I want to express, in the name of Asteria Expeditions and our 8 clients that this cruise was exceptional and was highly appreciated. All my clients have traveled worldwide in luxury accommodations and this is a real 5 star deluxe!
Paul Loose, Travel Director, Asteria Expeditions
2020 IMPERIAL / PLATINUM PROGRAM
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
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
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
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 St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya***** 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 Cemetery09:30am – 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 Zaryadye9:30am – 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 Dream10:00 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 / Canal boat / Tour of Yusupov Palace / Red Army Choir Performanc9:30am – 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*****[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 Cottages9:00am – 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
The State Hermitage (Early Entrance) / Gold Room / Peterhof: Park and One of the Small Cottages9:00am – 7:00pm
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. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil.
Meals: B, L
Day 13. ST. PETERSBURG
Private transfer [Imperial] / group transfer [Platinum] to airport for your outbound flight.
- - 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 - 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.
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, 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.