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New cruises through the Soviet Ukraine.

In the spirit of glasnost, beginning in October, you can--for the first time ever take a cruise ship through the Soviet Ukraine and link up with another ship continuing up the Danube into Austria. The complete voyage passes through seven countries, offering a rare chance to see something of Eastern Europe while enjoying the convenience of shipboard life and without coping with border crossings. Depending on which direction you're sailing, the total trip between Kiev and Vienna takes 13 or 14 days. You'll experience the simple and casual style of a Soviet river ship aboard the 300-passenger Akademik Viktor Gluschkov, and considerable luxury aboard the 212-passenger Austrian ship Mozart. It is possible to buy the Ukrainian portion only (10 or 11 days), including two added days in Moscow and one in Sofia, Bulgaria. The inaugural cruises are scheduled to sail from Kiev on October 19 and from Vienna on October 21. At the midway point-at Ruse, in Bulgaria passengers change ships to complete the journey. More cruises are planned for 1991. Last year, we had a preview of the Ukrainian segment of the cruise a comfortable way to sample the Dnieper River and the Black Sea. We found shipboard life informal, with few planned activities. Cabins-each with private bath, outside window, and convertible beds-are small and plainly furnished. While we weren't pampered, the crew was attentive and the ship spotless. Meals feature sturdy, flavorful Russian dishes; don't, however, expect the fresh produce and culinary variety found in the West. Going ashore The Soviet ship spends a day each in Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kherson, and Odessa, with a brief stop in Ismail. You can go ashore on group excursions led by well-informed local Intourist guides. One of the highlights is the exuberant beauty of Kiev. Largely rebuilt since World War 11, the hilltop city is attractively landscaped. Its well-preserved and accessible historic buildings include St. Sophia, an 11th-century Byzantine church with lavish mosaics. Zaporozhye offers a dual look at contemporary and historic Russia. The city boasts one of Europe's largest hydroelectric power plants. Within view of the dam, on the island of Hortiza, the Cossack Museum gives a sense of the area's rich history--and a chance to watch effervescent performances of folk song and dance. At Odessa, 72 broad steps lead up from the Black Sea to the edge of the elevated city. From there, you can walk to your left several blocks along a tree-lined parkway to the opera house, whose ornateness rivals Vienna's. This city recalls the Czarist era, with elegantly detailed buildings and pastel-colored villas. On the full cruise, you'll also stop in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. Making your travel arrangements Prices for the complete Dnieper-Danube voyage begin at $3,315 per person for an outside cabin for two. The USSR portion is $2,565, including air fare from Vienna. Prices include land tours along the Dnieper; Danube shore excursions are extra. You'll need Russian and Hungarian visas as well as a passport. Arrangements for visas can be made through the cruise line. For more information, write to Danube Cruises Austria, Inc., 5250 W. Century Blvd., Suite 302, Los Angeles, Calif. 90045, or call (800) 999-0226 or (213) 641-8001.

El
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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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