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Russian River Cruises

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  • Moscow — St. Petersburg
  • Moscow — Astrakhan
  • Astrakhan — St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg
  • Cruise Highlights
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Russia is again welcoming travelers!

  • A negative PCR test is all that's needed to enter Russia
  • Regular flights are now operating to / from Russia
  • Visas can be issues quickly (Volga Dream provides your invitation)
  • All Volga Dream personnel and guides are fully vacinated
  • Bookings are transferable without penalty for 12 months
  • Volga Dream arranges PCR-tests if needed for your outbound flight

Check our COVID-19 Policy page to learn more.

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Luxurious river cruises in russia.

Explore authentic Russian cities. Enjoy premium service and engaging activities as you sail the Volga River.

Moscow. Red Square. St. Basil Cathedral

2022 Cruise Season

Join our signature small group journeys and cruise in luxury along the Russian Volga river!

St. Petersburg. Palace bridge

The Russian Odyssey

An extended 'South to North' view of Russia from Astrakhan to St. Petersburg through Moscow.

Kizhi Island

Explore Moscow, St. Petersburg and Russia’s Golden Ring in greater depth. Stay at gorgeous Four Seasons hotels. Enjoy special access to iconic cultural sites.

Moscow. Red Square

Lower Volga

Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience cruising the Volga river from Moscow to Astrakhan. The tour includes 2 nights in Moscow.

Yaroslavl. Local Church

Find Your Cruise

Select destination Moscow — St. Petersburg Moscow — Astrakhan Astrakhan — St. Petersburg

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A Volga river cruise is more than a geographical voyage; it’s also a journey through Russia’s rich and captivating history. No other experience takes you so completely to another place and time. The Volga is Europe’s longest and largest river; it meanders through the stories of Ivan the Terrible and his rise to power, the two historic ‘Greats’ Peter and Catherine, and then on into today. It’s a unique opportunity to see modern Russia in the context of its intriguing history, ably assisted by friendly and professional academics and tour guides. A Volga Dream Russian river tour promises to leave you with an unforgettable afterglow of fond memories.

St. Petersburg. Petehof

Moscow to St. Petersburg River Cruise

Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s best-known cities, but the towns of Russia’s historic Golden Ring are delightful too. The luxurious Volga Dream offers a unique opportunity to visit these Russian gems by sailing gently along the Volga River on an unforgettable cruising experience. In small, exclusive groups you’ll enjoy preferential access to some of Russia’s most significant cultural sites.

Volgogard. Mamaev Hill

Moscow to Astrakhan River Cruise

Your River Cruise on the luxurious MS Volga Dream takes you from Moscow along Russia’s grand Volga River to the legend that is Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) and Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. Along the way, you’ll discover the treasures of Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga, medieval Nizhniy Novgorod and beautiful Kazan, the ancient Tatar capital. We plan our tour carefully to combine the very best of Moscow with a world-class Volga River cruise.

Discover Russia with MS Volga Dream - Click-through map

yachtworld 61 viking

We love hearing from guests about their time in Russia and one comment often hear is how surprised people are by the Russian capital. We can’t say for certain what people expected but we do know that it’s always far removed from what they imagined! It’s been called a modern metropolis, a cosmopolitan city, an historic gem, an architectural treasure and a cultural powerhouse, among other descriptions. Majestic Moscow has always surprised our guests and left them with lasting and fond memories.

Russia’s famous Golden Ring is an archipelago of historic towns surrounding Moscow. Uglich is one of the oldest and was founded under Igor, the last Varangian prince. It once resisted the Mongol invasion and its ancient walls saw the grisly murder of young Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible. The impressive Church of St. Dmitri on the Blood, with its classic onion domes and blood red walls, is a fine example of classic Russian architecture. The tour ends with an enchanting choral concert.

This, the oldest city on the Volga River, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts a wealth of ancient orthodox treasures. The impressive Transfiguration of the Savior, adorned with murals depicting St. John’s apocalyptic visions can be seen in the Spassky Monastery. The Church of St. Elijah the Prophet is decorated with an awe-inspiring selection of rich frescoes. For a real taste of pre-revolutionary Russia, visitors are entertained by a costumed reception at the Governor’s House.

Close to the shores of White Lake once were the ‘tsar’s fishing grounds’. It lies in a place so serene that ancient monks chose to build no fewer than three holy sites here, including the Ferapontov Monastery. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, its chapels boast magnificent frescoes by Dionysius, one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery was a refuge for many nobles during tumultuous times and later a fortress that successfully repelled invading armies.

The Karelia region is a vast and naturally beautiful wilderness that spreads all the way from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle. The glorious island village of Kizhi consists almost entirely of the traditionally styled wooden buildings of ‘Old Russia’. Among them is the famous Transfiguration Church built in 1714. Remarkably, and in testament to the craftsmen of the time, not a single nail was used in its construction! Kizhi is one of the favorite stops on the river cruise to St. Petersburg.

A typical rural hamlet brought to life by warm and welcoming villagers. Volga Dream guests are invited into local homes to enjoy classic Russian fare, tea with jam and ‘pirozhki’ (pies). Enthusiastic hosts share Russian traditions and the appeal of village life while proudly showing off their scrupulously kept homes and kitchen gardens. The tour continues with a brief bus ride to see a unique World War II memorial and then, for a real glimpse of Russian life, a visit to a local primary school.

Nizhny Novgorod

This was once a wealthy city thanks to its proximity to rich eastern trading routes. During the Soviet era, the city was closed to outsiders because of its military importance. It’s also where many political prisoners were sent to live out their days in exile. The 16th-century Kremlin ramparts offer spectacular views and the city is known for its elaborately decorated churches. For Volga Dream cruise guests, the highlight of the day is an evening folk concert performed by local children.

Sailing along the Volga river, the riverbank gradually ceases to be dominated by Orthodox churches. Instead, beautiful mosques appear as the river crosses into Tatarstan where the first stop is scenic Kazan, the region’s capital. Inside the white walls of the citadel, the famous Kul Sharif mosque and the old Cathedral of Peter and Paul stand side-by-side symbolizing the two faiths’ long and peaceful coexistence in the region. A concert of traditional Tatar music ends the Volga Dream tour in Kazan.

Passing the Zhigulevskie Mountains offers wonderful views from the sundeck before touring the city. One of the key attractions is the fascinating Space Museum, which offers a revealing glimpse of how the Soviet Union pursued its ambitious journey to the cosmos. The town is also noted for its beautiful esplanade, perfect for a relaxed stroll beside the Volga river. This in turn leads to the Samara State Art Museum. Founded in 1897, it is home to a collection of more than 16,000 works of art.

This city is best known for its close associations with cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. The Russian hero who achieved worldwide fame as the first man in space lived and studied here. Saratov used to be home to a large German community, a heritage that can still be seen in the local architecture. The Volga Dream tour visits the Radishchev State Art Museum, the first picture gallery in Russia outside Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Originally called Tsaritsyn, the city was renamed Stalingrad from 1925 to 1961 in honor of the USSR’s leader. During World War II, the city’s residents put up a heroic defense, repelling an advancing Nazi invasion. The battle for Stalingrad has gone down in history as a pivotal moment in the bloody conflict on the eastern front. The most ferocious and deadly fighting took place on Mamayev Hill, where an imposing memorial now stands close to the excellent Battle of Stalingrad Panorama Museum.

Saint Petersburg

If Moscow surprises, then St Petersburg delights. Peter the Great founded the city to showcase Russia’s newfound enlightenment. He wanted to show the modern world a cultured and advanced society. In short, he built the city to impress and in that he succeeded splendidly! The striking buildings were designed by some of the finest architects Europe had to offer and even now, the ‘Venice of the North’ never fails to enchant with its spectacular buildings and impressive canal network. It is a city of true grandeur.

Cocktails with the Captain

Commanding any ship is a complex role that calls for a long list of skills. Captains know their vessels inside out as well as well as the routes they sail and when things don’t go to plan, they have to make instant decisions. Above all though, the most important part of the job, underpinning everything they do, is to keep the ship and everyone aboard safe. The Captain’s cocktail party is a great and a wonderful opportunity for passengers and crew to get acquainted as the gets underway.

Matryoshka doll painting

There is nothing more typically Russian than a Matryoshka. It embodies the fact that there’s always something deeper to be found in every aspect of Russian life. Learning the traditional designs and techniques used to decorate these iconic dolls offers a pleasant diversion and some cathartic creativity!

Superb Service & Dining

Our restaurant serves the highest standard of international cuisine, freshly made by our Cordon Bleu Chef. Choose either a sumptuous buffet or set menu for lunch while dinner is always four or five courses with full service. High praise for the exquisite quality of meals is yet another constantly recurring feature in feedback from our guests.

Meet the Professor

From the Mongol hordes to Soviet times, Russia’s history is, like all of Europe’s, a complex web of political intrigue, war and peace, trade and treaties, as well as heroes and villains. Academics devote whole lifetimes to studying Russia’s long past and one of them presents a series of lectures shedding light on everything from Gorbachev to Chekhov, Khrushchev to Ivan the Terrible and of course, contemporary Russia. Our Professor is on board throughout the river cruise for informal conversation.

Beginner’s Russian

The Russian language can be rather beautiful and poetic and we know that many seasoned travelers enjoy trying their hand at different languages. Our onboard teachers provide an introduction to the riches of Russian, so guests can try out a few useful words and phrases on real Russians during the exciting river tours from Moscow to St. Petersburg or from Moscow to Volgograd!

Russian tea tasting

The drink we tend to associate with Russia is vodka, but tea, in fact, is the much more universal beverage of choice throughout the country. Guests will get acquainted with the Russian tea etiquette, a fundamental component of the country's social culture, and enjoy the traditional tea ceremony while cruising from St. Petersburg to Moscow or taking a Grand Volga river tour.

Russian Dinner & Vodka Tasting

All our dining is international but for Russian Dining night, the Chef includes a selection of traditional Russian dishes: Chicken Kiev, Kulebyaka and no Russian table is complete without Borsch. To add to the ‘Taste of Russia’ optional Russian dress, or at least a touch of Russian style, is provided along with enthusiastic help from our staff!

Russian Cooking Class

A plate of pelmeni might not look like much to the untrained eye, but it forms the heart of Russian cuisine and culture. Basically, it's a type of dumpling: small portions of meat and onion wrapped in a thin sheet of unleavened dough and boiled, a little like ravioli. Guests can join a Russian cooking class onboard the MS Volga Dream to learn how to cook this delicious Russian dish.

Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov Piano Recital

Some of the greatest classical music ever written comes from Russia. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting stage for a virtuoso solo recital by our resident concert pianist than the mighty Volga or a better backdrop than the heart of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov’s own serene homeland.

Russian River Cruise Aboard Volga Dream

Moscow to St. Petersburg

Why Volga Dream

Kizhi Island

Family Owned & Operated

MS Volga Dream is Russia’s only family-owned river cruise ship. She can accommodate up to 100 guests, far fewer than most other cruise ships on the river making for a uniquely friendly and intimate atmosphere aboard.

Moscow. Four Seasons view

Five-Star Central Hotels

We at Volga Dream are completely convinced that, our guests should stay in great 5-star hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg within comfortable walking distance of all the major attractions, theaters and restaurants, rather than having to waste time in traffic.

MS Volga Dream. Owner's Suite

Luxurious Accommodation

The MS Volga Dream is the most intimate and elegant 5-star cruise vessel in Russia. She boasts 56 cabins, all river facing, ranging from comfortable Standard Cabins to spacious Junior Suites and the luxurious forward facing Owner's Suite.

Yaroslavl. Local Church

Russian Cultural Experience

Explore Russia's past with the help of professional tour guides. Our on-board program includes fascinating talks on Russian history and politics, Russian language lessons, a festival of Russian cuisine (including vodka tasting!), and much more.

MS Volga Dream cuisine

Gourmet Dining

Our on board restaurant serves international cuisine to the highest standard, all freshly made by our Cordon Bleu Chef. For Russian Dining night, he prepares a selection of traditional Russian dishes: Chicken Kiev, Kulebyaka and Borsch.

MS Volga Dream bartenders

Tailored Service

All our service crew members are native Russians who are fluent in English and handpicked by the Owner. Proudly, the Volga Dream is famous for her hard working and very hospitable personnel who take care of every aspect of your life aboard.

Download Our Brochure

It's never been easier to plan your next holiday in Russia. Download our free brochure to learn more about authentic Russian river cruises.

Volga Dream Brochure

Escape the hassle and bustle and add a satisfyingly informative element to your trip and bring together a colorful mosaic of people, history, traditions,  religion, music and art. These are the many strands that time has woven into what is known today as Russia.

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Vagrants Of The World Travel

Russian River Cruise from St Petersburg To Moscow.

By: Author Kate O'Malley

Posted on Last updated: December 6, 2021

Home >> Russia >> Russian River Cruise from St Petersburg To Moscow.

Have you ever dreamed of strolling through Moscow’s Red Square or seeing the ballet in St Petersburg – A city where opulent palaces offer a glimpse into one of the world’s most  intriguing royal dynasties .

Russia’s two great cities still invoke the old school romance of travel – a journey into the enigmatic and exotic. However, in a country as immense as it is fascinating, there is so much to see beyond the metropolis of Russia’s great cities.

A Russian River Cruise , St Petersburg to Moscow on Viking Cruises Waterways of the Tsars cruise will take you to Russia’s great cities and beyond.

Take a Russian river cruise from Moscow to St Petersberg to see sights like Moscow's famous Red Square. We enjoyed our Viking River Cruise.

Sailing the rivers and lakes of Russia from St Petersburg to Moscow takes you into Russia’s heartland. It is deep in the country where you find the Golden Ring cities, charming towns and iconic, sometimes forgotten monuments that helped define Russia’s history.

A Russian river cruise opens up possibilities to visit parts of Russia that may otherwise be logistically difficult. It also offers a very efficient and cost-effective way to see the best of this vast country.

Viking river boat with temple on an island in the background.  River cruises in Russia are popular and a viking river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow is the best way to see Russia

Table of Contents

Visiting Russia

Unfortunately, Russia is a country too often sidestepped by many travellers. It has been more than two decades since Russia emerged from behind the Iron Curtain and began welcoming tourists with semi-open arms and a cold stony smile.

However, Russia still carries the stigma of being a difficult country to travel to and in. Thanks mostly to a reputation of complicated, bureaucratic visa processes and rumoured corruption.

multi coloured parapets of russian church.  If you want to see some unique things in Russia then a viking river cruise through russia will leave you plenty of time for self exploration.

Russian Visa Requirements

If you are travelling through Russia on a river cruise, unless you are eligible for the new 16 day e-Visa, most foreign nationals must have a tourist visa.  The Russian visa process can take up to a month or two. It is important to check your visa requirement and make sure you get it submitted well in advance of your intended travel date.

The gradual introduction of the new e-visa is making the process simpler but is restricted for visits of only eight days and specific entry points. Based on this, the e-visa is not suitable for a river cruise in Russia. 

Applying online for your Tourist Invitation Letter is quick and simple, allowing you to proceed with your application. You can read more about planning your trip to Russia here . 

people walking under yellow archway in Moscow.  Getting around Russia is easy on a river cruise in Russia but you will need a russian visa.  We can also show you how to get a tourist visa for russia

Travel in Russia

As independent travellers, our biggest dilemma with Russia is logistics. Russia covers two continents and nine time zones, and the highlights and must-sees are spread far and wide, with nothing in between.

When you don’t have unlimited time or an unlimited budget, the distances can pose some issues. Transport through Russia can be expensive and less than comfortable, and car hire could be a costly alternative.

Golden room with light spilling through the archways and people looking at the painted ceilings and golden walls.  you will see these things in Russia if you go on a viking river cruise and cruise St Petersburg to Moscow

Is a River Cruise The Best Way To See Russia?

We would say yes, a river cruise is a fantastic way to see Russia. For most, Russia is a once in a lifetime adventure, so, it boils down to how much of Russia do you want to see.

A river cruise makes sense for most travellers to Russia and most travel budgets. A cruise enables visitors to experience more of Russia than perhaps they would on their own.

yellow building with black parapet above the archway.  a unique thing to see in russia on your river cruise.

You Might Also Like: What to Take on A Russian River Cruise

Viking River Cruise in Russia

Much like some of the unreliable, uncomfortable transport methods available in Russia, some of the Russian cruise lines are shall we say, still a little Soviet.

Viking Cruises, on the other hand, offers a product in Russia to the same high, 5- star standard as their river cruises throughout Europe. A full-service luxury river cruise from the moment you make your booking to the time you disembark.

And much like Viking’s European itineraries, the Viking Russian Cruise itineraries are destination focused with high quality shore excursions and enrichment experiences. 

3 viking river cruise boats docked.  a viking river cruise is the best way to see europe and russia

Plan Your Trip to Russia: Know The Best Time to Visit Europe

Viking’s All-Inclusive Cruise Packages

The big appeal of cruising for some is the all-inclusive aspect, so they know what to expect. With Viking Cruises, you can expect so much more than just an all-inclusive cruise package of meals and drinks.

In addition to optional excursions, there are also lots of free shore excursions throughout the cruise. 

Fly Cruise Packages

You can book your Russian river cruise inclusive of flights from your home port, wherever in the world that may be. An attractive option for those wishing to take the guesswork out of arranging flights, knowing you have access to Vikings Cruises discounted fares and upgrades.

Fly cruise packages include all taxes and airport transfers in Russia. Helpful for those who don’t like to navigate the taxi hustle on arrival in a new country. (Speaking from first-hand experience, Russia certainly has some good taxi scams running from the airport).

Information to assist you with the visa process is also included, the most daunting prospect of visiting Russia for many.

More Incredible Viking Cruises You Can Take in Europe:

  • Viking Cruises Paris to Swiss Alps Christmas Market River Cruise
  • Viking River Cruises Danube Waltz – Passau to Budapest River Cruise
  • Viking Homelands Cruise Review. The Best of Northern Europe
  • Passage to Eastern Europe Cruise on the Danube Budapest to Bucharest

red and blue church set on emerald green grass on the banks of a river during a cruise from st petersburg to moscow.

Shore Excursions and Tours in Russia

During the river cruise, a high quality tour itinerary of shore excursions and tours are included to ensure you experience the best things to do in Russia.

There are also some delightful surprises, such as an evening at the ballet in St Petersburg. The tour schedule is designed with the arts and culture in mind, not just the big tourist hot spots.

Additional or Optional Tours can also be purchased at each destination such as our traditional Russian Banya experience in Mandrogy or the vodka tasting on board.

dinner setting russian style with vodka glasses and plates of russian food. fine dining is one of the many great things about a viking river cruise.

You also have access to some very appealing Exclusive Access tours such as a behind the scenes look at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.  All tours include transfers where required, entry fees and extremely knowledgeable, tourism professionals as your guides.

a russian river cruise shore excursion with people walking up the T shaped staircase on the red carpet.  river cruising is the best way to see russia.

On Board Lectures, Demonstrations and Activities.

In addition to activities during cruising times, such as cooking demonstrations and traditional Russian tea’s, the guides also offer daily lectures on Russian history and politics.

The lectures are one of the highlights of the trip. Engaging and well-researched lectures, delivered from a Russian perspective, provide an entirely different and refreshing perspective on Russian culture and politics.

chef showing viking river cruisers how to make a typical russian dish on their cruise st petersburg to moscow

Russian Cuisine on Board

Viking River Cruises always excel when it comes to onboard dining. Interchangeable a la carte menus are available at all meal times showcasing Russian cuisine and produce.

The less adventurous are well catered for with an excellent “always available” a la carte menu. Portions are sensible to allow for all courses to be tried and savoured. Unlike the glutenous portions or “ all you can eat” buffet’s some cruise ships favour. 

Viking River Cruises Fine Dining

Drinks are complimentary with all meals, including a tipple of champagne at breakfast if you are so inclined.

A Silver Drinks Package can be purchased, which gives you unlimited drinks from the bar for the entire cruise as well as a vast selection of wines.

The Convenience and Comfort of River Cruises

There is a lot to be said for having your floating hotel accompany you on your journey through Russia. Unlike some ocean cruises where the focus can be on shipboard life at the expense of the destinations, on this Russian river cruise, the destinations are the focus.  

You get the complete package of the best things to see in Russia without having to navigate multiple modes of transport or having to unpack, pack and move accommodation all the time.

viking river cruise boat deck with tables and chairs.  luxury cruising through russia on a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow

Once you are on board, whether it be in the big cities or the remote countryside, you only need to check in and out once. You do feel like you have your hotel on the road with you – A fantastic boutique hotel.

And it is not only the tour guides who are tourism professionals. You also have at your disposal a 5-star hotel team — professional food and beverage staff, well versed in the art of fine dining and world-class chefs.

set dining tables on a viking river cruise where you will get the finest russian food on your river cruise in russia

The staterooms are spacious and extremely comfortable. Private balconies, quality furnishings, and enough high tech amenities such as Satellite TV and WIFI to keep you entertained are standard throughout the ship.

There are also plenty of comfortable public spaces, both indoors and out with panoramic views to relax and take in the vista while you are cruising.

stateroom with double bed and balcony on a viking river cruise

Cruise St Petersburg to Moscow

For us, opting to travel through Russia on a river cruise was primarily motivated by the itinerary. Most people would be happy to visit Moscow or St Petersburg. But why make an effort to visit this intriguing country and miss all the beautiful and exciting things to see outside of the main cities despite the vast geographic distances.

abonded church with green roof sinking into the ground. unique things to see on your russia holiday

The Cruise Itinerary

The river cruise itinerary is what sold us on this mode of travel. The itinerary enabled us to spend ample time in St Petersburg and Moscow; then with our floating hotel in tow, we took to the river.

It is here where we saw the other Russia. Stunning countryside, small villages, abandoned churches and majestic cathedrals dotted along the river banks. A view of Russia that speaks volumes about the country’s history and culture.

yachtworld 61 viking

As we slipped down the river, we had the  White Nights  in our favour so could take advantage of the long days and very short nights of summer. Enjoying the sights of the Russian countryside en route to our next destination. Each day a different destination with a cruising schedule set to maximise time spent ashore.

yachtworld 61 viking

Waterways of the Tsars Schedule

Seven different destinations are visited in the 13 days onboard. This includes three full days in both Moscow and St Petersburg. We would not have achieved this on our own in the two weeks we had.

Viking Cruises Waterways Of The Tsars itinerary

Viking Cruises Waterway of the Tsars St Petersburg to Moscow Itinerary

Commencing either in St Petersburg or Moscow, the itinerary allows for three days in each city. You can read about the cruise itinerary and shore excursions in St Petersburg and Moscow here.

St Petersburg & Moscow

Between Moscow and St Petersburg, you can experience the beautiful Golden Ring cities and villages of Russia. These are the towns and cities that lie beyond Russia’s great cities on the Waterways of the Tsars. 

Fortress of Schlusselburg Russia which sits in the middle of a lake.  best things to do in russia is to cruise past these unique russian places to visit

Mandrogy Russia

Mandrogy, built in 1996 as an open-air museum, is a replica of   Verkhine Mandrogi , a Russian village destroyed during WWII. The enterprise was intended to give travellers cruising between St Petersburg and Kizhi a feel for traditional Russian life. 

Unfortunately, we found Mandrogy to be very much that – a fabricated tourist attraction including costumed craftsmen and women with innumerable craft stalls and workshops selling the same trinkets. 

Mandrogy Russia

Paint your Own Russian Matryoshka Doll

The central premise for this village appears to be shopping and, of course, the famed Russian Matryoshka Dolls. You can partake in a workshop to learn how to paint your own nesting dolls or, watch any number of the local artists paint dolls in their style. These, of course, are available for purchase. 

While Mandrogy was not our cup of tea, there was a silver lining to this little settlement – the traditional Russian Banya.

Mandrogy Russia

Experience a Russian Banya

The banya is one of those quintessentially Russian experiences.  One of the oldest Russian traditions dating back centuries. A tradition that has not lost its appeal and is still popular today.

Essentially the banya is a steam room or sauna where water is poured over hot rocks to create steam with temperatures often exceeding 93ºC. However, the banya comes with a little more ceremony than your average steam room or sauna.

Specific brooms are used in the banya called veniks . These are usually bunches of birch or oak branches which are dipped into cold water in the sweltering steam room. They are then smacked briskly over the body.

Typically,  there will be a person responsible for this task – a banschik.  As the banya is considered a very social activity, a  banschik  is often not required as friends will usually smack each other with the veniks.

branches tied together and hanging on a rail waiting to be used to whip the hell out of you in a russian banya. viking river cruises will stop here and allow you to be beaten to a sweating pulp by local russian folk

Thankfully our experience included a banschik as we would not have known the sequence of events nor the protocols for polite smacking! So, how does one banya?

  • Enter the banya and wait for temperatures to become almost unbearably hot.
  • Relax while the banschick  completes a ceremonial beating of everyone’s bodies with the veniks.  It includes intense rustling of the branches either side of your head, which is repeated several times.
  • Leave the banya and allow the  banschick  to pour freezing cold water over you.
  • Adjourn to the adjacent room for tea and jam.
  • Repeat steps 1 & 2.
  • Leave the banya house and run to the river to plunge into the icy waters.
  • Repeat step 6.

Traditional Russian Banya Mandrogy with man serving tea to two viking guests after being in the banya.  this really is a unique thing to do in russia

You get the gist! Used as a method of bathing in Russia for centuries, the banya is said to have a myriad of health benefits. There are many communal or public banyas in the cities and towns, and some people still have private banyas in their homes.

The banya is one Russian experience we highly recommend, providing you have the constitution to withstand the intensity of it.

Traditional Russian Banya Mandrogy with men and women running down a pier to jump into the icy waters.

Near the centre of the Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe, you will find the wild and isolated island of Kizhi. Kizhi is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed open-air museum.

At only 6 km long and 1 km wide, this tiny island is one of Russia’s most visited. The settlements buildings date back to the 15th century, some of which were moved from various Karelian villages during Soviet times to help preserve them.  

wooden buildings on Kizhi Island Russia.  the best way to see russia is with a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow.

However, the islands most notable and recognisable attractions are the famous wooden onion-domed buildings- the twenty-two domed Transfiguration Church and the nine domed Intercession Church.

Locals will tell you; both churches were constructed without the use of a single nail. The unknown builder is also said to have destroyed his axe on completion of the Transfiguration Church. He is quoted as saying: “ There was not and will not be another to match it”.

the two domed church on Kizhi Island Russia - viking's Waterways of the Tsars Cruise is the best way to see russia in a short period of time

Within the smaller Church of the intercession, you may hear the local clergy, a beautiful and moving baritone choir intone the ancient liturgy. The islands ancient settlement gives insight into the harsh realities of life in the Russian heartland. Places where entire settlements were isolated for much of the year throughout long winters. You can read more about  visiting Kizhi Island here .

3 men singing in a church on Kizhi Island Russia. viking river cruises provide unique opportunities to live like a local for a short while whilst on their river cruise in russia

Along the Volga – Baltic waterway you will find the urban settlement of Kuzino approx. 600km north of Moscow.

In addition to some fascinating churches, some abandoned or in various states of repair that are worth exploring, the highlight of this region is the Kirillo – Belozersky Monastery. More like a fortress than a monastery, the magnificent complex sits on Severskoye Lake.

the Kirillo - Belozersky Monastery set against the river with 5 steeples around the outer perimeter.

Severskoye Lake is deemed so pure no motorboats are allowed on it. According to urban myth, the waters were blessed, giving them qualities similar to those of the mythical fountain of youth.

From humble beginnings in 1397 when two monks founded the monastery in nothing more than a cave dug by two men. By 1494, now a stone structure, it was the largest church in medieval Russia.

Defended by thick walls and towers it was a refuge for not just monks and peasants, but also a place of pilgrimage for Tsars and so benefited from generous donations and tax breaks. Ivan the Terrible was said to be a regular visitor and big tipper. The financially favourable guest list enabled the monastery to grow in size and importance.

Kuzino Russia

By 1764, Catherine the Great had stripped the monastery of its land and converted the complex into a prison. In 1924 the Bolshevik government shut the complex down and executed or arrested the monks. Interestingly, unlike most monasteries, it was not converted into a concentration camp but rather a museum.

Kirillo - Belozersky monastery Russia

Yaroslavl, the largest city on the Volga, lies just 250 km’s north of Moscow which makes this Golden Ring city a popular weekend getaway.

Perhaps this quaint city of six hundred thousand should be called the city of churches because here you will find an impressive kaleidoscope of onion domes. At the convergence of the mighty Volga and Kotorosl rivers is the historic part of the city, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site.

white church with gold topped green parapets in Yaroslavl Russia. these are the amazing things you will see on a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow

The city dates back to Prince Yaroslav or Yaroslav the Wise  when he came ashore in around 998, slew the sacred bear worshipped by the local pagan tribes and converted them to Christianity. Hence, the bear on the city’s coat of arms.

Yaroslavl Russia

While these events may have attributed to the city’s religious fervour – the churches that now adorn the skyline were the work of 17th and 19th century merchants on a quest to outdo each other in a bid to beautify the city.  To this day it remains a magnificent city, one that appears to have remained unscathed by the soviet facelift given to much of Russia. 

4 golden domes atop a church in Yaroslavl Russia

Uglich, another of the Golden Ring Cities. A picturesque riverside city filled with inviting parks and brightly coloured church domes. The history of Uglich is steeped in a murder mystery that changed the history of Russia.

Ivan the Terrible was never quite right following the death of his wife Anastasia and so instituted a reign of terror that earned him his name. Although respected for his military victories and management of Russian interests, he was also feared for some terrible deeds.

Uglich Russia

One such deed was accidentally killing his son and heir with a blow to the head. Due to this faux par on Ivan’s behalf, his crippled son Feodor, who by all reports was not well in mind or body, ascended to power. However, the country was being run by Feodor’s brother in law, Boris Godunov.

Uglich Russia

Quietly in the wings was Dimitry, Ivan’s younger son who could have succeeded the throne in light of Feodor’s lack of interest in political issues. In 1591, at the age of ten, Dimitry was found dead thanks to a stab wound. It was decided Dimitry slit his own throat with a sword during an epileptic fit.

At the risk of stating the obvious – it was widely assumed the boy was murdered. However, those who dared to accuse Boris Gudunov only did so once. The mystery remains, and so does this beautiful city close to Moscow.

white church with 3 blue domes in Uglich Russia.  Best things to do in russia are from st petersburg to moscow

Should You Choose A River Cruise to Travel Russia?

When it comes to visiting a country like Russia, we feel a river cruise is possibly the best way to maximise your experience of this incredible country.  Had we decided to travel independently, there is no way we would have had the vast and varied experiences we were able to on this cruise.

abandoned church in the middle of the river.  one of the unique things you will see on a Waterways Of The Tsars. St Petersburg to Moscow river cruise with viking river cruise.

The 5-star hotel service, excellent dining and professional tour organisation far exceeded any of our expectations. We now understand why people often choose river cruises as the best way to experience a country. We have since travelled on a number of river cruises through Eastern Europe and the Danube and still believe it to be a value for money way to travel, especially in Europe.

Moscow Russia

If you are looking to see Russia beyond the big cities, cruising the waterways from St Petersburg to Moscow will reveal the beauty of the towns and the landscapes of Russia’s heartland. A river cruise is a fabulous way to travel Russia and a great way to glean a deeper understanding of this mysterious country.

Waterways Of The Tsars. St Petersburg to Moscow

Viking River Cruise In Russia Facts

  • Viking River Cruises has three vessels operating in Russia offering a  13-day “Waterways Of The Tsars” cruise  running between Moscow and St Petersburg.
  • Prices start at ~USD $4,500. Viking Cruises also offer some great “Early Bird” specials available for advance bookings.
  • The cruise includes accommodation, all meals, drinks with meals, tours and onboard lectures. Additional or  Optional Tours  can be purchased on board.
  • Flights, including taxes and transfers, can be arranged inclusive of your cruise price.
  • A tourist visa will be required for most foreign nationals to enter Russia, it is important to check if you will require this well in advance of your cruise date.

We would like to thank Viking Cruises for hosting us on the Waterways Of The Tsars cruise to facilitate this article. As always, all opinions expressed are our own and have not been influenced in any way.

The Crowded Planet

Russian River Cruise – Waterways of the Tsars

Updated December 14, 2017

// By Margherita

Back to Russia! Did you follow our Russian river cruise in August and September? We travelled between Moscow and St Petersburg on the Waterways of the Tsars Viking River Cruise – here’s what we got up to!

russian river cruise viking ship

We both share a deep connection with Russia. I was named after the heroine of Master and Margarita , one of the best Russian books of the 20th century. Nick is actually of Russian ancestry – his maternal great-grandparents were from St Petersburg, and spent the best part of 50 years wandering around Europe escaping wars and revolutions, before settling in Australia .

russia volga river church

Russia has been at the top of our travel dreams for several years , but somehow something always came up whenever we made plans to visit. Once we couldn’t get a visa on time. Another time we couldn’t get time off. Winter is too cold, summer is too hot.

st petersburg hermitage square high

This year, Russia was one of our travel resolutions . Our desire was for the trip to be special – something different from what we’d done so far. We wanted a higher level of comfort, help with visa arrangements, and a trip that would help us understand the country we longed to visit for so many years . The Waterways of the Tsars river cruise with Viking ticked all boxes, so we made arrangements for a departure from Moscow in late August.

russia volga river lock

Things to Know Before a Russian River Cruise with Viking

When we announced our friends we would be travelling on a Russian river cruise , some of them were really surprised. A CRUISE? You guys are such hardcore independent travellers! What are you doing ON A CRUISE with all those OLD PEOPLE? True, the average age on a Viking river cruise might be a fair bit higher than 35 – but really, who is to say we wouldn’t enjoy the experience?

russian night viking river cruises

This awesome post by One Modern Couple  really nails the point – a Viking river cruise is an experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. In their words ‘River cruises are cultural, experiential, educational and scenic. Enjoy the ride, take in the surroundings, learn about the countries you are visiting – from history to local life, food to language – and experience the destinations in a thoughtful way.’ 

Whether you’re 30, 60 or 90, it doesn’t really matter.

russian river cruise sunset

Secondly,  who’s to say that travelling in a group is not ‘real’ travel? We have always been (and continue to be) lovers of independent travel, but sometimes you just can’t beat the insights given to you by a local guide . Viking River Cruises offer plenty of guided tours included in the cruise price, all led by experienced local guides.

russia river cruise out of moscow

Meals were always excellent – breakfast and lunch included a combination of buffet and à la carte specialties, while dinner was always à la carte. Every day we were given the choice to sample some Russian specialties, like beef stroganoff, borsch, pelmeni, solyanka and lots of delicious desserts.

russian night menu viking river cruise

Another great plus of a Russian river cruise with Viking is that during sailing time lots of cultural activities are on offer – things like cooking demonstrations, Russian language lessons and lectures about Russian history and culture, led by the local tour escorts who were with us for the whole duration of the trip. On top of that, every day we received a briefing detailing the following day’s activities, optional excursions and that night’s menu.

russia mandrogy crazy clouds

Whenever we passed points of interest on the boat, such as Mother Volga statue or the sunken Kalyazin Cathedral, we were always called out on the loudspeaker to make sure we wouldn’t miss them. There was no pressure to join in any of the activities – we could spend the whole day chilling on the deck or on our veranda, looking at the beautiful colourful churches built on the riverbank, surrounded by nothing but nature.

russia volga river

Waterways of the Tsars – the Itinerary

The Waterways of the Tsars cruise is 13 days long, starting either in Moscow or in St. Petersburg . Most Russian river cruises had always been described to me as ‘Volga Cruises’ – in fact, our boat cruised along a variety of waterways, including the Moscow Canal, the Volga-Baltic Waterway, the Rybinsk Reservoir, Lake Onega and Ladoga (the two largest lakes in Europe) and the Neva River (the shortest in Europe!)

Here’s a map to give you an idea of the route.


Days 1-4 Moscow

Three days were barely enough to get an idea of how amazing Moscow is. Our days were packed from morning to night with tours and activities – from visiting Moscow must visits like Red Square, the Kremlin, the Moscow Metro and the Arbat, to quirky locations like the Museum of Cosmonautics , located in one of Moscow’s best districts for Communist architecture (one of our passions!)


Even though our itinerary was packed full, we managed to spend half a day touring Moscow independently , visiting some of the sights mentioned in The Master and Margarita – Patriarch’s Ponds, both Bulgakov Museums and Sparrow Hill. Let’s just say that we need to get back to Moscow soon to explore more! Meanwhile, here’s our things to do in Moscow for first timers article, detailing our Moscow visit with Viking.

moscow metro revolutsia

Day 5 Uglich

After setting sail from Moscow, our first stop was Uglich , a cute town on the Volga River, famous for its pretty churches and for being the location of one of the darkest chapters in Russian history .

russia cruise uglich

After the death of Ivan the Terrible, his youngest son and heir to the throne Dmitry was exiled to Uglich, where he was murdered at the age of 10. Suspicion fell on the tsar’s chief advisor, but Dmitry’s cause of death (i.e. throat slitting) was ruled to be an accident. This episode started a period of political unsettlement, that ended with the start of the Romanov dynasty.

We spent an afternoon around Uglich , starting with a home visit of a local family where we had the chance to try homemade grain vodka (the best we’ve had in Russia) and a variety of pickled vegetables, tea and cakes. Then, we toured the Kremlin – the word ‘kremlin’ actually means fortified city, and several Russian cities have one. Moscow’s Kremlin just happens to be the best known!

russia cruise uglich kremlin

Day 6 Yaroslavl

The following morning we reached Yaroslavl , a much larger city compared to Uglich. It looked like the perfect Russian city – large enough not to get bored (there was even a cat cafe!) but small enough not to get frustrated with the traffic and crowds found in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

russia market yaroslavl

Our Yaroslavl visit was centred around four points of interest . The centre of Yaroslavl is located on the Strelka, a promontory formed at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl rivers. Our first stop was the covered market , where we tasted some local products, and then we headed to the Church of Elijah the Prophet , where we had a guided tour (and played with some cute cats). Afterwards, we visited the Governor’s Mansion , now an art gallery. We were welcomed by some beautiful ladies in period costumes, and treated to a music concert. Our final stop was the Yaroslavl Kremlin , where we admired the façade of the Dormition Cathedral, destroyed by the Bolsheviks and rebuilt and reopened in 2010 in time for Yaroslavl’s millennium celebrations.

yaroslavl governor mansion

Before heading back to the ship, we stopped at the lookout over the Millennium of Yaroslavl Park at the end of the Strelka – the flowerbed right in the centre displays a bear (Yaroslavl’s coat of arms) and the city’s age – 1006 at the time of our visit. Looking good!

yaroslavl millennuim park

Day 7 Kuzino

Kuzino is a small village in in the middle of nowhere – we visited on a chilly and rainy morning, to visit the stunning Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery , the largest in Europe. The Monastery is surrounded by walls and located on the shores of Severskoye Lake, with waters so pure that boat traffic is prohibited.

russia kirillo belozersky monastery

Kirillo-Belozersky was founded at the end of the 14th century, and had its heyday between the 15th and 17th century, when Russia’s tsars and noblemen (including Ivan the Terrible!) paid frequent visits and showered the monks with icons and precious gifts. Luckily the Bolsheviks spared the monastery from destruction, turning it into a museum instead. The day we visited was the feast of the Assumption and the churches were crowded with locals, but we had a lovely guided tour of the museum and time to appreciate its beautiful icons.

russia kirillo belozersky monastery inside

Day 8 Kizhi (Sailing)

Whenever travelling, you always need a plan B. Autumn was well on its way by the time we reached the northernmost section of our cruise, and we were held at a lock for the best part of one night due to thick fog . This meant we had to sail the whole day and miss out on Kizhi , a tiny island on the northern side of Onega Lake, famous for its spectacular wooden churches.


We were all disappointed when boat staff made the announcement – personally, Kizhi was one of the stops I was looking forward to the most, after reading about it on the Guardian and knowing that the site is very difficult to visit without a river cruise. However, we didn’t mind too much because we were both suffering the consequences of the previous night’s vodka tasting , organised by Frank, the hotel manager who also happened to be a real vodka connoisseur!

viking river vodka night

Viking staff were really amazing at keeping us busy during the sailing day with activities like guided tours to the wheelhouse, the room where the captain and sailors pilot the ship.

viking truvor wheelhouse

Day 9 Mandrogy

The last stop before reaching St. Petersburg was Mandrogy , a village on the banks of the Svir River, built in 1996 as a replica of a village destroyed during WW2. A Russian businessman had the idea of ‘rebuilding’ Mandrogy to provide a stop to river cruise passengers before reaching St. Petersburg. So, the village is not actually ‘real’ – it’s more of an open air museum. Cute little painted houses were built around a little forest, with people in traditional dress showcasing traditional crafts and selling souvenirs.

russia mandrogy

Those in search of souvenirs loved Mandrogy – the quality of matrioshka dolls, icons and other handicrafts was far higher than anywhere else we had been. We are not into souvenirs, but if there was a place to get something, Mandrogy would be it. The village was pretty, but it felt a bit fake for us – kind of like a tourist amusement park. Which in a way, it is.

russia mandrogy artist

However, we did enjoy Mandrogy for two reasons – the first was the chance to attend matrioshka painting workshop  where we decorated our own matrioshka dolls. That’s the best kind of souvenir in my opinion! The second was the delicious piroshki place where we had some delicious buttery pastries filled with green onion and egg. Just ask Viking staff and they’ll point you the way to the piroshki place!

russia mandrogy matrioska workshop

Days 10-13 St. Petersburg

After 6 days spent cruising, covering a distance of 1800 kilometers, we made it to Saint Petersburg . We had three gorgeous sunny days, and the city dazzled us with its beauty and artistic wealth – after all, it’s UNESCO-listed ! There’s no way I can convey everything we saw and did in three days in just a couple of paragraphs, so watch this space – a St. Petersburg article is coming soon!

st petersburg hermitage square

There are several St. Petersburg experiences already included by Viking in the tour price – a visit to the Hermitage Museum, a ballet performance, a visit to Catherine Palace in the village of Pushkin and a St. Petersburg city tour, either on foot or by bus. On top of that, we also joined some optional tours – a river cruise, a morning tour to amazing Peterhof Palace and my very own favourite, a Cossack performance!

st petersburg spilled blood church

Things to Know Before Travelling to Russia

  • Make sure you sort out your Russian Visa on time . Viking Cruises helps with an invitation letter that you can use to apply for your own Russian visa at your closest consulate – the process is pretty straightforward, provided you are applying in your own country, and takes approximately 2-3 weeks.
  • You can also ask Viking to sort out your Russian visa for an additional charge . This is especially convenient if you live in the US or if your hometown doesn’t have a Russian consulate.
  • River cruises of Russia only run between April and October, when the waterways are not frozen. The weather can be change dramatically between Moscow and Saint Petersburg , the latter usually being much colder than the former. Make sure you check the weather reports before packing!
  • English isn’t widely spoken around Russia , not even in the main cities. If you’re planning to spend some time travelling independently, learning a bit of Russian is a VERY good idea. The Russian language classes we had on board came in very handy!
  • Russia’s currency is the rouble , which fluctuates quite a bit. Larger cities are full of moneychangers, and some souvenir shops (like those in Mandrogy) also accept euro and USD.

russia mother volga statue

We would like to thank Viking Cruises for having welcomed us aboard the Waterways of the Tsars cruise.

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2 thoughts on “Russian River Cruise – Waterways of the Tsars”

Truly amazing place & photography! I loved the view of church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, looks awesome. I enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Thank you for reading! It was a fab trip!

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yachtworld 61 viking

VIKING RIVER CRUISES 13 Days | Waterways of the Tzars Southbound

ST. PETERSBURG TO MOSCOW D ay 1 | St. Petersburg, Russia. Embark Ship. Arrive in St. Petersburg, “The City of 300 Bridges,” then transfer to your ship. After boarding, you have free time to relax before dinner. (D) Day 2 | St. Petersburg. This morning, proceed to the Winter Palace to visit the legendary Hermitage Museum, where you marvel at the vast collection of art, antiquities, jewelry and sculptures. After a picnic lunch, the rest of the day is at leisure to further explore St. Petersburg. Enjoy an early dinner, followed by an evening performance of traditional Russian ballet or opera. For a unique, privileged access experience, consider booking the Behind the Scenes at the Ballet excursion. For a video preview, click here. Or, spend additional time at the Hermitage, visit the vaults and learn from a Hermitage art expert on the Hermitage Behind Closed Doors excursion. Catch a glimpse here. (These excursions are optional and can be booked in advance, no later than 30 days prior to sailing. Limited space may be available for onboard booking, but cannot be guaranteed. Since these excursions run at the same time, it is not possible to book both.) (B, L, D) Day 3 | St. Petersburg.  Today’s excursion goes to the Pushkin area where you visit Catherine’s Palace, the elegant rococo 18th-century summer residence of the Russian Czars named for Catherine I (widow of Peter the Great). Tour its various halls, including the storied Amber and Agate Rooms, and see the ornate décor throughout. After lunch, embark on a city tour; see noted sights including St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress and Nevsky Prospekt. Dine aboard and enjoy an optional Russian folkloric performance this evening. (B, L, D) Day 4 | St. Petersburg.  Most of the day is free to see the sights that interest you. Visit one of the many palaces, churches or museums, or take an optional morning tour to Peterhof Palace, with its landscaped gardens, beautiful fountains and French Gothic interiors. In the afternoon, explore more of the city or take an optional tour including Yusupov Palace (where Grigori Rasputin met his dramatic end) and a relaxing canal cruise. Lunch and dinner served aboard; ship departs early evening. (B, L, D) Day 5 | Scenic Waterways. Mandrogy. Spend a relaxing day cruising along Russia’s intricate waterways. Sail on the Neva River, then cross Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake. Cruise the Svir River to Mandrogy where you have some time to explore this museum village. Visit the vodka museum or shop for handmade Russian craft items. For a truly immersive experience, try an optional visit to a banya (traditional Russian bath house). Continue along the Svir’s 139-mile “Blue Route” toward Lake Onega. (B, L, D) Day 6 | Kizhi.  Cruise through the early morning, admiring the tranquil waters of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake. Arrive during breakfast at the island village of Kizhi. Set out on a walking tour through the Open Air Museum of Architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, see a collection of wooden houses, windmills and churches representing ancient Russian architecture, highlighted by the famous three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church—a fairytale-like structure built in 1714 without a single nail. Depart late morning and cruise through the night. (B, L, D) Day 7 | Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. Continue cruising along the Volga-Baltic Waterway. This system of rivers and canals, spanning 229 miles and seven locks, links the Volga River with the Baltic Sea. Arrive in Kuzino, a typical Russian village. Take a guided walk through the historic Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded by Saint Cyril in 1397; see several small wooden chapels, the Assumption Cathedral and a museum. Or, see the Monastery and then visit a children’s art school and restoration workshop. Return aboard for an afternoon departure. (B, L, D) Day 8 | Yaroslavl.  Arrive mid-afternoon in Yaroslavl, one of the Golden Ring cities—ancient towns that preserve the memory of Russia’s historical events. Visit the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, featuring detailed frescoes and icons. Here, you are treated to a stirring à capella choir performance. Then, take a guided stroll through the covered food market. Or, join an excursion to the Governor’s Palace, a living museum of Russian art, history and culture. Shop for handcrafted souvenirs before returning aboard for dinner and evening departure. (B, L, D) Day 9 | Uglich. After breakfast, disembark for a walking tour through the provincial village of Uglich, another Golden Ring city. See the former Kremlin of Uglich and visit the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, built on the site where Ivan the Terrible’s son Dmitry was mysteriously killed. Then a local family invites you into their home for tea and friendly conversation. Lunch served aboard; cruise through the night. (B, L, D) Day 10 | Moscow Canal. Moscow.  This morning, cruise along the Moscow Canal, approaching Moscow during lunch. Disembark for a half-day city tour. See the famed Bolshoi Theater and stop at Red Square for a view of the colorful onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. You will also get the chance to explore the famous GUM Department Store and experience the city’s Metro. Enjoy an evening performance of traditional Russian folkloric music followed by a late dinner on board. (B, L, D) Day 11 | Moscow.  Today you have a full day to further explore Moscow’s many buildings, parks and monuments. Or you may choose from two optional experiences—a full-day excursion to Sergiev Posad, a Golden Ring city named for the greatly venerated St. Sergius of Radonezh, to see one of the four most important Russian Orthodox monasteries in Russia; or an engaging optional morning tour to the Military Museum where you visit with Red Army veterans as you explore Russia’s military history. Lunch is served aboard, or included in your full-day excursion. Dine aboard, then relax—or take an optional Moscow by Night tour. (B, L, D) Day 12 | Moscow. After breakfast, travel to the city’s famous red brick enclosure known as the Kremlin. See its many tall towers and elegant palaces, and tour inside one of the brightly colored cathedrals. The afternoon is free to relax and explore—you may wish to spend some time people-watching in Red Square or visit Lenin’s Tomb. Or, you may take an optional afternoon tour to Tretyakov Gallery, the world’s foremost museum of Russian fine art. Return aboard for a farewell dinner. (B, L, D) Day 13 | Moscow. Disembark Ship. After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or take some extra time in Russia with a 2-night Moscow extension. (B) NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

Click to view 13-day NORTHBOUND itinerary. Click ship name to view deck plan.

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  21. 13 Day Waterways of the Tzars Itinerary

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