Viking River Cruises has three almost identical 210-passenger ships sailing Russian waterways between St. Petersburg and Moscow: Viking Akun, Viking Ingvar, and Viking Truvor. The ships were built in Russia between 1988 and 1990, but were significantly refurbished in 2013 with sleek, contemporary decor. Unlike the Viking Longships, these river vessels do not have luxury amenities such as heated floors in the bathroom or an al fresco Aquavit Terrace. Nevertheless, the Viking Russia-class trio does provide a comfortable environment on a marvelous itinerary that visits Red Square, the Kremlin, the Hermitage, Catherine Palace, and other lesser-known treasures — as well as the ease of knowing that Viking, as always, will handle all the tour details for you.
What We Love
Onboard Immersion in All Things Russian: Discussions on topics such as Russian language, geography, politics, religion, and culture debunk some myths about the country — and confirm others.
The Almost All-Inclusive Experience: On the 13-day Waterways of the Tsars itinerary, passengers on Viking Russia-class ships have 11 included tours, as well as complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks at lunch and dinner. The ships do offer a few additional tours for a fee, and the staff will also gladly help passengers wishing to explore or visit sites on their own.
Best Known For
The Itinerary and Excursions: The Waterways of the Tsars itinerary includes three days docked in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, and a week cruising between these two very different cities. Small river towns, the scenic countryside, and a visit to a local school all add to the experience.
Russian Food and Drink: Menus on the cruise include one or more Russian dishes each day. Passengers can also sample multiple varieties of Russian vodka on board, and take a Russian dumpling cooking class.
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Who It's Best For
Adults Interested in Life-Long Learning: This Viking itinerary is ideal for adults fascinated by all things Russian. Since it's a 13-day voyage, passengers — most of them English-speakers — are either retired or over age 45.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Not a Party Ship: There's a piano player and a singer on board, but the evening atmosphere in the Sky Bar is usually very quiet. The one possible exception: the night of the after-dinner vodka tasting.
Viking Docks in the Suburbs: The river cruise ports in both St. Petersburg and Moscow are 30 minutes to an hour by bus from the city center. Viking factors this drive time into the schedule, but the rides can be exhausting — or at least boring. Relax, take a nap, and you'll be happy.
Linda Garrison is a Georgia-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes on cruise travel for About.com.
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Russia Class at a Glance
- Line: Viking River Cruises
- Class: Russia Class
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