The capital of Ukraine has more than 1.500 years of history – since the year 482. In Ukrainian its name is pronounced as 'Kyiv', that is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of the four legendary founders of the city (brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv, and sister Lybid). A charming city with splendid architecture, ancient golden domed cathedrals and numerous parks on both sides of the mighty Dnieper River, Kyiv is a tourist delight and is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. It is situated on the picturesque banks of the Dnieper River. Kyiv is a very green city – one half of Kyiv's territory is occupied by parks and gardens. One of the biggest cities of Europe, it has a population of 3.14 million and occupies an area of more than 840 square kilometers / 324.33 square miles. Kyiv was the largest town in the 11th century Europe: fifty times the size of London, ten times the size of Paris. It reached the height of its prominence under the rule of the famous Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who had family connections to the royal houses of France, Norway, Hungary, and Poland. Kyiv's unofficial logo is chestnut. Some say that May is the most beautiful month in Kyiv when chestnuts bloom. But no matter which season the atmosphere there is always vibrant, making the city inviting.
Arrival and embarkation. Several days will be spent in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital before the ship cruises downwstream the Dnieper River - toward the Black Sea and the Danube River Delta. Captain’s Cocktail is scheduled for today’s eve. Tonight you might want to start spending time on your own in Kyiv - the ship is docked in the closest vicinities of the city center. In the day time it is great to visit famous Andrijiv Descent, where numerous artists and craftsmen sell their craftworks.
We’re on city-tour around the fascinating Kyiv, and here is the list of sites: the Golden Gate, the remains of a huge wall erected in the 10th century to protect the city; and the Parliament building, situated in a beautiful park. The enormous territory of the city makes it hard at first to find one's way, but luckily there are two helping points - the Dnieper and the Metro. The river crosses the city north to south; the old town is situated on the high right bank, while the new districts occupy the left bank. The old Kyiv (the Upper Town today) is known as the "Mother of Russ cities." Although the city has changed its face for a modern one, the ancient monuments and the mighty Dnieper River are its pearls.
This day might be a day on your own in Kiev. Still there is a lot to see and to experience together with your group. With this in mind we would especially like to turn your attention to optional tours that are offered for today - for sure these tours will add to the great memories about your Ukrainian River Cruise!
Sailing, Ukrainian National Day
There will be a lot of fun today while we are cruising downstream the Dnieper River - enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature! We’re having Ukrainian National Day of the cruise during the day today: we’re enjoying the dishes of famous Ukrainian cuisine and Ukrainian language lessons. The Dnieper River flows into the Black Sea; the itinerary of this cruise is yet to reveal the beauty of the Dnieper River Delta - you'll see all its beauty in several days. Our cruise ship is of the 'river-sea' class, so we'll be also cruising the Black Sea on our way to Odessa.
The city of Zaporizhzhya is more than 200 years old. Zaporizhzhya is located about 600 km South-East of Kiev on both banks of the Dnieper River; the famous island of Khortytsia is situated between those banks – today it is a part of the city. It was founded during the times of the Russian Empire: the fortress Alexandrovskaya was erected in 1770 to protect the southern territories of the Russian Empire from invasions of the Crimean Tatars. Zaporizhzhya and its vicinities is the land of Cossacks: brave and skillful horseback warriors who ruled these regions from their stronghold, Zaporyzhyan Sich, that was first located on Khortytsia Island. Nowadays Zaporizhzhya is said to be the fourth largest industrial center in Ukraine. The economic potential of the city includes more than 280 industrial enterprises: machinery plants, metallurgy and metal processing, chemical and petrochemical industry, and food industry. Zaporizhzhya is also known for its Hydroelectric Station – the huge construction on the Dnieper River that is giving power to all industrial enterprises there. Zaporizhzhya claims to have the first steam mill in the country – in the times of the Russian Empire.
Our cruise ship anchors at the port of Zaporizhzhya, in the close vicinites of the famous Khortitsa Island. The island of Khortitsa, the biggest island on the Dnieper River, is a place that is closely connected with the history and glory of the Cossacks. The sprawling city of Zaporizhzhya has swallowed up the island, and nowadays Khortitsa is a part of the city. The sightseeing tour of today includes beautiful city center and several main streets of the place. Also there will be a chance to observe the impressive structure of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, the mightiest one in Ukraine. Cossack Glory museum with exhibits dated to 16-17th centuries is visited afterwards.
Kherson is located approximately 60 miles or little less than 100 kilometers from the Black Sea. The city was built in 1778 by the order of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great as a fortress where Cossacks fought against the Tatars and Turks. Shortly after Kherson became the first Russian Imperial naval base and shipyard on the Black Sea. Present day city is a large ship-building center as well. The name Kherson is a contraction of Chersonesos, an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2500 years ago in the southwestern part of Crimea. One of the interesting facts is that the last tarpan (Eurasian wild horse, now extinct) was caught near Kherson in 1866. One of the main streets of the city – Ushakov Prospect – is not crossed by any other street: all the streets that ‘touch’ the Prospect, take their origin here and run eastwards or westwards. Kherson is a city of two ports, a river and a sea port, that's why it is said that the place is connected with 42 countries of the world. Kherson stretches along the high right bank of the river Dnipro, this is the area where the Dnipro runs into many branches and forms many islands. Many local people have their dachas on these islands – lots of islands have already turned into holiday villages.
After arrival to the port Kherson we take boat trip to the picturesque Dnieper River Delta. Having enjoyed the beauty of the nature we dock at small fishing village for a picnic lunch served by local chefs. The village is located on one of the numerous islands of the Dnieper Delta. Many skilled craftsmen live there, so there will be a chance to buy nice souvenirs from them. Do not hesitate to bargain - rates there can become very affordable! Also, local house wine is sold there; wine tasting is offered prior to buying. On the way back to your cruise ship enjoy the small boat ride through the beauty of the nature!
This unique small village on the Ukrainian-Romanian border really is a pearl of the pre-Danube lows. Located where the Danube meets the Black Sea, it is often called the ‘Ukrainian Venice’: nearly half of it stands on water. The land that holds houses and gardens appears to be numerous man-made islands. Instead of the ordinary street roads the blocks are separated by the water channels. The most common transport here is the local “gondola” built by skilled craftsmen. Not far from the settlement, on the coastline at the confluence of the Danube and the Black Sea there is “0 km” sign symbolizing the end of the mighty Danube and the beginning of the vast Black Sea. Vilkovo is known to be the town of fishermen and winemakers. The latter produce delicious house wine out of unique local grapes named ‘Novak’. Village of Vilkovo is famous all over Ukraine for its incredibly tasty strawberry: local gardens are normally fenced with two-meter (six and a half feet) cane on the three sides, with the fourth side covered by the Danube - thus ideal conditions for the accumulation of sunlight and heat are created, providing for best sweetness and aroma. Foods cultivated in Vilkovo are organic and ecological: only the sludge from the Danube is used for fertilizing.
The cruise ship stops at Vilkovo, the "Ukrainian Venice", and after sightseeing around the village the wildlife lovers might want to take optional boat trip to the Danube River Delta - $50 per person. The place is nature reserve with diverse flora and fauna; it is inhabited by more than 240 different bird species among which are pink pelicans, brants, herons. The Danube River Delta is a great site not only for birdwatchers - the sighs of numerous birds and boundless water are fascinating!
Thanks to its old romantic traditions, Odessa is considered to be one of the world's most fascinating cities, and is a cultural capital of Ukraine. Odessa Opera House is certainly a center of city’s cultural life, and it is a perfect place to get acquainted with masterpieces by world renowned composers. Prices are incredibly affordable - but performances here are just fascinating! The architecture and construction of the building is unique: the distinctive acoustics of the horseshoe-designed hall allows performers to deliver even a whisper-low tone of voice from the stage to any part of the hall. Truly, a magical atmosphere reigns inside and outside the 19th-century building of the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre! Odessa is also the Black Sea gateway to Ukraine. It is the country's largest commercial Black Sea port and a large industrial city. The city is famous for its beaches. The Arkadia District of Odessa is the most popular among tourists: lots of very good restaurants are located there and entertainment is offered. Underneath the city there underlies a huge network of tunnels known as the Odessa Catacombs: these were used by Soviet Partisans during WWII, and by smugglers - once, quite a time ago, Odessa was known as a “capital of smugglers”.
Today there will be a chance to discover and explore the magnificent Black Sea port-city of Odessa, our cruise ship will be docked there for several days. The guides conducting the city tour admire this vivid southern city; therefore they always do their best to make an adventurous journey out of your Odessa sightseeing tour. This is perfect both for the first time visitors and for repeated travelers as it allows them to feel that special famous charm of Odessa while unveiling the city’s most iconic attractions. There is a lot to do on your own in this friendly place - just ask the guides for recommendations. For sure, an evening performance at Odessa Opera House will be an event of a very special delight for you, so a visit there is highly recommended!
This day might be a day at leisure during which you might have a lot of time on your own in Odessa - the hospitable port on the Black Sea. The city of Odessa and its vicinities have a lot of places of interest: many are connected with WWII and much earlier times in history. Good choice of optional tours is offered at a reasonable cost - in fact, rates in Ukraine are surprisingly reasonable! So, please, choose what you would like to do in this fascinating coastal city.
Time to bid farewell to your new friends in this great and romantic city of Odessa. Your cruise has come to an end in this beautiful Black Sea port. Disembarkation.
Cruise map: between Kyiv & Odessa. Please, click to enlarge