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Sail Date: August 2019
We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye ... Read More
We were very impressed reading the itinerary and all the trip offered. It was our first river cruise with scenic. The daily programs are explained every evening, before dinner. Svetlana armstrong, our cruise director was wonderful! Her eye for detail is exceptional, there was never a time she wasn't there for the guests: ensuring all understood the guidelines of what to do, where to meet, along with all the historical places we would be visiting. Every day was a wow! vadim palchun, our historian, program director, and guide was beyond an a++. Vadim"s intellect surpasses any historian we have ever met. Vadim greeted us every day with humor, patience, knowledge and passion for russia as he guided us thru his homeland. The palaces, the cathedrals, the museums, (don't miss the world war 11 museum) the ballet, the rivertours, the folklore show, & the phenominal old moscow circus!!! Was outstanding!!! Truly, surpassed our expectations! the only significant problem involved the limo service from home: to and from the airport, would not want to deal with this limo company again.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have traveled with NatGeo/Lindblad on several occasions, Galapagos, Iceland, Africa (NatGeo solely), Alaska and now Wrangel Island. I had looked forward to this trip for almost 2 years. My expeditions were not met however. Food: ... Read More
We have traveled with NatGeo/Lindblad on several occasions, Galapagos, Iceland, Africa (NatGeo solely), Alaska and now Wrangel Island. I had looked forward to this trip for almost 2 years. My expeditions were not met however. Food: Plentiful and good as always. Alcohol: Free flowing (I'm not a drinker, but it appeared it was free flowing). Excursions: Not so great. Our first stop was Provideniya. This town is ominous. There is nothing to see (building that have been deteriorating since WWII perhaps) and nothing to do. There are no shops or souvenirs to be had. We had some local townspeople put on a dance show, but that was it. The streets are dirty and it is depressing place to be. Uelen: Ditto. VERY ominous and dirty. The ivory museum was interesting. However, despite promoting the ivory on their website and in their handouts as well as the pre-trip briefing for this town visit, you cannot LEGALLY purchase these wares because the individuals who carve these brilliant pieces do not abide by the parameters set by CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species C.I.T.E.S.) which regulates same. Walrus, Mammoth and other ivory wares are BANNED. Basically, you are perusing carvings that are illegal in their derivation. Villagers put on another dance for us. Lorino: Ditto. Ominous, poverty stricken town. Under Russian law, they are allowed to hunt whales and fox. Thankfully, while we were there. . . . all of the 1500 fox cages were empty. And the only remainders of a whale were there blood/blubber covered bones that their dozens of dogs were eating (yes . . . gross). Nothing to see. Nothing to buy, except for one villager had ivory and pelts for sale, which again . . . are illegal to purchase. We did have a tug of war with the local villagers, which was interesting. Several men from our cruise volunteered and went against several men from the village who haul whales from the ocean for a living. When our guys won . . . the villagers were angry and stormed off. Wrangel island: Saw 80+ polar bears at about 3/4 mile to a mile away from the ship. We only did 4 zodiac runs the entire trip. Once to Wrangel Island to walk the tundra for 2 hours (looking at plants). No wildlife. Some geese. Old broken down buildings. LOTS of mud. Saw 1 polar bear from a zodiac run, but with 10 other people in the boat, the waves and the driver instructing us to sit down, don't move, don't get up and don't switch places . . . was nearly impossible to get a picture. When I came home from my Africa trip . . . I had over 8,000 pictures. Iceland and Galapagos over 5,000 pictures each. I have 7 pictures of "wildlife" from this trip. Geese flying overhead. 1 of a polar bear from 1/4 mile away. 1 of 2 polar bears 3/4 mile away and some other birds. That's the extent of my photos. I got tired of taking photo of ominous places. And plants just aren't my thing. NatGeo's photogs (as usual) were allowed to head out in zodiacs on their own to hunt down subjects for their photos, while passengers were boarded into a single zodiac 10-12 at a time. They do whatever it takes to get their shot. Sometimes I feel like I am paying for them to get their shots . . . shouldn't the passenger be the one able to take advantage of getting great photography and not the NatGeo photog who is there because you are paying for him to be there? The age demographic for our particular trip was much older than most NatGeo trips. We are 60 and 61 years of age . . . and we were the youngest by several years. It appears that NatGeo is moving towards Viking type trips . . . where there are less adventurers and more travelers who are completely satisfied with eating, drinking, napping and being entertained by a singing / dancing crew than head out in search of wildlife. A good portion of the passengers could not even get into a zodiac without the help of 4 people. At one point it became dangerous because passengers were either not listening, unable to listen or didn't care to listen to zodiac disembarking instructions . . . and 2 people in the back got hammered by the sea. And . . . many of them slowed us down during the 2 (yes . . only 2) outings that took place. So . . . is NatGeo becoming an extensive, expensive, dinner cruise? Is money the bottom line for them and the adventuring spirit has taken a back seat to wining and dining the older demographic? So . . . Waitstaff go out of their way to please you; ditto for housekeeping. Despite the brochure indicating that tips are NOT necessary or expected . . . a huge tip box is visible in the reception area on the last day. Photographers - you are paying for their adventure . . . so they get their shots . . . and as such try to be as personable as possible during the trips. What continues to happen though on these trips is that the photographers have their "help" session the very last day . . . so basically they are saying "if you photographed landscape in the dim light we had last Tuesday, then your settings should have been 'x'". What they don't do is help you PRIOR to encountering such conditions. So - basically, they are helping you after the fact, but they still get THEIR shots. Landry service - we used them 3 times and clothes came back in great order. Mud room - on our cruise the mud room was turned into a staff lounge and thus unusable by passengers. After excursions to the disgustingly and questionably dirty villages and the like, your boots go back into your rooms with you. There is a brief opportunity to wash them off after disembarking the zodiac, but there is usually a line to do so. When we arrived back home . . . I hot water soaked and disinfected all of our shoes. Wellness - I had a massage every other day with Allison. I love deep tissue massage . . . and she was very well trained and wonderful. Note: the small exercise room is just outside of the massage room door . . . so if someone is working out . . . you will hear them. A few sites claim that there is room service 24/7 on this cruise . . . that is absolutely not the case. The cruise never used the: ROV kayaks underwater camera video microscope crow's next camera hydrophone The staff divers were not allowed to diver purportedly due to military restrictions set by the Russians, but we heard that it was because the administrative staff forgot to file the necessary paperwork. Panoramic views from the lounge. Dining room is oddly situated on only the port side of the ship . . . almost like an afterthought. If you want a trip where you can eat as much as you like and socialize - this is the trip for you. If you want to drink as much as alcohol as you like and socialize - this is the trip for you. If you enjoy viewing plants - this is the trip for you. If you are in search of wildlife - do not take this trip. If I had known what this trip would be like . . . I would not have taken it . . . because the cost vs the experience was absolutely not worth it. What NatGeo and Lindblad are advertising is not what you get. We did not see hundreds of polar bears (at least within viewing range - maybe with a binoculars - 3/4 mile to a mile away), we did not visit the whale bone alley and despite Wrangel Island being touted as the most bio diverse island full of a plethora of wildlife (their words not mine), we saw nothing but birds. . . . and very few of them at that. For the cost . . . absolutely not worth it . . . and we could have gone to Africa 3 times for what it cost to go to Wrangel Island. Such a disappointment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Russia was a total unknown to us - an eye opener of its people and lifestyle in Moscow and St Petersburg. The three Russian Tour Leaders employed by Scenic were superb - their command of the English language was superb and their ... Read More
Russia was a total unknown to us - an eye opener of its people and lifestyle in Moscow and St Petersburg. The three Russian Tour Leaders employed by Scenic were superb - their command of the English language was superb and their presentations were with a great sense of humour. The ship staff were friendly and helpful making the trip a very positive experience. The day excursions were of great interest and the fact that Scenic managed to get early access to the various musea, churches, castles etc before the crowds was greatly appreciated. The tour buses were modern and comfortable with good PA systems and efficient drivers. A good effort was made to drop us off and collect us later at the various point of interest without nearby parking facilities. The staff on-board were friendly and efficient and their English was remarkably good as they were all young Russians. The food was varied, well presented and very good with good wines to choose from. Breakfast and lunch were good occasions to move around the buffet and dinner was sit down a la carte with personalised service at the table. The pianist was very good and played the entertainment, mostly provided by the 3 Tour Leaders were great. The talks about the Russian political history was frank, honest and very detailed and gave me a better understanding of how Russia arrived where it is now. Because of the unseasonable cold weather, we did not make much use of the balcony or the outside areas. We were efficiently collected from the airport in Moscow at the start of the cruise and delivered to the airport in St Petersburg at the conclusion of the trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have travelled much of the world over the last 25 years, but had never yet been to Russia. We chose a river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow in high season. The price was very reasonable, so we did not expect a 5+ star level of ... Read More
We have travelled much of the world over the last 25 years, but had never yet been to Russia. We chose a river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow in high season. The price was very reasonable, so we did not expect a 5+ star level of service and care. However, from the moment we boarded until our final disembarkation, we were both enraptured and enthralled with every facet of the cruise. The ship is very long, accommodating about 240 passengers. There are several dining rooms, lounge areas, bars, meeting rooms, large wide decks and even a shop. The suites are small, yet comfortable with large windows, cupboards and a small bathroom with sink, toilet and shower. Our bags fitted perfectly underneath the beds. We hung all our clothes in the wardrobe. The many staff are efficient, caring and professional. They all go the extra mile. Nothing was ever a problem to any of them. The meals were exceptional and abundant. Our Cruise Director, Victoria, was the best ever! She genuinely cared for her team of passengers and went way above and beyond all expectations. She taught us so much Russian history, while she made the cruise exciting and fun for everyone. Her assistant, Daria, was also exceptional in every way.The shore excursions were well organised and informative, with a broad variety of options. We enjoyed an amazing folk show in St Petersburg and another in Moscow. Victoria and Daria took us on a night tour of the amazing Moscow underground Metro. We went inside the Kremlin and enjoyed some amazing night shopping. There was no shortage of entertainment on board for everyone, while the land excursions took us to some of the most amazing palaces and places in the world. This was clearly one of the great highlights of our entire lives! Gary & Debbie Martin. Australia Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We surveyed a number of possibilities before settling on the Volga Dream for our trip from Moscow to St Petersburg on the Volga River. We wanted a small ship--the Volga Dream accommodates 100 passengers although we had fewer on our ... Read More
We surveyed a number of possibilities before settling on the Volga Dream for our trip from Moscow to St Petersburg on the Volga River. We wanted a small ship--the Volga Dream accommodates 100 passengers although we had fewer on our voyage. We were intrigued by the fact that the ship is owned by a Russian family and has a Russian crew. We also noted that many Volga cruises sleep on the ship while visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg and we preferred to stay in centrally located hotels instead so that we could more easily have some time and access to independent exploration. After reading about the Volga Dream our only concern was that it was an older ship and we wondered if it would be in good condition. No worry! It was evident that the ship has received consistent TLC! All facilities were in excellent condition. Our cabin was comfortable, housekeeping was efficient, and we had two nice large windows through which to admire the views! The meals aboard were excellent and provided plenty of options including vegetarian ones. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style while dinners were served from a menu. Wine and beer were complimentary (and generous) for lunch and dinner. In addition to the interesting shore excursions there were a variety of cultural activities to participate in...or not Just relaxing and enjoying the view was quite acceptable! All shore excursions were included as well as city touring, There were some optional evening excursions in Moscow and St. Petersburg at an additional cost. I did not participate in any of them (and there was no pressure to do so) so I'm unable to evaluate them Overall, service was excellent! Embarkation and disembarkation were handled smoothly and efficiently at ports and for shore excursions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I sailed on the Zosima Shashkov with Gate 1 from May 18-28, 2019 on a 10-night river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The word, Zosima, means “full of life” and this cruise was just that. A river cruise was a bucket list trip ... Read More
I sailed on the Zosima Shashkov with Gate 1 from May 18-28, 2019 on a 10-night river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The word, Zosima, means “full of life” and this cruise was just that. A river cruise was a bucket list trip for me and Gate 1 delivered again. After 8 trips, I have confidence in their product and had no hesitation in booking this trip despite the complex Russian visa process. I will echo the comments of those who praise the ship. She is immaculate. My roommate and I often strolled Deck 3 early in the morning. Without fail, a ‘sailor’ (the term used) was swabbing and cleaning the deck every morning. I didn’t see how any paint could be left on the railings or deck floor with his diligent work. Our cabin was also kept spotless thanks to our cabin attendant. Each passenger is issued one small/hand towel, one large/bath towel and one bar of soap. The small towel is exchanged every day; the large towel and bed sheets are changed every three days. I always bring my own toiletries including hand soap. There are no tissue boxes in the cabin. While basic, the cabin is comfortable and functional. The beds are narrow and tall people may have a little trouble stretching out but I had no discomfort in sleeping, although I bring my own pillow. One side of the bed has a bolster-type cushion; the other bed has several shelves and cabinets above it. The cabin has one electrical outlet; we brought a charging base with multiple outlets (available from Brookstone) and USB ports to charge our devices. All we needed was a 2-prong converter to plug into the outlet and we were set. We also brought our own small travel hairdryer (Amazon) rather than having to depend on borrowing one from Reception. There is a decent-sized refrigerator and ‘radio’ in the cabin designed to transmit internal communications such as announcements, route information and wakeup calls. Bathroom: The bathroom design has some wondering about Gate 1’s terminology: “a unique combination.” To use the shower, you pull the curtain around the bathroom on a track until it stops at the sink. The toilet, shelf, clothing hooks and toilet paper are protected from water. The water temperature is regulated from the hot and cold faucets on the sink. When the desired temperature is reached, pull the knob to activate the shower head which also can be removed from the bracket to rinse off. The water drains into the floor; you stand on a blue mat (housekeeping cleans it daily). Bring shower shoes. The water pressure and temperature were excellent; however, sometimes the water became hotter when someone elsewhere had the water on. Push the knob down to flush the toilet; pull up on the knob to stop the water once the bowl is cleared. Cabin Storage: I was concerned about luggage storage in such a small space since I usually travel with a large pullman. I needn’t have worried since there was room for it to stand upright next to the closet. Instead, I managed perfectly with a carry on and roller board which fit inside my half of the closet (with 4 provided hangers) and out of the way. Each person is issued a room key with a typical lock: no magnetic keys. When leaving the ship, you must stop at Reception and exchange your room key for a laminated ‘boarding card’ which identifies you. This is the method used to monitor who is on and off the ship. The key is returned when you re board and the boarding card is put into your room slot. Each person is given a ship ‘credit card’ used to purchase drinks, gifts, optional tours and services. The exceptions are pictures and the cruise video which must be paid in cash. On the last day, your personal credit card is used to settle the onboard account. (No AMEX) Speaking of cash. There is conflicting information on social media about gratuities. Gate 1 travel documents say gratuities can be paid in USD, rubles and Euros. This is true. I prepared my own envelopes prior to departure. Our tour manager, Katya, confirmed on Day One that gratuities can be paid in USD with absolutely no problem. Two days prior to the end of the cruise, gratuity boxes were placed at both Reception and at the dining room entrance for the crew. It is expected that you personally give your gratuity to your tour manager. However, we tipped extra to our waitress, Vodohod on-board guide, and housekeeper. We also were surprised to be able to pay for souvenirs with USD in many of the larger ports. Smaller bills ($5s and $1s are appreciated). Depending on using USD, I made only one ATM withdrawal of 5,000 rubles and came home with one 50-ruble note (less than $1.00). I made a small chart with dollars-rubles conversion which helped with shopping. $1USD = 65 rubles. Onboard: Our cabin was perfectly situated on Deck 3-“Main Deck Outside Cabin with Window.” We were close to the “Small Bar” where we had coffee (biscuits available) early in the morning after walking the deck. At the other end of the hallway was the stairway to the Panorama Bar on Deck 4, the MOST coveted area of the ship where WiFi was only available. It is a great gathering place for drinks, surfing and conversation. Speaking of WiFi: We had a strong signal for the two days we were in St. Petersburg. As we entered the hinterland, however, there was no signal. We are all spoiled and depend on WiFi as a given. Considering we were in northern Russia, I was grateful for the service when we had it. I would estimate we were without a signal for 3-4 days. When we reached Moscow (our last 2 days) the signal was excellent and I caught up with posting my photos. I called my husband using WhatsApp each day we had a signal. He could have been in the next room. There is a nice gift shop with local, authentic gifts. I did not purchase anything but it was always busy. Activities: Some of the enrichment and fun things to do: metroyshka doll (nesting dolls) painting; Russian tea ceremony; Russian dance and folk song classes; roundtable discussions with the tour managers about culture, life, customs, etc; vodka tasting; Russian language class; talent show showcasing learned dances and folk songs; nightly evening dancing; 3-part video on the Russian czars; Pirate’s dinner; Captain’s dinner; port talks and orientation; video on Putin; wonderful entertainment by “Kalinka:” the onboard pianist/Vladimir, folk singer/Zoya and outstanding balalaika player/Vladimir. Vladimir, the pianist’s repertoire, was simply incredible. He entertained often in the Panorama Bar. He also played the bayan (accordion). In prior reviews or information, we read there was a treadmill. While at one time there may have been one, there is no treadmill now. Dining: Breakfast was the only buffet meal; all others were plated and served. For the first two days, you could sit wherever you wanted. Then, you sat at the same table for the duration of the cruise. There is a reason for this: each day at lunch, the menu for the next day’s lunch and dinner was given. You pre-order each course: salad, soup (lunch only), entrée and dessert. There were 6 to a table on the 3rd floor dining room. Breakfast was typically European: different egg dishes; cereal; oatmeal, yogurt; cucumbers and tomatoes; cheeses, breads, breakfast meats; belini (Russian pancakes); fruit cocktail; pastries; juices; coffee and tea. I thought the food for lunch and dinner was very good and plentiful but I am not a picky eater. My roommate is vegetarian (not vegan) and her entrees were primarily pasta. More variety would be welcomed. Water: While we brushed our teeth with ship water, it was recommended that we not drink it. Two bottles of water per cabin were provided each day in addition to one bottle of water per person at both lunch and dinner. A bottle of water also was provided most touring days on the bus. This is a discrepancy in the Gate 1 travel documents which state water must be purchased: it does NOT. We left about 8 full bottles of water in our cabin. Optional Tours: Prior to departure, we purchased two optional tours: the Kremlin Armory Tour and the Pushkin Palace and Park and Peterhof Lower Park. Some of the optionals described in the pre-printed tour information were unavailable, specifically the ballet and the Novodevichy Convent. However, once on board, more options were available: Moscow by Night+Metro+Panorama 360 observational platform; boat ride; folk show; St. Petersburg by Night. Tour Managers/Local Guides: We had two Gate 1 groups that traveled together; red and yellow. Both tour managers, Katya and Kateyrina were outstanding. Both spoke exceptional English, were experienced and knowledgeable and went above and beyond to be available and helpful. We had a local and/or step-on guide at each port. Each was knowledgeable, interesting and spoke excellent English. I felt very safe everywhere we went. The trip was a delightful combination of big city and ancient towns. I learned so much about the history and culture of the biggest country in the world. ‘Full of life’ truly describes my experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian ... Read More
We loved both Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the little stops along the cruise. Food was very good. We enjoyed the regional choices available. Waitstaff was top notch. Tour director did a great job. We enjoyed the Russian language lessons and the games. We liked the history lectures. We enjoyed all of the tours. But it is tough when you have to choose between 2 at the same time. All of the tour guides did a great job. I did do one comment card about the Moscow subway for I felt that the directions should have been given above ground where you could hear. You could not hear on the whisperers down in the station and I felt that some of our group were very uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go on the Moscow subway so please keep that in. We enjoyed the ballet in St. Petersburg but would have also liked to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Loved the Cossack show. Enjoyed the vodka tasting. Thought that the meet your neighbor was a great idea--did not have that on a previous Viking Cruise. Loved the balloons when we left Moscow. It was a really great cruise and I have told many people about it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism ... Read More
We took this cruise as an anniversary present and it was the best thing we could have done. The entire cruise throughout Russia was beautiful and always exciting. The museums and the palaces were truly awe inspiring. The professionalism of the Viking crew and guide specialists was without equal. All of the towns and cities we visited on shore excursions had their particular charm and interesting history. The Swan Lake opera, my first ever, was simply awesome. The Russian symphony was unbelievable. Don't miss it. As for the ship Helgi, it was a total positive experience. The cabin was comfortable ands provided all of the room we needed. The dining experience was exceptional each and every day. Wonderful, perfectly prepared food was served at each meal. Our servers, Nastia, Chazie, and Jill made certain we were happy. Visiting Moscow and St.Petersburg for 3 days each taught us much about the citizenry. Take the trip, you'll not regret it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Scenic Tsar – Imperial Russia Moscow to Volgagrad 30th Sept – 14th Oct 18 Deluxe Balcony Suite #305 Expectations Checking the previous reviews for the Scenic Tsar, we were somewhat worried. We had been prewarned that the ... Read More
Scenic Tsar – Imperial Russia Moscow to Volgagrad 30th Sept – 14th Oct 18 Deluxe Balcony Suite #305 Expectations Checking the previous reviews for the Scenic Tsar, we were somewhat worried. We had been prewarned that the Tsar was NOT a Scenic SpaceShip. Indeed it is not even owned by Scenic and only has 3 Scenic staff members on board. We knew when we booked about the ‘buy your drinks outside of mealtimes’ policy, the size of the cabins etc. The ‘actuality’ far exceeded our expectations. I should mention that there were only 85 guests aboard compared to the 115 capacity. Good mix of nationalities although obviously a significant number of Australians (Scenic is an Australian Tour Company) Ages were pretty much exclusively 60s or 70s. This is NOT a trip for those with walking difficulties. It is not only the walking but the many, many steps and uneven surfaces encountered. Food The food was excellent. Eggman at breakfast. Buffet lunch but with a la carte choices too. I had a wonderful fresh trout one day. Dinner had at least three choices for each course. All very well presented. Service was very efficient – no waiting. There was a good variety of wines served, including, some from Eastern European countries. Staff The non-Scenic staff were excellent – well up to Scenic standards. Service in restaurant was extremely efficient and fast. Scenic’s own staff – the 3 Cruise Directors – were not only very good but extremely knowledgeable. Special namecheck to Svetlana Armstrong - the Cruise Director - who really made the holiday. A real gem/star. Suite The main/bedroom part of our suite was perfectly satisfactory. Long worksurface to accommodate our laptop and other devices etc. Comfortable beds and all the furnishings were to a good standard – indeed looked pretty new. Very quiet. Loved having a kettle. Air Con could be switched off which is a rare boom for people like us who hate sleeping with the aircon on. Minor complaints would be no drawers – just shelves – and a wardrobe where the hangers were parallel to the doors rather than perpendicular – which made selecting your clothes a bit difficult. Main issue was the bathroom. DO NOT BRING YOUR CAT – because you certainly would NOT be able to swing it here! The space between the shower, wash basin and WC was so limited that you had to move about sideways. Having said that everything was clean and maintained that way throughout the trip. The shower itself was both powerful and hot. Itinerary We came not for the ship but to visit Russia. It did not disappoint. I understand that this was the first time that Scenic had done Moscow to Volgograd. All their other trips are between St Petersberg (which we had visited before) and Moscow. In many places you got the impression that the locals saw very few visitors from ‘the west’. Everyone seemed friendly and the locations felt safe. The day in Moscow was exhausting but we ‘hit all the high spots’. Traffic was horrendous but Scenic’s organisation and local guides were excellent. Could have spent much longer there. Although I enjoyed the second day trip to the SpacePark, my wife took the metro to visit the art galleries in Central Moscow instead. Several other guests, like us, would have preferred a second trip into Moscow. BTW – The Scenic Tsar was moored in the river beside a very quiet park about 1km (c 20 minute) walk from the nearest metro station with a direct journey into central Moscow. Costs 55 roubles a trip. BTW – Moscow dispelled my preconceptions. It is probably the cleanest city I have visited. No litter. No beggars either. Indeed it all oozed prosperity. Also seemed v safe. The stops along the Volga were all good with excellent guides. Lots of locks to navigate which added to the interest of the trip. The high spots were: - Yaroslavl where the recreation of a ball at the Governor’s House is not to be missed. - The visits to the Russian Dance School and Military Band Concert in Kostroma. Indeed I reckon there were more performers that day than Scenic Tsar guests! But almost every stop had some kind of entertainment – be it choirs in the churches or folk singing/dancing. - Lovely walk on our own in Pylos looking at the multimillion dollar dachas and the views as the trees put on their autumn colours. - Day in Volgograd/Stalingrad and the visit to the Memorial Park was extremely moving. A definite ‘must do’/high spot. The excursions (all included in the cost) were run extremely efficiently. We love the audio kits. Only criticism was that a few of the guides could not speak English well and had to have translators. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first cruise in China was very good. The ship was clean and looked newer. Our cabin was not overly spacious, but comfortable for the two of us. There were enrichment lectures that were informative, the entertainment was a singer and a man playing the piano every night. The service of most of the ship members was good, what you would expect, with the exception of the dining room. The excursions all seemed to include three churches, which got old. St Petersburg was nice, Moscow not so much. In between we stopped in small towns, toured the churches and looked at icons. But we did have one major problem. When we booked we let Viking know we have a special diet; for health reasons we don't eat meat or dairy products (vegan diet). They said it wouldn't be a problem and it wasn't last time so we were really looking forward to the cruise from St Petersburg, Russia to Moscow. We got on board and were encourage to buy future cruise credits. We signed up to buy four. At dinner the first night we asked to speak with the head waiter to let him know we were the passengers with the special diet. I told him that for us, enjoying good food really makes for a good cruise. I let him know instead of expensive meat and deserts, we like beans, black, pinto, kidney, tofu, steamed or grilled vegetables and potatos. He said oh, we have limited amounts of those. We were docked in St. Petersburg four days and a grocery store was within walking distance, if Viking would have cared to get these items. At our request, the head waiter would bring us the menu for the next day so we could see what we could eat and request additional items. Every night we would ask for some additional vegetables, rice, potatos or beans and almost every day we came to lunch and dinner and did not get any of these items. When we asked our server where are the vegetables we asked for, they would respond, the chef didn't make them. This went on day after day, until the ninth day. For lunch we were given a bowl of hot water with a few pieces of potato in it and a small bowl of rice. We asked for the vegetables we ordered and were told the chef did not make them. I left lunch hungry and it was six hours until dinner. At dinner I was so hungry, I called over the head waiter, raised my voice and told him what has been happening is unacceptable. Day after day we ask for inexpensive food that is easy to prepare and we come to the table and get nothing! How do you expect us to enjoy the curise when we are walking around hungry all the time? We have been on almost 20 cruises and have never had such poor food in quality or quanity. The last three days of the cruise, the food improved. The chef said at the beging of the cruise we would gain five pounds, I lost two pounds and had to tighten my belt a notch so my pants wouldn't fall down. UNBELIVABLE! Needless to say, we cancled purchasing future cruise credits. This was our second and last Viking cruise. At the conclusion of the cruise I filled out a survey and let Viking know about our unpleasent experience. We have been home well over a month now and Viking has not sent an email or called to explain the horrible service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ... Read More
I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ability, and takes reasonable action to remediate. On our cruise, high waves prevented our ship from reaching St. Petersburg. This had a major impact on the last two days of our trip. Vodohod chose the handle the problem in the following manner: After a very late dinner, the cruise line announced that all passengers need to be up by 6am so they could be on buses by 7am. We then rode a very cramped bus for 4 1/2 hours to get to St. Petersburg. At 6pm we were told that we needed to get back on that very cramped bus, and ride 5 hours back to the ship. Dinner has not offered until 11:30pm. When we arrived back at the ship at 11:15pm, we were told that we needed to pack, and make sure we were up at 4:45 am, and be completely off the ship by 6am. We were then put on a 4 1/2 hour bus back to St. Petersburg. All communication was delivered by our interpreter who was powerless to do anything other than graciously endure the anger of the passengers. We tried to talk to the cruise director, and she gave us a quick there was nothing she could do, and fled the area. The cruise line did nothing to compensate us, or make the slightest effort to improve our experience. Nor did they give us the opportunity to leave the cruise early, so we could get a good night sleep and avoid two of those miserable bus rides. We later learned that one of the travel agents, who had a representative aboard and has able to learn the truth, got all of their customers off the ship early, and made sure that they spend their last night at a hotel in St. Petersburg. The result of the three long rides on a cold bus, combined with two nights of inadequate sleep, was that my wife became very sick for the 10 days following the cruise. Her sickness would have been avoided if Vodohod, acted like a "five-star" cruise, they claim to be, by being honest about the situation, and having us spend our last night in a hotel in St. Petersburg. A month ago, I filed a formal complaint to Vodohod, though my travel agent, and Vodohod has not even had the courtesy to respond. The positive was that the food was excellent. The dining hall staff went well beyond accommodating allergies; they did their best to accommodate every dining preference. My wife is on a glutton free diet. They custom baked for her real delicious rolls, that were so good that I started asking for them. They also provided very helpful translators that were available the entire day and evening. The tour guides ranged from ok to excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow ... Read More
We have travelled to 40 countries on our own - walking, renting vehicles, taking trains, using local airlines - visiting the major sites as well as exploring places tourists normally choose not to see. But, felt a river cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg best met our needs at this time. Partly because of the language barrier, partly because of the current world tensions, and partly because of security concerns. We learned the Russian alphabet and mastered a few key phrases (but English was spoken almost everywhere), international tensions were not an issue as the Russian Federation appears to use tourism as a major source of income, and Viking or local representatives were with us every day should some unforseen event occur (very helpful and conscientious) - no issues whatsoever. Representatives from Viking met us after we exited Moscow immigration and customs. They had lists of who was arriving on what airline, by time, and flight number. Our baggage was placed on carts and we did not see them until we entered our room on the ship. A bus was waiting for us a took us directly to the boat. During that transition time, the Viking representative explained the arrival process at the ship as well as pointed out several local sites. Checking into our room on the Akun was easy and uncomplicated. Very smooth and organized process from airport to room. Viking offered multiple included tours and additional paid tours options. Our days were full - often starting first thing and ending late at night. Consequently, we had not fully recovered from jet lag before beginning our scheduled tours. We highly recommend arriving one full day before your cruise to get acclimated. Several of our fellow trip goers, who have taken many river cruises, stated they always arrive a day or two early. Viking put them up at very nice hotels - even if they do not sign up for the extended before and after tour options (which we did not). The Viking Akun was ship worthy and functioned very well. We hardly knew we were on the water. No smell of exhaust fumes. The boat's floorplan was well designed and posted at several locations for ease of finding restaurants, bars, meeting places, library, business center, entertainment, gift shop, stairs, elevator, and front desk. Exits were marked and getting on and off the boat was easy. Our cabin was light, airy, and well maintained. The bed was comfortable and we slept well. More comments are in the Cabin Remarks section of this survey. Meals were excellent with samples of Russian cuisine as well as American favorites. Breakfast offered typical American buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, rolls, juice, coffee, etc. as well as the more European Continental meal. Lunch and Supper were menu offerings. We ate our breakfast and lunch meals in the forward panoramic bar since we prefer Continental bills of fare. Breakfast in the restaurant was too plentiful and the bar at lunch offered at least two of the main menu lunch items. Evening meals were always in the restaurant and we tried all the Russian food offerings. As with any food in any country, much of it was very tasty and a couple items less palatable. One note, if you enjoy alcohol libations we highly recommend the "Silver Drinks Package". Our participation in on-board activities were limited as we signed up for multiple off-ship tours. We were too tired to partake in the evening games, dances, musicians, and singers events. Although we did hear from many guests who stated they had a great time at those activities. That being said, we participated in a few events: the Russian wine tasting, Vodka tasting, and lectures on Russian history, the Czars, the Soviet era, Perestroika and Glasnost, and the Russia government today. Those lectures opened the door to discuss, in more detail, Russia today with some of the local guides. As we learned Russian before our trip, we did not participate in the Russian language classes on the boat. Overall service was wonderful. The staff was friendly and were gracious hosts. Many were open to discussing where they were from, how they became Viking employees, what they did outside of tourism (expecially when the river froze and during off-season), and what was their original field of endeavor. Prices in the gift shop were modest, competitive, and not overly expensive as with most places of similar nature. We were not "gouged" because of our captive audience status. At only one restaurant meal was the service "off" as we seemed to have been ignored. We think that was because we may have inadvertantly offended or embarassed the server by pointing out to the Maître d' her excellent performance the previous night. There was no issue with ports of call. All, except one, were located in or within walking distance of the local community. Shore excursions were well orchestrated and informative. Local guides offered insights not provided by "company" tour guides. Often, we were allowed entry into the venue an hour before the general public. The only disappointing aspect were the hour-long bus rides, from the boat to the event, through city traffic in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. However, those were offset by the knowledgeable guides who passed the time pointing out additional key sites, talking Russian history, or answering tourists' questions. For specific events, we recommend the Russian Ballet and Cossac Dancers. Sites worth your time are: Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin in Moscow (and again at night); the Hermitage extended tour, the Winter Palace, and Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg. We took both local river cruises. Moscow at night was disppointing, but necessary to see Red Square lite up at night. For the adventurous, one could go there on their own. The daytime river cruise in St. Petersburg was shotened because of heavy rains which flooded the river and prevented the boat from passing under multiple bridges. So, we cannot offer a full opinion. The communities and sites along the rivers and lakes between Moscow and St. Petersburg are worth the trip, as well. Checking out of the Akun, paying our bill, and leaving Russia was as coordinated, orgainized and easy as arriving. Our luggage was handled by Viking until we got to the airport. The Viking representative expedited our processing through security and baggage screening. Having been through similar scrrenings in other countries, we are sure having a Viking person at security afforded less scrutiny that usual. We are definitely considering additional Viking River Cruises as well as Ocean Cruises which we have never before taken. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. ... Read More
We've always wanted the adventure of traveling to Russia so when we saw this opportunity with Viking, we took it and we are so glad we did. Our experience from the first phone call to Viking to the end of the trip were outstanding. We have been on several River Cruises but this was our first Viking experience. Viking's staff and service beat our other experiences hands down. Every member of the Viking Team went over and above to delight us.First Jason, who we booked the tour with was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The Air Plus team did a great job. There was a hurricane looming on the East Coast and the Air Plus team worked diligently to try to help us avoid any issues. THEN, we arrived in Russia and were welcomed right away by the Viking Team. They made us feel so welcome and comfortable. The service on board was amazing. The chef was outstanding, overseeing the preparation of delightful dishes from morning to night. They were able to accommodate special dietary needs with no problem. And RUSSIA! We were in awe of the beauty at every turn. There were so many wonderful sights. The ports and shore excursions were outstanding. Our experience with the people of Russia was so positive. We felt comfortable and welcome everywhere. The itinerary enabled us to start in Moscow and remain there for 3 days and end in St. Petersburg and remain there for several days. It was so nice to be able to stay in one place for the duration of our trip. We were so pleased with our Veranda cabin and the private balcony. We also were delighted that we could watch the port talks and history discussions from the comfort of our cabin. The entertainment and activities were fun and informative. Viking held a "meet and greet" hallway cocktail party to enable us to meet all the folks in the nearby cabins. That was FUN. This is a great trip and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the adventure of a lifetime! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I ... Read More
I wanted to see Russia and thought this would be a good way. I would definitely recommend the Viking cruise. The dock in St Petersburg is out in an industrial area so if you want to explore on your own you will need a taxi. I believe it is possible to take a city bus to the Metro station on the other side of the river. There is an ATM in a souvenir shop on the dock if you need Rubles. In Moscow the Metro station is closer to the dock if you want more free time in town. We were able to see a lot in St Petersburg and Moscow, but the river trip between them really gave me a change to see more of Russia. Unlike the western Europe trip there was more time spent on Russian History, the Russian language and showing us a Russian home, which I found interesting. I was surprised at how open and honest our guides were. They did a great job showing us their country. I returned with a better understanding of Russia and its people than I had before. I felt safe everywhere we went, and really enjoyed the trip. The ship and cabin were very nice but the ships on the Rhine had a better layout. The food was very well prepared and I really liked that a lot of the staff were Russian. On our Rhine cruise there was one management level person who was Austrian, the rest were from the Philippines. They were all competent on both trips, but it was great to interact with the people from the country you are visiting. One mistake we made was not taking the optional tour of the Hermitage. The museum was extremely crowded and difficult to see much. Skip one of the other optional tours in St Petersburg but take the optional Hermitage tour and also Peterhof Palace and garden. We had a great time in Russia. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We ... Read More
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We found Russia impeccably clean, their population friendly, St. Petersburg an incredible beauty and Moscow, as my title suggests, enchanting. Tagging (wall art/graffiti) visible in only a few small areas. I would strongly encourage everyone to visit this country if your are able. What has always been clear is that once governments are removed from the equation, we are all the same. Now as to our 13 day Viking cruise. The ships are not the usual long ships owned by Viking but rather vessels leased from Russia. They are very clean, but devoid on any luxury. Our staff was cordial, a few members exceptional, the food good (not great) and the shore excursions generally well managed. I realize you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but a few less palaces, monasteries, etc., and more occasion to mix with the population would be vastly more appealing to us. As usual, almost all passengers were from America so ones horizons are not much expanded by interactions. There are other cruise lines that have the same or similar itineraries, so I look over the reviews carefully before making a decision. The guides that Viking uses are almost to a person bright and learned. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the ... Read More
Just came back from this cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Sep 4-15 in 2018, on Vodohod Georgy Chicherin, booked through Gate1). Me and my wife enjoyed every minute of the whole experience. The excursions in each port were great (the places visited, the guide, the logistics, the free time). We only wished we could have more time in Moscow (only 1.5 days as compared to 3 full days in St Petersburg). The on-ship experience was most memorable. The food was delicious at each meal, the service was extremely pleasent and sweet. The onboard activities were wonderful. We especially enjoyed learning Russian songs and singing in a choir. Although this was not a luxury 5-star ship, the cabin and ship facilities were sufficient enough for us, and the onboard services and experience was 5-star to us. We highly recommend this cruise and this ship. The value versus price was way beyond our expectation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other ... Read More
My sister and I choose this cruise due to our desire to see Russia. Our other motivation was Viking was offering free airfare in the year 2018 for this cruise. The ship shape is differ from the long ships Viking uses for their other river cruises. But once the cruise was started and we could feel the open waters we were cruising we understood the reason why. We absolutely loved our cruise. The biggest factor contributing to this result, other than the amazing Russian cites we visited , was the crew onboard the Akun. They went above and beyond to make sure each passenger was enjoying themselves. Those working the front desk went to great extremes to accommodate a special sightseeing request that my sister and I had to tour the Hermitage storage facility. The staff in the dining room were special. Very attentive, engaging and friendly. We developed a fond friendship by the end of the cruise. We hated to say goodbye to "our girls". Some of my fondest memories came from the home hosted visit in Uglich and a tour of the children art center in Kuzino. Although we enjoyed all the tour excursions. We arrived in St. Petersburg a few day prior to departure and the hotel arranged by Viking was centrally located to allow easy touring on our own. Plus there was always a Viking representative available during the day for tips regarding restaurants and sightseeing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport ... Read More
There aren't a whole lot of ways to "go see" Russia. Viking River Cruises seemed like an ideal way to see some of this big country. We flew into St. Petersburg a few days early through Viking & were met at the airport and whisked away to our very nice hotel right downtown across the street from St. Isaac's Cathedral. We spent some time exploring the city on our own, then went on a Viking sponsored walking tour as well. Finally we checked out of our hotel and Viking collected our luggage and bussed us (and other Viking Passengers) out to where the Ship was moored. We spent a couple more days in St. Petersburg exploring more of the city and surrounding countryside. We did Viking Bus tours, Walking Tours, and even a boat tour seeing all of the major sites in and around the city. Our Guides were all very knowledgeable and professional and had unique access to a number of the sites. The ship has appx. 200 passengers on board. Our cabin was spacious enough so we could easily unpack all of our clothes and not worry about re-packing and moving as if staying in a hotel. Our room had all the amenities of a modern hotel. The ship was very clean and the staff super friendly. Most all meals were on board the Ship and were bountiful and tasty with a wide variety of food choices, including Russian and regional dishes. Both Ala Carte and Buffet dining options are available. The cost of all your meals and drinks with dinner are included in the cruise price. There is no assigned seating for meals, so we dined with many different interesting people. Other activities while on board include informational lectures about Russia, both historically & current times, and Russian Language lessons. Viking offers several onboard fun activities like Vodka Tasting too. There is plenty to do while on board: there is a small gift shop, a small library, of course a bar/lounge with musical entertainment, an open air deck topside with a covered area, and a second lounge area at the stern. The crew and staff work hard so you feel like a pampered guest, and they succeed. The ship stops every day to visit interesting places along the way with shore excursions. We stopped at two open air museums (Kizhi & Mandrogy) with buildings that had been brought in from various parts of Russia, these were often staffed with period correct craftspeople who could answer questions, as well as sell hand crafted items. We also stopped at a small city (Uglich) where we went on a walking tour and visited a local Russian couple in their home to talk of their life in Russia. And we visited a larger city (Yaroslavl) for a walking tour, a visit to the food & craft market and visits to other sites. We visited many religious sites (Russian Orthodox), Churches, Cathedrals and Monastaries. I was surprised by the amount of religious art, treasure and influence that has survived in Russia. There are also ample shopping opportunities along the way & your guides will let you know where you can get the bes deals. Finally it was on to Moscow for the finish of our trip. We spent several days in Moscow, again seeing all of the major sites through walking tours, bus tours, and a boat tour. The only downside in both St. Petersberg & Moscow is the ship docks are outside the cities a ways, so you will be in for daily bus rides of an hour to an hour and a half to get from the ship to the city centers. Overall on this trip I feel like we saw the best parts (and a wide variety) of Russia. Both St. Petersburg and Moscow are large cosmopolitian cities with lots of attractions to visit. The Russian people were friendly and open and honest with us. The open air museums give a sense of what life in the countryside was like, and it helped to visit smaller towns and cities to see what daily life in Russia is like. We went to many museums and palaces and religious sites. The guides of Viking are terrific and knowledgeable as are the site specific guides they use. This was a very enjoyable and easy trip and I would do it again. Read Less
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very ... Read More
Our 3rd Viking River Cruise was in Russia. On the Viking Truvor. The ship is nice, the rooms are nice.. It was exactly what we have experienced in the past. But food!!!! was a very different experience.. One we will try to forget very soon!!!.. The offerings were just plain cheap.. Canned tuna, TILAPIA!!! (Possibly the dirtiest and worst fish you can ever eat) Roast Turkey?? etc... If this is because of the tariffs imposed on western goods in Russia, they should have offer boil potatoes and soup.. In general the food was a disaster to say the least.. Talking with the crew, I found out that the menus are designed in their corporate offices, so I will say the Chef had nothing to do with it.. Even if he did poorly a couple of times.. The service was great but missed orders several times.. The entertainment was talented,,, but not for this venue.. Eventually people started calling the bar "The Nap Room".. Their repertoire was extremely elevator music.. Terrible.. Our room was always impecable thanks to the cleaning staff. Our excursions and enrichment were absolutely Fantastic.. We are now booked on Viking for Vietnam and Cambodia for December 2019. We are seriously considering canceling.. It is sad to see Viking slowly going down on the quality of the menus.. I would highly recommend visiting Russia, but not on Viking until they fix their food offerings.. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Good: The destinations were what decided us to do this trip and they certainly did not disappoint. We were blown away by most of the venues we visited in Russia, before continuing on a land tour of the Baltic States, ending in ... Read More
The Good: The destinations were what decided us to do this trip and they certainly did not disappoint. We were blown away by most of the venues we visited in Russia, before continuing on a land tour of the Baltic States, ending in Berlin. The staff and guides were mostly all excellent, their English and local knowledge remarkable. The Bad: We were not at all happy where the boat had to dock in both Moscow and St Petersburg, in the middle of nowhere, hours by bus to and from all the venues visited in the respective cities, and nowhere to wander in the surrounding port areas in our free time.The trip would have been greatly enhanced if we could have stayed in inner city hotels in each place. Food was plentiful during the fixed meal times, although not much choice or local flavour. The wine provided (meal times only) was of a very poor quality. I was surprised there was no food provided - like a 'cafe' eg - as is normal on other Scenic ships, outside of the regular meal times. Majority of guests caught a debilitating stomach bug which continued on into the following land tour. I have enlarged on the cabin in a separate area below. The Sun Deck has no shade, just bare, uncushioned chairs, and is not at all welcoming. We never saw any one up there the few times we ventured up. With a bit of extra money spent on shade and other decorations, this would be a popular area. Entertainment was virtually non-existent - just the crew and passengers making their own. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This ship was renovated end of 2017 and beginning 2018. Our cabin all new carpets, bedding, new bathroom, no chipped furniture anywhere. I was worried after previous reviews. Our cost was half the fare on other cruise lines. Cocktails ... Read More
This ship was renovated end of 2017 and beginning 2018. Our cabin all new carpets, bedding, new bathroom, no chipped furniture anywhere. I was worried after previous reviews. Our cost was half the fare on other cruise lines. Cocktails $8.00 aud. We had two English speaking guides, Sasha and Dasha, who were great. They made us laugh and were so helpful. Nothing was too much trouble, even to booking some private tickets to help us off the ship.Only one free drink at dinner(beer, wine soft drink) but costs weren’t very expensive. A couple of optional tours for St Petersburg and Moscow . The ones we chose cost approx $65.00 aud each. There is a great review on trip advisor from July 18. Worth the read. Bottled water and bathroom products replenished daily. I was always able to find food in the restaurant that I likes. As it is Russian style food it seems more basic than on ocean cruises. A tip. If you put Yandex taxi app on your phone, it is far cheaper for transport in both St Petersburg & Moscow. It worked well for us, both for trip from hotel to ship and to Catherine Palace. Unlimited wifi available on the ship and most times good reception. We did not have wifi set up on phone, just used hotspots. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the ... Read More
Love river cruises. This was our 6th criuise and Russia was one of the top cruises we did. The visa application was a pain to apply for and get, but well worth the agrivation. The tours were great, the food, the staff, the room, the entire boat. The entrainment on the boat was very poor. We were not into playing quizzes and the panic player and singer were so, so. We love the shore excursions but some of the guides were not capable of walking and talking at the same time. Some times looking at one thing for 15 minutes got a bit boring. The extra tours were a bit pricey, so we chose not to do any extras. The staff on the boat were extremely friendly and went out of their way to accommodate us. Would I highly recommend this cruise very much so, in fact I already have to several friends. Would I love to go back. Yes in a few years I would like to do it again. This should go on everyone’s bucket list. Read Less

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