Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It is 4:30pm Russia time.  Two hours ahead of SA time.  Syl has put her watch forward.  The flight from Zurich was only 2 hours not 5 hours because of the time difference.  Everyone has been very helpful and all the way through there were people waiting with my hired wheelchair.
I'm sitting on the bed in our cabin with both feet up on pillows - they look like balloons.  We've got a very nice cabin with two beds - not bunks - and, wonderful - wonderful - our RSA two prong plugs fit into the wall sockets here!!  So, my oxygen machine will work perfectly! 
We've got a shower with shampoo, soap and other toiletriies.  We've got a safe, a large TV, a fridge - nogal - and free Internet access!
There is a coffee/tea and chocolate station upstairs where you can help yourself all day. 
Cocktail hour is at 6:30 - 7:30 in the Panorma or Sky Bar and dinner is from 7:30 to around 9pm. 
And this is for my Arty -Farty friends:  Guess what!  On Sunday 27th June, during our stay at Mandrogy, we can book a place at an art class doing Matrioshka Painting . The class will include 3 unpainted Matrioshka Dolls, paint, brushes and instructions from an artisan to create our very own, umique Russian Sounvenirs!!  Hows that?? Eat your heart out Di !!!!  When I have done my dolls we will take a photograph and post them on the blog.
So, the old birds are OK and we are looking forward to the two weeks cruise.
From The Viking Kirov - over and out!

The Mango cabin crew were all casually dressed in Bafana-Bafana shirts. Unfortubnately, none of the ground staff knew about Patty's POC so we had to produce the letter giving permission for her to take it on board.  The vibe in Johannesburg was incredible!  Many staff members had Bafana t-shirts on, there were vuvuzelas everywhere.  As we passed a restaurant on our way to International departures, people started cheering and dancing, porters shouting AYOBA! and others dancing and singing - Bafana had scored their first goal!  Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Brazillians, French, American, English - you name it - all were excited for the host nation!  We were on our way to the News Cafe when Bafana scored their 2nd goal. WOW!!  It was pandemonium with uluating chants, screams, jumping up and down!  What a pity there wasn't a third goal - but The Boys-The Boys did us proud.
Swiss Air staff were very helpful and everything went smoothly - no problems with Patty's machine, my vegetarian meals were great and it was a trouble free flight to Zurich. I'm sure though that the space between rows has got even smaller since I last flew on Swiss Air - hardly anywhere to put your legs. A very pleasant assistant wheeled Patty through the crowds to the train that took us to the correct terminal for our flight to St Petersburg. 
When we arrived in St Petersburg there were VIKING staff waiting for us with a Viking board and porters put our bags on the bus.  It took about half an hour to the boat.  The scenery was similar to most airport roads into a city - wide roads, trees, then high rise apartments, light industries and then the boat canal.  We passed a number of huge chimneys - not sure if they were nuclear or coal reactors.
Our boat is moored next to the Viking Surov which is moored next to another and another - all facing east. 
The crew and staff are a mixture of Phillipino, Korean, German, Russian.  Our Program Director is Katherin, executive chef Thomas Harder, who we met to discuss dietery needs (ie vegetarians etc), the restaurant Neva manager is Gunther Andriska.  The currency on board is a UNIT which equals 1 Euro and we can sign all on board purchases, drinks, etc and pay at the end of the cruise in euro, dollars or Roubles.
So, we will be having cocktails in the Sky Bar or Panorama Bar before dinner and then it'll be off to the Neva restaurant for our first meal on board.  We only leave St Petersburg on Sunday and have a full program whilst we are here.  Can't believe that we are in Russia!

1 comment:

  1. Well greetings you two old farts. Happy to hear you arrived safely, and the cabin sounds wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Looking forward to lots of updates with the free internet access. Behave yourselves - or not!!!! Luv Linda