Tuesday 24 July 2018
After our British Airways flight from Heathrow to Vienna, we
were met at the airport by the Viking representatives and driven
to our hotel - the Intercontinental
Once unpacked and settled into our suite, we took a walk into
the Stadtpark opposite, sat and had a beer and watched the world
Later we walked into the city and had a meal at a paveside Greek
restaurant, before returning to the hotel.
Wednesday 25 July 2018
Following breakfast, we decided to take the various bus
tours around Vienna
- so purchased an all-day ticket and
hopped on the tour bus - getting on and off at various points
and changing routes to take in the three available routes.
In the evening we dressed up and strolled through the park to a
restaurant that had been recommended to Kay - the Plachutta
where we dined on the famous Tafelspitz.
Thursday 26 July 2018
After an early breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and were
coached to Vienna airport for our 09:55 Austrian Airlines flight
to Odesa - arriving at 12:45.
We were met by the Viking reps at Odesa airport and taken by
coach to our cruise ship - the Viking Sineous - moored at the
port in Odesa.
After unpacking in our cabin, there was no time to relax before
we went on the organised 'Welcome Walk' around the city -
starting up the famous 'Potemkin
' - although we wimped out and took the funicular up
to the top.
After exchanging some currency and having a beer in a local
pavement cafe, it was back down the steps and back to the jetty
for a short stroll before boarding the Sineous in time for
After breakfast it was on board the coach for a short trip into
the city - we had signed up for the 'active version', which
involved a walking tour around Odesa.
Along the tree-lined Prymorski Boulevard, stopping at various
places pointed out by out guide Nina, we took in the sights
before meeting up with our coaches to be taken to the
Transfiguration Cathedral, where we got off to visit the place -
before re-boarding for the journey back to the Viking Sineous
The afternoon excursion was a visit to the Catacombs - a warren
of tunnels used by the resistance during the war to hide from -
and harass - the occupying Romanian troops.
28 July 2018
An early 8am start for the 2 hr 30 min drive to see the medieval
fortress at Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi.
Travelling south we crossed the narrow strip of land separating
the Dniester Estuary from the Black Sea over a lift bridge at
the resort town of Zatoka, which was teeming with holidaymakers
enjoying the hot weather.
As we approached the Akkerman Fortress, the skies darkened and
we drove through a torrential downpour - which flooded the
streets of the local town.
We did think we may have to forego the visit to the fortress,
but the skies cleared just in time and we had an interesting
Back on board the Sineous for lunch, we declined the afternoon
visit to a local market and took a stroll along the jetty taking
in the sights and had a welcome ice cream whilst watching the
world go by.
29 July 2018
We didn't want to go on the 'Odesa Art Museum Tour' - so we had
a lazy morning strolling along the jetty taking in the
atmosphere and sights.
The afternoon excursion was to 'Jewish Odesa' - where we
decanted from the coach to visit a couple of Synagogues and a
Later in the evening we had signed up for the 'Ukrainian
National Folklore Dinner' - which turned out to be a bit
We were expection some Cossack dancing (from the photo in the
tour brochure), but instead, we were tightly packed into the
restaurant to listen to some traditional singing and eat a set
menu of meats and tasties.
The blurb had said "Immerse yourself in the world of
Ukrainian cuisine while enjoying a traditional folk
atmosphere during dinner
" - but no immersion was
Back on the Sineous by 10:45pm - we cast off at 11 pm and sailed
into the Black Sea towards the mouth of the River Dnieper.
At 09:45 the Viking Sineous arrived at Kherson - 'Cradle of the
Black Sea Fleet' - where we met up with the four coaches and
drivers that had travelled up overnight from Odesa.
At 10:00 we boarded our allocated coach for the shore excursion
- driven to and getting off to visit various cathedrals and
Back on board for lunch, the Sineous cast off at 1:00 pm as we
set sail for Zaporozhye.
At 3:00pm there was a presentation by Program Director Oliver on
Ukraine History - which lasted all of 10 minutes!!!
4:00 pm saw us up on the Sun Deck for 'Ukrainian Teatime' - cold
tea or coffee and a variety of Ukrainian pastries.
A little later we arrived at the Kahovskaya Hydroelectric
Powerplant and our first lock - with a rise of 48ft - which took
us into Kakhovka Reservoir.
The Viking Sineous arrived at Zaporozhye at 08:45 and, by 09:00
it was onto the coaches for our shore excursion entitled
This involved a coach trip though the city with a stop at
Mayakovsky Square to see the fountains and rock sculptures -
followed by a trip to Khortitsa Island to visit a re-creation of
a Cossack settlement.
Back on board for lunch - after which was another trip to
Khoritsa - this time billed as the 'Island of the Cossacks' -
for a live demonstration of horse riding and weaponry skills.
I managed to avoid being 'volunteered' as a stooge for the
bullwhip demonstartion - luckily that fell to others in our
We had to be back on board by 17:30 as the Viking Sineous was
due to depart for our next port of call.
1 August 2018
Viking Sineous arrived at Dnipro in the
early hours while we slept - so we awoke
to find us moored at a rather
dilapidated terminal - where our four
coaches were waiting - having driven up
overnight from Zaporozhye.
Boarding the coach at 9:00 am for the
'Dnipro Highlights' excursion, we
travelled through the city taking in the
sights before being dropped off at the
'Museum of War in Donbas' - recently
opened to commemorate the conflict with
Russia in Eastern Ukraine.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the
Historical Museum, after which those so
inclined walked to visit a church before
meeting up with the coaches at the
Central Park of Culture
I declined the walk and went with our
coach and wandered round the park
waiting for the walkers to arrive.
Back to the Sineous for lunch, we had
declined the excursion to the
'Petrykivka Folk Art Centre', so stayed
on board for the afternoon.
In the evening, we nearly missed the
Ukrainian Folklore Music entertainment
in the Sky Bar - arriving late, so we
were at the back and couldn't see much.
The Sineous set sail at 01:00 am passing
through the lift bridge - which only
opens once a day at the set time.
2 August 2018
As this day involved a lot of cruising, a
'wheelhouse tour' was arranged for those who were interested -
so in batches of around a dozen passengers we visited the
Viking Sineous wheelhouse to be greeted by the captain and
We asked a few question about the various modern instruments
on view and spent an interesting 15 minutes there.
At 10:30 there was a 'Cooking Demo' on the Sun Deck - where
ships Chef Lena asked for two volunteers to help her make
'Varenki' - a local pasta delicacy.
This was followed by a tasting of the varenki - washed down
with very weak cold tea - and a song and dance.
At 11:30 we were invited to the Sky Bar for a presentation
of 'Ukrainian History Today' by Program Director Oliver
- but disappointingly, it only kasted 10 minutes!
We arrived at Kremenchug and docked at 14:30 to board our
coaches for the shore excursion 'Kremenchug Perspectives &
Home Hosted Visit'.
This involved a drive through the city to the village of
Omelnik - where the four coaches were each allocated a local
house to visit and soak up the atmosphere of local life.
Our visit was hosted by widow Valentina and her grandaughter
Paulina who spoke English.
I had expected a sit down buffet of local produce and a chance
to interact with our hosts - like on our Russian trip the
Uglich - but we were offered a drink of cordial and some
crsip-like biscuits and just wandered round the garden trying
to think of questions to ask.
I thought the whole thing was all a bit contrived and awkward
- but maybe that's just me.
Back on board by 17:45, the Viking Sineous set sail once more
- but we hadn't signed up for the 'Red Caviar & Wine
Reception' - so missed that.
We did attend the 'Music Quiz' later that evening in the Sky
Bar - and came second as I recall.
3 August 2018
After breakfast we
attended the 'Disembarkation' briefing
at 10:30 - to learn details about
leaving the ship on Sunday morning.
After lunch, the Viking Sineous arrived
at the passenger terminal where we
berthed - and in the afternoon went on
our first excursion called 'Panoramic
Kiev and Monastery of the Caves'.
Following a drive through the city
centre, we arrived at the monastery to
see the magnificent cathedrals and
churches inside the complex.
Those who felt
to visit the
famous caves -
where we were
unable to take
the dimly lit
up the cobbled
street to the
exit to board
for the next
This was St
place - so I
sat outside in
and waited for
the rest of
our party to
We then walked
as a group
back across a
Descent' - a
with lots of
Square' - from
walked back to
Dinner' - this
time in a
where we were
a bare chested
two ladies in
Back on the
coach by 10:15
for the short
to the ship.
4 August 2018
The last full
day of our
spent on an
Museum' - a
more than 200
There were a
- all of which
to go by taxi
I had been to
but they had a
that I was
keen to see -
a rare, one-ff
- so the ships
taxi to take
me there and
Kay went on a
via the Metro
to a food
a great time.
5 August 2018
On our last morning, the packed suitcases had to be outside our
cabin - with a colour-coded label - by 09:00 ready to be
We had to kill a few hours after breakfast before boarding our
coach at 11:00 - having identified our cases to be loaded - for
the long drive to Kiev's Borispol airport.
The flight was uneventful - except that the snacks ran out from
the trolley - I got the last bacon roll. Not a good advert for
British Airways with a lot of disgruntled passengers.
Although we had left Heathrow by BA from terminal 3, we landed
back at terminal 5 - so had the added inconvenience of having to
get the underground shuttle from T5 to T3 - to catch the shuttle
bus to where my car was parked.
Another good cruise in good company to a fascinating country -