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
1 Helpful Vote
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
3 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
Sail Date: August 2018
This is our 2nd cruise with Viking. We had taken the Grand European Cruise the summer before and fell in "love" with the way Viking does cruises and does business. The cabins are awesome, we always get a veranda so we can sip ... Read More
This is our 2nd cruise with Viking. We had taken the Grand European Cruise the summer before and fell in "love" with the way Viking does cruises and does business. The cabins are awesome, we always get a veranda so we can sip wine and watch the world go by - so much fun. The cabins are well appointed. The food is fabulous and the choices are just right. The ability to choose which trips outside of the cruise - every day was just so nice and the things we could do were so educational and culturally appropriate for Russia. We learned so much - more than you could ever learn in a book, you have to live it. The entertainment was fun on board and on the excursions!!!! Oh....And the service was so nice, our cabin was always neat and clean and the staff was ALWAYS very attentive to our needs. We fell in love with Russia and St. Petersburg in particular. We stayed there a few days in advance of the cruise and someday we hope to return. We would love to return on another cruise in Russia and maybe we will. There is still a lot of the Viking World to explore and return trips will have to wait until we do some more of the "Viking World." The one thing we would re-do is take the advice and do the "Special" tour of the Hermitage - it is 8 hours. We did the regular tour - 4 hours, and were disappointed that we could not stay longer. You could visit there for years and not see all of the Hermitage. We also like the fact that there are NO children on board. We are adults and prefer the company of like minded adults for culture, education, and cruising in no smoking and no gambling. IF we wanted to do that we would go on a cheap ocean cruise with another company. We like Viking on both the Helgi and Baldur River Boats. Read Less
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We just returned from Waterways of the Tzars with Viking and although the trip was enjoyable there were several problems with the cruise. The boats in Russia are not nearly as nice as the Longships Vikings uses in Europe. They need to be ... Read More
We just returned from Waterways of the Tzars with Viking and although the trip was enjoyable there were several problems with the cruise. The boats in Russia are not nearly as nice as the Longships Vikings uses in Europe. They need to be updated and reconfigured. The public spaces are tiny and bar area are so small that they cant hold everyone during lectures and briefings. The outside common area on the back on the boat is allowed for smoking, that is to say they can smoke anywhere outside so non smokers really could not enjoy the back of the boat...which was a shame because we had incredible weather. Viking should rope a particular area off or allow smoking on the outside of the side of the ships or better yet say no smoking at all! There is really no place to exercise or walk and while you do walk on the excursions it isn't enough for people who are fit. The food was great and as always the crew does there best to keep you happy. We did notice that most of the servers where much younger than on other Viking cruises and while they worked hard the service was not up to what you experience in Europe. Communicating with some was nearly impossible. Wine and beer choices were limited mostly to Russia even with the Silver package. And we were told that some beer would be available on tap, this was not the case. Again, just little things that start to add up when you are on a cruise for two weeks. The Russian escorts were incredible and really made the tours and excursions interesting. On board entertainment was wonderful we really enjoyed Anthony and Joanna's music. A special should out to Lubov our stewardess, she was UNBELIEVABLE. Also enjoyed getting to know Calvin and Tina at the back bar. It is very easy to use the Metro in St Petersburg and Moscow so don't be afraid to explore the big cities on your own. The maps on board show you how and we had no problems. The Metro is clean and safe. Be aware that the Hermitage is warm and crowded. One couple from our cruises was pickpocketed there. This cruise could have been outstanding but unfortunately the boat and some of the service was not what we had expected from Viking. WE will carefully decided whether to continue to cruise with Viking or begin to explore other lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We wanted to do something different. All of our friends are going to Europe ie Italy, Greece Germany. We wanted to learn more about how the average Russian people live, eat & work. The guides were Russian and their English was ... Read More
We wanted to do something different. All of our friends are going to Europe ie Italy, Greece Germany. We wanted to learn more about how the average Russian people live, eat & work. The guides were Russian and their English was excellent. One of them described her family life as a child growing up in Russia. The meals were excellent and we got to taste many Russian meals. One day they set up stations which had various Russian dishes. The names of each dish was typed and labeled beside each dish. Our room was always clean and refreshed every day. We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Viking left us a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates in our room wishing us a Happy Anniversary. We asked if it was possible to visit one of the oldest synagogues in Europe which was in St Petersburg. They happily set us up with a very knowledgeable guide and private tour of the synagogue to include transportation to and from the synagogue. All of the Viking personnel on board the ship treated us as though we were special guests. This made our trip special. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I can't imagine a better way to experience Russia than on a Viking River Cruise. We visited the big cities as well as the smaller towns along the river, we welcomed into private homes, saw some of the most amazing architecture and ... Read More
I can't imagine a better way to experience Russia than on a Viking River Cruise. We visited the big cities as well as the smaller towns along the river, we welcomed into private homes, saw some of the most amazing architecture and learned so much from the knowledgeable tour guides. We are able to learn about the history, customs and culture of Russia every day, both on and off the ship. One of the best aspects of the river cruise is that you never have to change hotels. Once you unpack on day one you don't have to touch your suitcases again until it's time to go home. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and loved the fact that they took the time to learn our names and understand our individual needs and preferences. The food is superb and the ship is extremely comfortable. We can't wait to take our next river cruise with Viking! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
I wanted to see Russia and this cruise offered a 2 week onboard stay that covered a lot of area. The ship, service and food were all excellent, typically Viking. Excursions and guides were also excellent. And Russia exceeded our ... Read More
I wanted to see Russia and this cruise offered a 2 week onboard stay that covered a lot of area. The ship, service and food were all excellent, typically Viking. Excursions and guides were also excellent. And Russia exceeded our expectations. If you like history, arts and music this is a great cruise. The last couple of days in St Petersburg included a fantastic ballet and onboard opera experience. My criticisms are: - we booked thru Viking, which was a MISTAKE, always use a trusted knowledgeable travel agent. Our cruise was during World Cup and the cities were unusually crowded with many of the prime sites closed:( An experienced agent would have warned us and we would have changed our dates. - Viking has Dock locations a long way out of the main cities, so we were riding buses a lot. This was a bit disappointing for a river cruise where you expected to be closer to town. - the majority of the time our nice balcony stateroom was facing another boat at dock, so we would have to close the curtains during the day, forget having a nice view or using your balcony much. - I think it’s great that older less mobile seniors can enjoy cruising, but Viking could do a better job of organizing excursions by mobility, we ended up in some really slow groups for included tours. Read Less
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