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
5 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! ... Read More
I had always wanted to take a Viking Cruise and see Moscow and St. Petersburg. It met every expectation! Viking has a great itinerary - I signed up for just about everything!! Moscow and St. Petersburg are absolutely beautiful cities! All the palaces are beyond belief. The days that weren't so packed were a welcome relief to just relax on our veranda and enjoy the scenery and go through the locks. The Russian people were so friendly - don't be afraid to go - and don't stereotype them. The Visa application is worth it. The Viking staff were wonderful - the room was great - and the food was good. All of our transportation vehicles were clean and comfortable. Our most fun excursions were the home visits and the school visit that Viking arranges. My husband did the "banya" experience and had some great stories to tell when we got back. Kizhi Island is also very beautiful. Remember to do the vodka tasting on the ship :) Had the best time. Don't hesitate to go or let your friends try and talk you out of it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Few people travel to Russia so it gets peoples' attention when you tell them where you have been for the past couple weeks. They sincerely want to see photos and hear about the trip and it is more than just a nice gesture on their ... Read More
Few people travel to Russia so it gets peoples' attention when you tell them where you have been for the past couple weeks. They sincerely want to see photos and hear about the trip and it is more than just a nice gesture on their part. We had to have 5 "gatherings" here at the house to show off the photo album and explain all the educational values from the trip. Things like the population of the cities, where do people live, work and play, the traffic, the airport, cleanliness of the parks, streets and rivers are what I want to learn while there. Those are things I want to learn and the reason for my taking the trip. Then you have the luxury of having many guided tours and events, all of which are very well planned and executed and if you don't learn from them, you aren't listening to your earphones or reading provided material ahead of time. And at the end of the day, you have the pampering from the crew on the ship. All the crew members on this cruise were outstanding from the wait staff to the housekeeping. The food was GREAT, well presented and ample in quantity. Thank you for a great cruise, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our 2nd cruise with Viking. Our 1st trip was great, however the Waterways of the Tsars was a trip we want soon forget. From the time we landing in St Petersburg Russia everything was planned to the nth degree. One of the tour ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Viking. Our 1st trip was great, however the Waterways of the Tsars was a trip we want soon forget. From the time we landing in St Petersburg Russia everything was planned to the nth degree. One of the tour guides was there to greet and get us to the ship. Alone the way he kept us entertained with humor and some history of St Petersburg. Once on board the Viking Truvor we settled in to beautiful stateroom with a balcony which we always request. Dinning was always a special treat with excellent selections, presentation and favor that always met with high praises. Know with all those kudos I cannot say enough about service. This is why Viking is rated so high in personal service. The hotel manger and dinning manger were always available to provide whatever service was needed. Our servers Armando, Bim, Aubray and Yana without a doubthave went over board to please us throughout the entire trip. Lastly without the tour guides this trip would not have been as enjoyable due to the very professional tour guides at all the many stop. My wife and I have traveled all over the world and Viking has always provided us with excellence. We have booked our next trip with Viking leaving Oct 24th 2018 can't wait. BH 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected this particular cruise because we always wanted to see Russia! The timing was good for us and of course . . . it's Viking! This is our second experience and we will definitely return again. The ship was lovely and our ... Read More
We selected this particular cruise because we always wanted to see Russia! The timing was good for us and of course . . . it's Viking! This is our second experience and we will definitely return again. The ship was lovely and our accommodations spectacular! We particularly enjoyed sunsets at 10:30 pm and met some great people at dinner each evening. Service everywhere was fantastic, the ship was always clean and we enjoyed the food, wine and kind smiles and faces of every staff member. Our director was awesome and so accommodating with each event, activity. We always felt like we were treated to royalty. We really enjoyed the on board studies of Russia, past and present, and tried to learn the language in the classes offered. Fun! Loved the Russian lunch and dancing. Every shore excursion was excellent; guides always knowledgeable and patient. We learned so much! Yes, we will return again! Thank you Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise could not be better. We were impressed with the ads on PBS and YouTube videos and then we saw that they offered a Russian cruise which is one of my desired destinations. We expected a good cruise but this exceeded our ... Read More
This cruise could not be better. We were impressed with the ads on PBS and YouTube videos and then we saw that they offered a Russian cruise which is one of my desired destinations. We expected a good cruise but this exceeded our expectations in all ways. Everything was excellent: the service, the food, the tours, the accommodations, the on-board entertainment and lectures, the staff, and the cruise itself. Everything was perfectly organized from the time they met us at the airport to the time they assisted us at disembarkation. I can not praise the trip highly enough. The cruse was called "The Waterways of the Tzars" and the whole time we saw the beauty of the cities, villages and the magnificent waters and landscapes of Russia. Be prepared - you may have to change your view of Russia if you take this trip. I have to mention that the Russian people on and off the boat were wonderful to us. At my age, I am a little awkward going up and down stairs and the Russian citizens were always offering me help. My wife I boarded a conveyance and two young people immediately got up and gave us their seats. I found the Russian people sweet, kind, welcoming and very helpful. There is strong evidence of the artist and the craftsmen every where you look in the cities and the villages. I was completely surprised by Moscow that I expected to look stark but it was beautiful and very clean. I addition, Viking selected Lufthansa airline for our connections and I have never experienced a more comfortable flight. We were in coach but the flight had a first class feeling to us from the entertainment and excellent service complete with hot towels Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My husband and I are in our mid-fifties and wanted to see a lot of Russia but not be packing and unpacking so we thought a river cruise would be ideal. I went on a Viking cruise a few years ago with my Mom and told my husband that it would ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid-fifties and wanted to see a lot of Russia but not be packing and unpacking so we thought a river cruise would be ideal. I went on a Viking cruise a few years ago with my Mom and told my husband that it would be a good choice. I booked directly with Viking - not my best move. Once I got on the boat I found that those who booked with a travel agent got some great pointers about rooms (for example if there was a post in the middle or not - we got a post). Even though we were one of the first bookings -- the Viking representative recommended the room - which turned out to be right behind the reception desk and across from the computers - perhaps not the best room as he had promised but on the other hand - although it was the lowest category room - it was very comfortable. The washroom was soundproof and cozy and the room had a very large window that opened which was very pleasant. You could however, hear the goings on in the cabin next door and the one above. We spent so little time in the room that it really was not an issue. The food on the cruise was up to Viking standards and was excellent. We quickly learned to get a seat on one side of the boat in the dining lounge. On the side we declined was a very loud server who huffed about in a show of great speed and importance but it was a show. He had very docile women working with him who consistently got the orders wrong, would not give you a menu in the morning, would not offer juice just coffee and would leave you sitting. We changed over to Bim's side and it was a whole new experience. Prompt, efficient, friendly service. Artemis and Yaroslav were especially dedicated. We attended all but the Russian language lectures (we missed the first one as we were too busy talking on the sundeck - so to go to the rest seemed useless). The lectures were great with a lot of insight. We also learned about making pelmani (or something like that) and it was interesting. We attended the wine tasting and the vodka tasting which were at an extra cost. They were will worth it! We had a riot and really loved the group of British ladies we joined. All of the drinks were paired with food. Damien was very good at the wine tasting (who knew Russia had some very good wines) and Julia and Damien were amazing at the vodka tasting - teaching us the proper Russian way to drink. I was somewhat saddened by the excursions in that they were not all included as was the case when I went on the Danube cruise. I particularly dislike big cruise lines and their propensity to nickel and dime their customers to death and found the extra charges for various excursions to be a sign of Viking going in that direction which is too bad. Overall the excursions though were excellent but Viking needs to take into consideration their passengers level of fitness. They appeared to do this on the Danube cruise but it was not done on the Russia cruise. Multiple times my husband and I were in groups wherein one or more people had a very hard time keeping up. Three times my husband and I either stayed back trying to help an individual catch up or help them carry things (portable chair etc) and missed part of the tours. I understand that the tour guide wants to go fast but to leave behind people is not really acceptable. Only a couple excursions had a gentle group. A few of the people we helped had stated that if they knew there were cobblestones they would have avoided the tour - maybe this should be added to the descriptors. Below I will describe the excursions: Moscow - the traffic, as is stated in multiple posts, is a disaster. Get ready to spend a lot of time trapped on a bus although Viking does use government buses which get a special lane - so they have tried to alleviate it but if your fitness level allows it - try to do the walking tours. Perhaps Viking can make smaller groups and utilize the amazing metro system to move people in and out of Red Square on the other tours. We went on the walking tour of Moscow- it was amazing - the metro is not to be missed - GUM is amazing as is Red Square. it is a great tour. One late afternoon, early evening Viking took us to a surprise folk show - we so enjoyed it- way to go Viking. We also did the Moscow by Night shore excursion (extra cost) - it was breath taking and very good. You do visit Red Square (yes once again) so there is some walking and with a tight time line - this is one where we had to help someone who was having a very hard time keeping up - I would highly recommend it. We also did Sergiev Posad (Monestary) at an extra cost - although relatively close to Moscow we had to go by bus - it took over 3 hours to get there (should have taken about 40 minutes). It was so crowded it was insane and we hardly had any time there - it was pouring rain so everyone was crowding into the buildings - it may have been better if it was a sunny day as more people may have been outside. Our tour guide had to go to battle for us when some other tour groups tried to squish in front of us. it was quite the showdown. We then went to eat from the same kitchen as the Monks. It was fish soup followed by fish stew (we all swore that they just poured out some of the broth and gave us a new bowl - it was pretty funny). We then went to a lookout and had some free time to explore. It was fun - don't buy souvenirs in the tunnel - they just buy them from the souvenir shops above - you will get better prices above. I would re-think this excursion. Word to the wise - use the bathrooms near the restaurant as the ones just outside the gates of the Monestary are squat toilets (I lost my earpiece in the hole!). I really wanted to see the Armoury but it was an additional cost at the same time as an included shore excursion. I wish this outing was available on our free day wherein I did Sergiev Posad. Uglich - Loved it - the home hosted visit was a big hit with us - we thought it was great. Purchased a hand painted box from the Church - it is so beautiful and a beautiful wool and silk shawl for my daughter. Yaroslav - take the walking tour if you are up to it. It is a beautiful walk and it is so pretty. You will not see the inside of the governor's house but you do visit the grounds and it didn't look like you were missing much but not visiting the interior. There is free time at the food market. There is an ATM close by that is in English. At the food market is Red October chocolate that we purchased to take home - good prices. Kirillo Monastery - This was interesting but was too taxing for some people it was one where my husband stayed back with someone while I continued with the tour and then I had to run back and find them and get them to rejoin - the ship's tour guide came upon me waiting for my husband and waited with me. Beautiful icons are for sale in the Monestary itself at this location. There are some cute handmade crafts outside the Monestary where the buses are - many people purchased items from here. Kizhi Island - I was really looking forward to this one and it was interesting but it was really rushed - a couple more hours on the island would have been really appreciated. Some of the people from the boat purchased furs from this location - I think I would be axe murdered if I wore one in Toronto! Mandrology - the boat docks right at this place and you can go out into the area - its like our pioneer villages but more liberty taken on the history aspect - artisans all over doing their crafts in beautiful re-created buildings. Its actually a big resort. Although we did not go to the vodka museum (it was extra) we heard that it was fun. We did however buy some of the glass from the glassblower and some christmas decorations from the birch bark maker. This stop was a lot of fun but I could see it becoming really busy in the summer months. St. Petersburg The Hermitage - absolutely beautiful with an amazing collection of art. It was here that I purchased an amber necklace (with certificates for the amber and the designer - one of the individuals who worked on the amber room). It was really, really busy with crazy crowds. My husband and I opted not to go back to the boat for dinner but to stay and then meet the group at the ballet. We had such a good time. Julia (an amazing program director) showed us a restaurant on the map Katyuska (or something like that) - the food was out of this world. We then decided to walk to the Summer gardens and they were having a classical car show (for Russian cars) - it was great and then we found the classical bus show! it was too funny. We meet everyone at the Pushkin Theatre for the ballet and went home with them. The Ballet was good - although not being a real fan of the ballet I am sure I missed some of the story! Petersburg up close - wow talk about walk! My husband and I loved it but we are walkers. By the end of the 7 miles - yes 7 miles - some people were done. Although it was long it was really really good and gave a good overview of St. Petersburg. Catherine Palace - take your breath away - amazing. Peterhof Palace & Park - Extra cost - this was one of two peterhof exercusions - the other one was behind the scenes and was significantly more expensive - this one was excellent and fully informative - I am really happy I chose this one as it gave me time to do St. Petersburg by Water. St. Peterburg by the Water - Extra cost - I read about this one and someone said don't do it but it was after I booked. I did not have their experience. It was a great tour but the tour guide did mention that it was dependent on the river levels - so maybe the other person had bad levels. Anyway it was really good and my husband and I really enjoyed ourselves. Most of our excursions were done by our shipboard tour guides and we mainly had Misha -- who was very professional and very nice. We did have a retired Viking tour person in St. Petersburg who was excellent although there were some very rude Viking customers who were fairly insulting to her. It was shameful and I was ashamed of their behaviour but it was the end of the cruise and I think some people just wanted to go home. All and all I would recommend Viking - Waterways of the Tsars but I am unsure if I will continue with Viking or try to find a river cruise company more for people our age. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board ... Read More
A fascinating trip taken in mid September and we also enjoyed the pre and post stays in Moscow and Helsinki. Julia the Viking tour manager was a delight and the team of tour guides were very engaging and interesting too. The on-board lectures were well delivered and full of detail. The Russian lessons were fab! We enjoyed the ports of call which were explained in detail on board beforehand and well organised. Traffic was an issue in Moscow. We enjoyed the company of the other guests with whom we shared our travel experiences as they were all English speaking and of a broadly similar age to us. The free dining and quality of meals were excellent. The cabin was of a good size, well appointed and beautifully clean. However, the issue for us was the speed with which a viral illness fell amongst us all. It began when a couple boarded with what was probably flu and this spread through the passengers like wildfire. My partner succumbed on the fourth day but worse than that, by the end of the trip almost every cabin had someone with it - the coughs resounded wherever we all went. We tried on more than one occasion to have in-cabin dining as eating with others when obviously so ill is a 'no no' to all concerned. However this was not possible despite numerous requests to the passenger services manager whose name I have forgotten. Nor was dining later than the majority of others as the kitchens closed. There was nowhere we could eat in relative isolation from everyone else apart from upstairs in the bar area for continental breakfast or a light lunch but no dinner provision. This caused us a lot of distress and embarrassment plus obviously enabled the virus to spread. Sadly the illness which meant many missed excursions and emotional discomfort which greatly detracted from the overall enjoyment. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Rural look at Russian interior. Paid for transfer package - Our flight was late so we were left our own to get to the ship from St Petersburg. We gave advance notice of the delay. Some of the bus versus walking excursions were more ... Read More
Rural look at Russian interior. Paid for transfer package - Our flight was late so we were left our own to get to the ship from St Petersburg. We gave advance notice of the delay. Some of the bus versus walking excursions were more walking than desired or anticipated. Talks on board should be recorded and streamed so passengers can watch in their cabin at a better time. Sometimes there were not enough seats. Sophia, our stewardess, was particularly good. We have traveled with Viking 5 times and she is the best so far. The Truvor is tasteful considering its age but the public seating area is not at all cozy. All the couch/seating areas feel like you are sitting in the hallway. On the whole, the trip was very good and all bu one of the local guides were excellent. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Many,many passengers on this cruise caught a virus/chest infection within a few days of boarding, even crew had illness as I pointed out to a waiter who was serving us, his reply was that the on board doctor had given him an injection for ... Read More
Many,many passengers on this cruise caught a virus/chest infection within a few days of boarding, even crew had illness as I pointed out to a waiter who was serving us, his reply was that the on board doctor had given him an injection for this problem. Surely he should have been confined to his cabin and not let into the restaurant. Not withstanding this terrible problem, if you like to sit on a coach for 3 to 4 hours in traffic before your tours you will like this trip. I believe Viking has got this cruise all wrong. This was our 9th (ninth) cruise and the most disappointing, all the other Viking cruises have been really good, but would suggest anyone thinking of this river cruise (Waterways of the Tsars) be prepared awful traffic, massive queues, and disorganisation. We also had a Viking representative (Maria) who was at our hotel in St Petersburg & Moscow who seemed totally unhelpful and disinterested in us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were invited to join friends on this cruise and are so glad we did. Our cabin was on the lower deck (230) and was very comfortable. It was above the water level and had a full picture window, unlike the standard cabins on the Rhine and ... Read More
We were invited to join friends on this cruise and are so glad we did. Our cabin was on the lower deck (230) and was very comfortable. It was above the water level and had a full picture window, unlike the standard cabins on the Rhine and Danube. No complaints at all. The food was excellent as was some of the local Russian wine. Our somewhat complex travel arrangements were expertly handled by the Viking travel desk. The only negative was that two of my flights in Europe were booked in basic economy class so I got hit with two unexpected baggage charges, but when I complained to Viking they refunded the amount of the charges. You can see photos and some background on our cruise at tsarwaterways.shutterfly.com but here are some additional comments. Our cruise began in St. Petersburg and ended in Moscow - I think that's probably the best direction to do it. We had spent two days in St. Petersburg in 2009 and were happy to repeat some experiences and add new ones. Repeat visits to Catherine Palace and Peterhof were excellent and I would highly recommend visiting these places. The canal cruise was most enjoyable and really showed how St. Petersburg was designed and built around the canals - an appreciation one doesn't get from driving around. An evening at the ballet was most enjoyable even though the performance wasn't by the Mariinsky as they were on tour for the summer. The folkloric show was totally geared to tourists but good fun and well done. The middle section of the cruise on the waterways took us through remote countryside. Because of this, most of the excursions required a bus ride to get to the site of interest and in some cases the amount of time to explore was less than one wanted. However, the quality of the guides was very good. Three (Russian) Viking guides accompanied the cruise from beginning to end and they were excellent in explaining the historical and cultural background to what we were seeing as well as in general organization (including locating one traveler who got lost in Moscow!). Yes, one sees a lot of churches but their beauty is outstanding. Despite the distance from towns of any size, the ship was adequately provisioned with fresh and plentiful food and even fresh flowers every day. We opted for the extension in Moscow and easily filled the extra days: there is so much to see. After being shown the ropes we became quite adept at traveling on the metro. It's really not that difficult, though it helps if you have learned the Russian alphabet (there are a few lessons on that on board the ship). While we didn't speak any Russian, I was glad I had taught myself the alphabet and a few words in advance. Most of the museums we visited had some English language displays and audio guides in English. The hotel in Moscow, the old Soviet Ukraina, was great: luxurious and centrally located. One thing that was different from our previous Viking river cruises was that we had to select most excursions before departure and many of them involved an additional charge. I imagine this is because the logistics of running such excursions is so much more complex in Russia. The main negative on this cruise, which is out of Viking's control, is that the ships have to dock far out of the center of St. Petersburg and Moscow so getting into the city involved a bus or metro ride. All in all, the few negatives were minor while the positives were huge and I have no hesitation in recommending this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We had never been on a river cruise or travel in Russia and thought it would be an interesting way to visit Russia. We enjoyed the tours and the tour guides did a very good job explaining the sites we visited. The tour guide were very ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise or travel in Russia and thought it would be an interesting way to visit Russia. We enjoyed the tours and the tour guides did a very good job explaining the sites we visited. The tour guide were very well educated on all the sites we visited and able to explain the history of all the sites. Overall it was a very good trip. We were not sure what to expect but were very pleased with the overall trip. The travel in the river boat was very relaxing and the food was outstanding. Very glad we took the trip. I would recommend both Viking River Cruise and Russia tour. Visiting both Cities and Rural Islands was very unique. Also visiting local residences was very unique. I had very little knowledge of Russian Orthodox Churches and found them very different from other cathedrals in other European cities or US cities. Very glad we were able to visit so many. Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Truvor Waterway of the Czars-Fantastic cruise, boat and staff. Several tips and tricks you need to know before booking and while on board. These were learned from experience! Given a choice, Moscow to St. Petersburg direction is ... Read More
Truvor Waterway of the Czars-Fantastic cruise, boat and staff. Several tips and tricks you need to know before booking and while on board. These were learned from experience! Given a choice, Moscow to St. Petersburg direction is better. • Reservations and getting ready 1. Often they offer two for one sales on these cruises in January of each year and they include airfare on some packages. We had Delta over and Lufthansa back. 2. You have to have a visa for Russia and to get one you need a letter of invitation from the tour operator (Viking). The Viking literature says that once you have filled out the paperwork they will furnish you with the letter of invitation to fit your schedule (a necessity since you have to send your passports and the letter into the agency you have chosen to apply for your visa and your passports are unavailable for international travel while they are in the hands of the visa agency). In my experience, they would not deviate from their schedule to fit mine. I had 4 international trips scheduled and only a small window to give them my passports. The invitation letter division of Viking would not send me the letter prior to their 90 day schedule. Luckily I found that the Caring-Hands-services (caring-hands-services.com) could get the visa done with short turnaround and no additional charge. I would highly recommend them. Faster turnaround is available for extra but not needed as their standard service is fast and excellent. Beware, when you get your visa back, check it carefully for accuracy. One lady had two numbers transposed on the visa and it took her hours at the airport to get it corrected. 3. The package we purchased included airfare and airport transfers. Unfortunately, Viking did not notify me of the reserved air tickets until it was too late for me to upgrade. Since Viking gets low fares as a tour operator or consolidator, the fares they supply are the lowest and cannot be upgraded once they are issued, therefore it is important to address upgrading your tickets as soon as you can. The buses and people used for transport are great and efficient. Best way to go if you can. 4. Once you have booked, Viking will send you a marketing pep talk email every day telling you all sorts of information about the trip. Unfortunately, the essential stuff is included in these pep talks and if you opt out of them you could miss information or deadlines. 5. Note that your passport has to be valid long past the end of your trip and have two blank pages for the visa. 6. Once you obtain your ticket data you need to contact the airlines to reserve a seat. 7. There are several River Cruise schedules to choose from and the one starting in Moscow and ending in St. Petersburg gives you time to recover from jet lag in Moscow (where there are fewer treasurers to explore) and more time at the end of the trip in beautiful St. Petersburg where you need it. The Truvor was the ship we were on and I believe it is the best choice (based only on conversations with other passengers). Viking runs 5 ships on this route (perhaps more) and each sailing has different options. • On Board: 1. The food is excellent! Breakfast and lunch both have buffets and a fixed choice menu is also available. Chefs on the buffet prepared dishes to order. Breakfast is probably the best meal (which we routinely slept through), offering standard fare too plentiful to list here. Lunch was varied and similar to breakfast choices but often with themes such as Russian fare, etc. Dinner was from a menu that changed daily and you could substitute if the offering didn’t conform to your taste exactly. Several items were always available such as filet with mashed potatoes, salmon, etc. Be prepared to put a new hole in your belt when you return! 2. While there are coffee machines available full time, there is little provision for taking coffee and cookies to your cabin in the morning (obviously I missed breakfast!). I learned to hide a dinner plate in the room refrigerator and use it as a tray to carry several cups of coffee and goodies back to the cabin. 3. The staff is unbelievable in their desire to help and fulfill your every need. Don’t even think hard about something you want while on board, because if you do, one of the crew will get it for you! The crew is attractive, well dressed, motivated, competent, extremely well trained, honest, and just plain nice. American HR could take a lesson from Viking. 4. Our cabin was located near the stern of the ship and, as such, we could feel the vibrations caused by the shafts when operated at high speed (12-15 MPH for Truvor). From my experience, this is usually caused by one of the shafts being bent or out of balance, and/or improper synchronization of the engines. Since the vibration came and went with a cycle of about 5-7 seconds, I believe is it more of a synchronization problem they could correct without great effort. When the vibration was present, it would rattle the mirrors, doors and ceiling panels. I overheard an interview with one of the ship’s officers and when asked about the problem he was unaware of the vibration. 5. The staterooms are laid out very well and are roomy. Soundproofing between cabins is almost non-existent and if you have noisy neighbors you get to know their business in great detail. Soundproofing in the bathroom is almost complete (so why couldn’t they have done the same with the cabin?). Be sure to let them know the desired bed configuration before the trip (the beds are very comfortable). 6. If you need Rubles once you are there for souvenirs or tips, a debit card used at a bank ATM will give you a good rate of exchange and the fees are often reimbursed by the larger banks if your account warrants it. 7. Charges on the ship can be paid in Rubles or Dollars. If you pay with a credit card they first convert the dollar cost to Rubles (at a rate advantage), then make the charge to your card in Rubles which your card company then converts back to Dollars (at their rate advantage) plus charges a foreign transaction fee for most cards. We purchased the Silver Spirit Beverage plan (highly recommended if you plan to drink even moderately) and it was $550 for two. I calculated a savings of almost $100 by paying in cash dollars rather than putting it on my American Express. Bring some cash to settle on board charges. 8. A number of people appeared surprised and irritated when they got their final bill from the ship as they hadn’t understood that the ship supplies beverages only at mealtime (except for coffee or tea). They found that they were paying for cola, drinks, and house wine when ordered outside of dining hours. Again, the Silver Spirit package covers all beverages, all of the time with the exception of vintage wines. This means you can drink single malt scotch, Limoncello, or rotgut of your choice all day without incurring additional charges. On the other hand, a Coke in the afternoon costs dearly if you are not on the plan. 9. The internet access is terrible but I hear this is universal with all of the ships on river cruises in Russia. I had an access point with me (T-Mobile) and often had good service with that when the ship’s system was down. • Tours and shore: 1. Being in crowds is not my forte, and thus, going on the shore excursions in a group was painful, especially when they moved like a sloth. The guides are good but in my personal opinion they continue to patter on even when stuck in traffic or waiting for the next phase of the tour. A little silence would be golden. 2. The Hermitage was far too crowded to appreciate the offerings. The Catherine Palace was fantastic. Not too crowded and well maintained. Get Helen as a guide if possible (based in St. Petersburg). She speaks English without a heavy accent, is funny, knowledgeable, and irreverent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The ... Read More
Amazing sights and crew. Learned so much about Russian life and history. All the tours were fun and informative. As usual, the food and drink were excellent. The captain and crew were knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly. The tours of Moscow and St. Petersburg were excellent. I was a little disappointed at the tour of the Hermitage because they stuffed people through very narrow corridors. The Moscow by Night tour was amazing....touring Red Square at night and seeing the Kremlin and St.Basil's lit up was breathtaking. The home visit in Uglich was fun and very welcoming. The visit to the school was vey informative...the kids were such a pleasure to meet. St. Petersburg was very full of history and great architecture. We added Helsinki, Finland at the end of the trip and it was such a beautiful city to visit. We really appreciated all the effort by Viking and the crew of the Truvor to make our trip easy and memorable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, this vessel, and Russia. We made changes to our Viking-supplied air and had no trouble. (Another review takes great pains to spell out their horrible upgrade process but that's on ... Read More
My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, this vessel, and Russia. We made changes to our Viking-supplied air and had no trouble. (Another review takes great pains to spell out their horrible upgrade process but that's on Aeroflot, not Viking.) We arrived Moscow a couple days early in order to explore on our own. All went well. The cab ride to the port was without drama except for not understanding the driver when he was asking for the name of our ship. The port was LOADED with river cruise ships. I gave him the name when it seemed appropriate and he got happy. Embarkation could not have been easier or quicker: a trailer contained a scanner for our luggage and a security person gave us a look. Done. I think we booked the least expensive cabin class. It wasn't "short" in any way, just typical compared to other cabins we've had on other ships. Bed was comfortable. Electric outlets were plentiful enough. The shower was always hot. The toilet always worked. Your cabin may be more important on this kind of vessel than on ocean cruise ships as the vessel is small. This was our first river cruise. Public areas are limited and do duty for different purposes. You may hole up in your cabin more than on a larger vessel. We always found a good spot out and about. Dining was beyond excellent. Seriously. Food and service were exceptional. Simple lunches could be had in a limited buffet line including salad or sandwich or fruit. Restaurant fare was wonderful every time. On board entertainment and activities were limited as the vessel is small. There was no music review or magic show but that was just fine. Lectures by tour guides on Russian history were interesting. Language lessons by hotel manager were informative. A vodka tasting was entertaining. At ports of call, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, there were concerts, a folk music and dance review, and a ballet. Viking's excursion descriptions are accurate. Our cabin maid was sweet, discrete, and perfect. She gave US a parting gift. Ports were good and "built-in" tour guides were nice to have all the way on the trip. Besides the obvious allure of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, we thought Kizhi was particularly special. As for our arrival, we stayed a couple days in Saint Petersburg after the cruise to continue some personal exploration. The hotel, restaurants, subway, sites, and cab ride to the airport all worked out fine. Viking and Russia gave us a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was my Mother's dream to go to Russia. So I went with her, she 80 and at times needs help getting around. She has taken four previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. I have over 100 cruise days on ocean ships but never ... Read More
This was my Mother's dream to go to Russia. So I went with her, she 80 and at times needs help getting around. She has taken four previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. I have over 100 cruise days on ocean ships but never a river cruise. My Mother, my girlfriend and four friends have all sailed with Viking in Europe but never Russia. They rave about how great Viking trip are.....I didn't see that in Russia. This may be my first and last river cruise. It started with Viking offering free air. 27 hours from Seattle to St Petersburg with lay-overs in both Washington DC (2.5 hrs) and Vienna (5.25 hrs). We arrived on the boat at 6:30 pm losing the whole first day. Our return air out of Moscow was a bit better only 19 hours, just one lay-over in Frankfort 91.5 hours). However.....our flight left Moscow at 6 am after we were taken off the boat at 2:30 am for the two hour drive to the airport. We tried to get the flights to Russia changes 6 weeks prior to the trip but Viking said nothing was available. Truvor is an outdate boat design that was refurbished a few years ago. The staterooms were small, Mom amd I worked a system when only one of us at a time would move around to get dressed to avoid constantly getting in eachother's way. No drawers except a shallow desk drawer, limited cabinets with selves and a small closest, challenged us to find room for our clothes to avoid living out of a suitcase. These was plenty of room to store our suitcases under the beds. The bathroom was cramped but we managed, one at a time. The common room on the boat were small and space was not available for all the passengers to attend briefing together. They performed two briefing to accommidate their lack of space. We had unseasonably cold weather (first snows in May in St Peterburg in 50 years). Due to the cold weather, it was difficult to use the decks and balconies for very long, forcing everyone to compete for the cramped interior spaces or stay in your rooms. The Russian boat crew was every professional and navigated the waterways and locks expertly. One very seldom noticed the operations crew as they went about their business. This was Vikings first trip of the 2017 season. Over half the bar staff and dining staff appeared overworked and undertrained. When the dining room got busy, passengers often waited for refills beverages and staff was inattentive to anything but getting meals out. Several of the staff were on their first cruise contracts, so the inexperience showed. I have dietary restrictions. Viking had me send a very detailed description of my needs and said the ship staff would be given the details. The ship staff had no idea of my needs, the information was never passed on to the ship, except to say "a diebetic diet". Close but not really. My "diabetic box lunch for an excursion had sugary juice, starchy potatoe chips and white bread comercially mad ham/cheese sandwich....nothing I could eat. Every dinner, I told the wait staff to replace the starches or white carbs with extra vegitables, but 'No carrots".....every meal I got extra vegitables with extra carrots.....10 straight days. Only two of the four or five bartenders knew how to make simple drinks and one of the more experienced bartenders was fired a few days into the trip for too much drinking. I saw one passenger order a "Dirty martini"...the bartender asked what that was and the passenger has to tell him how to make the drink. I've taken Mediterranean Sea cruises three times the length of this trip at half the cost. This was a very expensive trip for very overrated service and ammenities. The free on-board wifi was great in St Peterburg. I could send/recieve e-mails and post social media with or without attachments and photos.Once we left St Petersburg it was terrible. For days we could not send/recieve a thing. At the first stop on the river, Mandrogy, we were rafted against a Russian riverboat company ship. Viking wifi did not work. I could sit on my balcony or stand on the dock and get great wifi from the unsecure Russian ship wifi....for just that day. Once we got closer to Moscow the wifi was sketchy at best but I was never able to send an attachment or photos...just e-mail. The on-board and local tour guides were very knowledgable and entertaining. However, they could coordinate their speaking points a bit, because very day, every tour guild kept repeating the same Russian Royal family histories. Twice would have been ok, but after 5 or 6 times of the same information....I got it. Russia was very interesting and that saved the trip. More importantly, Mom got to go to Russia. St Petersburg was beautiful, by far my favorite city in Russia. Moscow was a modern metroploitan city. Both were very clean and we felt safe traveling about. The river portion was interesting and the small towns were a joy to visit. We missed out on Kizhi because the lake was iced over. Iced over should have been interesting to see. At the briefing, we were told the boat would stop at anchor as we were going to follow an icebreaker through the icefield and it was safer to do during the day. I awoke to find we transbersed the ice during the night, one passenger told me heard the ice hitting the hull and that woke him to go check it out. I'm a sound sleeper and missed the whole thing. The boat docks outside the interesting part of St Petersburg and Moscow. If you are comfortable taking subways, the ship staff has good information on getting to and from the subway and city centers. Traffic in Moscow is so terrible, that bus/taxi travel is time prohibitive. Had Russia not been so interesting. I would have given Viking a much lower overall rating on this trip. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other ... Read More
We cruised from Moscow to St Petersburg on Viking Truvor. We had a Verandah A stateroom. Room was very nice, although quite small....which is to be expected on a river cruise. There was adequate storage for all our clothes and other belongings and the room was always spic and span clean. Service onboard was superb....from our stewardess to the waiters in the dining room to the staff in the lounge to the tour escorts to management....all were totally competent, knowledgeable, and attentive. If you're considering a Russia river cruise you need to understand that between Moscow and St Petersburg there's a lot of distance and a lot of nothing! You will be cruising for many hours and spending a short time (usually 2-3 hours) in several different ports....that's just the nature of the geography. This didn't really concern us, though, for two reasons: 1) our main goal was to see Moscow and St Petersburg; 2) the ship is comfortable and the crew was great so cruising time was very pleasant. We took several optional tours and enjoyed them all....especially enjoyed seeing the Faberge Museum and "behind the scenes" at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Kremlin Armory in Moscow. The folk music concert in Moscow was great. The young couple who sang and played piano in the bar were excellent. Food onboard was above average....the chef tried to cater to as many different tastes as possible...some hits, some misses, but overall very good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We took this cruise to see Russia and meet some of the locals. Moscow and St. Peterburgs tours were more then we expected. We had plenty of time to explore the Red Square and the Kremlin tour was excellent. Our contact with the locals ... Read More
We took this cruise to see Russia and meet some of the locals. Moscow and St. Peterburgs tours were more then we expected. We had plenty of time to explore the Red Square and the Kremlin tour was excellent. Our contact with the locals was always positive and we received several helpful hints which made it easy to get around on our own. The cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg took us to very interesting small cities and towns. The sites were amazing and so is the history of Russia. The food on the trip was excellent and we had a chance every night to try a local entree. Service was very good and the Crew was very friendly. Finally, we had a chance to learn how to taste and rate Volka....great night and no hangover. We will travel with Viking again and recommend this cruise. This was our third Viking cruise and all have been great. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We took this cruise to see places we never thought we would see. The excursions were very good, but the excursion to the northern island, while interesting, was a long way there and back. My major complaint was the lack of shipboard ... Read More
We took this cruise to see places we never thought we would see. The excursions were very good, but the excursion to the northern island, while interesting, was a long way there and back. My major complaint was the lack of shipboard entertainment. The piano player and singer were okay. The trivia contests were okay. All together, there was very little evening entertainment. The daytime education sessions on Russian history periods were okay, but were the only entertainment outside of the excursions. There should be a fitness room. While the age of the passengers seemed to be older than my wife and I, I think a lot of people would have used a fitness center to some extent if available. The number of TV channels needs to be expanded. The choice of movies definitely needs to be expanded. The food and food service were excellent, although Western name brands of sugar and artificial sweeteners should be available. The cabin service was fine. I think the excursion to the ballet should have been optional. Our primary tour guide was excellent; because he spent 10 years in the USA, he spoke with very little accent, understood USA customs and expressions, and was very entertaining. Read Less
Viking Truvor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.8
Family 1.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.5
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 3.0 3.8

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