***Welcome to Moscow! July 5th***
By noon today, July 5th, we had deplaned our Delta flight #46 from Atlanta -- a 10.5 hour flight, had passed through Russian passport control, retrieved our checked baggage, and were collected by Viking personnel at the exit of Sheremetyevo International Airport, and transferred by bus to our ship, the Viking Surkov, docked on the Moscow-Volga Navigational Canal at the Northern River Boat Terminal.
After a brief check-in we were invited to a buffet lunch in the dining room while our cabins were undergoing final preparations for an estimated 3 PM occupancy; another group had just left the ship earlier this morning. So now I am sitting in the Panorama Lounge, enjoying a glass of cold white wine, and sending this first email to all of you. Wireless internet is available throughout the ship and is free!
Although previously requested, it was necessary later to have our twin bed configuration resolved, placing one bed directly against the wall with the window. Not exactly the best arrangement. Obviously the single queen size bed configuration is the prevailing. The category AX Deluxe cabin was probably THE BEST cabin on the ship, short of the suites. Spacious with refrigerator, bathroom and closets, it did NOT have one of the supporting poles I observed in neighboring cabins. The large window opens downward like that on a train or a bus, but was entirely satisfactory.