Ukrainian Heritage Journey by WestcoastSail Date: / Traveled As: Couple
The rating we gave this cruise at 3 star is probably accurate albeit it did not meet our expectations. Nonetheless we had an overall positive experience. We paid a premium to book one of the few large cabins. We would strongly recommend against the mostly much smaller cabins unless comfort and room size are no concern. For our cabin there was no lip or separation other than a curtain between the shower area and the toilet sink area. As a result the entire floor got wet after showering. Towels cured the problem. As awkward and inconvenient this was in our cabin it was far tighter and worse in the smaller cabins. The A/C was inconsistent in all the cabins. Viking tells us the entire ship will be remodeled for the 2014 sailing season. This may fix all these problems. Check the new room size on their web site before booking. The food was the most disappointing part of the trip. We expected high quality cuisine. After all Viking advertises themselves as a luxury cruise. The dinner entrees were bland. We had far better meals on a Carnival fun cruise we took last summer with the grand kids at probably 25% of the cost. We tried omelets for breakfast. They were always over cooked on the outside and under cooked on the inside. The bread was low quality and unimaginative. There was always a salad bar at lunch which we relied on many days for the entire lunch in that the lunch choices were often as lacking as the dinner choices. They offered one choice of an OK white wine and red wine at dinner and lunch. There was only a light lager on draft and a couple of soft drink choices. The only consistent high light of the dining were the desserts, in terms of food. The Ukranian young ladies who were the servers were always helpful and fun. A couple of times language issues resulted in getting something slightly different than what we ordered but we learned quickly how to be more precise. There is not much to do on the boat. Only a few informational talks and only a couple of nights of entertainment. They have five tour busses which travel to all the stops. Most tours are included with the cruise. A few are for additional charge. Our guess is that because we paid the premium for our cabin we were on the first bus with the most knowledgable tour guide. Alla. We cannot say enough good things about her. Odessa, Sevastopol, Yalta and Kiev are interesting. The other two stops are pretty much a loss but there is not much to stop and see between the Black Sea and Kiev. For me this was a terrific trip because I got to see the building in Odessa where one grandmothers went to high school and the building in Kiev where my other grandmother lived as a young girl. Yalta is a fun place. It is the Riviera for Eastern Europe. The tsar's palace tour where Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt met to decide the future of Europe is fascinating. In Sevatopol we got to see the Russian missile cruiser which is the flag ship of their southern fleet. Ukraine is a proud and fascinating country. However without some compelling reason like family history there are many more fascinating and rich in experience cruises, especially for the money. Our opinion is that there are things Viking can do to bring this cruise up to the quality that we heard about on their other cruises. Remodeling the ship is a big start.