As one of Viking River Cruises’ older fleet members – built in 1990 – the Viking Akun has been around for some time. However, its complete refurbishment in 2014 has breathed new life into the vessel and given it a second chance at river cruising, providing lucky guests with sensational river cruises along Russia’s Volga, Neva and Svir Rivers between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Like some of the other Russia-based Viking vessels, the Viking Akun can hold up to 210 guests, with 115 English-speaking crew members onboard to tend to their every need with attentive, friendly and professional service. The Viking Daily newsletter and the on-hand Cruise Director ensure that every passenger can optimise their time onboard.
Most travellers hail from the USA, but affluent, well-travelled guests from other English-speaking countries, including the UK and Canada, are also drawn towards the appealing Viking itineraries.
The main Neva Restaurant can be found on the Middle Deck, and is where guests can enjoy buffet breakfast and lunch services, and a gourmet sit-down dinner. For breakfast, guests have an extensive choice of cereals, cheese, continental meats, fruit and hot dishes including made-to-order eggs, and for lunch there’s a range of soups, entrees, salads and desserts on offer. Dinner includes a five-course waiter-served a la carte menu, with a choice of traditional favourites and authentic local dishes. The itinerary also includes regional enhancements so that guests can experience the local culture as much as possible.
Guests can enjoy complimentary wines, beers, soft drinks and water with lunch and dinner, and can upgrade their drinks package to include fine wines and premium spirits if desired. Hot beverages are available from the self-serve tea and coffee station, throughout the day.
The Viking Akun benefits from two bar areas, including the relaxing Sky Bar situated on the Sun Deck, and the lively and inviting Panorama Bar on the Upper Deck. Entertainment onboard is low-key and enjoyable, with emphasis on regional musical revues and authentic, local performances such as ballet and operatic performances.
The Viking Culture Curriculum makes sure that guests have plenty to keep them enthralled and occupied during their river cruise, both on and off the vessel. Onboard, guests can enjoy expert-led lectures and talks on itinerary-related subjects such as the Orthodox Church, Vikings in Europe, Romanov Tsars and the Soviet Union. There are also Russian-inspired culinary workshops to sink your teeth into, dollmaking demonstrations, visits to local schools and local homes, and folkloric presentations to appreciate. All guided walking tours include the use of individual audio headsets, so you don’t have to worry about being at the front of the crowd all the time.
Guests can use the shipwide, complimentary Wi-Fi, browse the onboard boutique shop or sink into a chair in the well-stocked library with an inspiring travel guide.
There are 106 staterooms onboard, including deluxe staterooms featuring picture windows, veranda staterooms with private veranda, and junior suites and suites with full-size verandas. Stateroom size varies depending in which you choose, from 140 sq. ft. to 400 sq. ft.
Amenities include hotel-style beds with optional twin configuration, a private en-suite bathroom with shower and premium toiletries, bathrobes and slippers on request, individual climate control, refrigerator with complimentary bottled water (replenished daily), telephone, hairdryer, in-room safe and flatscreen TV with entertainment package. In addition, suites have separate living areas and sleeping areas, and larger verandas.
Guests can enjoy a stroll around the open-air promenade on the Main Deck, soaking up the stunning scenery as they go. The Sun Deck also provides plenty of seating, including shaded tables and chairs and comfortable sunloungers, so guests can kick back, relax and admire the breath-taking views without a care in the world.
The Viking Akun currently sails the 13-day ‘Waterways of the Tsars’ itinerary between Moscow and St. Petersburg, which includes 11 guided tours and the possibility for pre- and post- extensions in Moscow and Helsinki respectively.
Learn to speak a little Russian, explore Moscow’s iconic sites including the Kremlin and the Red Square, discover some Russian masterpieces in the Tretyakov Gallery, visit the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood in Uglich, sail along the Volga-Baltic waterway, explore the Open Air Museum of Architecture in Kizhi, learn how to make matryoshka dolls in Mandrogy and visit the Winter Palace and incredible Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.