We very much enjoyed this cruise. Staff were friendly and helpful and put up with our attempts to speak Russian to them. Russian language classes would have been even more helpful if they had been held the first three days rather than spread out, as I learned some words that I could have used earlier.
2020 GOLD PROGRAM
TRIP DESCRIPTION & HIGHLIGHTS
5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Moscow Kremlin & Red Square
Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent, Moscow
Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg
Historic Centre of the City of Yaroslavl
Kizhi Pogost, Karelia
Russian cultural experience aboard the Volga Dream
4 Fascinating Talks by the Russian Professor
Piano Concert of Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov
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
6 Nights at the nicest Moscow and St. Petersburg Hotels
1 Delicious Lunch in the one of the best St. Petersburg Restaurant
Daily sightseeing in small groups, never more than 20-25 guests
Whisper System for the Entire Journey
Day 1. MOSCOW
On arriving in Moscow, transfer to the deluxe St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya***** or Ararat Park Hyatt ***** in the historic city centre near the Bolshoi Theatre and Moscow Kremlin. Enjoy a warm-up meeting with your guide and fellow guests (in the hotel lobby from 6 to 9pm).
Day 2. MOSCOW
City Tour / Novodevichy Cemetery
Begin the day with an orientation tour of the city before proceeding to the famous Novodevichi Cemetery, where numerous well-known Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets, are buried along with famous actors, political leaders and scientists.
Take the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, explore Moscow on your own or seek out a cultural performance at one of the city’s word-class venues.
City tour includes: Tverskaya Street, Lubyanka Square, Kremlin embankment, Cathedral of Christ the Savior (entrance if time and availability allows), Novodevichy Cemetery (entrance).
Day 3. MOSCOW
Kremlin / Armoury Museum / Red Square / GUM Department Store
The morning takes you into the Kremlin to visit the Armoury Museum and its renowned collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armour and weapons, royal carriages and sleighs. Continue to the beautifully frescoed 15th-century Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals. Next is the magnificent Red Square and its famous landmarks - Lenin's Tomb and St. Basil's cathedral (outside), a colourful multi-domed complex whose architects were supposedly blinded by Ivan the Terrible so that they would never again be able to recreate such splendour.
The rest of the day is left open for independent exploration: for example you may walk to the new park Zaryadye located near the Kremlin and Red Square or choose any one of several optional tours.
Today’s tour includes: the Kremlin, visit to Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals, the Armoury (visit), Red Square walking tour, St. Basil's Cathedral (photo stop w/o entrance), GUM Department Store (entrance).
Day 4. MOSCOW
Tretyakov Gallery / Metro Ride / Embarkation on the Volga Dream
The morning is free for you to walk at leisure before enjoying lunch in the hotel or near-by.
Hotel check-out is at noon followed by a trip to the Tretyakov Gallery, the first museum dedicated exclusively to Russian fine art. Explore Moscow’s Metro, famed for its architectural splendour. Later, transfer to the luxury that waits aboard MS Volga Dream before sailing Russia’s extensive waterways. 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, 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: Documentary Film “Construction of the Moscow Canal”
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 so much to see: the Spassky Monastery houses the Transfiguration of the Savior and the Church of Elijah the Prophet with its 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: Costumed Russian Tea Ceremony & Russian Cooking Class
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7. GORITSY
In this tiny settlement, we visit the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded in 1397, now home to one of the world’s finest collections of Russian icons. After a guided tour, we continue cruising toward the majestic Lake Onega.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 Svirstroy villagers will offer tea with jam and “pirozhkie” (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 local WWII monument and visit a local primary school.Volga Dream Experience: Deck Barbeque
Meals: B, L, D
Day 10. ST. PETERSBURG
City Tour / Peter and Paul Fortress9:30am – 2:30pm
Arrive in St. Petersburg via the Neva River and disembark the MS Volga Dream. Enjoy a city tour including the Peter and Paul Fortress, the burial place of the Romanov monarchs, and Nevsky Prospect, with its rich selection of fine shops, cafes, and museums.
Afternoon check-in at the five-star Belmond Grand Hotel Europe*****.
City Tour includes: Peter & Paul Cathedral (entrance), Split of Basil Island (walking tour), St. Isaac Cathedral (photo stop), Spilled Blood Church (photo stop), Nevskiy Prospekt drive.
Day 11. ST. PETERSBURG
The Hermitage Museum / Peterhof: Park and Small Cottage
The day begins at the world class Hermitage Museum, home to one of world’s most important collections of European art.
Lunch is followed by a tour of the meticulously restored Peterhof, St. Petersburg’s most famous and spectacular Imperial estate, often cited as the Versailles of Russia. Visit one of the authentic Small Cottages and stroll in the vast Lower Park with its 176 fountains and four cascades. There are majestic palaces and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes.
The rest of the day left open for independent exploration.
Meals: B, L
Day 12. ST. PETERSBURG
Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room
This morning, join one of the optional tours or explore St. Petersburg at your own pace.
In the afternoon, drive to Catherine the Great’s Palace, which houses the extraordinary Amber Room. Its six tons of solid amber are deftly carved and framed in gold leaf. Once dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world,” the room was stripped by the Nazis in 1941, but meticulously rebuilt to mark the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg’s founding.
Day 13. ST. PETERSBURG
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- - All arrangements are subject to availability and modification if necessary.
- - Weather, traffic and crowds can all affect the order of our sightseeing program
- - Tour order and times may be subject to change. Please request exact travel schedule for each individual cruise
- - Itinerary from St. Petersburg to Moscow mirrors the Moscow to St. Petersburg itinerary
MOSCOW – The St. Regis Moscow Hotel Nikolskaya*****
The St. Regis Moscow Hotel Nikol‘skaya is a complex of historical buildings with an unrivalled location at the corner of pedestrian Nikol‘skaya Street within a 5 minutes walk to the Red Square.
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.
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, it stands on Nevsky Prospekt among the city‘s great architectural treasures—renowned for its impressive façade and decorative interiors. 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.
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.