The Russian Connection

Q. What would be the best way to get from Moscow Airport DME to the river boat dock? A taxi? Prearranged limo? Prepaid Viking Tours transfer? Do you have any idea on cost and travel time for taxi or limo or Viking Cruise pickup from airport to boat? We shall be flying to Moscow on our own. Do you happen to have an address for the river boat dock that Viking Cruises uses in Moscow? It would be nice to Google map the situation.

Thanks, Ottawa, Canada

A. The Viking river dock in Moscow was in the north part of the city for us, but once we were on the boat it was an easy 10-minute walk to the Metro station that had us downtown in 30 minutes. I'm a lot more relaxed at the end of a trip than at the beginning and I always feel taking the cruise-line sponsored connection from the airport to the dock makes sense: What starts right usually ends right.

The river port’s address is Northern River Boat Station Leningradsky Prospekt, Khimki. If you Google that you will see it is about 15 minutes’ walk from two Metro stations.

I spoke to Nancy at customer relations at Viking Cruises office in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was very helpful and advises you to take the Viking transportation service. She is biased, of course, but she’s right.

Moscow DME airport is 40 miles away on the opposite side of the city, which is at least two hours driving time. The airport has no Metro station; you’d have to take the Aeroexpress train to Paveletsky station then change to the Metro and go to Rechnoy Vokzal station and then take a cab to the port.

A cab all the way from DME would cost at least 2,000 rubles (more than $70). That’s less than the $60 each that Viking would charge, but I think you’d be ill-advised to do it on your own. Why start the trip where the potential to screw up is so likely? Moscow taxi drivers are as dishonest as most tourist city cab drivers and probably yours won’t speak English.

I strongly discourage you from economizing on this and doing it on your own. Buy the transfer and save money somewhere else.

I had a partner many years ago who was taking a cruise out of New York. He found he could fly from Manchester, N.H. at a cheaper rate than what the QE2 expected him to pay for air. He and his wife booked their air independently from Cunard. There was some delay with their flight (I believe due to weather) and they arrived at the dock several hours late. The ship had sailed. Unless we can use frequent flier miles, we tend to buy the cruise line air and airport transfer.