Dnieper River Cruise – Odessa, Ukraine
|DAY 1 – Odessa (Wed.) Arrival in Odessa. If Viking River Cruises arranged your transfer, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your river cruise ship. Because the crew will be preparing cabins for arriving passengers, you can relax in the ship’s lounge or explore Odessa on your own. You will be given access to your cabin as soon as it becomes available, usually by 3 p.m. If you arrive during lunchtime (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), some light snacks will be available. Your ship remains docked overnight. (D)|
Airport meet and greet transfers are only included when air is purchased from Viking River Cruises and Viking can only offer air to passengers traveling from the U.S. or Canada.
Organising Airport Transfers
We decide to organize our own airport transfer as the price being charged per person by Viking seems quite expensive for a 10 mile trip. However, finding reliable information on airport transfers in Odessa is a challenge. You have more luck finding information on dating Ukrainian women than airport transfers and facilities at Odessa airport. Websites that offer transfers don’t always respond to your queries. Many will offer free transfers if you purchase accommodation from them.
Finding information about airport transfers in Kiev is much easier than Odessa, presumably more business people fly into Kiev.
I finally got in touch with a company UkraineFare.com who is able to arrange for our arrival transfer in Odessa and departure transfer out of Kiev. The fares quoted are very cheap as well – USD15 for the transfer from Odessa airport to the seaport terminal and USD40 from Kiev sea terminal to Kiev airport.
When you’re totally unfamiliar with a travel destination, especially a non-English speaking, eastern European city like Odessa, it’s always difficult to imagine how things will pan out. It would have been easier if we were going to and leaving from a hotel, but where these sea terminals are and pinpointing where the river boat is moored is a bit difficult. Also, according to Viking, the ship’s mooring position can change at the discretion of the port authority.
Immigration and Customs
Immigration and customs procedures at Odessa airport are slow due to their manual processes, however we did not encounter any problems at all. Contrary to advice, we didn’t have to declare how much money we are bringing into the country.
I’m glad to say the transfer worked out well. Our taxi driver was at Odessa airport waiting for us and we found each other quite easily. He didn’t speak any English, but got us to Odessa seaport terminal very efficiently. You’ll know when you’ve arrived by the landmark Hotel Odessa, a modern business hotel on the waterfront.
Note: The road is above the water level and to get to the river boat you have to go into the Port Authority building (the building behind the Golden Baby statue) and walk down some steps (if the escalator is not working). On exiting the Port building we see a few ships at the mooring and the General Lavrinenkov is one of them.
We board the ship and are shown to our nice stateroom, although no ceiling to floor windows. We quickly unpack and have time to go back on land to walk around the seafront.
Tip: If you need to use the Internet, go to the Hotel Odessa. Next available place is at Yalta.
There is a embarkation briefing at 6 pm, after which we have welcome drinks on the Sun Deck with the beautiful sun setting in the horizon.
Dinner is served at 7:30 pm. There are two restaurants, “Kiev” and “Odessa” and passengers are required to stick with the restaurant that they are allocated.
The river boat overnights in Odessa.
Previous page: Dnieper River Cruise Itinerary
More information on Odessa here: Coming
Photos of Odessa: Odessa Photo Gallery
Next page: Odessa City Tour
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|Dnieper River Cruise Photo Gallery|
|Sevastopol||Swallow’s Nest||Khortisa Cossack Horse Show|
|Balaklava||Khortisa Cossack Museum||Zaporozhye Dam and Lock|