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Sail Date: October 2013

After hearing several favorable reports on Viking River cruises we signed up for the Odessa to Kiev cruise on the ship Lomonosov, now being refitted to look like the Viking Rurik, but with the same staff. Our disappointment cannot be ... Read More

After hearing several favorable reports on Viking River cruises we signed up for the Odessa to Kiev cruise on the ship Lomonosov, now being refitted to look like the Viking Rurik, but with the same staff. Our disappointment cannot be overstated.

We knew, of course, that the ship has no elevator. But who would dream that it has no telephones either? Every question means a separate trip down the stairs to the reception desk. This was not among the features mentioned in Viking's literature!

And there are no smoke detectors, an amazing omission!

Our upscale large stateroom was hard to heat and harder to cool. The lack of heat was solved by the ship's maintenance staff by bolting the three large windows permanently shut. This did nothing for cooling.

The food is alright if somewhat bland. But the din in the two dining rooms comes close to defeating conversation. No sound absorbing materials are anywhere in view.

Service is slow and limited to one item at a time (do not ask for desert and a beverage ... they do mean one at a time). Refills of wine or coffee or tea were infrequent in the larger dining room.

Diet soda ran out on the fifth day of the voyage but was restocked later on. Although it was on the bar list, there was never any port, and the supply of gin ran out.

There is very little on board entertainment. Two lectures - one an hour, one a half hour - are the total history and culture offered onboard the ship. A folk music show was the only cultural event. How did having the waitresses dress as pirates one evening help? The daily movie on TV ran at times other than scheduled and was sometimes not the announced film.

At the end of the first half-day city tour we realized that our assigned guide would not work out for us ... her walking pace and content were both problems. We asked to be reassigned but the tour and activities director told us that would be impossible because all bus seats were taken. In actual fact one of the five tour busses was only half full.

Since our assigned guide also presented the two history lectures, our entire perspective on Ukraine was through her eyes and she was a cynical, biased person who ignored questions she didn't like.

"Jewish Odessa” tour was inexplicably switched from Friday to Saturday, which made it impossible to visit any synagogues. Our Viking guide urtes all of us to cancel the "Jewish Kiev” trip, which she assured us would be "depressing.”

One last insult: two preliminary bills didn't show the cost of our extra tours, although we signed up for them on the first day. Only the final bill picked up the charges.

We were prepared for a three-star ship about to be retired, but Viking's promised five-star personal service was nowhere in sight. What a disappointment.

 

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Sail Date: August 2008
This was first time most of our group had been on a cruise and found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, in fact we are already looking at booking our next one and won't even consider another cruise line or ship except the OASIS! Arrival ... Read More
This was first time most of our group had been on a cruise and found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, in fact we are already looking at booking our next one and won't even consider another cruise line or ship except the OASIS! Arrival in southampton and boarding ship was so easy compared to flying anywhere these days, your holiday starts immediately once on board, just a shame about the British weather. We had a inside cabin as prefer to save our money to go on more holidays and although room was smaller than I thought it would be was amazed how I managed to unpack everything (3 suitcases and a large hold all)!! The facilities onboard were amazing, so well catered for every age group except the under 3's, there was 10 people in our group aged from 2 to over 60 and there was enough for everyone to do, my partner especially enjoyed the flowrider and the rock climbing wall. Could be a struggle on Sea days to find a sun bed but then this has to be expected, we just enjoyed staying on board when in port for the quietness.

We ate in the macbeth dining room every night on the late sitting, which suited us perfectly as had more time to get ready on an evening after watching the sail off, on which note the sail off from Lisbon was spectacular - not to be missed still not sure how the ship sailed beneath the bridge, we were all waiting for the inevitable crash!!!

The majority of the shows were amazing, in particular the ice shows incorporating the Headbanger in both shows, some of the evening shows were better than other but this again is to be expected when catering for all ages.

The only fault I found with this cruise in the lack of facilities for the under 3's. We had our recently turned 2 year old daughter with us who paid the same as her 13 year old cousin also travelling with us! Luckily I had spent some time reading other member reviews before we went so managed to toilet train her just before going as otherwise we would of really struggled with what to do with her during the day. Children who are not fully toilet trained are only allowed in a very small splash pool and those wearing swim nappies are not allowed anywhere near the H2O zone or the other swimming pools, some mums were even asked to leave when just walking through it with their babies/toddlers, so if you're thinking like I was before I went no-one will be checking, they do! The kids program for her age group was also non existent considering she had paid the same price as any other child on the cruise, one session in the morning 9 til 10 (too early for us, especially enjoying the lie in's the best privilege an inside cabin allows), a coloring session every lunch time and a activity session later in the afternoon which were OK, also a session in the evening but didn't really fit in with meal or show times especially as one parent has to be with toddler for all activities. The other thing that really annoyed me was that there was no where safe where you could just take you toddler to run off steam, the room for babies and toddlers was only open during session times but could of probably be a lot better utilized if it was open all day for parents with young children to use as they need. Our late dining option was no problem for our daughter as she just had a late nap in the day and was raring to go for the evening dinner and show (she loved the shows) the portable dvd player we brought along was a lifesaver during dining though, our waitress Pia was amazing she just brought our daughter her dinner with our starter then she sat happily watching a dvd whilst we had our main course.

The only excursion we did was the trip to rome which was really good although it depended on which bus you got on to how long you had in Rome, my parents ended up on a different bus to us and they got twice as long at the Coliseum as we did and also longer in Rome (something to do with the unnecessary toilet stop we made on the way to Rome for our tour guide to have a cigarette) at least our bus was the first bus back and prevented us from the lengthy queues getting back on the ship which my parent had.

On the whole a thoroughly enjoyable cruise and look forward to travelling with royal Caribbean again although will only go again when my daughter can go to the kids clubs as these looked amazing, on which note I have to say I did not encounter any problems with the kids on board, on occasion we did seem to wait longer for lifts whilst they all seemed to be stuck on level 12 (kids area) however we either walked down the stairs or waited, at the end of the day kids will be kids and what can you expect when your going on a family cruise in the height of school holidays, there are plenty of adult cruise ships out there for those of you who can't remember what its like to be young!!!!!

PS: apologies for any spelling mistake, I am writing this at 5 in the morning whilst on nights.

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