3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
It was fantastic on so many levels. It was more than I ever expected. The crew was so professional and personable. Loved the meals and the wine to go with. Loved the tour guides on the ship. They were very well informed on the history of ... Read More
It was fantastic on so many levels. It was more than I ever expected. The crew was so professional and personable. Loved the meals and the wine to go with. Loved the tour guides on the ship. They were very well informed on the history of the country as well as being fun and personable. Same with the Russians hired to do the tours. Loved the smaller amount of people that the Rurik ship could accommodate. I really do not think any other Viking cruise could top this one. Hopefully, I am wrong about this. Room was perfect. Always kept very clean.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
I really enjoyed the cruise because; It was small The food , service and ambiance was great The meals were excellent and I appreciated the the many choices and the portions were just right for me. The lectures were informative The ... Read More
I really enjoyed the cruise because; It was small The food , service and ambiance was great The meals were excellent and I appreciated the the many choices and the portions were just right for me. The lectures were informative The tours were good, however, it depended on the expertise and interest of the guides leading the tour. I would have liked to have had some input in what I wanted to see especially in the Hermitage and Armory. The rooms were very comfortable and I appreciated being able to watch lecures on the room TV.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We just returned from Waterways of the Tsars and fell in love with St. Petersburg and the Russian countryside. Our cabin was on the highest cabin deck, and we enjoyed sitting on our veranda during the cruising portion of the trip. Our room ... Read More
We just returned from Waterways of the Tsars and fell in love with St. Petersburg and the Russian countryside. Our cabin was on the highest cabin deck, and we enjoyed sitting on our veranda during the cruising portion of the trip. Our room was a good size for us, but there are many public areas to sit if you prefer. The ship is attractive, and up to date, and always spotlessly clean. The meals are great. I cannot speak of ocean cruising, where I believe the eating options are much more varied, but we are not river cruising primarily for the meals. That said, the choices pleased us and everyone we talked to on the ship. There were almost always Russian specialties as an alternative to more common common dishes and we loved that. We thought the food was delicious and imaginatively prepared. The staff was amazing! I really cannot think of a single staff member who was not professional and at the same time friendly. Our steward, Elena, kept the cabin immaculate. The wait staff, including Anna, was wonderful. The maître'd Sophia was adorable and kept the dining room running beautifully. The hotel manager was charming and extremely competent. He literally took care of any problems immediately, though the ship was run so well there were few issues. The on shore excursions were great, although we always preferred the on board tour escorts, Sasha and Alexey, to the local tour escorts whose command of English was not as good. Still, many of those tour escorts were good as well. The tours were superb, and there were also many on board lectures to acquaint you with Russian history and culture. All in all, we enjoyed this cruise much more than we had expected to, given the political situation. We have travelled with Viking before and knew they were excellent, but were a bit unsure about going to Russia at this time. We are certainly glad we went. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
My first river cruise easily won me over to this type of travel. As a former independent, backpacking traveler, I was skeptical taking a "tour package". Viking River Cruise offered me beautiful accommodations, dining options ... Read More
My first river cruise easily won me over to this type of travel. As a former independent, backpacking traveler, I was skeptical taking a "tour package". Viking River Cruise offered me beautiful accommodations, dining options throughout the day, scheduled tours throughout Russia with plenty of flexibility to explore on our own. Viking provided seamless travel arrangements from takeoff to boarding and disembarking to takeoff afterward. As we toured Moscow worry free, Viking rebooked our flight home when Air France cancelled our original flights due to the pilot's strike. We enjoyed the open seating concept that allowed us to dine alone or freely make new friends by joining a table with open seats. As a life long learner I found the shore excursions informative and enjoyed the local guides at each port. Pre-port lectures on the ship prepared us in an entraining and informative way regarding history, ports, and current events in Russia. Entire crew gets an "A+". Friendly, professional, attentive, and accommodating. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I am not easily impressed, but our first river cruise (Moscow to St. Petersburg) was just great! Russia was so surprising - I grew up thinking that all buildings in Russia were old and gray. Just the opposite: Moscow was very modern. In ... Read More
I am not easily impressed, but our first river cruise (Moscow to St. Petersburg) was just great! Russia was so surprising - I grew up thinking that all buildings in Russia were old and gray. Just the opposite: Moscow was very modern. In St. Petersburg, we found beautiful 17th / 18th century buildings. For me, the most amazing part of Russia was the churches. I thought that the socialists there had destroyed all the churches, and they did do that to many, but there were a lot of beautiful Russian Orthodox churches throughout our trip. Beautiful icons covered the walls of the churches, some of which were 500 years old. While we saw many sites, Peter the Great's Palace and Catherine the Great's Palace were fantastic. Secondly, no trip is enjoyable if the boat and the crew are not of high quality. The Rurick had been renovated a year ago, so it was like new. While our room was small, we had no problems with it. The Veranda was great to watch the scenery as it went by . The restaurant was very nice with good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maybe most important was the crew. They were great! 100%. They learned our names in a day. They solved any issues we had. When we stopped on the river, the crew would tell us exactly where to go to buy items and where not to go. In the restaurant, the waiter and waitress we had (we sat with others at a corner table) would essentially "reserve" our table by serving the drinks that we liked before we even got there. There was always something to do on the boat. I really liked the afternoon talks we had about the history of Russia. They were not political - mostly just the facts, I understand a lot more about Russia now. Because this river cruise was so good, we are taking another river cruise in Europe in 2015. The cruises aren't cheap, but you get your money's worth. And as they say, "You can't take it with you". Nick G.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to ... Read More
We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to visit made it all so easy. The food was excellent too. We would say that it would have been good to have had more free time, perhaps fewer events would be better. Sometimes, our free time was taken up waiting to get to toilets. The cathedrals were all spectacular, but maybe there were too many visits to such religious sites. The boat trip in St Petersburg was a bit rough and ready, not quite Viking standard, We were also concerned that one older lady fell getting off the bus for this but our guide was already away out front and had to be called back. Guides should check everyone is ok before setting off. However, the whole experience was excellent and we would defrinitely go Viking again - if we can afford it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We had never been on Viking River Cruise previously, but the line was highly recommended by our travel agent as well as a friend who has been on a Viking river cruise previously. We cannot fault the line, staff or the tour guides. It was ... Read More
We had never been on Viking River Cruise previously, but the line was highly recommended by our travel agent as well as a friend who has been on a Viking river cruise previously. We cannot fault the line, staff or the tour guides. It was an amazing trip and very enjoyable and enlightening. The Rurik has been updated apparently, and the only challenge are the steep stairs. There is a lift (elevator) but only one at the back of the boat. We had a fantastic trip and the staff were excellent. The local tour guides were very helpful and went out of their way to ensure that questions, comments and information were addressed. The only challenge we had was at Peterof, but that was our fault. We did not listen to information where the bus would be parked. The Cruise Director, Christopher, went out of his way to help us and gave us information on St Petersburg which was invaluable. We are looking at other Viking Cruises for future trips. Hope they pick up Amazon cruises on their list.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our 4th Viking cruise and it was as wonderful as all the others. We started our trip with a couple extra days in Moscow. Since we felt that the Viking price of $1200 for 2 nights seemed high and I wanted to stay closer to the ... Read More
This was our 4th Viking cruise and it was as wonderful as all the others. We started our trip with a couple extra days in Moscow. Since we felt that the Viking price of $1200 for 2 nights seemed high and I wanted to stay closer to the Kremlin area, we made our own arrangements. We had two nights booked at the Marriott Royal Aurora which was just a couple blocks from the Bolshoi and fairly close to GUM, Red square, and the Kremlin. We had never been to Moscow before and wanted see some additional sites plus get over some of our 11 hours of jet lag. I had done quite a bit of research on the logistics of getting from Domodedevo airport to the city center and then to the Marriott. Since we travel fairly light with only carry-on bags, we made our way through passport control and then customs. Everything we had read indicated that we should fill out a customs declaration for our electronics and other items of value over $1500. Since I figured we were at about $2800, we proceeded, form in hand, to the red line. The official took one look, handed it back to us and said only “green line”. I think all they are really looking for are commercial goods or large amounts of cash. We changed enough dollars at the airport to get us into town. I knew there was an ATM in the airport somewhere but I never did see it…plus I really preferred to get cash from ATM at a major bank in town. The Aeroexpress train ticket machine has English instructions and takes cash. With tickets purchased, we then realized that we had less than 5 minutes to make it to the other side of the terminal or wait 30 minutes for the next train. We ran and quickly jumped on the train just seconds before the train doors closed. We arrived at Paveletsky RR Station 45 minutes later and transferred to the “Green Line” metro. I bought an 11 ride card for 320 Rubles, and we went 2 stops to the Teatralnaya station. We surfaced just in front of the Bolshoi. (Note: There is an excellent document on Tripadvisor that describes exactly how to use the metro.) After a short walk, we entered the Marriott. You are probably wondering, why go to all the trouble? We had heard about the Moscow traffic and then saw it from the train. Domodedevo is a LONG way from the city center and it would have cost us considerably more time & money than the $24 we spent on the train and metro. It took us just over 2 hours from the time we left the plane till we walked into the Marriott. The Marriott was fantastic! I am MR Gold, so we were first upgraded to a bigger room. Then we had access to the Concierge Lounge which had an unexpected and outstanding evening buffet including free wine & beer. While we could have had an excellent breakfast there, we were told to go to the buffet instead as it was also free to us. It was superb and kept us going till dinner. We also had free Internet. But what made this hotel so special was the service. From the moment we arrived till we left, everyone was SO friendly and attentive. They were a pleasure to deal with. We would not hesitate to stay there again and recommend it highly. Since we were making our own way to the ship, I had emailed the Viking Rurik to confirm their location. I received a quick reply that verified that the ship was at the Northern Cruise ship terminal about a 10 minute walk from the Rechnoy Vokzal metro station, the last stop on the green line. So metro ticket in hand, we walked back to Teatralnaya station and about a half hour later walked onto the Viking Rurik. To our surprise, we were given immediate access to our room at noon, unpacked, and then had lunch in the dining room. This was very nice and totally unexpected as we assumed we’d have a small snack in the lounge and then wait till 3pm for cabin access. We had a balcony on the middle deck, same level as the restaurant. This was great because the steps between decks are VERY steep. The Panorama bar on the 4th deck was really nice for either a smaller breakfast or relaxing during the day or before dinner. We were up there sometime every day. We were extremely lucky to book the Rurik for the June 12-24 sailing because June 12 was Russian Independence Day and the start of a 4-day holiday. This meant NO traffic! But unlike other holidays of this kind around Europe, all stores and sights were open. It took only 20-25 minutes to get from the ship to Red Square by bus, less time than riding the metro. As usual, all Viking tours and guides were excellent. The first day Viking offered an ‘up close’ walking tour which took us through the subway to Red Square, GUM, the new Cathedral, along the Kremlin embankment, and to a concert before returning back to the ship for a late dinner. Next day had many optional tours plus a free bus to Red Square. Since we were totally comfortable with the subway, we wanted to tour some additional stations. The stations are quite beautiful. We then navigated to Arabat Street and wandered through the shops. We also toured inside St. Basil’s. We did go on the optional Moscow by Night tour which started with a boat ride around the Moscow River and ended with walking around Red Square around 11pm once it finally got dark. Red square, with St. Basil’s, GUM, and the Kremlin is spectacular at night. I would highly recommend this tour. One optional tour that was not mentioned in the pre-cruise literature was the visit to the Kremlin Armory Museum in conjunction with Cathedral Square. We had gone there on our own and I consider it the highlight of our time in Moscow. It is the only place to see the Faberge eggs and thousands of other priceless treasures. It is better than any other museum of its kind including the crown jewels in London and Hapsburg treasury in Vienna. The Viking Kremlin tour was the morning of our last day in Moscow. It was excellent and really helped us understand the history of the fortress and its cathedrals. The ports enroute to St. Petersburg were all very interesting. We especially enjoyed the wooden domed churches in Kinzi and the monastery in Kuzino. Viking tours always seem to have something just a little bit extra that enhances the experience. For example we had an group singing Acapella at the monastery and Bell Ringing in Kinzi. Mandrogy had the best craft items by far. The dozens of artisans were working on their wares and each had a unique style. The items were more expensive than we’d seen at hundreds of shops along the way, but it was also obvious that the quality was there. Like Moscow, we had 3 full days in St. Petersburg. Once again, we were lucky as we arrived on a Saturday so the traffic was considerably lighter than normal. First day, we went to the Hermitage and then to the ballet that evening. Rather than go back and forth to the ship between tours, we opted to stay in the city center. We wandered Nevsky Prospect and then had dinner at a place recommended by Christopher, the cruise director. It was on the 6th floor of a building across from the Kazan Cathedral and had great views of the city including the domes of the spilled blood church. All tours the next day were included. We first ventured out to Catherine’s Palace and then had a city tour that included the Peter and Paul Fortress in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day for both. The weather our last day in St. Petersburg was not quite as nice as we took the optional tour to Peterhof. However, even with the steady rain, the gardens and fountains were spectacular. Viking arranged for us to be the first group inside the palace which was really nice as it was extremely crowded later in the morning. I would highly recommend the Peterhof tour as the palace interior rooms have original furnishings and décor. It was probably the highlight of our time in St. Petersburg. We also signed up for the optional canal boat tour in the afternoon. After the city tour the day before, the boat ride was short, boring, redundant and just an unnecessary expense. I wish we would have skipped it. Meals on board were very good to excellent. The house white and red were above average Spanish wines and they flowed freely. In fact, our glasses were never empty. Rather than having to ask for more, we had to ask our wait staff to stop pouring. Every lunch and dinner had at least one or two Russian specialties, many of which we tried. There were also several sail away parties with Champagne, Vodka, or other specialty drinks our on the Sundeck. There was also a special Russian dinner and buffet lunch during the course of the cruise. The Russian history lectures on board were outstanding. Other events such as Vodka tasting, Pelmeni making, Wheelhouse tour, etc. kept us more than busy between ports. Everyone agreed that the presented programs were the best of any previous Viking cruise or ocean cruise for that matter. They would always schedule two sessions in the Skybar so that everyone could attend. We wanted to go to Finland but again thought the Viking post-cruise option of 3 nights for $1600 seemed extremely expensive especially since only breakfast was included. We did have Viking arrange a taxi to the train station and boarded the Allegro High Speed train for the 3.5hr trip to Helsinki. Best part was that we cleared Russian customs and EU immigration from our seats on the train. It was no muss, no fuss, extremely efficient, and totally painless. We had 2 nights there before continuing north to the Finnish Lake district and the town of Savonlinna. A few nights later we were back in Helsinki, staying at the airport the night before flying back to San Francisco. This was an outstanding 3 week trip and a Viking cruise is the perfect way to see Russia!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Wow, where to begin. We would have never travelled to Russia on our own. After seeing how Viking handled our two week "Grand European" tour in 2013 from Budapest to Amsterdam during the "500" year flood, we knew that we ... Read More
Wow, where to begin. We would have never travelled to Russia on our own. After seeing how Viking handled our two week "Grand European" tour in 2013 from Budapest to Amsterdam during the "500" year flood, we knew that we would always be safe and stress free with Viking. We were right. It was a marvelous trip to a country we would have never put on our wish list if Viking was not hosting it. They continue to amaze us. The staff, the service, the food, the cleanliness and the tours are all 5 star. They offer us interesting places to visit not only stress free but with a feeling of security. In addition, their teams are friendly, helpful and full of fun and enjoy their work. Great service is the norm. As I said before, "Viking rules the rivers". Gord Haddock, Saskatchewan, Canada PS We are already booked on Vikings first ocean going ship the Star on their maiden voyage. I already know that we are going to have a wonderful trip. It's Viking........that's all we need to know. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
Having visited St. Petersburg earlier in the year with a "big" cruise ship and two short days to see it all, I was looking forward to the three and one half days this time. I was not disappointed. But let's start at the ... Read More
Having visited St. Petersburg earlier in the year with a "big" cruise ship and two short days to see it all, I was looking forward to the three and one half days this time. I was not disappointed. But let's start at the beginning. I had taken Viking River Cruises on the Danube a number of years ago and was impressed. When I mentioned it to friends who had not taken a river cruise before they were intrigued. One of my friends made comment that we should go to Russia before it was too difficult. We started looking for river cruises and it was agreed that Viking was our choice. May was a good month for us and the weather would not be too cold. We made the necessary arrangements and booked out travel and took off. We did not use the service that was offered or the airlines. We did the visa route ourselves and booked out own air. We all had a great time commenting on what had to be done and why. From the moment that the Viking staff met us at the airport till the time we were taken back to the airport in Moscow, we had a "blast". Our guide stayed with us the whole excursion trips.Being Russian, our guide was up on all of the news and views as well as history. We got to know the wait staff and the officers. The food was good, very good and first class. It was up to you on your choice. We were the first trip of the season and as a result,there were some minor glitches. Nothing to write home about. Would we travel with Viking again...YES!!! My friends have stated that they would not take a "big" boat again if they don't have to. We are starting to plan our next trip.   Read Less
Viking Rurik Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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