Day 1: Welcome to Moscow
Welcome to Moscow! Upon your arrival a private transfer to the five-star hotel in the historic city centre will be organised. Spend the rest of the day exploring central Moscow on your own or enjoy one of the optional excursions.
Day 2:Red Square and Novodevichy Convent
Begin the day with an orientation city tour of Moscow and proceed to the famous Novodevichy Convent.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore Moscow on your own or seek out a cultural performance at one of the city's renowned venues.
Day 3:Kremlin grounds
Today we observe Kremlins Armoury Museum to explore its collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armour and weapons, then continue to the Square of Four Cathedrals. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent exploration or optional tours at your choice.
Day 4: Tretyakov Gallery and metropolitan tour
This morning is free for an independent walk or lunch in hotel near-by area. At noon, check-out from the hotel and proceed to the Tretyakov Gallery, the first museum dedicated exclusively to Russian fine art.
After lunch, explore Moscow’s Metro, known for its architectural splendor and transfer to the awaiting luxurious cruise ship. Gather for the Captain's welcome reception and dinner as we begin our cruise.
After a full day of cruising through forested countryside, dock in the ancient trading town of Uglich, one of the spokes of 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, and attend an enchanting concert of choral music at St. John’s Church.
Founded in 1010, Yaroslavl is one of the oldest cities in central Russia and the Volga’s first port. In the Spassky Monastery see the Transfiguration of the Savior and admire the mosaics at the Church of Elijah the Prophet. Take part in a costumed reception at the governor’s house, and then re-board the MS Volga Dream in time for lunch.
In the tiny settlement of Goritsy, visit the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded in 1397, and now home to one of the best collections of Russian icons in the world. After a guided tour, continue cruising toward majestic Lake Onega.
Day 8:Kizhi in Karelia
The Kareliya region, which spans the area from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, is a vast wilderness of forest and water. Discover Lake Onega, fed by 58 rivers and home to 1,369 islands, including Kizhi. See a collection of ancient Russian wooden houses and windmills, and the famous Transfiguration church, built in 1714 without a single nail.
While cruising along the 139-mile-long Svir River, appreciate the quiet understated beauty of a region that has long inspired artists and poets. The ship passes quaint riverside hamlets before reaching Lake Ladoga. Step ashore for a brief visit to the vacation village of Mandrogi to experience daily life in a quaint wooden village on your own.
Arrive in St. Petersburg via the Neva River and disembark MS Volga Dream.
Enjoy a city tour of St. Petersburg, including Peter and Paul Fortress - the burial place of the Romanov monarchs, and Nevsky Prospect, where fine shops, cafes, and museums are found. Following lunch enter the renowned Hermitage Museum, home to one of the most important collections of European art in the world.
Today, travel to the meticulously restored Peterhof, St. Petersburg’s most famous and spectacular Imperial estate, often cited as the Versailles of Russia. Visit the authentic Bath Cottage and stroll in the vast Lower Park with 176 fountains of various forms and styles and four cascades, majestic palaces and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. The balance of the day is at leisure for independent exploration.
Day 12:Pushkin: Tsarskoye Selo
This morning travel to Catherine the Great's Palace, which houses the extraordinary Amber Room, its six tons of solid amber deftly carved and framed in gold leaf. After lunch at Podvorie, a restaurant in a traditional Russian log house, return to St. Petersburg and visit the Faberge museum, which contains the world's largest collection of works by Carl Faberge, including 9 Easter eggs commissioned by the Russian royal family.
Day 13:St Petersburg: departure
This morning check out from your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight.
5* hotels in Moscow and St.Petersburg for 3 nights in both cities
5* luxury river cruise ship for 6 nights
Breakfasts in the hotels
Full board catering (three meals per day) while on board of cruise ship
Arrival and departure airport transfers
All excursions according to the itinerary with professional English speaking guides
Activities and sights
Onboard entertainment including Russian language course and Russian songs lessons, live music concerts, etc
Lectures by a guest speaker
Russian visa support documents
*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.
Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips