Was looking to visit/travel Eastern Europe as we’ve traveled in every country of Western Europe, but never anywhere in Eastern Europe. This trip dovetailed perfectly into a transatlantic cruise we wanted to be on. As it turned-out Viking is heads-above ocean cruises we’ve taken (primarily on Celebrity). Typically we’d be referring to food and service staff, but Viking really understands what we as travelers are looking for. Their tours (all included) and related education gave us a rich cultural experience; education onboard about the country and its history and the local tour guides giving us their life’s personal experiences as well as information about the sites we visited. We gained a great appreciation for Russia; the country’s evolution, the people and their history, and their quality of life. On top of that, yes Viking’s food and service staff were superlative. The service staff was constantly going our of their way to make sure we were taken care of; on and off the ship.
Regarding the dining experience, we enjoyed each days offering of dishes typical of the areas we were in Russia; always an extremely gourmet presentation and rich in flavors. One of the best experiences regarding the food was the demonstration of preparing Pelmeni; a traditional Russian staple. The wait staff always wanted to be sure we were enjoying the food and brought alternative choices if we weren’t overjoyed with our initial selections. In addition, and this really impressed us, was the assistant mater deli was constantly caring for my wife’s food allergies/sensitivities. She was like a little mother.
Finally, we also very much enjoyed two other events in which we participated; a wine tasting and a vodka tasting. The ship’s hotel manager was previously a sommelier on other cruise ships and he was a vodka officionado. He gave the greatest and extremely knowledgeable presentations.
The cabin was more than adequate; not spacious but it had more amenities than we expected (TV, refrigerator, desk, desk chair, mirrors, and large view window), and we never felt cramped or in each-other’s way. Also, our room steward apparently was always watching our comings and goings so she could get in and clean or straighten-up while we were out.