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All excellent, as expected, and lived up to deserved reputation as BEST ship between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Charles Webb
United States

2019 IMPERIAL / PLATINUM PROGRAM

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

6 UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SIGHTS

Moscow Kremlin & Red Square

Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent, Moscow

Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg

Historic Centre of the City of Yaroslavl

Ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery, Goritsy

Kizhi Pogost, Karelia

SPECIAL ACCESS TO RUSSIA’S MOST IMPORTANT CULTURAL SITES

Visit to St. Basil’s Cathedral

Special Early Entrance to the Hermitage and access to Gold Room closed to general public

MUST SEE ART COLLECTIONS

Biggest in the World collection of Faberge Eggs at the Faberge Museum

RUSSIAN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE ABOARD THE VOLGA DREAM

4 Fascinating Talks by the Russian Professor

Piano Concert of Tchaikovskiy and Rachmaninov

Russian Dinner & Vodka Tasting

Matryoshka (nesting doll) Painting

Russian Language Classes

Russian Cooking Classes

Tea from the Samovar

Welcome Bread & Salt

FINEST ACCOMMODATION AND TOURING IN SMALL GROUP

IMPERIAL

6 nights at Four Seasons in Moscow and St. Petersburg

6 nights aboard luxurious Volga Dream

Only up to 10 people in a sightseeing group

Private airport transfers

PLATINUM

6 Nights at the nicest Moscow and St. Petersburg Hotels

6 Delicious Lunches in the Best Moscow and St. Petersburg Restaurants

Touring in Intimate Groups of 12 - 15 Guests

Whisper System for the Entire Journey

Detailed Program

Day 1. MOSCOW

When you arrive in Moscow, transfer privately to the luxurious Four Seasons Moscow***** only a minute away from Kremlin and Red Square [Imperial] / transfer to the deluxe Marriott Aurora***** or Ararat Park Hyatt***** in the historic city centre [Platinum]. In the evening gather for a welcome reception with your guide and fellow travellers or spend the rest of the day exploring central Moscow on your own.

Day 2. MOSCOW

City tour / Sparrow Hills / Lunch in the Moscow City / Novodevichy Cemetery

09:30am – 5:30pm

Begin the day with an orientation tour of Moscow. The city boasts unique diversity and variety in terms of building styles: classic, modern, empire and eclecticism amazingly sit alongside more monumental designs, such as Stalin’s towering skyscrapers from the mid 20th century. The architecture of the capital, though seemingly contradictory and contrasting, makes for a dazzling combination in a quite unique city.

Lunch is served in a restaurant on the top-floor of one of Moscow’s skyscrapers offering spectacular city views. After lunch, visit the famous Novodevichiy Cemetery, where well-known Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets, are buried along with famous actors, political leaders, and scientists.

City tour highlights: Tverskaya Street, Lubyanka Square, Kremlin embankment. Novodevichiy Convent (photo stop), and if time permits, a stop at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, Sparrow Hills.

Meals: B, L

Day 3. MOSCOW

Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square Walk / St. Basil’s Cathedral / GUM Department Store / Park Zaryadye

9:30am – 5:30pm

The morning consists of a stroll through the famous Moscow Kremlin with its beautiful cathedrals and unique museums. The Armory hosts an impressive collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armor and ancient weapons, royal carriages and sleighs.

After lunch, cross Red Square to visit GUM, Moscow’s largest department store, and enter a masterpiece of medieval Moscow – St. Basil’s Cathedral. Then proceed with a leisurely walk through the newly designed park Zaryadye, a stone’s throw from the Kremlin and Red Square.

Meals: B, L

Day 4. MOSCOW

Leo Tolstoy House-Museum in Hamovniki / Old Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro Embarkation aboard the MS Volga Dream

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

The first stop after checking-out of your hotel is a small and cozy former home-estate once owned by one of Russia’s literary greats, Leo Tolstoy. He lived with his wife and thirteen children in this two-storey wooden Moscow house from 1882 to 1901; it is now a carefully preserved memorial.

The sightseeing continues after lunch at the State Tretyakov Gallery with its extraordinary collection of Russian art, ranging from Rublev's 12th century icons to 19th century masterpieces. Explore Moscow’s Metro, famed for its architectural splendour.

Meanwhile, the luxurious MS Volga Dream awaits and your voyage along Russia’s extensive waterways is about to begin. The Captain's welcome reception and dinner mark the start of our unforgettable cruise.

Volga Dream Experience: Bread, Salt & Vodka ‘Welcome Aboard’ Ceremony

Meals: B, L, D

Day 5. UGLICH

After a full day of cruising through idyllic forested countryside, we tie up in the ancient trading town of Uglich, a key point in Russia’s renowned ‘Golden Ring’. Explore the impressive Church of St. Dmitri-on-the-Blood, erected on the site where Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in 1591. Then an enchanting concert of choral music performed in St. John’s Church.

Volga Dream Experience: Costumed Russian Tea Ceremony & Russian Cooking Class

Meals: B, L, D

Day 6. YAROSLAVL

Founded in 1010, Yaroslavl is one of central Russia’s oldest cities and boasts the Volga’s first port. There is much to see: the Spassky Monastery houses the Transfiguration of the Savior and the Church of Elijah the Prophet and an impressive collection of mosaics. Take part in a costumed reception at the governor’s house before re-boarding the MS Volga Dream in time for lunch.

Volga Dream Experience: Barbeque on the Sun Deck

Meals: B, L, D

Day 7. GORITSY

This morning takes us on an early crossing of Lake Beloye, or the White Lake, once known as the “tsar’s fishing grounds”, before arriving in the peaceful village of Goritsy where we tour the Ferapontov Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent frescoes by Dionysius, one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. He painted the temple ceiling about 10 years before Michelangelo even started on the Sistine Chapel! Return to the ship for a late lunch and afternoon cruising.

Volga Dream Experience: Russian Dinner with Vodka Tasting

Meals: B, L, D

Day 8. KIZHI

Kareliya is a region that must be seen to be believed, it spans all the way from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, a vast wilderness of forest and water. Lake Onega is fed by 58 rivers and is home to 1,369 islands, including our stop, Kizhi with its quaint collection of ancient wooden houses and windmills including the famous and remarkable Transfiguration church, built in 1714 without a single nail being used.

Volga Dream Experience: Piano Concert – pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov

Meals: B, L, D

Day 9. SVIRSTROY

The highlight of your day in Svirstroy is being invited into a local resident’s home. Warm and welcoming villagers will offer tea with jam and “pirozhki” (local pies). They will enthusiastically tell you all about Russian tradition, lifestyle and the attractions of Svirstroy village while proudly showing off their homes and kitchen gardens. After tea, hop on a bus to tour the nearby town, see a spectacular WWII memorial and visit a local primary school.

Volga Dream Experience: Farewell Dinner

Meals: B, L, D

Day 10. ST. PETERSBURG

City Tour / St. Isaac’s Cathedral / Canal boat / Yusupov Palace

9:30am – 6:30pm

The MS Volga Dream ties up in St. Petersburg on the Neva River where we disembark for a city tour, including Peter and Paul Fortress (outside), the Royal Romanov burial site and Nevsky Prospect with its rich selection of fine shops, cafes, and museums. Then we proceed to St. Isaac's Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the city skyline. Sculptures and massive red granite columns decorate the façade, while the interior is even more lavishly appointed with mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli.

After a relaxed lunch we embark on a canal cruise sailing under the city’s many historic bridges and past its magnificent pastel. The day ends with a tour of Yusupov’s Palace, former home to one of St. Petersburg’s wealthiest aristocrats. The enigmatic story of Grigory Rasputin, the monk assassinated here by Prince Felix Yusupov, is told in this very basement.

In the evening check-in at the luxurious Four Seasons Lion’s Palace***** [Imperial] / five-star Belmond Grand Hotel Europe***** or Kempinski Moika 22***** [Platinum].

City tour includes: Split of Basil Island (walking tour), Spilled Blood Church (photo stop), Peter and Paul Fortress (photo stop), St. Isaac Cathedral (entrance), Nevskiy Prospect drive.

Meals: B, L

Day 11. ST. PETERSBURG

The State Hermitage (Early Entrance) / Gold Room / Peterhof: Park and One of the Small Cottages

9:00am – 5:00pm

The morning takes you to one of the most famous museums in the world, the awe-inspiring Hermitage in the lavishly decorated Winter Palace. (To avoid the crowds, we’ve arranged special Early Entrance for you, before official opening hours.) The Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings and houses 3 million artworks ranging from Stone Age to modern times. The collection includes Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael and Titian. After exploring the main galleries, proceed to the Gold Room, usually closed to general public, with a collection of gold Scythian artwork and elaborate imperial gifts.

Lunch is followed by a tour to one of the most spectacular Imperial estate of Peterhof, often dubbed the Russian Versailles. The vast Lower Park, with its 176 fountains and four cascades, is a glorious place to walk, taking in majestic palaces and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. A truly spectacular day before we return to St. Petersburg.

Meals: B, L

Day 12. ST. PETERSBURG

Faberge Museum / Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

9:30am – 6:30pm

Enjoy a full sightseeing day with a visit to the Fabergé Museum, founded by entrepreneur, Viktor Vekselberg. The museum was opened in December 2013 to display a glittering collection of Faberge eggs and objects d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his staff. Vekselberg's collection is rated as one of the world's most valuable and includes items he bought from the Forbes family in 2004 for $100 million.

After lunch we travel to the Tsar’s Village to visit the famous Catherine’s Palace and the exquisitely recreated Amber Room. A stroll through the formal gardens is highly recommended. We enter the Pushkin grounds through the Golden Gate and ascend the staircase to the Grand Hall. The Golden Enfilade offers a glorious view of the Amber Room.

Meals: B, L

Day 13. ST. PETERSBURG

Private transfer [Imperial] / group transfer [Platinum] to airport for your outbound flight.

Meals: B

All arrangements are subject to availability and modification if necessary. Weather, traffic and crowds can all affect the order of our sightseeing program.

Accommodations

IMPERIAL

MOSCOW - FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MOSCOW *****

The Four Seasons Hotel Moscow boasts a superb historic location, overlooking Manezhnaya Square, just steps away from Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, offering superb accommodation in one of the best addresses in town! The interior, including its 180 luxurious rooms and suites, exudes contemporary style and luxury that compliments the wonderful heritage of the building. All rooms are naturally lit with floor-to-ceiling windows and many have step-out balconies. The exterior façade has been replicated in meticulous detail, including the distinctive asymmetry between the two wings that surround a new glass-topped atrium. With its five inviting restaurants and lounges, including the signature Italian restaurant Quadrum, its luxurious rooms and Amnis Spa complex, the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow is the ideal place to stay for clients seeking luxury in the heart of the historic district of Moscow.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00


ST. PETERSBURG - FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LION PALACE*****

Housed within a 19th-century Russian royal palace, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace is a treasure in the historic Admiralteysky district, just two blocks from the Hermitage Museum and close to Nevsky Prospekt and the Mariinsky Theatre. Heritage architectural features, include the main stairway and entry hall, which have all been restored to their original 1820 beauty. This luxury property features 183 spacious rooms and suites, all boasting high ceilings, large windows and marble bathrooms, enhanced by views of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, Aleksandrovsky Garden and the Admiralty. There are two restaurants, Sintoho, serving Asian food in an informal atmosphere and Percorso, in which to enjoy modern Italian dishes. There is also a spa and 24-hour fitness centre, complete with a relaxation pool under a glass roof. Due to its great history and location, this hotel is perfect for the guest seeking an accommodation with a great story and incredible landmarks close by.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00.

PLATINUM

MOSCOW – Ararat Park Hyatt*****

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow is located on a quiet side-street in the very heart of the city within the immediate vicinity of the Bolshoi Theatre, Kremlin, Red Square, luxury shopping and dining area. Hotel offers 208 rooms designed by Tony Chi, including Winter Garden Suites with private terraces overlooking the Kremlin and brand new two-storied Penthouse with separate entrance and private kitchen.

The personalized service and outstanding quality offered by residential style 5 star hotel, which caters to the discerning traveler seeking privacy, luxury and elegance, distinguish Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow from other hotels in Moscow. Moreover, the hotel offers Moscow’s fine dining restaurants and bars. Among them are the legendary Café Ararat, known for Armenian specialties, the botanical garden at the Conservatory Lounge & Bar, recognized for its panoramic views over the city, outstanding design and signature cuisine, the elegant Neglinka Lounge, The Park Restaurant and Japanese restaurant Enoki. In order to meet the needs of the modern traveler, the luxury Moscow hotel is glad to offer its guests use of Quantum Spa & Health Club, featuring the latest cardiovascular technology for fitness enthusiasts alongside pure pampering and relaxation.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00.

MOSCOW – Marriott Aurora Royal Hotel*****

Built in 1999 The Marriott Aurora Royal Hotel is one of the most luxurious in town: Red Square, the Kremlin and the famous Bolshoi Theatre are all within easy walking distance. This hotel, quite literally, has the capital’s commercial, political and cultural heart on its doorstep. With its classical arches and spires, the hotel gloriously blends traditional Moscow with modern convenience.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00.

ST. PETERSBURG – Belmond Grand Hotel Europe*****

A cultural and culinary landmark, Grand Hotel Europe has played a central role in the life of St. Petersburg for over 130 years. A truly iconic Orient-Express hotel, renowned for its impressive façade and decorative interiors the Belmond is on Nevsky Prospekt surrounded by the city’s great architectural treasures.

Next door to Arts Square, the hotel has strong associations with the worlds of theatre, music and dance. Past guests include Tchaikovsky and Pavarotti, crowned heads and world leaders. A stay here takes you straight to the heart of Russia, especially during the White Days of winter. When the snow lies deep in the streets, a warm welcome awaits within.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00.

ST. PETERSBURG – Kempinski Moika 22

The Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 is in a charming and historical area, in the very heart of St Petersburg, on the Moika River with the iconic Hermitage Museum and Palace Square in view across the water. The Hotel is just two minutes walk from Nevsky Prospect and close to all the major sights and shopping centres.

Check-in to the hotels starts at 15:00, check-out ends before 12:00.