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Sail Date: June 2019
We took our very enjoyable 1st ever river cruise - Viking’s River of the Tsars. The quality of accommodation, services, food, and tours was in all cases very good. Our chief disappointment was their disregard for a very simple way ... Read More
We took our very enjoyable 1st ever river cruise - Viking’s River of the Tsars. The quality of accommodation, services, food, and tours was in all cases very good. Our chief disappointment was their disregard for a very simple way to operate in a more environmentally sustainable way by reducing their use of single use water bottles which they pass out by the hundreds daily. Despite repeated efforts after our return to learn why they choose not to provide reusable water bottles and water, we have been unable to get an explanation, in part perhaps because they seem to have no department to which environmental performance/sustainability is assigned. If attention to environmental protection/sustainability is important to you, please bring a reusable water bottle. The water on board is perfectly safe to drink, and is served at meals and in the bars. Also please REPLY TO THIS POSTING indicating if you too would be happier as a Viking customer if they provided a reusable water bottle and water refilling stations, so that their corporate decision makers can see that this is something that their customers value and want. Food service was very attentive and meals were tasty and well presented. The wine and beer served with lunch and dinner were of good quality. The tour guides provided from the ship were very well versed in information of interest, and their English was easy to understand. Some of the optional tours especially in Moscow could easily be done at substantially lower cost on one’s own using the very efficient and low cost subway system. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian ... Read More
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian language lessons and the games. We liked the history lectures. We enjoyed all of the tours. But it is tough when you have to choose between 2 at the same time. All of the tour guides did a great job. I did do one comment card about the Moscow subway for I felt that the directions should have been given above ground where you could hear. You could not hear on the whisperers down in the station and I felt that some of our group were very uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go on the Moscow subway so please keep that in. We enjoyed the ballet in St. Petersburg but would have also liked to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Loved the Cossack show. Enjoyed the vodka tasting. Thought that the meet your neighbor was a great idea--did not have that on a previous Viking Cruise. Loved the balloons when we left Moscow. It was a really great cruise and I have told many people about it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism ... Read More
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism of the Viking crew and guide specialists was without equal. All of the towns and cities we visited on shore excursions had their particular charm and interesting history. The Swan Lake opera, my first ever, was simply awesome. The Russian symphony was unbelievable. Don't miss it. As for the ship Helgi, it was a total positive experience. The cabin was comfortable ands provided all of the room we needed. The dining experience was exceptional each and every day. Wonderful, perfectly prepared food was served at each meal. Our servers, Nastia, Chazie, and Jill made certain we were happy. Visiting Moscow and St.Petersburg for 3 days each taught us much about the citizenry. Take the trip, you'll not regret it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were informative, the entertainment was a singer and a man playing the piano every night. The service of most of the ship members was good, what you would expect, with the exception of the dining room. The excursions all seemed to include three churches, which got old. St Petersburg was nice, Moscow not so much. In between we stopped in small towns, toured the churches and looked at icons. But we did have one major problem. When we booked we let Viking know we have a special diet; for health reasons we don't eat meat or dairy products (vegan diet). They said it wouldn't be a problem and it wasn't last time so we were really looking forward to the cruise from St Petersburg, Russia to Moscow. We got on board and were encourage to buy future cruise credits. We signed up to buy four. At dinner the first night we asked to speak with the head waiter to let him know we were the passengers with the special diet. I told him that for us, enjoying good food really makes for a good cruise. I let him know instead of expensive meat and deserts, we like beans, black, pinto, kidney, tofu, steamed or grilled vegetables and potatos. He said oh, we have limited amounts of those. We were docked in St. Petersburg four days and a grocery store was within walking distance, if Viking would have cared to get these items. At our request, the head waiter would bring us the menu for the next day so we could see what we could eat and request additional items. Every night we would ask for some additional vegetables, rice, potatos or beans and almost every day we came to lunch and dinner and did not get any of these items. When we asked our server where are the vegetables we asked for, they would respond, the chef didn't make them. This went on day after day, until the ninth day. For lunch we were given a bowl of hot water with a few pieces of potato in it and a small bowl of rice. We asked for the vegetables we ordered and were told the chef did not make them. I left lunch hungry and it was six hours until dinner. At dinner I was so hungry, I called over the head waiter, raised my voice and told him what has been happening is unacceptable. Day after day we ask for inexpensive food that is easy to prepare and we come to the table and get nothing! How do you expect us to enjoy the curise when we are walking around hungry all the time? We have been on almost 20 cruises and have never had such poor food in quality or quanity. The last three days of the cruise, the food improved. The chef said at the beging of the cruise we would gain five pounds, I lost two pounds and had to tighten my belt a notch so my pants wouldn't fall down. UNBELIVABLE! Needless to say, we cancled purchasing future cruise credits. This was our second and last Viking cruise. At the conclusion of the cruise I filled out a survey and let Viking know about our unpleasent experience. We have been home well over a month now and Viking has not sent an email or called to explain the horrible service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow ... Read More
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg best met our needs at this time. Partly because of the language barrier, partly because of the current world tensions, and partly because of security concerns. We learned the Russian alphabet and mastered a few key phrases (but English was spoken almost everywhere), international tensions were not an issue as the Russian Federation appears to use tourism as a major source of income, and Viking or local representatives were with us every day should some unforseen event occur (very helpful and conscientious) - no issues whatsoever. Representatives from Viking met us after we exited Moscow immigration and customs. They had lists of who was arriving on what airline, by time, and flight number. Our baggage was placed on carts and we did not see them until we entered our room on the ship. A bus was waiting for us a took us directly to the boat. During that transition time, the Viking representative explained the arrival process at the ship as well as pointed out several local sites. Checking into our room on the Akun was easy and uncomplicated. Very smooth and organized process from airport to room. Viking offered multiple included tours and additional paid tours options. Our days were full - often starting first thing and ending late at night. Consequently, we had not fully recovered from jet lag before beginning our scheduled tours. We highly recommend arriving one full day before your cruise to get acclimated. Several of our fellow trip goers, who have taken many river cruises, stated they always arrive a day or two early. Viking put them up at very nice hotels - even if they do not sign up for the extended before and after tour options (which we did not). The Viking Akun was ship worthy and functioned very well. We hardly knew we were on the water. No smell of exhaust fumes. The boat's floorplan was well designed and posted at several locations for ease of finding restaurants, bars, meeting places, library, business center, entertainment, gift shop, stairs, elevator, and front desk. Exits were marked and getting on and off the boat was easy. Our cabin was light, airy, and well maintained. The bed was comfortable and we slept well. More comments are in the Cabin Remarks section of this survey. Meals were excellent with samples of Russian cuisine as well as American favorites. Breakfast offered typical American buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, rolls, juice, coffee, etc. as well as the more European Continental meal. Lunch and Supper were menu offerings. We ate our breakfast and lunch meals in the forward panoramic bar since we prefer Continental bills of fare. Breakfast in the restaurant was too plentiful and the bar at lunch offered at least two of the main menu lunch items. Evening meals were always in the restaurant and we tried all the Russian food offerings. As with any food in any country, much of it was very tasty and a couple items less palatable. One note, if you enjoy alcohol libations we highly recommend the "Silver Drinks Package". Our participation in on-board activities were limited as we signed up for multiple off-ship tours. We were too tired to partake in the evening games, dances, musicians, and singers events. Although we did hear from many guests who stated they had a great time at those activities. That being said, we participated in a few events: the Russian wine tasting, Vodka tasting, and lectures on Russian history, the Czars, the Soviet era, Perestroika and Glasnost, and the Russia government today. Those lectures opened the door to discuss, in more detail, Russia today with some of the local guides. As we learned Russian before our trip, we did not participate in the Russian language classes on the boat. Overall service was wonderful. The staff was friendly and were gracious hosts. Many were open to discussing where they were from, how they became Viking employees, what they did outside of tourism (expecially when the river froze and during off-season), and what was their original field of endeavor. Prices in the gift shop were modest, competitive, and not overly expensive as with most places of similar nature. We were not "gouged" because of our captive audience status. At only one restaurant meal was the service "off" as we seemed to have been ignored. We think that was because we may have inadvertantly offended or embarassed the server by pointing out to the Maître d' her excellent performance the previous night. There was no issue with ports of call. All, except one, were located in or within walking distance of the local community. Shore excursions were well orchestrated and informative. Local guides offered insights not provided by "company" tour guides. Often, we were allowed entry into the venue an hour before the general public. The only disappointing aspect were the hour-long bus rides, from the boat to the event, through city traffic in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. However, those were offset by the knowledgeable guides who passed the time pointing out additional key sites, talking Russian history, or answering tourists' questions. For specific events, we recommend the Russian Ballet and Cossac Dancers. Sites worth your time are: Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin in Moscow (and again at night); the Hermitage extended tour, the Winter Palace, and Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg. We took both local river cruises. Moscow at night was disppointing, but necessary to see Red Square lite up at night. For the adventurous, one could go there on their own. The daytime river cruise in St. Petersburg was shotened because of heavy rains which flooded the river and prevented the boat from passing under multiple bridges. So, we cannot offer a full opinion. The communities and sites along the rivers and lakes between Moscow and St. Petersburg are worth the trip, as well. Checking out of the Akun, paying our bill, and leaving Russia was as coordinated, orgainized and easy as arriving. Our luggage was handled by Viking until we got to the airport. The Viking representative expedited our processing through security and baggage screening. Having been through similar scrrenings in other countries, we are sure having a Viking person at security afforded less scrutiny that usual. We are definitely considering additional Viking River Cruises as well as Ocean Cruises which we have never before taken. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. ... Read More
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. We have been on several River Cruises but this was our first Viking experience. Viking's staff and service beat our other experiences hands down. Every member of the Viking Team went over and above to delight us.First Jason, who we booked the tour with was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The Air Plus team did a great job. There was a hurricane looming on the East Coast and the Air Plus team worked diligently to try to help us avoid any issues. THEN, we arrived in Russia and were welcomed right away by the Viking Team. They made us feel so welcome and comfortable. The service on board was amazing. The chef was outstanding, overseeing the preparation of delightful dishes from morning to night. They were able to accommodate special dietary needs with no problem. And RUSSIA! We were in awe of the beauty at every turn. There were so many wonderful sights. The ports and shore excursions were outstanding. Our experience with the people of Russia was so positive. We felt comfortable and welcome everywhere. The itinerary enabled us to start in Moscow and remain there for 3 days and end in St. Petersburg and remain there for several days. It was so nice to be able to stay in one place for the duration of our trip. We were so pleased with our Veranda cabin and the private balcony. We also were delighted that we could watch the port talks and history discussions from the comfort of our cabin. The entertainment and activities were fun and informative. Viking held a "meet and greet" hallway cocktail party to enable us to meet all the folks in the nearby cabins. That was FUN. This is a great trip and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the adventure of a lifetime! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We ... Read More
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We found Russia impeccably clean, their population friendly, St. Petersburg an incredible beauty and Moscow, as my title suggests, enchanting. Tagging (wall art/graffiti) visible in only a few small areas. I would strongly encourage everyone to visit this country if your are able. What has always been clear is that once governments are removed from the equation, we are all the same. Now as to our 13 day Viking cruise. The ships are not the usual long ships owned by Viking but rather vessels leased from Russia. They are very clean, but devoid on any luxury. Our staff was cordial, a few members exceptional, the food good (not great) and the shore excursions generally well managed. I realize you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but a few less palaces, monasteries, etc., and more occasion to mix with the population would be vastly more appealing to us. As usual, almost all passengers were from America so ones horizons are not much expanded by interactions. There are other cruise lines that have the same or similar itineraries, so I look over the reviews carefully before making a decision. The guides that Viking uses are almost to a person bright and learned. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I ... Read More
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I believe it is possible to take a city bus to the Metro station on the other side of the river. There is an ATM in a souvenir shop on the dock if you need Rubles. In Moscow the Metro station is closer to the dock if you want more free time in town. We were able to see a lot in St Petersburg and Moscow, but the river trip between them really gave me a change to see more of Russia. Unlike the western Europe trip there was more time spent on Russian History, the Russian language and showing us a Russian home, which I found interesting. I was surprised at how open and honest our guides were. They did a great job showing us their country. I returned with a better understanding of Russia and its people than I had before. I felt safe everywhere we went, and really enjoyed the trip. The ship and cabin were very nice but the ships on the Rhine had a better layout. The food was very well prepared and I really liked that a lot of the staff were Russian. On our Rhine cruise there was one management level person who was Austrian, the rest were from the Philippines. They were all competent on both trips, but it was great to interact with the people from the country you are visiting. One mistake we made was not taking the optional tour of the Hermitage. The museum was extremely crowded and difficult to see much. Skip one of the other optional tours in St Petersburg but take the optional Hermitage tour and also Peterhof Palace and garden. We had a great time in Russia. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport ... Read More
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport and whisked away to our very nice hotel right downtown across the street from St. Isaac's Cathedral. We spent some time exploring the city on our own, then went on a Viking sponsored walking tour as well. Finally we checked out of our hotel and Viking collected our luggage and bussed us (and other Viking Passengers) out to where the Ship was moored. We spent a couple more days in St. Petersburg exploring more of the city and surrounding countryside. We did Viking Bus tours, Walking Tours, and even a boat tour seeing all of the major sites in and around the city. Our Guides were all very knowledgeable and professional and had unique access to a number of the sites. The ship has appx. 200 passengers on board. Our cabin was spacious enough so we could easily unpack all of our clothes and not worry about re-packing and moving as if staying in a hotel. Our room had all the amenities of a modern hotel. The ship was very clean and the staff super friendly. Most all meals were on board the Ship and were bountiful and tasty with a wide variety of food choices, including Russian and regional dishes. Both Ala Carte and Buffet dining options are available. The cost of all your meals and drinks with dinner are included in the cruise price. There is no assigned seating for meals, so we dined with many different interesting people. Other activities while on board include informational lectures about Russia, both historically & current times, and Russian Language lessons. Viking offers several onboard fun activities like Vodka Tasting too. There is plenty to do while on board: there is a small gift shop, a small library, of course a bar/lounge with musical entertainment, an open air deck topside with a covered area, and a second lounge area at the stern. The crew and staff work hard so you feel like a pampered guest, and they succeed. The ship stops every day to visit interesting places along the way with shore excursions. We stopped at two open air museums (Kizhi & Mandrogy) with buildings that had been brought in from various parts of Russia, these were often staffed with period correct craftspeople who could answer questions, as well as sell hand crafted items. We also stopped at a small city (Uglich) where we went on a walking tour and visited a local Russian couple in their home to talk of their life in Russia. And we visited a larger city (Yaroslavl) for a walking tour, a visit to the food & craft market and visits to other sites. We visited many religious sites (Russian Orthodox), Churches, Cathedrals and Monastaries. I was surprised by the amount of religious art, treasure and influence that has survived in Russia. There are also ample shopping opportunities along the way & your guides will let you know where you can get the bes deals. Finally it was on to Moscow for the finish of our trip. We spent several days in Moscow, again seeing all of the major sites through walking tours, bus tours, and a boat tour. The only downside in both St. Petersberg & Moscow is the ship docks are outside the cities a ways, so you will be in for daily bus rides of an hour to an hour and a half to get from the ship to the city centers. Overall on this trip I feel like we saw the best parts (and a wide variety) of Russia. Both St. Petersburg and Moscow are large cosmopolitian cities with lots of attractions to visit. The Russian people were friendly and open and honest with us. The open air museums give a sense of what life in the countryside was like, and it helped to visit smaller towns and cities to see what daily life in Russia is like. We went to many museums and palaces and religious sites. The guides of Viking are terrific and knowledgeable as are the site specific guides they use. This was a very enjoyable and easy trip and I would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very ... Read More
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very soon!!!.. The offerings were just plain cheap.. Canned tuna, TILAPIA!!! (Possibly the dirtiest and worst fish you can ever eat) Roast Turkey?? etc... If this is because of the tariffs imposed on western goods in Russia, they should have offer boil potatoes and soup.. In general the food was a disaster to say the least.. Talking with the crew, I found out that the menus are designed in their corporate offices, so I will say the Chef had nothing to do with it.. Even if he did poorly a couple of times.. The service was great but missed orders several times.. The entertainment was talented,,, but not for this venue.. Eventually people started calling the bar "The Nap Room".. Their repertoire was extremely elevator music.. Terrible.. Our room was always impecable thanks to the cleaning staff. Our excursions and enrichment were absolutely Fantastic.. We are now booked on Viking for Vietnam and Cambodia for December 2019. We are seriously considering canceling.. It is sad to see Viking slowly going down on the quality of the menus.. I would highly recommend visiting Russia, but not on Viking until they fix their food offerings.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise for the two end destinations - St. Petersburg which we had seen briefly in the past, and Moscow which we had no special knowledge about. The ports in between were not "must see" destinations but were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the two end destinations - St. Petersburg which we had seen briefly in the past, and Moscow which we had no special knowledge about. The ports in between were not "must see" destinations but were very pleasant places to spend a short amount of time. There is very little jaw-dropping scenery as there are in fjords, but the birch forests are calming and beautiful. The Viking ship was quite nice, with good room amenities, and staterooms seemed slightly larger than comparable ocean cruise staterooms. The food was good, but not varied, due to the small size of the ship and kitchen. The local specialties were well done and tempered to western expectations. The ship had a stellar housekeeping crew, both charming and efficient. The land tours, most which were part of the basic cost, were excellent, and the tour guides were also responsible for the learning and orientation sessions on the ship, which gave good continurity throughout the cruise. 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
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the ... Read More
I always wanted to see russia....but the overseas issues made me a little queezy ....viking cruise people walked me through the entire process....no question was to silly. ...i received my visa and set my date! Our ship was the akun!...fabulous, clean cabin. large window for a wonderful view of the countryside and made our cabin so bright! the dining was 5 star every day. how they could make that many fabulous meals and get it perfect every day is beyond me! the activities and entertainment was first class. no request was too much for the crew to deal with. i was treated like a superstar! the itinerary was perfect! we saw all the sights, met the people, sampled the cuisine and absorbed every minute on and off the ship! russia is the most fascinating country. the people are so friendly and love sharing their culture. i'd go back in a heartbeat....but i want to see all the other spots viking has to offer. they take all the worry and 'fret' out of traveling. viking wrapes me in the finest silk and guides me through the joys of seeing new adventures. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river ... Read More
My husband and I were interested in visiting Russia but were hesitant to do so without professional guidance. A friend, Jeanne Newman Glock, is very familiar with Viking and convinced us that we would not be disappointed in a Viking river cruise in Russia. She was absolutely correct! At her suggestion we read Catherine the Great and Nicholas and Alexandra by Massie before our departure so that St. Petersburg would be more meaningful. The tours that Viking arranged in St. Petersburg were excellent and the guides were very knowledgeable. Visiting the Hermitage, touring St. Petersburg's canals by boat, the Catherine Palace, and Peterhof Palace were highlights of our stay. There were other activities we elected not to do but the very fact that they were available speaks to the commitment Viking has to offer a variety of local things of interest. Once on the waterways there were opportunities to visit villages and world heritage sights as well as to relax in the comfort of our room or the public areas of the ship. Going through the first lock was a novel experience for many of the passengers and exclamations led to introductions and new acquaintances. Viking provided at no additional costs many other opportunities to "meet the neighbors", from a champagne get together outside of our cabins, to a toast from the captain to the guests, to a Taste of Russia lunch on the sun deck. Our last three days were in Moscow and the tours there were exceptional. Our favorited was Moscow by Night. I am sure that very few travelers have been fortunate enough to experience that incredible show of light on buildings, statues and water! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We throughly enjoyed the cruise. It really showed us Russia. The excursions presented by Viking gave us a true feeling of the culture and people. It provided us with a new appreciation of Russia, her people and history. The food ... Read More
We throughly enjoyed the cruise. It really showed us Russia. The excursions presented by Viking gave us a true feeling of the culture and people. It provided us with a new appreciation of Russia, her people and history. The food was excellent. There was a great variety and the Russian cusine was very good. The soup with each dinner was the best. The ship and common areas were nicely decorated and kept clean and inviting.The cabin was a little small but about the same as on other ships. It was nicely decorated and the balcony was great. Everything was kept clean and neat. All of the crew were friendly and did their job well. I would definetly reccomend this cruise to anyone. However, I am not sure young children would enjoy it. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth. We took the 3 day extention to Helsinki and loved it. We can hardly wait to go on our next Viking Cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This seemed like a great opportunity to get to know the Russian people and tour Western Russia. Previous experience with Viking indicated we would be well cared for and have great tours aside from the cruise itself. The major drawback for ... Read More
This seemed like a great opportunity to get to know the Russian people and tour Western Russia. Previous experience with Viking indicated we would be well cared for and have great tours aside from the cruise itself. The major drawback for us was that the ship used on this tour was older than those of our previous tour and the cabins were smaller. We were not as comfortable and we spent more time on our veranda...roomier than the main cabin. The crew was wonderful and we continue our contact with some. Some off-ship tours were better than others, but all offered opportunities to experience Western Russia. One problem was that many stops along the way were "tourist" destinations and lacked actual Russian social contact. The highlights were in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In-between, experiences were highly variable between great and subpar. My husband has limited mobility, and most tours required walking distances beyond his ability. We did not participate in some tours because of this and since we had scheduled them, we were still charged even though we could not participate. Viking's rating of tour levels of difficulty did not adequately allow us to make choices appropriate to our abilities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
My wife Vika is Russian. She has wanted me to see St Petersburg for our whole marriage. Finally we decided because Viking offered a river cruise that would let us see so many places including St Petersburg. We loved everything about ... Read More
My wife Vika is Russian. She has wanted me to see St Petersburg for our whole marriage. Finally we decided because Viking offered a river cruise that would let us see so many places including St Petersburg. We loved everything about our cruise! While Viking Helgi isn’t a new ship, they did a great job making everything nice. The crew was incredibly friendly and helpful. And our cabin was always very clean and fresh. The food was also very good. I especially liked that everything was included. From the wine at dinner to the excursions. One thing we especially liked was how being in a group we weren’t stuck in hour long lines to get entrance to our venues. We were really treated like VIP guests. Everywhere we went, Viking had things covered. We especially loved the balet and the music show with traditional Russian instruments. One highlight in both Moscow and St Petersburg were the boat rides by night through the canals and rivers of both cities. We would recommend the 2 day extension in St Petersburg to have time to explore and take in everything. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our third trip with Viking and the second River cruise. Unfortunately this experience did not meet our expectations based on previous cruises. First the Good: The waitstaff in the Dining room was excellent. By the end of ... Read More
This was our third trip with Viking and the second River cruise. Unfortunately this experience did not meet our expectations based on previous cruises. First the Good: The waitstaff in the Dining room was excellent. By the end of the cruise they knew who we were, more or less what we wanted and were overall attentive. One evening I lost an earring and just assumed that it was gone. When we came down for breakfast the waiter that we usually had came up and made some jokes (which he did frequently) about losing things and handed me the earring. I have no idea how he knew it was mine, but he did. The food was actually better than I had anticipated that it would be. There were always three choices (meat, fish and vegetarian) and there were three items that were always available (chicken, steak and salmon). Each of our group had one of these options once but otherwise had items from the menu and all were very good. The gal who cleaned the cabin did an excellent job and did so in a timely manner The information talks on the history of Russia were informative and comprehensive. The local guides (except in one case for us) were fabulous. Superb English and very knowledgeable. Most had been working with Viking for years and many had two degrees (one was a professor of Philosophy and chair of his department and did this guide activity in the summer to keep his English up and his mind sharp) The cabin had plenty of storage and a very nice balcony (more on that later) Suitcases fit under the bed with no problem and there were plenty of hangers for everything that we had both brought. Plenty of towels and they were admirably fluffy. The Not so good: The bathroom was tiny and the shower was simply a tiny quarter circle with a curtain and therefore the floor often got wet from the shower. (good thing we had all those towels) With that lovely balcony for most of the trip we could not use it as we were parked next to another boat and sitting on the balcony would have meant looking into someone else's room! St Petersburg was the Viking stockyard as there were always three or four boats abreast. The Viking administration had several issues that they SHOULD have known and SHOULD have dealt with. We were traveling with another couple and had booked one of the optional excursions in Moscow. The day before we got to Moscow and Sasha from Russia was doing the Port talk we noted that he did not give a time for our excursion. The Kremlin tour had been changed because there was a national celebration that occurs every year and the Kremlin was closed the day that we had originally been scheduled to go. Therefore they simply canceled our tour because the day had changed for the Kremlin. When we talked to Sasha he told us that he did not even know that there were people who had paid for that tour (turns out that there were several other couples that we talked to who had also booked it). They claimed not to be able to reschedule that tour and HE indicated that HE could not refund our money that we had to talk to the administration when we got home. We later booked another excursion so as not to be just sitting around and then when we got our bill, they forgot to credit the original excursion to the new one, that took several conversations. As this even is an annual event, the Viking administration should have KNOWN when it was and should have booked our Kremlin excursion on a different day to begin with. On one of our excursions, instead of taking us to a hotel or someplace for dinner (which we had on other Viking cruise excursions) they gave us a Ham and Cheese sandwhich to eat on the bus! Not very appetizing. There were multiple other groups who "cut the line" at the Hermitage while we waited almost an hour to get in. If others could have cut the line tickets, certainly Viking could do that for their excursions as well! There were several places that we went that Rubles were needed but Sasha from Russia had assured us that they were never needed that everywhere took either dollars, euros or credit cards! One of the tour escorts did two of our excursions, his English left a LOT to be desired. I could only understand about every third word, and EVERY time someone asked him a question, he apparently did not understand and gave them an answer that was only circuitously related (for example someone asked where the American Embassy in Moscow was located and his answer was that the American Embassy in St Petersburg had been closed) The final straw was the ride to the airport, we had an early flight so our bus was scheduled for 2:30 AM. we got up after like 3 1/2 hours of sleep and got out to the bus. There was a couple who apparently had overslept. Alexy (our tour escort for our bus) told us that he had called the room with no response. Eventually he actually went to the room and knocked on the door. The two people then were awakened and got up and dressed. We left 35 minutes late. The whole bus told him to have them go on the next bus, but he was determined to wait. Then he had the audacity to announce to the bus that in the 7 years that he had been doing this, this was the longest that he had ever had to wait! We did in fact make the plane but for several of the folks it was very close! In general the excursions were very well done. I really liked them all with the exception of the one island monastery. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I had wanted to go to Russia for 30 years and knew the Viking cruise would give me what I wanted, at least for a first trip. We were able to see the primary points of interest plus some unknown to me. And, going to a country like ... Read More
I had wanted to go to Russia for 30 years and knew the Viking cruise would give me what I wanted, at least for a first trip. We were able to see the primary points of interest plus some unknown to me. And, going to a country like Russia, I wanted a prominent tour company handling the entire trip. Viking did great! We were met upon arrival, taken to the ship, and settled in before having our first excellent meal in the dining room. Our room, with veranda, became our comfortable home away from home for the next 13 days. Everything was delightful, though the shower/bath is very small. The ladies who took care of the room were delightful and helped with anything we needed. Dining was an experience on its on. The wait staff couldn’t have been better, nicer, friendlier, and more fun. We really enjoyed the time spent with them each day. The ship crew, front desk, etc., were not as friendly. They did their jobs. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and easy to visit with. They were always willing to answer questions. The tours were all very good, though very crowed. My biggest complaint was there being too many of us in a group. There were times when our guide would be two rooms ahead talking about something we weren’t seeing. This was especially true at Peterhof. The included tours were good for an introduction, but not for a detailed visit. Again, there were just too many tourist everywhere we went. Early fall would have been a better time to go. We were very disappointed when we arrived at Red Square. We found huge tents placed right in front of St Basil’s, making any kind of nice photo of the church and the square impossible, though we did get some telephoto shots that were good. We were also disappointed in the Kremlin—again, tents, and huge crowds of people made some photography impossible. Highlights were the river stops and the time sitting on the veranda and watching the scenery go by. It was very relaxing compared to the busyness of the city visits, though they were amazing. I would take this trip again if I could afford it, but i’d take the more in-depth tours. I do hope to go on other Viking tours. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This river cruise in July 2018 from Moscow to Saint Petersburg was both our first river cruise and our first holiday with Viking Cruises. We took advantage of Viking’s flexible flight arrangements to fly from our local airport ... Read More
This river cruise in July 2018 from Moscow to Saint Petersburg was both our first river cruise and our first holiday with Viking Cruises. We took advantage of Viking’s flexible flight arrangements to fly from our local airport (Birmingham) to Moscow via Amsterdam. The Viking staff then met us at Moscow airport, where we discovered that over 40 passengers on our flight were on the same cruise. Two coaches then transported us to the ‘Viking Ingvar’. We were very impressed with the quality of the boat and of our cabin (317). Our Travel Agents had forewarned us that many of the cabins on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ had poles in the cabins that supported the upper decks, so we were able to avoid this restricting inconvenience. We found that many of the other cabins had these poles – some even had two – and that they were located near the bed. The cabin was fairly spacious, well designed and equipped, and had a large balcony. Cabin 317 was on the middle deck and very conveniently located for the Neva Restaurant, the Panorama Bar, the Sky Bar, and the hot drinks station where tea and coffee were always available, there being no kettle in the cabin. For those (like us) who prefer a special blend of tea (such as Roobois) it was ideal to take our own tea, obtain hot water at the station, and enjoy it on the cabin’s balcony. The cabin had fairly adequate storage space, and our luggage was easily stored under the bed. The bathroom was well designed, but the small shower area had a weak output. The stairs between decks were extremely steep, but a lift was available. Despite the reliance on a satellite system, the Wi-Fi connection was adequate, and was included in the basic price. The Neva Restaurant was the main eating area, and we used this for our evening meals. We generally preferred the Panorama Bar (located at the bow) for Continental breakfasts and light lunches; this area was generally quiet and had a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for these meals. The evening meals were often disappointing with a not very exciting menu, and there was little choice. The chicken and steak on the ‘always available’ section of the menu were often the best choices. We discovered in the course of a number of chats with the Austrian maitre d' that the main menu is dictated by Viking's Head Office, and is the same for each cruise and for each of the several boats that are continually spending the summer travelling between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The majority of passengers were Americans, and the boat’s protocols etc seemed to be generally geared to American/Canadian preferences. Sittings in the Neva Restaurant were on a first-come, first-served basis, but many passengers attempted to sit at the same table each evening – this being the only way to establish a rapport with the dining staff. Although most people dressed smartly for dinner, there were quite a number who did not bother. The ‘complimentary’ wine served with meals was very pleasant. The staff were generally very pleasant, enthusiastic, and spoke a good level of English. In addition to the crew, there were a number of tour guides who doubled up on other duties such as giving very interesting lectures on Russian history. There was little forewarning over the boat’s public address system of features that the boat was about to pass – a description of the locks etc that we were about to pass through would have been appreciated, plus some information on how far we had travelled overnight, etc. Surprisingly, the on board doctor had a poor grasp of English. The excursions from the ‘Viking Ingvar’ were very efficiently handled and communication between the tour guide and tourists was enhanced by the efficient Quietvox headsets. Local guides were used extensively and most of these were very good. One coach trip was somewhat spoiled by two Viking staff talking constantly and thus distracting the local guide’s narrative. In Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the quality of coaches used was very good, but the ‘best available’ coaches in the rural areas were often old and not well maintained (eg dirty windows). On all the excursions there was a generous handout of bottled water. We enjoyed all the excursions, some of which were included in the trip’s basic price, and some of which were optional at additional cost. Our three favourite excursions were ‘Moscow by Night’; the trip to Peterhof; and a visit to the Faberge Museum in Saint Petersburg – all of these were hosted by Slava, the best of the Viking guides. We chose the following optional tours: Sergiev Posad (very good – would have been excellent if the guide’s English had been a little better, and two Viking staff had not talked constantly on the coach); Moscow by Night (excellent); The Hermitage Behind Closed Doors (excellent, although tiring and expensive); Peterhof Palace & Park (excellent); Feberge Museum (excellent and amazing). On a previous trip to Saint Petersburg in 2008, we had not felt entirely safe and were not prepared to explore the city on our own. Nowhere on this trip did we feel the same apprehension, even in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. On the whole, the Russians we met were pleasant and friendly, although due to the ongoing Football World Cup there was often a large police/security presence. Tipping on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ was discretionary with a suggestion of $15 per guest per day, but no formal system was offered to do this. Most guests seemed to prefer to tip individual members of staff that they had had personal contact with. Overall, we had a very enjoyable cruise on the ‘Viking Ingvar’ being particularly impressed with the quality of the boat, the range of excursions, the organisation of the excursions, and the evident lack of ‘penny-pinching’ that tends to prevail with some cruise companies, although Viking’s prices are at the top of the range. The most negative aspect was the provision of some distinctly unexciting menus. 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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