Cruise along the mysterious and magical banks of Eastern Europe’s great waterways and discover cities steeped in history, political intrigue and royal resplendence. Visit ancient cathedrals, admire imperial palaces and enjoy the rustic charms and traditions of rural Russia. Experience some of the world’s finest historical treasures, from Moscow’s mighty Kremlin to St Petersburg’s elegant Winter Palace, Odessa’s Potemkin Steps and Yalta’s White Palace. Travel along the many waterways and discover the majestic beauty of the country’s vast, rural landscape. Experience timeless traditions, visit beautiful cathedrals and opulent palaces, encounter iconic historical landmarks and admire world class art collections. The cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg allows you to follow ‘The Waterways of the Tsars’, a spectacular voyage through the heart of Russia combining great cities with rural highlights. St Petersburg contains over 100 islands and is paramount to the history and development of Russia. This twelve night cruise allows you to immerse yourself in the culture of one of the most fascinating countries of the world and helps you to understand the vastness and many different aspects of daily life of the modern day superpower.
When you arrive in Moscow, transfer to the deluxe 5* Marriott Aurora or 5* 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.
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.
Day 3 - Moscow
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.
Day 4 - Moscow
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
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
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
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
Day 8 - Kizhi Island
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
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
Day 10 - St Petersburg
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 5* Belmond Grand Hotel Europe or 5* Kempinski Moika 22. 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.
Day 11 - St Petersburg
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.
Day 12 - St Petersburg
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.
Day 13 - St Petersburg to UK
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
When it comes to luxury river cruises in Russia, the Volga Dream offers an unprecedented level of luxury, as well as the finest accommodation, delicious food, best service and care in the industry. The advent of the boutique VOLGA DREAM reveals the tsarist-era luxury and provides superior service, installing the ship as the class of the waterway. With 60 crew members and a capacity for just over 100 passengers, the ship has the lowest passenger-to-crew ratio among Russian river cruise ships. With so few guests amid the ship’s spacious arrangement, it feels like sailing aboard a private yacht. You’ll find no hassle disembarking at the various ports of call, no delays at mealtime. Our trip is mostly suitable and recommended for those, who appreciate serene atmosphere to reinvigorate inner resources and emotional state. The visitors, who feel vim and vigor for new adventures, enjoying the Russian river cruises with us, will also be pleasantly surprised. Russia’s first luxury river cruise ship, featuring the latest technology and superior service, the 314-foot VOLGA DREAM offers what no other Russian cruises can: cosmopolitan comfort amid the greater rural envisions. Being all about personal approach, the Volga Dream cruise in Russia offers the most exquisite experiences as you explore the hauntingly beautiful regions of this enigmatic country.
Stay in one of the elegantly appointed 50 Staterooms Located over 4 decks. On the upper 2 decks – Promenade and Sun, you will find spacious Junior Suites and luxurious forward looking Owner’s Suite, which has a private terrace and separate exit to the open deck. All cabins are equipped with private bathroom with shower, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, direct dial telephone, satellite flat screen television and minibar. Additional comforts provided include bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer, bathroom accessories kit, bottled water (replenished daily) and welcome fruit basket.
PLATINUM PROGRAM TRIP DESCRIPTION & HIGHLIGHTS Volga Dream Platinum package. This caters for discerning travellers who prefer to travel in a smaller group and stay in the finest hotels. In Moscow stay at the St Regis Moscow Hotel Nikolskaya or Ararat Park Hyatt and in St Petersburg stay at the Grand Hotel Europe. The maximum group size will be between 15-18 passengers on sightseeing tours. Additional visits include the Pushkin Museum (impressionist gallery) in Moscow and a Moscow architecture tour, as well as visits to the Yusupov Palace and early entrances to Catherine’s Palace and the Hermitage in St Petersburg
IMPORTANT INFORMATION A Russian Visa must be arranged in advance, for an approximate cost of £240 per person. Please note that current Russian visa regulations require a personal visit to the Russian Embassy in either London, Edinburgh or Manchester to complete the application process, which is at your own cost*. *The cost and process to obtain a Russian tourist visa can change at any time, please contact the Russian Embassy to confirm the full details. UPGRADE The finest accommodation with a small group touring on the Volga Dream IMPERIAL (Same itinerary as Volga Dream Platinum)
Call for prices 080 471 4754
One of the main differences between this and other Russian Waterways cruises is that you stay in centrally located hotels, rather than on the ship, in both Moscow and St Petersburg. As the docking locations for the ships are a bit out of the centres of these two cities you are therefore better placed to explore, either on your own or as part of the organized tours. The Volga Dream is one of the smaller vessels on the Russian waterways with a passenger complement of 109, around half that of most others. providing for a much more intimate experience.