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10 St. Petersburg Scenic Tsar Cruise Reviews

We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye ... Read More
We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye for detail is exceptional, there was never a time she wasn't there for the guests: ensuring all understood the guidelines of what to do, where to meet, along with all the historical places we would be visiting. Every day was a wow! vadim palchun, our historian, program director, and guide was beyond an a++. Vadim"s intellect surpasses any historian we have ever met. Vadim greeted us every day with humor, patience, knowledge and passion for russia as he guided us thru his homeland. The palaces, the cathedrals, the museums, (don't miss the world war 11 museum) the ballet, the rivertours, the folklore show, & the phenominal old moscow circus!!! Was outstanding!!! Truly, surpassed our expectations! the only significant problem involved the limo service from home: to and from the airport, would not want to deal with this limo company again.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is the best way to see the two major cities of Russia, Moscow and St.Petersburg and enjoy the ability to unpack, cruising through the countryside and lake/river/canal systems seeing some unique places and have specialist tour guides ... Read More
This is the best way to see the two major cities of Russia, Moscow and St.Petersburg and enjoy the ability to unpack, cruising through the countryside and lake/river/canal systems seeing some unique places and have specialist tour guides explaining it all. Four full days in the major cities gave time to see all the special places, plus the lunches provided downtown avoided wasted travel time back and forth from the vessel. Several evening entertainment programs were included like the Ballet and Moscow Circus. Comfortable coach transfers to all venues and guides who added to the valuable information The variety of food on offer at all meals, including late suppers was amazing and always fresh fruit to take anytime and a coffee/tea station on two levels. I suggest this cruise had more to offer than most other river options and being fully inclusive of everything except gift shop purchases meant very good value Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We originally selected this cruise because it offered more time in the large cities (Moscow & St. Petersburg) than did several other cruise lines, and my husband needed a slightly larger bathroom because of a disability. Boy, were we ... Read More
We originally selected this cruise because it offered more time in the large cities (Moscow & St. Petersburg) than did several other cruise lines, and my husband needed a slightly larger bathroom because of a disability. Boy, were we glad that we went with Scenic! It was outstanding!! The itinerary was full of just the things that you want to see and experience in Russia--with lots of extras along the way. First, let us tell all potential Russian cruisers that you will not be staying in the city center on any of the Russian cruises (as you may be used to on most European river cruises). There is a Russian law that the riverboats must stay in port areas that are outside the downtown areas. This can result in up to an hour bus ride when getting into the downtown areas. It is a toss up as to just being in a downtown location, not having to pack and unpack so much, and seeing all the wonderful things along the river. Although Russia is obviously SO much bigger than this cruise, you will feel like you have seen a good deal of it by the time you finish this trip. The river sites and packing and unpacking (and all things arranged) won for us. The buses were comfortable and the cruise folks used the time wisely to let us know so very much about their country. Also, you may want to come a few days earlier and leave a few days later to "see it all" (like the Bolshoi), as even with the extra days, it may not be enough. The boat itself was really nice. Our cabin on the second level was roomy and always spotless, the food was really good to fantastic, the tour guides (both local and from the cruise line) were extremely knowledgable and honest with responses to questions, and the activities were very special along the way (both in port and along the river). Due to the distance from the boat during some tours, the lunch restaurants were upscale and provided a good experience. Service in the ship's restaurant and other areas was always with grace and a smile (which smiling to strangers, by the way, is not always cultural for Russians...and not smiling was seen as unwelcoming on other cruise lines by some Western colleagues who reported this on other cruise lines in the past). We thought that all service in all areas was superb on this ship. We would definitely go again with this cruise line. In fact, Scenic is offering another cruise south from Moscow that will extend their season into October (when the northern route begins to freeze over) which we will take at some point. Let me say some things about the tours and activities. Some are just what you want and expect (city tours, etc.), but DO NOT go to Moscow without seeing the circus and the folk show in Moscow--both are fantastic, especially the circus!! We can't say enough about both of them. If you can't see the Bolshoi in Moscow (which we do recommend as the finest on earth and as a "whole story"), Scenic's offering of ballet "highlights" in St. Petersburg with a reception in an old palace was also very great in terms of the artistic expertise. Simple but fun things along the way on the river really made this cruise unique...Russian language lessons, learning Russian songs and "a concert" to fellow travelers, vodka tasting, painting dolls, a participatory Russian play, etc., etc., made for a good time. Scenic is an Aussie company, and you can count on the Aussies (who made up the majority of the guests) to be lots of fun! Finally, this cruise ran like a fine-turned machine. Every single thing fell into place perfectly. If they said that someone would be at your hotel to transfer you, they were there on the dot! They provided us with everything we could have wanted. It was not an all together cheap date, but we had an excellent cabin and felt that we got the cream of Russia. Finally, the cruise director and other two cruise guides were professional to the highest degree. They made a fantastic team (Svetlana in organization, Arty in keeping us laughing, and Valdim in knowledge). Scenic's extra care and attentiveness allowed my husband (who has a slight disability) to see and do every single thing. We truly felt like we left family when we left this ship at then end of our time. Book without hesitation!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Russia and the cruise had the added bonus of Andrew Davis and John Simpson to talk to us. The whole event more than exceeded our expectations. The accommodation was great, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Russia and the cruise had the added bonus of Andrew Davis and John Simpson to talk to us. The whole event more than exceeded our expectations. The accommodation was great, the food ample and delicious and the service on board was exceptionally attentive and kind. Our tour directors worked tirelessly during the excursions to ensure that we had all the information we needed to get the most out of the places we were seeing. The program of events and excursions was extensive. A real highlight was attending the performance of Swan Lake in the Kremlin which was quite wonderful. We also enjoyed seeing so much of St Petersburg and Moscow with several points in between. The barbeque on Mandrogi was great fun - the entertainment in particular. We can certainly recommend this trip to anyone who would like to explore Russia. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Cabin was fine, the same size as other cabins but this ship is not a spaceship and has been renovated and converted so the cabin is nowhere near as good as the other scenic ships. The staff on board are great, very helpful and ... Read More
Cabin was fine, the same size as other cabins but this ship is not a spaceship and has been renovated and converted so the cabin is nowhere near as good as the other scenic ships. The staff on board are great, very helpful and accommodating the best staff we have ever had on a cruise, they were wonderful. The food was fair only, drinks were only offered free with meals and often hard to get. The scenic Booking office here in Australia is woeful,they were of little help if you ask a question, I received a response to my question three days after I had boarded the cruise and this morning Scenic rang me to advise my wait list for the same cruise was now available,I explained I finished this cruise 10 days ago! Scenic booked our flights, we were taken from the ship way to early for our 1.5 hr flight resulting in a wait of 4.5 hrs wait at the airport. We then waited another 6.5 hrs in Frankfurt for our Singapore connection. If I had booked myself I would have selected connecting flights which were available. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We wanted to go to St Petersburg and Moscow and we researched the variuos options. Scenic seemed to tick all the boxes since it was not to big a boat and seemed to have an excellent and comprensive itinerary. We also liked the look of the ... Read More
We wanted to go to St Petersburg and Moscow and we researched the variuos options. Scenic seemed to tick all the boxes since it was not to big a boat and seemed to have an excellent and comprensive itinerary. We also liked the look of the cabins and other areas on the boat. Despite the efforts of BA we were only a few hours late getting on board and had our first experience of the superb tour guides, in this case Arty. It just went up hill from thenon. The food was good (especially the Russian and Georgian white wine!) both on board and on the various excursions. The cabin was all we could have asked for and was kept spotlessy clean just like the rest of the boat. The excursions were exhausting for a couple in their late seventies but back on board and after a quick rest we were ready to go! Russia itself with all the various sights was awe inspiring and always an excellent choice . The special tour guides for each visit were excellent. The evening entertainment off board was superb, the ballet, the circus and the Folk Evening.. As for the on board entertainment wow! I hope i get the chance to sing in Russian again!..and as for Arty's pantomine- we split our sides....the vodka tasting evening touched all the right places as well. And now the staff - From the Captain down they were without exception fantastic. ...above all the four tour guides literally made the trip, From the lovely Diana in charge, to Svetlana who taught me some Russian, then Vadim the historian who was so enthusiastic about his country (as they all were )and last but not least Arty, whose self deprecating humour kept us in stitches. Thank you Scenic Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Scenic Tours are to be thoroughly applauded for their excellent service, from our departure, throughout our tour, to our return home to Melbourne! On our arrival in St Petersburg, we were met by our Tour Guide and were escorted to our ... Read More
Scenic Tours are to be thoroughly applauded for their excellent service, from our departure, throughout our tour, to our return home to Melbourne! On our arrival in St Petersburg, we were met by our Tour Guide and were escorted to our cruiser, "The Scenic Tsar". For the next 4 days, we were expertly guided through the wonderful city of St. Petersburg, including; Peterhof's Grand Palace, Yusupov Palace (where Rasputin was murdered), The Hermitage Museum, St Catherine's Palace, and finally, an exclusive Ballet performance for all guests. For the next number of days, we sailed the canals, lakes and rivers on our way to Moscow. Many historic villages. churches and museum sites were visited during our voyage. Finally, in Moscow, Scenic took us around some amazing sights, including; Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Museum of Astronautics and the famous Kremlin. A ride on the Moscow Metro was an eye-opener for fast, efficient, inexpensive and ultra-clean public transportation. Whilst in Moscow, we were treated to evening's entertainment at the world famous Moscow Circus, and the legendary Russian National Dance Show. During our two weeks with Scenic, our impressions of Russia exceed all of our expectations! The service provided by the staff and crew of the Scenic Tsar was exemplary, as were the meals. All meals included drinks. Our cabin was always kept impeccably clean Lastly, it was a relief that all tips, side trips, drinks during meals and special performances were all paid for in advance. This made life much simpler! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We wanted to see interior of Russia and Russia in its new economic age. Scenic offered the most opportunities to experience not just the country but the culture and the people. We were not disappointed. The ship and our accommodations ... Read More
We wanted to see interior of Russia and Russia in its new economic age. Scenic offered the most opportunities to experience not just the country but the culture and the people. We were not disappointed. The ship and our accommodations were good, fellow travelers, mostly Australians, were great, the staff was excellent, and Scenic takes care of you from landing to takeoff. We never once were concerned about our safety or unsure about logistics. But do not go to Russia to have an American or European experience. Russia is fabulous and huge and the people are kind and patient. But Russia is Russia. We loved it because we expected it to be different. Others may not. Our cabin, always clean, had a balcony, adequate storage, and a refrigerator. All our meals on board were well prepared, with wine and beer at lunch and dinner. There were not dozens of courses, nor exotic foods, but the chef offered variety with special nights for Ukranian and Russian specialties. There were always 3 entree choices, with one vegetarian. Entertainment varied from a concert by Dmitry, a professional pianist, to a "special concert" of singing and dancing provided by those of us from the Russian language class. Vodka presentations, doll making and painting and Russian dancing "lessons" were a few of the other opportunities available. But mostly we traveled. This trip is a challenge for the immobile, but worth the effort to see the glory of this lovely country. Get your legs in shape before you go. In St. Petersburg, we toured numerous Russian Orthodox churches and monasteries and palaces. The restaurants in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, where we ate lunches, were a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One night we went to a champagne reception and the ballet in a royal palace. In Moscow, we saw everything by boat and bus, attended the circus and an indescribable folk dance show. All included in the cost of the cruise. Scenic left nothing out and hid nothing from us. We still don't know how the company made a profit. The journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow will open your eyes to the immensity and the difficulty of ruling this country. History is before you at every turn of the rivers. The engineering wonder of the canals and the lakes is awe inspiring along with the sad knowledge of how they we're built. But Russia today hides nothing. We were given numerous opportunities to explore the cities on our own, with a bus that dropped us in the center of the commercial and cultural districts to shop or just people watch. I save the best for last. Our guides were all Russians, beautifully spoken with a sense of humor that can only come from living in a country that changes the names of its cities every century or so. Diana is honest and proud and leads a team of 3 other guides with superior knowledge and unsurpassed patience. No request was too insignificant or impossible ---well maybe the desire by one of the Aussies to take home a bear tooth as a souvenir. They fielded rude references about thIer government with professionalism but welcomed intensive questions about all aspects of Russia today. There are lessons to be learned from the Russians by those of us who today live with politically correct limits and the daily destruction of our historical "icons". I encourage everyone who longs to see the old and new Russia to remove blinders and travel with Scenic on this wonderful adventure. This is absolutely the best buy in travel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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
Sail Date June 2015
We have wanted to see Russia for a long time so when Scenic offered the trip on the Scenic Tsar (AKA Alexander Grinn) we were delighted. We started our trip in Berlin with Scenic and had about 12 days before we got to Russia. On arriving ... Read More
We have wanted to see Russia for a long time so when Scenic offered the trip on the Scenic Tsar (AKA Alexander Grinn) we were delighted. We started our trip in Berlin with Scenic and had about 12 days before we got to Russia. On arriving at St Petersburg we were transferred to the ship for our accommodation. Embarkation was well organised and our luggage was delivered to our cabin shortly after we arrived. Trips were well organized to see the sights and every effort had been made to ensure that we were able to see all the sights, such as the Hermitage, which often became crowded before the large numbers arrived. As we have dietary issues we were asked to notify the company well in advance and the ship could not have been more helpful. The staff ensured I was informed of dishes which had ingredients I was allergic to and there was always the a la carte menu I could select from as well. When we went on excursions we were given cards which detailed my allergies and the fact that my husband was a diabetic. We only had one lunch where there was an issue on an excursion and the restaurant tried to solve the issue and ended up providing a salad. One of our group had become ill on the land part of the trip and the doctor on the ship diagnosed pneumonia. The service that the ship provided was really great with ambulance transfer to the American Hospital and one of our guides from the ship going with her and her husband to ensure all arrangements were suitable for both of them. They also went back over the next 2 days to check that all was well and to ensure that arrangements were made to transfer them home when she was well enough to travel. Cabins were comfortable and the balcony was a pleasant place to sit in the evening to watch the sunsets. Room service was unobtrusive and efficient and rooms were always spotless. All staff on board were friendly and went out of their way to make sure that every request was met. Each day there was a meeting to ensure we knew what was happening the following day and to answer questions that may have arisen. Also if problems did occur they were dealt with efficiently and without a fuss. The ship had a lift which allowed me to move around the ship quite easily and staff were always available if the gangplank was steep to assist those with limited mobility to board and exit the vessel. The range of shore excursions was varied with city life, life of the Tsars, country excursions, religious and cultural experiences and highlights for us, a ride on the Moscow Underground, a visit to the Space museum with a question and answer session with an actual cosmonaut and many visits to art galleries and collections. Cultural activities were offered on board some nights and on others we were taken to events at venues off the ship. Our only problem with these was the rude habit of other guests holding either their ipads or telephones up in the air in front of us to record the event and blocking our view. We had gone to see the concert not their electronic device! The guides from the ship (all 3) were always on the look out for any issues and when the security at the Kremlin wanted me to remove my prosthesis in my knees because they were metal this was quickly resolved by one of our guides. Our other delight was that one of the guides was a professor of art from the university who was working as a guide during the holidays and she made our tours of the various art collections an absolute joy. Her passion for the art of her country was self evident and she imparted so much knowledge to us we came home understanding so much more not only of the art but of the history of Russia as depicted in the art works. Disembarkation was interesting. We were the only people going to the new airport so a car was provided to take us there and the trip was excellent. At the airport we were met by one of the English speaking guides who took us as far as the security at the front door where he was not able to enter. He pointed out to us the counter we needed to go to for our flight and wrote down the things he thought we would need to ask or answer when we were in there. At that point he had to leave us as security do not let anyone who does not have a ticket enter the building. We got through with only one slight problem which was where to pay for the excess baggage as they would not issue the boarding pass until the fee was paid and we had no Russian and the staff generally had no English. This has been one of the most stunning trips we have done and was definitely well worth the money. I would recommend it as a wonderful cultural experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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