Friday, July 17, 2015

Viking to Revive Ukraine Cruises

Next year Viking River Cruises ( will bring back its Ukraine cruises along the Dnieper River and through the Black Sea to Odessa. And if you book soon, you can get free air fare even from Canadian gateways, which would offset to some extent the fact that cruise prices were quite a lot lower before the recent hostilities in Ukraine.

The minimum price for an 11-day cruise now is $4099 per person, a hefty sum. I sailed with Viking along the Dnieper and to Crimea and Odessa in July 2010, and you can read about that trip by scrolling back to posts from August and September 2010. It was a fascinating voyage to a region I had long wanted to see. It was relatively affordable because the old ship Viking used then had tiny but totally adequate single cabins.

The 2016 cruises will be quite different--a new deluxe ship that lacks single cabins, and no port stops in Crimea, now controlled by Russia. Instead, there will be four nights in Odessa, and several stops along the Dnieper south of Kiev. For travelling couples, the free air fare offer could, to a large extent, make up for the higher cruise price.

There is no question that river cruises tend to be costly. However, they also usually include many land tours, all meals and free wine or beer with meals as well as on-board entertainment. And the pleasure of not having to pack and unpack frequently makes them a popular option, especially with older travellers.


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