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peasmith

Viking Sineus - Ukraine

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Yes, we were booked 2 years ago for this cruise, but Viking canceled it due to the troubles in Ukraine with Mr Putin. Then my husband got sick, but is so much better now, so we are going!

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We sailed on the Sineus on what I think was its first trip post-refurbishment. It was a Black Sea cruise in 2014, from Istanbul (boarding the ship in Bulgaria) to Bucharest. There were only two trips of this itinerary scheduled, one each way, and my thought was that it was a trial run to check feasibility. I never saw this scheduled again.

 

The mostly Ukrainian crew, at least in the dining room, had somewhat limited English, but they were all sweet as can be. They quickly learned which of them had the best command of English, and tag teamed when necessary to get an understanding of a more complicated request or question. I was so glad we took this trip, especially since Istanbul was removed from cruise schedules somewhat shortly afterward, and we got to see it.

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We are also booked on the Sineus departing on the 16th July so this thread has been very useful as we were also struggling to find any reviews

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We sailed on the Sineus on what I think was its first trip post-refurbishment. It was a Black Sea cruise in 2014, from Istanbul (boarding the ship in Bulgaria) to Bucharest. There were only two trips of this itinerary scheduled, one each way, and my thought was that it was a trial run to check feasibility. I never saw this scheduled again.

 

The mostly Ukrainian crew, at least in the dining room, had somewhat limited English, but they were all sweet as can be. They quickly learned which of them had the best command of English, and tag teamed when necessary to get an understanding of a more complicated request or question. I was so glad we took this trip, especially since Istanbul was removed from cruise schedules somewhat shortly afterward, and we got to see it.

 

I think at that point they were trying to lemonade out of lemons. They had just invested a bundle in gutting the interior completely to make the cabins larger and to add balconies when there was a sudden political shift (i.e., Russia invaded Ukraine in order to re-possess the Crimea) making it impossible to continue the "Footsteps of the Cossacks"itinerary. Viking could no longer call at either Sevastopol or Yalta as they were now Russian territory. Kiev was a mess and no place to take visitors. They quickly put together a substitute itinerary for the Sineus and then for the next few seasons, there was nothing offered in the region. No idea what happened to the Sineus during the hiatus.

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We leave in Early August for this cruise. We are booked on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam and change to KLM to Kiev. We then fly from Kiev to Athens to do a Viking ocean cruise.

 

 

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This is my first time to enter anything on a Forum, so if I do it wrong please let me know. We are taking this River Cruise on Viking Sineus August 15-25, 2018. It is called "Kiev to the Black Sea", although we will start in Odessa and end up in Kiev. You mentioned going in early August. Will you be going at our time or earlier in August??

I admit I was concerned when the only review I found online for this cruise was from that very unhappy guy who went in May 2018. I'm so thankful, to find this Forum and read something positive about this trip. Is there anyone on here that is going August 15th??

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We just returned from this cruise on June 17th. My understanding is that we were the third cruise on the Sineus since they started cruising this year. The ship is newly refurbished and the cabins are very clean and modern. The crew is still a little green and some of the stewardesses in the dinning room a little unsure of themselves, but overall they were very good. There were four tour buses that followed the ship from port to port for the excursions. Which bus you ended up on for a given excursion was random, as was which tour guide was assigned to the bus. By chance (or luck) we alternated between two tour guides for almost all of the excursions, Olga and Ninna. They were excellent. We went on all the included tours. I wish we had taken the optional tour to the opera house in Odessa. They performed Swan Lake and we heard it was very good. We liked the Ukraine and the people we met. We learned a lot of history, both old and new. We had planned on taking a private tour to Chernobyl but had to cancel at the last minute because the Viking home office gave us the wrong departure time from Kiev. They told us 5 PM but we found out the day before that it was 1 PM which didn't give us enough time to make the trip. We went to the local Chernobyl Museum instead (about a mile walk from the ship) and found it interesting and worth while. They have English audio guides available which were very good.

I suggest that you use the ATM's in the Kiev airport to get some local currency. The ATM's will only let you get 2000 hryvnias per transaction (about $76), but you can do more than one transaction.

We flew to Kiev on Lufthansa from Seattle, changing planes in Frankfurt. Our return flight from Odessa was Austrian Airlines to Vienna, overnight in Vienna, then Lufthansa from Vienna to Frankfurt to Seattle. Be aware that airport security in Germany is even worse than TSA.

Overall we enjoyed the trip and I think you will too.

Jeff

 

How much money/

hryvnias would you recommend we get?? Will they take credit cards? Thank you for any information. Everything is helpful.

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How much money/

hryvnias would you recommend we get?? Will they take credit cards? Thank you for any information. Everything is helpful.

 

In 2012, we had no trouble using ATMs to get cash. There was one at the airport when arrived, we found a couple as we wondered around Odessa and Kiev. I would say that we used credit cards in a couple of places but mostly used cash. Not all places took credit cards, especially smaller vendors.

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In 2012, we had no trouble using ATMs to get cash. There was one at the airport when arrived, we found a couple as we wondered around Odessa and Kiev. I would say that we used credit cards in a couple of places but mostly used cash. Not all places took credit cards, especially smaller vendors.

 

Thank you

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This is my first time to enter anything on a Forum, so if I do it wrong please let me know. We are taking this River Cruise on Viking Sineus August 15-25, 2018. It is called "Kiev to the Black Sea", although we will start in Odessa and end up in Kiev. You mentioned going in early August. Will you be going at our time or earlier in August??

I admit I was concerned when the only review I found online for this cruise was from that very unhappy guy who went in May 2018. I'm so thankful, to find this Forum and read something positive about this trip. Is there anyone on here that is going August 15th??

 

 

 

We start our cruise on August 5th, so you arrive as we leave. We are expecting the guests will be from many different countries and only a few Americans.

We are looking forward to exploring this part of the world and meeting the local people.

We will use the ATM machine in the airport to get some local currency but as to how much that difficult to say.

I will try to post on this web site to let you know our thoughts before you leave.

Kathy

 

 

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I think at that point they were trying to lemonade out of lemons. They had just invested a bundle in gutting the interior completely to make the cabins larger and to add balconies when there was a sudden political shift (i.e., Russia invaded Ukraine in order to re-possess the Crimea) making it impossible to continue the "Footsteps of the Cossacks"itinerary. Viking could no longer call at either Sevastopol or Yalta as they were now Russian territory. Kiev was a mess and no place to take visitors. They quickly put together a substitute itinerary for the Sineus and then for the next few seasons, there was nothing offered in the region. No idea what happened to the Sineus during the hiatus.

 

That is exactly what I was thinking, and the Viking people freely admitted that this was a trial balloon, to let them know any and all comments. In fact, our very nice rep at booking actually called me about 2 weeks post-cruise when I hadn't gotten around to calling him with our comments as I promised I would.

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We start our cruise on August 5th, so you arrive as we leave. We are expecting the guests will be from many different countries and only a few Americans.

We are looking forward to exploring this part of the world and meeting the local people.

We will use the ATM machine in the airport to get some local currency but as to how much that difficult to say.

I will try to post on this web site to let you know our thoughts before you leave.

Kathy

 

 

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Kathy, why do you expect few Americans on your cruise? Viking markets to English speaking countries--US, CAN,UK, AUS, NZ--and US far out strips the other countries in population. The on board language is English. All the tours will be in English. When we sailed in 2012, we were on a bilingual cruise (English or German), but it was advertised as such and the Viking staff was ready to function in both languages. Unless your sail date has been advertised as a bilingual sailing, I would expect a fairly large contingent of Americans.

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We go the equivalent of about $150 (US Dollars) from the ATM at the airport. Some was used to tip local guides, some was used for small purchases, and what was left we gave as tips at the end of the cruise (along with US Dollars). Although we didn't need to use them, our guides would sometimes stop at ATM's so that the passengers in the tour group could get cash if needed.

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Kathy, why do you expect few Americans on your cruise? Viking markets to English speaking countries--US, CAN,UK, AUS, NZ--and US far out strips the other countries in population. The on board language is English. All the tours will be in English. When we sailed in 2012, we were on a bilingual cruise (English or German), but it was advertised as such and the Viking staff was ready to function in both languages. Unless your sail date has been advertised as a bilingual sailing, I would expect a fairly large contingent of Americans.

 

 

 

It’s just from reading the few reviews, I thought that might be the case. I will find out in 2 weeks.

 

 

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Kathy - I ditto Peregrina's reply - out of all the Viking river cruises we have done (seven and eight respectively) most of the passengers have been Americans and just a handful of Brits. Most of them make it into a longer holiday and travel to different parts of Europe before or after their cruise. I don't think I would want to travel as far on a one week's cruise. We are sailing Odessa to Kiev on the 4th September and a little apprehensive to what we might find but still looking forward to somewhere different. Hope you have a lovely cruise.

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My wife and I and some Friends are going on the August 25,2018 Viking Sineus Cruise Kiev to Odessa. It was nice reading some of the posts. As for the very negative review on the web...... I will reserve judgement and will write up a report when I get back from the cruise. However.......my wife and I have traveled extensively and have read many a bad review and then have gone on this cruise or other and have never had a bad time yet...... because if life gives you lemons... make lemonade!!! Life is too short not to have FUN and enjoy every day!!!! Learn to enjoy meeting people and realize that there are many other languages and cultures that are different from what one is born and/or raised in. I wish all of you a safe and fun trip and ENJOY LIFE AND CRUISING!!

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We start our cruise on August 5th, so you arrive as we leave. We are expecting the guests will be from many different countries and only a few Americans.

We are looking forward to exploring this part of the world and meeting the local people.

We will use the ATM machine in the airport to get some local currency but as to how much that difficult to say.

I will try to post on this web site to let you know our thoughts before you leave.

Kathy

 

 

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Thank you. Can't wait to hear all about it. Hope you have a wonderful time. Sydney

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Thank you. Can't wait to hear all about it. Hope you have a wonderful time. Sydney

 

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

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I was also getting worried about not seeing any review aboutthis trip until I saw this one. We arealso leaving in August 25 from Kiev to Odessa. My wife picked this cruise forunknown reason and he has not told me why. I thought it would be an uninterestingcruise with the same boring and expected excellent service from Viking (my 6th). But after reading the reviews in this thread, it appears to be exciting…inthe sense that we won’t know what to expect until we get there. Hehehe…

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We are booked on this cruise on the 4th September but can't seem to find any recent reviews on the ship or the itinerary or the airlines that Viking uses i.e. LOT polish airlines. Seems strange that no one has put a review anyway since it has started sailing in May. Would love to hear from any one that has recently done the cruise.

 

There ARE reviews of it on that other place on the internet whose name we cannot speak here.

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We travelled on the Odessa to Kiev route earlier this month (July 2018) and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. We flew from UK to Vienna with Austrian Air for a pre cruise extension, which was wonderful. The Intercontinental Hotel was in an excellent location for all the sights. If staying there try to get a park view room as they are very comfortable. We flew Austrian Air again to Odessa.The Viking Sineus is a very comfortable ship, spotlessly clean and the cabins are quite spacious, relatively speaking.The bathroom does have a curtain over the shower but we didn't find it a problem. Our cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotless and even if you didn't leave the towels on the floor they still got changed. Our cabin (400) had a window and patio door. I noticed that the cabins on deck3 and in the middle of deck4 only had patio doors. There was plenty of space for belongings and the suitcases fitted easily under the bed. Our cabin was at the back of the ship but there was no vibration or engine noise even when the ship was travelling overnight. I wouldn't have any concerns about travelling on this ship.

The crew were very pleasant and helpful.Yes, some of the dining room staff seemed a bit apprehensive but after a couple of days they relaxed and did a very good job. It was almost as if they had to get used to the next set of guests. Everybody spoke good English and with a smile.

As has been previously said 4 coaches and 4 guides travelled with the ship. You were allocated a coach for an excursion and that coach had a guide. However we preferred Nina to be our guide as she was so clear and didn't overload you with too much info. ( That's our preference)

If you decide to do all the included excursions then the only places where you really have free time in Odessa and Kiev. The other places are mostly driving city tours. There is an excursion from Odessa to visit a fort but it is a long drive and you don't really have much time there. However it is interesting to see the countryside and hear about the country. There have been questions posed here re ATMs. The day we arrived in Odessa there were guided walks as an intro to the city (This is not published in the Viking Booklet) On this walk the guide takes you to an ATM closest to the ship. She also points out the money exchange booths so you have the opportunity to exchange straight away. (This was in Odessa). We exchanged some money but didn't really have the opportunity to spend it. Market stalls are happy to take US$.

Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and cafes. However 2 beers in Kiev only cost £1.50 equivalent.

On this trip the UK passengers outnumbered all the other nationalities. We were well represented by the 4 nations..Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English. Others were from Canada, US and Mexico.

The excursions were all very well organised and ran like clockwork. We went on the optional excursion to the Opera House in Odessa. It was an nice evening...however if you just want to see the inside the Opera House ( and it's worth visiting) then you can take a daily guided tour. The ship can give you info on times, cost and when the tour is in English, if you ask. It is a short walk from the ship.

The food was OK with a local menu available each evening. However the kitchen seemed to be having problems and sometimes there was quite a delay between the starter and the main course...but we were on holiday having a good time with our table companions so there was no problem, as far as we were concerned.

Evening entertainment's very low key and sometimes it was not to our taste, but each to his own.

Our return journey was with BA to LHR and then to Scotland.

We enjoyed the cruise and the ship. It was fascinating to travel in Ukraine and to learn about its past and recent history. Also we felt totally safe travelling around Odessa and Kiev on our own.

For those who have already booked....hope you have an amazing time

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