We did this cruise July 16 from Kiev to Odessa, and I would recommend taking it this way rather than from Odessa to Kiev. Odessa is the grandest city on the voyage, and a nice way to finish the trip.
My husband's family and my dad are from this part of the world, and we wanted to experience what was once their world. Being Jewish, this trip was depressing because of all the atrocities done to Jews and others in that area, plus the cities between Kiev and Odessa are very depressed and still building their way back from the devastation of 70 years ago.
The Odessa opera house was so impressive, but the show we saw did not sit well with most attendees. We saw “Queen Forever”, a band who sounded like Queen. They started the performance 45 minutes late due to technical problems, and the first 30 minutes were poor due to those problems. The band was very loud, and many of our group left way before the concert was over.
This was our first Viking cruise. We thought the ship and the crew were marvelous. Everything was immaculate, all events were on time, buses were on time, and the tour guides were so knowledgeable.
As for the food, soups were marvelous and the best part of the cuisine. There were some regional foods each day, but not many and the menu did not offer much variety. The wait staff were so pleasant, and the house wines were nice and plentiful.
There was little or no entertainment in the evening aside from the talks about the next port. We did have some historical lectures from Michael, our cruise director.
We met such nice people onboard. The many who were repeat Viking customers rated this cruise much lower than we did as first time cruisers. They cited the boat, food, and ports among other items not being up to the previous Viking standards. Not having anything to compare this to, we thoroughly enjoyed the boat and staff.
Viking is an impressive company, and we intend to cruise with them again.