guides spoke remarkably understandable English - American accents - and were so informative about local historical events, the buildings and many military monuments we passed by. We heard their commentary with individual receivers. These receivers were unlike Scenic's handheld receivers used in European trips - these were just transmitters - no screen for additional info on city sights, route information. Each day we returned these receivers and picked up another one the following day. In St. Petersburg, the special evening cultural sight included vignettes of well-known ballet pieces performed by dancers from the Mariinsky Theater in Prince Vladimir's palace on the Neva River embankment . The one hour show was preceded with champagne and caviar/smoked salmon snacks. The afternoon visit to the Hermitage was very uncomfortable due to the crowds. With 6 cruise ships in the docks, Scenic wasn't lucky to get an early morning booking which really makes a difference in enjoying the visit to the Hermitage. The visits to Peterhof Palace and gardens and Catherine's Palace and gardens were the highlight trips in St. Petersburg for me. We arrived early to be one of the first groups in each palace so I felt we had a relaxed tour of the beautifully decorated rococo rooms. The ballrooms with marble floors, gilt trim on the ceiling/doors/walls, mirrors, crystal chandeliers and sconces were my favorite rooms. The rooms in these 2 palaces did not smell stuffy or feel cramped/cluttered/outdated as those in the Yusupov Palace - the real attraction in that palace is the story about Rasputin's last hours. The fountains in Peterhof turned on at 11 am so we could enjoy that sight in our garden tour. We left Peterhof with a 1/2 hour ride on the hydrofoil boat. The other garden I enjoyed on our free time was the Summer Garden. The special interest fountains, statues, and walkways along pleached sheared treed paths were more in evidence close to the Neva River embankment. We also visited the interior of the Church of Spilled Blood on our own as well as the Museum of Political History. We ended our cruise in St. Petersburg with a one hour canal cruise along the Moyka River circling the central city. Free time in St. Petersburg allowed us to see the sights not included in the itinerary, but always Scenic provided transportation from city center, where free time started, back to the ship. This trip requires a Russian visa. For us, our application to the Russian embassy in Ottawa took about 3 weeks to process. Filling out the form was time consuming but it could be done online, printed out, then couriered to their embassy. We had purchased our Volga Cruise about 9 months prior to departure time so we were pleased with our cabin selection - 225 - almost mid ship for a quiet sojourn. This cabin had floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that opened out to a balcony like those on cruise ships. This balcony had 2 wooden slat chairs. The room was spacious with comfortable beds where suitcases slid under the bed. There was a TV, but we never had time to switch it on. There were enough outlets for re-charging things. The safe was small (not deep) and easy to re-programme. The room looked modern with white walls, cabinets, and duvet bedding. The draperies shut out the light from early sun rises (3 am). The room was quiet with little noise from adjoining rooms. The bathroom was very small. The shower stall would be tight for heavy/large people. There was no shelf around the small bathroom sink. Washing out clothes would be a problem in that sink and there was a lack of space to hang items to dry There was an odd configuration for hanging clothes in the closet so that space was limited. The room was clean, comfortable; the maid services were the usual. On the Scenic Tsar there were 2 floors of cabins with access to them either by using stairs or elevator. The dining room, lounge, gift shop, and bar were on the main floor. There was one computer terminal with good internet service throughout the trip which I made good use of. The small library beside the computer held a good selection of novels, poetry, and fairytales by Russia's famous writers if one wanted to sample their works. Travellers had also left free paper novels for others to read. The lounge was decorated in cheery red upholstered chairs and sofas - enough for 100+ passengers; the dining room always had white tablecloths and napkins on tables set for 2, 4 or 6. Scenic's 24/7 coffee machine was in the lounge area as well as on the third deck where a running machine and bike could be used, or aerobics could be followed with shakeology on the TV. Most people though used this glassed in third deck for viewing both sides of the Volga river. Early continental breakfast was served in the main lounge with croissants, fresh fruit, and yogurt - a pre-breakfast for early risers. The sundeck had loungers (no pads) and tables and chairs - no sun roof, no pool. We had little time to use the sun roof and the weather didn't encourage its use either. There was no self-serve laundry machine available, but laundry could be sent out. We were pleased with our surroundings on the boat. They were clean, inviting, and comfortable. While mobility challenged passengers had no difficulty on board the ship, they might have had issues during the visits to the attractions. Often the bus had to let off passengers not close to the sight so walking on uneven walkways/cobbles could present a problem. At most sights, there were many stairs to climb as well. Entertainment - a pianist/singer - on the ship was provided each evening after dinner, but we headed straight to bed to rest up for the next day's activities and, also we usually were early risers. In the mornings when cruising the northern sections of the Volga River, the Scenic crew provided Russian lessons, a Matryoshka doll painting session, a gift shop talk, a Q/A session about all things Russian. Many on board enjoyed these activities We enjoyed the meals on the ship. Breakfast and lunches were served buffet style and augmented by selections on the a la carte menu. Dinners were a la carte with 3 selections each for starters, soup, salad, mains, and desserts. There always was a vegetarian selection for the mains. Buffet breakfasts had an egg station, potatoes/sausages/bacon, waffles, crepes or pancakes, hot porridge, cold cereals, deli selections, delicious breads, fresh whole fruit trays as well as cut up oranges/grapefruit, fresh pressed fruit juices. Lunch buffets always had a variety of prepared salads as well as just greens and tomatoes and cukes to make your own salad; different hot soups every day, a carvery with hot vegetables, as well as sandwiches and a dessert table with cakes, pastries, ice cream selections. When we sat down at lunch with our filled plates, we realized that the a la carte menu also had dishes we may have preferred. Wine/beer was included in the meals. The white Russian wine was delicious, but they also offered selections from South Africa, and Spain. I preferred having drinks just with the meal. There were 2 special nights in the dining room featuring Russian and Ukrainian foods. The waitresses, who spoke limited converstaional English but enough to take meal orders, were dressed up in ethnic costumes and the tables had special ethnic decor. The captain also had 2 special dining room nights - a welcome and farewell dinner. I enjoyed the meals on board as well as the lunches we had in the local restaurants in Moscow and in St. Petersburg. These were set up for large groups so service was efficient, the meal was set (no choices, people with special diets showed a card to the waiters), the food varied from Russian foods to international foods, but always the lunches were 4 courses - salad (usually a mixture of cukes and tomatoes), hot soup, main dish, dessert. Lunches lasted about 1 hour and took at least 1/2 hour if not more to reach due to the traffic. Also, these restaurants which seemed to specialize in meals for tour groups usually were located outside of the the main tourist area, except for a Russian Restaurant close to Red Square. Their food was just so delicious from the clear beet broth to the beef stroganoff served in a bread bowl to the 2 delicious cherry filled blinis/crepes for dessert. It was best to have a light breakfast on those days when lunch was at a local restaurant! Another memorable lunch was the BBQ lunch in the picnic area at Mandrogi were the balalaika entertainer was fantastic and the BBQed skewers were delicious. This trip on the Volga was a once in a lifetime trip for us although we had been to St. Petersburg on an ocean cruise before. We had a most enjoyable time on Scenic's Volga cruise!! The sights were terrific, the tours were well planned, the tour guides were informative and understandable; the food was plentiful, varied and tasty; the ship was comfortable. Our time was well used. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The coaches were like new - clean, comfortable rides. After our trip, we had a changed view of Russia. What lovely memories we have of this trip - a highlight in the many years of travelling. Scenic should promote their Volga river cruise in their presentations. It's a gem of a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I took this cruise with my sister and six other family members including my 80 and 82 year old parents. We flew KLM to St. Petersburg Russia. The flight was excellent, we were in the lap of luxury being fed every two hours and enjoying ... Read More
I took this cruise with my sister and six other family members including my 80 and 82 year old parents. We flew KLM to St. Petersburg Russia. The flight was excellent, we were in the lap of luxury being fed every two hours and enjoying our own personal entertainment systems with free headphones. The plane was not full and there was room to stretch out and lay down on vacant rows. On arrival, we were met by the red jacketed Viking tour guides who quickly organized our luggage and escorted us onto nice buses for the ride to our ship. Embarkation went smoothly and we were escorted to our cabin by a cheerful Russian girl. All tips were handled at the end of the cruise so we were spared the hassle of tipping on board. Cabins Our cabin was very nice with adequate room for our belongings. We were situated on the lowest deck right outside the library. The ship is much smaller than a normal cruise ship. It is long and narrow and easy to remember where everything is on board. Our room had two twin beds, a desk with drawers and cupboard, bathroom and a tall closet to hang clothes in. Suitcases were stored under each bed. Storage was not a problem as the room had plenty of cupboards to put our belongings away. We decided to store our dirty laundry in our empty suitcases under our beds and that worked out well. There were not enough outlets for all the things I wanted to plug in and I was glad I brought a small outlet adapter to expand the number of devices I could plug in. The beds were very comfortable with the best comforter ever. Linens were plush and comfy. Towels also great. Our cabin had glasses and an ice bucket for bringing ice from the hallway ice machine. The bathroom is well stocked with shower cap ,shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, lotion, q tips and cotton squares.The shower has a clothes line you can pull out to hang anything wet. My sister washed some undies and hung them up to dry and that worked out fine. For our wet coats, scarves etc...we hung them in the closet and they were dry the next day. We also sent clothes out to the laundry and they were returned the same day. The cost was about $20 for two pairs of pants and three shirts-well worth the money. One of the best features of the cabin was that the window opens! We enjoyed opening the window to get the fresh breeze as we watched the beautiful scenery slip by. The window opens onto a passageway on the outside of the ship and sailors do walk by often so we learned early on to keep our curtain closed when dressing! Our next door neighbors watched TV constantly at a loud volume (remember the passengers were almost all the 70 and older set). I can't imaging what they were watching as the TV choices were terrible. There was nothing worth watching other than the dancers up in the lounge. If you plan to entertain yourself in your cabin, bring your own device and watch Netflix. Dining Room The dining room is at the end of the ship and it was up one floor from our cabin. An elevator is conveniently located right next to the dining room and my parents used it daily. Tables are not assigned and seating is first come, first served. There were only two tables large enough to seat all eight of us, and we found out that we had to get to the dining room early to get one of the large tables or we had to break up into small groups. One of my family members volunteered to go to meals early to reserve our table. It was irritating that we had to plan how to get our table for every meal. The atmosphere in the dining room was wonderful. The waiters were friendly and attentive. The room is spacious but intimate with comfortable lighting and real linens. Mealtime was so much fun for us as we could plan our day, rehash what we saw that day, joke around and just enjoy being together. Library/Computers/Wifi The library is small with a couch, small table and a couple of chairs. Most of the books are coffee table type books on Russia. The ship could provide a leave and take shelf for passengers to donate a book or take one. The computers were in the hall by the library. Two computers with a printer and chairs were available with wifi. I am a college professor and I was teaching my online classes while on the cruise so the computers and wifi were very important to me. The computers were rarely being used and the internet service was very good. Paper and printing were free as well as the internet access. I took my laptop just in case but I didn't need it. I tended to wake up early and go online to do my work before the start of the day. I was worried that I would not get good internet but it turned out fine. I did struggle with the wifi while we traveled through the many locks we encountered on the river. The locks have tall cement walls and as the ship moves into a lock, the wifi is interrupted until the ship rises and moves out of the lock. It was difficult to get any work done at certain places as we encountered lock after lock along some stretches. Lounge/Entertainment On top of the ship above the dining room is a lounge with drinks and snacks. This is where the entertainment takes place along with lectures and games. The passengers were almost exclusively senior citizens so not too many late night activities were going on up here. All of the lectures were broadcast on board into our cabins so we could watch in bed if we wanted to. The couple who provided music every night in the lounge were good. My sister and I enjoyed watching the feed from the lounge at night when passengers danced, not knowing they were on camera. It was strange that we could see them dancing but we could not hear any music (it was still fun to watch them dancing even without music!). The lectures held here were very good. A lot of history and culture discussions. The last lecture was on Russia today and the tour guides answered questions at the end. I was surprised at their candid answers to some hard questions about Russian culture. They were very open and honest about life in Russia under communism and the way Russians live today. The lectures were definitely worth attending or watching in your cabin. There were also games and karaoke in the lounge and we attended some. It is available if you get tired of being in your cabin and decide to mingle a bit. Gift Shop The ship has a small gift shop on board selling Russian items like amber jewelry, stacking dolls, hats, Christmas ornaments, chocolate and other trinkets. The gal who runs the shop was very friendly and helpful. We stopped at her shop almost every day and she was always happy to pull items out of their cases so we could look. My Dad bought me an amber ring at the shop to remember our trip. It is silver with a large amber stone. I love it very much but, alas, it has begun to turn pink as the very thin layer of silver is wearing off. It was not expensive, $30, so I didn't expect it to be the best quality but have only had it two months and it is already failing. It is disappointing that Viking is selling such cheap jewelry on board. You might want to ask the tour guides where to get good silver jewelry rather than purchase it on board. Food Breakfast was a buffet or we could order off a menu. The buffet did not change from day to day. It offered sliced cold cuts of unknown meats (nothing was labeled), breads, eggs, potatoes, meats such as sausage/bacon, omelet station, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit and drinks. I tired of the choices after a few days and got creative with the offerings, a BLT worked well. Berry smoothies and baked goods were passed at our tables by a charming Russian girl carrying a large basket of baked goods. The pastries looked great but were more bread like than pastry. As in many countries, the pastries were not very sweet which was fine with me. I was on Weight Watchers the entire cruise and I was able to make healthy choices and stay on my meal plan mostly. I only gained three pounds in the two weeks so I was very happy. At lunch we were given 3-4 choices usually a soup, sandwich and a hot meal with of course, dessert! Dinner was the highlight of the day. Appetizers, entrees, fruit and cheese plates and dessert. There were always available chicken breast and a steak if you didn't like the entrees offered. One of my family members ordered two entrees for every dinner meal and that was no problem at all. Our waiters were happy to oblige any request. One night my mother asked for a fruit plate and our waiter brought a lovely plate with the fruit artfully arranged and carved. My sister is a vegetarian and there were always choices for her. After meal times snacks were available upstairs in the lounge with coffee, tea and water always provided in the hall outside the dining room. If we got a very late night craving, there was no food to be found. We were glad we brought some granola bars and nuts with us. Staff I can't say enough about the staff on board. They were patient, friendly, accommodating, funny, charming and entertaining. They were the best part of our on board experience. The tour guides were with us most days and they got us where we needed to be and answered endless questions with enthusiasm. It can't be easy to guide a large group of older people but they know what they are doing. Excursions were just the right length and speed for this crowd. Except for my parents, our group was probably the youngest on board (50-60), It did get frustrating at times to be with such an older group. When we would arrive at a destination, there would be time set aside for the bathroom, leaving coats at the coat room and then the tour would begin half an hour later. It was perfect for my parents but some of my family members got antsy waiting. For them, the tour guides were always happy to help them work out a plan to take the subway on their own and explore the city at their own pace. Excursions On this cruise you will see a lot of palace museums and churches. Take every opportunity to go on excursions and see everything but build some down time into your schedule too. Here is my take on the excursions: Hermitage: talk about drinking from a fire hose! So much beauty in one place! So much art work and the building itself is a work of art. The Russians loved to decorate with gold. The museum was busy but we were able to see everything. There is a lot of walking with no benches to sit until the very end. I think my parents would have liked a small folding stool so they could sit down once in a while. We did not buy the early access and I am glad we didn't, the included tour was plenty. Catherine's Palace: Really beautiful. Take time to go outside and explore the gardens and fountains which were running even in October. The amber room is amazing. So many beautiful photo opportunities. Bring a selfie stick, you will tire of asking people to take your picture. Peteroff Palace Probably my favorite of all the palaces. Peteroff is a beautiful town about a half hour outside St. Petersburg. The bus ride was interesting and the town is so pretty and normal. We saw kids playing in the school yard, people walking to the shops and to work. It was nice to get out of the big city. Faberge Museum We had a private tour of this museum, there were about 30 of us and we were in the museum all alone. That was great. We were able to view everything easily. Our guide was very knowledgeable in fact, she gave too much information for me. I found a bench and sat for a bit after looking. I was overloaded with information. The museum is in a beautiful building which was a home. It was well done and modern. Khizi Walking tour Definitely a highlight of the trip. This is fascinating. Loved the old home tour, the church and the bell ringing. The scenery is so beautiful and it was good to get outside and walk around even though it was cold. We dressed for the cold and it was fine. The old church sells icons and it was fun to buy from them. There was some shopping by the dock but not much-save that for Uglich. Yurislaval It rained very hard this day so it was difficult to walk around but we did go to a market where the chef from our ship offered samples of Russian produce, nuts, meats etc... There was a sort of outdoor market there with goods and local people were shopping there. My sister bought a lovely coat for a good price. We also saw a church (of course) and a highlight for me-a group of teenagers in military uniform marching and singing in the park. It seemed to be a youth military group and they were cute. We visited a bank to get money out of an ATM then exchange it for rubles. That was an experience as they did not speak English. Uglich This is the place to shop! The souvenirs are plentiful and the prices are the best. Take a large shopping bag to put it all in or you will have to carry multiple bags. There is a watch shop on the pier with reasonable prices and nice choices. I bought army watches with a Russian tank and red star-great gift for a man, for about $30. Uglich has the best variety of Russian hats in all colors but check the sizes, some are smaller than others. Great Wooden Christmas ornaments, nativities, Santa etc... But buy them on the way back to the ship as they are heavy to carry around. It was raining again so we didn't see much of the town other than the shops close to the pier. Moscow I can only say: Amazing! Red Square is the best. The Kremlin is a lot of walking but so much to see. On our second day in Moscow, some of our group took the subway into town early to see Lenin's Tomb. All of the guidebooks say to skip it but, it was one of my favorite things, so bizarre, so quirky and hey, you just have to see it. I don't understand the desire to keep a man who died 70 years ago on permanent display. Riding the subway was great too. Easy to navigate, safe and clean. The Jewish Museum was the best. New, modern and interesting. Loved being there. Take a minute to order a pastry from the cafe and sit down at a table. Lovely quiet moments there. Leaving Russia was difficult. The entire ship full of passengers arrived at the airport at once and the lines were so long and unorganized with piles of luggage everywhere. Our Viking Guides stepped in and after a couple of shouting matches with the airline reps, we all got where we needed to be. Advice Here is my random advice for anyone on this trip. 1, Take Medication. We got sick with cold/flu. I mean the entire ship got sick, even some of the staff. Take meds like Nyquil, antihistamine, nasal spray, Tylenol whatever you need to feel as good as you can if you get sick. We had to see the on board doctor and pay $50 for what would cost less then $5 at home. If anyone is sick on board, it quickly spreads like wildfire. 2. Take a selfie stick for great pictures with people in them. Much better than just pictures of things. Keep the daily newsletters placed in your cabins, they are a great summary of what you did every day. 3. Try to go out on your own in Moscow if you are up to it. Its fun to mingle with the locals. 4. Try the horse meat. One dinner is Russian food and horse meat is offered. Hey, where else are you going to get a chance to do that? 5. Tip your staff well. Most of them are away from their families trying to earn enough money to get ahead in their home country. Our waiters were both married with children from the Philippines. They were so cute and helpful. One was trying to earn money to buy a mini bus so he could run a business at home. We have so much and they have so little, plan to tip them well but put it into an envelope and give it to them-do not drop it into the Viking tip box at the front desk if you want to be sure they get it. 6. Ask a lot of questions. The tour guides are very helpful and willing to answer anything. 7. Buy Red October Chocolate. It is in a yellow wrapper with a baby on the front wearing a scarf. Delicious and a really great cheap gift for those at home. 8. Don't worry about what you wear. Be super casual and comfortable. No one cares about your wardrobe. 9. Be patient in traffic. St. Petersburg and Moscow have the worst traffic I have ever seen. You will spend a lot of time on the bus stuck in traffic. Take an audio book and headphones on your ipod or phone or some music to pass the time. I enjoyed sitting up front and watching our bus driver navigate around the road rage but you might want something less stressful. Many of our older passengers slept. I hope this is helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Attended Travel/Cruise Show Ex Cel London January 2016 was impressed by both the stand and the sales representative. 'Newbie' cruiser and lone traveller. Found the both the ship and the staff to be wonderful (note nothing to ... Read More
Attended Travel/Cruise Show Ex Cel London January 2016 was impressed by both the stand and the sales representative. 'Newbie' cruiser and lone traveller. Found the both the ship and the staff to be wonderful (note nothing to compare with being my first!) Cabin excellent and daily housekeeper wonderful everything replenished if when required The dining service was excellent at all meal times, mentioned what I believed to be a very average quality of orange juice at breakfast. Once mentioned freshly squeezed provided every day (well impressed) Evening entertainment good and ample additional activities i.e. Russian lessons, cookery class, vodka tasting. Service provided by Senior Crew i.e Hotel Manager, Tour Director, Maitre d' hotel all exemplary. Ports and shore excursions good if somewhat tiring at times particularly at the beginning (Moscow traffic not helping). Also at the end of the cruise very 'full on' to ensure excursions both included and additional had been covered. If you want a restful and relaxing cruise this is NOT it and I in no way convey that in a derogatory manner Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My wife and I wanted to visit Russia and we thought this would be a good way to see the country. We had no idea what a great decision we had made. From the time we landed in Moscow to the time we left to the extended trip to Helsinki, we ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to visit Russia and we thought this would be a good way to see the country. We had no idea what a great decision we had made. From the time we landed in Moscow to the time we left to the extended trip to Helsinki, we never touched our luggage. The service we received was exceptional. The food was fantastic. Our expectations were exceeded only by the restaurant service staff. Service to our cabin was absolutely perfect. The first day on board we found to large bottles of water in our cabin. We emptied the bottles before the evening. From that point forward on the second day we received two bottles in the morning and two in the evening without requesting anything from staff. Everyone paid attention to all our needs without being asked. Ports and shore excursions were unbelievable. We learned so much history from our leaders and they were exceptional in their knowledge of the country. We made a number of cruise friends that we plan to stay in touch with. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016

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