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Waterways of Russia

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Departure Dates

  • Aug 26, 2018 - Sep 06, 2018


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Waterways of Russia

Experience the timeless pageantry and traditional folkways along the scenic rivers, lakes and canals that link Russia’s grand cultural capitals. Cruise for six nights aboard the exclusively chartered, deluxe, 90-passenger m.s. Volga Dream during this carefully crafted itinerary. Enjoy three nights in the Five‑Star Kempinski Moika 22 in St. Petersburg, featuring an early entrance guided tour of the State Hermitage Museum and a visit to Shuvalov Palace to see the world’s largest privately owned collection of Imperial Fabergé eggs. Explore Russia’s old‑world heartland from 10th‑century Uglich and medieval Yaroslavl to the 14th‑century Kirillo‑Belozersky monastery near Goritsy and the legendary open‑air museum of Kizhi Island. Experience a traditional Russian tea ceremony in the home of a Svirstroy villager who will share more about the Russian way of life.

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Sunday, August 26
Depart the U.S.

St. Petersburg, Russia
Monday, August 27
Arrive in regal St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s elegant urban achievement and Russia’s cultural capital, and transfer to the centrally located, Five‑Star Kempinski Hotel Moika 22. This evening, attend the Welcome Reception in the hotel. (b)

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, August 28
Explore the city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where legendary landmarks are scattered across more than 100 islands and linked by three times as many bridges. St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, showcases exquisite examples of Russian Baroque and neoclassical architecture. See the ornate Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ), built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination; see the iconic golden spire of the Admiralty; and visit 19th‑century St. Isaac’s Cathedral to admire its dazzling interior of malachite and lapis lazuli. The church’s golden dome is one of the glories of the city’s skyline. Tour St. Petersburg’s oldest edifice, the Peter and Paul Fortress, built in 1703 to guard the country’s only outlet to the Baltic Sea. This afternoon, visit the new halls of the State Hermitage Museum’s General Staff Building to view the priceless collection of 19th‑ and 20th‑century French Impressionist and Post‑Impressionist works, including 74 masterpieces “lost” in a storeroom during World War II. This evening, you may choose to attend an optional Russian ballet performance (schedule to be determined). (b)

St. Petersburg
Wednesday, August 29
This morning, by specially reserved early entrance, return to the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated State Hermitage Museum, the former tsarist palace of Catherine the Great to further tour this repository of one of the world’s oldest and most important art collections, rivaled only by the museum’s lavish interior. Later, visit the imperial compound of Pushkin and Catherine the Great’s elaborate Rococo palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the extraordinary Amber Room, laden with six tons of solid amber, deftly carved and framed in gold leaf and said to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Stripped and confiscated by the Nazis in 1941, it was meticulously reconstructed over 25 years to honor of the 300th anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg. This evening, you may choose to attend an optional Russian folklore show in Nicholas Palace (performance schedule to be determined). (b,l)

St. Petersburg
Thursday, August 30
This morning, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Peterhof Palace and Gardens, also known as Petrodvorets, the grand summer palace and splendid parklands commissioned by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. Embark the deluxe, small ship Volga Dream this afternoon and attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception as the ship departs St. Petersburg. (b,l,r,d)

Neva River/Lake Ladoga/Svir River/Svirstroy
Friday, August 31
Admire the passing wilderness of serene meadows, virgin pine and birch forests lining the banks of the mighty Neva River and the shores of Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe. This afternoon, the ship calls at Svirstroy, a charming riverside village evoking the peaceful, traditional ways of rural life. See the historic Lodeynoe Pole, where Peter the Great established the Olonets Shipyard, birthplace of the Baltic Fleet. Visit the home of a local villager and enjoy tea and Russian cakes before continuing along the sparkling Svir River between Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. (b,l,d)

Lake Onega/Kizhi Island
Saturday, September 1
Early this morning, be on deck for the unforgettable approach to picturesque Kizhi Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this remarkable open‑air museum, a treasure trove of 18th‑century Karelian and north Russian wooden architecture. Admire the Church of the Transfiguration, an architectural masterpiece featuring 22 cupolas built completely of wood without a single nail. Enjoy an afternoon cruise on scenic Lake Onega, dotted with over 1600 small islands, in view of the beautifully untouched, pastoral Karelian countryside, home to both ethnic Finns and Russians. (b,l,d)

Lake Beloye/Goritsy/Sheksna River
Sunday, September 2
Along the shores of Lake Beloye, admire rural communities continuing the long‑standing traditions of Old Russia. From the tranquil village of Goritsy, visit the Kirillo‑Belozersky Monastery, founded in 1397, and see its collection of paintings, early printed books and pictorial embroidery. It is said that Vasily III came here to pray for an heir, and soon after, his wife Elena gave birth to the future Ivan the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia. Further along the Sheksna River, catch glimpses of a bygone era as you pass by rustic family farms and quaint dachas, traditional Russian wooden cottages. This evening, enjoy a dinner of Russian delicacies followed by a specially arranged sampling of Russian vodkas. (b,l,d)

Lake Rybinskoye/Volga River/Yaroslavl
Monday, September 3
Cruise Lake Rybinskoye, surrounded by scenic wilderness. Dock in Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga River and one of the “Golden Ring” of fortified 11th‑ to 15th‑century cities and villages built to encircle Moscow. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the “Florence of Russia,” is renowned for its 17th‑century stone churches crowned with painted onion domes and soaring turrets. Stroll along the river to the Church of Elijah the Prophet, an exquisite architectural masterpiece located in the heart of the Old Town and filled with well‑preserved frescoes. See the magnificent Monastery of the Transfiguration, founded in the 12th century. (b,l,d)

Uglich/Volga River
Tuesday, September 4
Arrive in the “Golden Ring” city of Uglich and walk to the 17th‑century Church of Prince Dimitri‑on‑the‑Blood, built on the site where Ivan the Terrible’s young son met his tragic demise. Admire its cluster of red turrets capped with shimmering blue onion domes and the elegant frescoes that adorn the interior. Continue on to see the stately five‑domed Cathedral of the Transfiguration, built along the Volga River in 1713. This afternoon, cruise the great Volga River, the main artery of the Russian heartland for over a millennium, and into the Moscow Canal, which provides Moscow access to the White, Baltic, Caspian, Azov and Black Seas. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception on board the ship this evening. (b,l,r,d)

Wednesday, September 5
Arrive in Russia’s illustrious capital city, which has embodied the heart and soul of the country for over 850 years. Disembark the ship and enjoy a panoramic tour of Moscow featuring the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, the monument of Peter the Great, the renowned Bolshoi Theatre and expansive views of the city from University Square. Explore Moscow’s cultural and historical treasures beginning with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Kremlin, the imposing “Citadel of the Tsars.” See magisterial Red Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where both Romanov tsars and Soviet commissars have flexed their power, and admire the multicolored grandeur of the 16th‑century St. Basil’s Cathedral, one of the country’s most striking Orthodox monuments. Check into the Five-Star Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel and enjoy dinner in the hotel this evening. (b,l,d)

Thursday, September 6
Continue on the Iconic Moscow Post‑Program Option, or transfer to the airport for your flight to the U.S. (b)