5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We ... Read More
So let me begin by my impression of Russia, at least cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stopping at several towns on the way. My fourth river cruise, but none so beautiful as the rivers between Russia’s two largest cities. We found Russia impeccably clean, their population friendly, St. Petersburg an incredible beauty and Moscow, as my title suggests, enchanting. Tagging (wall art/graffiti) visible in only a few small areas. I would strongly encourage everyone to visit this country if your are able. What has always been clear is that once governments are removed from the equation, we are all the same. Now as to our 13 day Viking cruise. The ships are not the usual long ships owned by Viking but rather vessels leased from Russia. They are very clean, but devoid on any luxury. Our staff was cordial, a few members exceptional, the food good (not great) and the shore excursions generally well managed. I realize you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but a few less palaces, monasteries, etc., and more occasion to mix with the population would be vastly more appealing to us. As usual, almost all passengers were from America so ones horizons are not much expanded by interactions. There are other cruise lines that have the same or similar itineraries, so I look over the reviews carefully before making a decision. The guides that Viking uses are almost to a person bright and learned. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise because there are three nights in a Moscow hotel at the beginning and three nights in a hotel in St Petersburg at the end. This saved a lot of travel time in busy traffic from city to port. A really good advantage over ... Read More
We chose this cruise because there are three nights in a Moscow hotel at the beginning and three nights in a hotel in St Petersburg at the end. This saved a lot of travel time in busy traffic from city to port. A really good advantage over other cruises. We looked at. The hotels were excellent. The St Regis in Moscow my favourite offering little extras like free coffee and tea to the room, as well as an espresso machine in the room and a free pressing service. Staff were friendly and very efficient. The Volga Dream boat was beyond our expectations . The route along the waterways is fascinating and well planned stops in small villages and shore excursions. Wonderful choral performances were a bonus and beautiful local voices. The staff on the boat provided first class service ! Faultless . Food was superb with a lot of variety but also table service at dinner. The extra activities on board ranged from an excellent history lecturer, to Russian language lessons, to Russian singing classes. The excursions in both cities were very planned to avoid crowds and see the highlights of the palaces and art museums. We would rate this trip very highly and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. I have rated fitness and recreation down as there is only a very small gym on board (3 machines) in a tiny cabin Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 50th Anniversary trip (of a lifetime) and our 2nd Scenic River Cruise. I was somewhat disappointed with the young lady who greeted us at the airport... no 'welcome to Scenic'.. no conversation on the bus... but ... Read More
This was our 50th Anniversary trip (of a lifetime) and our 2nd Scenic River Cruise. I was somewhat disappointed with the young lady who greeted us at the airport... no 'welcome to Scenic'.. no conversation on the bus... but found out she worked for the ground operator not Scenic. The 'official welcome' started right away as soon as we departed the bus at the ship. The greeting was so warm and welcoming.... dispelled any misgivings on the bus. The front desk crew, under the direction of Anna were excellent. Within a day they knew our cabin number and simply handed us the key without asking. Always a welcoming smile and greeting! I cannot speak high enough about the Cruise Director and staff. Their knowledge, their openness, their story telling ability and their care about quality was outstanding. The food, produced under a young but very talented Chef was outstanding. We both enjoyed a massage ..and would recommend it as a perfect way to really get into the vacation mode. The Dining Room staff were amazing. Scenic trained (although not actual Scenic employees) they seemed to love their job. So personal. Greetings with such warm smiles. They bent over backwards to ensure your dining experience was a total pleasure. Our cabin was excellent. A workspace with ample plugs (bring adaptors) for my computer etc. The bed was too comfortable (didn't want to get up some mornings).... the bathrooms equipped with excellent bath and hand towels, good shampoo and conditioner and a hook for my shaving kit. I should add, a GREAT shower! The blackout curtains were so appreciated, since the sun doesn't really set until about 2am and stays dark for all of 90 minutes. The beauty of Scenic, there are not really any decisions to make. ALL of the tours are included. All of the tips are included. The wine etc at meals (this is the only difference we experienced from our previous Scenic cruise where the bar seemed to be free 24/7). My personal gripe was that my wife could drink all the wine she wanted at dinner but I had to pay for my non-alcoholic beer). A small gripe but we were warned that th Russia Cruise was a little different from the regular Scenic offerings. I can't say enough about the included tours.... everything from the Moscow Circus to a private reception with a 4-piece orchestra and amazing Champagne / vodka buffet of canapés and caviar. We adjourned to a theatre that sat our 90 fellow Scenic travellers very comfortably... a FULL orchestra and a 60 minute presentation of various famous ballets. An evening never to be forgotten. When asked about our impression of Russia... all we can say is how open and honest the people are about the changes that they are experiencing under the Federation. All preconceptions about Russia were dis-spelled. An awesome trip that I cannot recommend highly enough. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including ... Read More
My husband and I felt that we knew so little about Russia, and we were, therefore, anxious to take a Viking cruise to learn more. We had been on a previous Viking cruise down the Rhone, but this cruise offered so much more, including spending more time in Russia and learning more about a country we weren't familiar with. The ship, although older than the one we had taken on the Rhone River, still offered plenty of room, and we were looked after, not only on the ship but also on the shore. Viking paid our air fare from Seattle to Moscow and from St.Petersburg back home, and they met us on our arrival and helped us get to the airport on our return. Our cabin was well situated and comfortable, and we enjoyed sitting on the veranda occasionally. The food was plentiful and delicious for every meal, and we had choices that assured we would never go hungry. The dining area was attractive with seating for two people or up to eight per table.The food also included some Russian dishes. And breakfast or lunch were provided buffet style in a smaller lounge or in a smaller area of the dining hall. I was so impressed with the pleasant wait staff, who were efficient and friendly. Our entertainment onboard was most often lectures on various aspects of Russia, and we both learned so much before and after our on-land excursions. We had time to shop a bit at street stands, art or history museums, or even on the ship. Among the activities that most impressed us were visiting a home in Uglich for refreshments including homemade vodka, visiting a local school in the same town, attending a ballet in St. Petersburg,riding on the subway in Moscow, cruising along the Volga and other rivers, seeing the surrounding countryside, and touring significant churches and museums. Our tour guides were so knowlegable and answered our questions easily and with complete candor, and our tour bus drivers were polite and offered us such smooth travel. I would definitely go on this cruise again and would be assured I would learn something new, despite the past lectures and tours. This cruise was so different and so significant that my husband and I probably bore our friends by talking about it often and showing photos! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Have traveled the world during 27 years in the Us Navy. Never been to Russia before. Not only were we shown the country, our Viking guides provided us with in-depth political and social background to better understand the mind set on the ... Read More
Have traveled the world during 27 years in the Us Navy. Never been to Russia before. Not only were we shown the country, our Viking guides provided us with in-depth political and social background to better understand the mind set on the Russian people in 2017. We sometimes were breasted outboard of other cruise boats. On every such occasion, I noticed that our Viking staff manning the quarter deck were more attentive, better dressed and the gangway cleaner than those on the other boats. My wife has celiac disease and therefore allergic to gluten. We explained that to the chef when we embarked, then never had a problem with the food. At each and every meal, special tension was given to my wife’s meals to ensure nothing served to her contained wheat. The was a huge relief ot her and greatly appreciated by me. Because our initial experience aboard Helgi was so positive, we are sailing with Viking again next spring to Eastern Europe. Four of our friends are joining us!. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Having spent 3 days in a Moscow hotel, we travelled to St Petersburg on the Volga Dream, and the voyage was simply superb. We were in cabin 302, which was extremely quiet, apart from when the vessel was moving in to docks or ports. The ... Read More
Having spent 3 days in a Moscow hotel, we travelled to St Petersburg on the Volga Dream, and the voyage was simply superb. We were in cabin 302, which was extremely quiet, apart from when the vessel was moving in to docks or ports. The cabin was great, considering how little time is spent in it, and was kept spotlessly clean - as was the whole of Russia, it seems. There was an excellent choice of food for breakfast, including eggs cooked to order. Lunch was a buffet, but with a very good choice, with meat, fish, veggie, and other options, soup, salads, choice of puds. Evening meals were not only beautifully cooked, they were extremely well presented, always with at least 4 courses. None of the food would have been out of place in a top hotel, and always arrived hot, and served extremely efficiently - usually by the charming Maria. There were a very good range of on-board activities, with the guest speaker - a Russian historian, being particularly interesting, but there were also chances to cook Russian food, learn about, or practice Russian art and crafts, as well as quiz nights, and outstanding piano recitals from the resident pianist. Shore excursions all had excellent guides, all of whom spoke English extremely well, and were genuinely interested in their villages, etc. Timings of excursions were very good, and there was never a problem disembarking or boarding. Few excursions needed minibus transport, but when they did, these were always on time, and in very good condition, fully equipped with seat belts, etc. On board, there were opportunities to view the bridge, kitchens, and engine rooms, all of which were extremely interesting. Olga, the Hotel manager, was an absolute star, always cheerful, friendly and helpful, and involved directly with passengers on a daily basis. Indeed, it made me realise how much most hotel managers have to learn from her. Our only previous experience of cruising, had been on a small boat with only 6 cabins, on the river Nile, which had been amazing. I am glad to say that the Volga Dream was also a fabulous experience. Indeed, all the staff were extremely pleasant, polite, cheerful and helpful. Just one small niggle. The Volga Dream is not cheap, and while it is definitely worth the money, and I would recommend it without question, on board wifi was an additional cost, and was very expensive - over £10 a day. We opted to avoid this, but I would have prefer to see the cost of wifi, and staff tips, included in the price. That said, if I had known in advance what I know now about the Volga Dream, I would definitely have booked the holiday. If you are planning on cruising between Moscow and St Petersburg - in either direction, you simply do not need to look elsewhere. The Volga Dream can not be topped. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
we are always surprised when we travel to find the people and places so different from what we had read, or heard. The people are always gracious, the Viking tours are wonderful, tour guides very knowledgeable, and the dining staff a ... Read More
we are always surprised when we travel to find the people and places so different from what we had read, or heard. The people are always gracious, the Viking tours are wonderful, tour guides very knowledgeable, and the dining staff a delight. This was our third Viking adventure, and we are never disappointed, the lunches with the locals are what we enjoy the most. The care from the time you arrive at the airport to the time you are brought back are orchestrated and flawless, programs on the ships, extra activities we planned and executed, and the food is quite good. the excursion staff did everything to accommodate the guests, and well versed in what we saw and experienced. We rode the subway, mingled on Red Square, visited a huge indoor shopping complex, toured palaces, the Kremlin, Chinese have a proverb: "Better to see something once, than hear it 1000 times", I could not say it better! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Excellent cruise! We were attracted to the small ship experience after hearing horror stories about the small cabins others told us about. The small ship Viking river cruises had great reviews and their attention to detail made the cruise ... Read More
Excellent cruise! We were attracted to the small ship experience after hearing horror stories about the small cabins others told us about. The small ship Viking river cruises had great reviews and their attention to detail made the cruise a great value. The room, the food and the staff all surpassed our expectations. The excursions were a delight and the optional ones (even though they were pricey) really added a lot to the total experience. We would have liked to spend more time in the "Red Square Department Stor" When we arrived We were greeted by a Viking host that really eliminated the travel stress. Moscow is an exciting and vibrant city; the Moscow shopping was an amazing surprise. We wish we had booked several more days there. Most of the shore excisions were fun and informative but we would recommend that you diplomatically insist more individual photos of you and your party if you plan on purchasing the photo thumb drive at $45. Our next trip will be booked with Viking because they are a great company! Read Less

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