Our ship was berthed in Moscow for 3 nights the last cruise of this season.
We had a portside cabin. We were in front of the main terminal building which was in process of being refurbished. Next year it will be beautiful, unfortunately for us we were looking at an ugly construction site with piles of trash & garbage. If we where one berth over on either side we could have been looking at green park & trees. I'm not sure why Viking planners weren't sensitive to that, when you spend the kinda $$ for a Viking cruise. The reason we enjoy river cruising is cuz of the views whether docked or not. Unfortunately not this cruise!
On the 3 nights in St. Petersburg we were sandwiched between two other Viking ships, so you open your shades you're staring in another ships stateroom. It seems that this becoming common practice on busy ports middle of high season but this wasn't the case on this cruise! They were just getting ready to mothball their boats for next year!
Once you've been on the beautiful Viking ships in Europe these Russian clunkers (even refurbished) don't compare. The stairs steps are short & at a steep angle posing difficulty for older passengers. They do have a small but slow elevator. But with roughly 200 passengers not very efficient, so the stairwells is what most people used, & from what we heard someone did hurt themselves.
There are no comfy lounge spaces or little sofas to unwind, to read or have a drink, even in the Panorama Bar or Sky Bar. Stiff chairs the norm throughout, where you eat or drink & move on! Ship creaking, rattling & vibration noises was also an issue especially in cabin (more on that below).
Room key cards didn't work from the very beginning upon check in & for the next 4 nights or so, had to run down to service desk to activate which eventually became a hassle.
The dining room temperatures were unbearably hot & eventually many of us wore t-shirts! Even after consistently complaining to no avail. Dining menu was inconsistent, lunches were better than dinners. The ship cooks don't know the meaning of medium rare!
So overall the Ingvar ship was a bust!
A few other nagging issues: Moscow terminal had a security kiosk like the airports & in cold & rainy Moscow the line when multiple buses unloaded got crazy! That issue fortunately didn't replicate itself in St Pete's but it was a constant issue in Moscow!!
Scheduling on many of the tours we felt like we were in a herd. They could have been spaced 10-15 minutes apart for a smoother more pleasant experience coming & going.
On the positive side the included excursions & local guides were excellent.
The extra fee excursions were very pricey side so we skipped many of them.
The one "Moscow at night" included the Red Square & a boat ride.
Well the Square was closed off for a Harvest Festival we just walked around it, so the boat ride for $129 each felt very steep! The other one we paid for was visiting the Faberge museum which initially I was skeptical but with a spouse from the museum world I went along & certainly didn't disappoint!
The 3 Viking onboard guides (Alexey, Slava & Philip) which also did the excursions besides the supplemental local guides all were excellent! They love their country, love their jobs, were very knowledgeable, did it w/ passion & it showed.
If you get a chance pay the final bill in local currency or US$! I paid by credit card & when I got home the bill was off by $20 (their exchange rate isn't the going rate:(
The $30 p/p per day in gratuities on the final bill also was excessive. Throwing it in there on your final bill is becoming the cruise ship industry standard & you can only dispute it while on board! So if you're on a longer trip you will get a shock at the end.
Gratuities is not a fee & should not be mandatory! But its another fee the travel industry is trying to tack on to the ever growing list of taxes, levies & hidden fees:(
#416 is an Awful cabin, cannot call it a stateroom!
We were directly beneath the Sky Lounge & the the dynamic Philipino duo would entertain the very few guests till midnigh. Most included excursions were usually early morning & if we wanted breakfast we didn't get much sleep. After the first 2 nights we decided to join them rather than tosing & turning trying to get some zz's. Also the people next to us would watch old classics till past midnight until I went over to tell them to lower the volume! So the walls on the Ingvar are quite thin.
The Cabin space is small with only one chair, no small lounger (again) or somewhere for the second guest to sit!. The closet is tiny, even for us that travel with just one carry on! No drawers, only two small cabinet spaces w/ curved shelves, totally useless!
The balcony was spacious but too cold in October to enjoy. The glass slider was an akward design, the type you pull in & then slide & it didn't provide a good seal.
I slept on the slider side cuz it was too cold for spouse. You could feel outside cold draft!
& finally but not least the wortless bathroom, another tiny space with a very small shower & a plastic curtain. I'm only 5'8" & 175 lbs & most of the time water leaked everywhere! The massive useless soap dish next to the sliding shower handle made pulling the shower handle difficult so you give up && water goes everywhere!
As I said before, the Ingver Ship was a bust!
When people spend $10-12K for a 12 day cruise their expectations are high!
Viking makes a point to claim they're the best! Well w/ the Ingvar they have a lot of work to do to make that claim. By the way this was our fourth river cruise with Viking.