Discover the impressive capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow and the Russian landscape of traditional towns and villages during this fascinating cruise. Engaging lecturers present Russia's dramatic history in preparation for visits to historic towns of the "Golden Ring" and along the Volga-Baltic Waterway. Highlights in Moscow include Red Square with the spectacular St. Basil's Cathedral, the world-famous collection of Faberge at the Kremlin's Armory Museum and a magnificent collection of Russian art at the Tretyakov Art Gallery. In St. Petersburg, a visit to the world-famous Hermitage Museum complements an excursion to Tsarskoye Selo which features the incomparable Baroque grandeur of the Catherine Palace.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Today board your overnight flight en route to Moscow, Russia.
Day #2 Arrive Moscow, Russia - Ship Embarkation - This morning you arrive in Moscow, the grand capital of Russia and its most dynamic city. Transfer to the ship, your home for the next nine nights, where you will enjoy nightly entertainment and delicious local cuisine. This evening, spend time getting acquainted with your fellow passengers and the ship.
Day #3 Moscow, Russia - Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world and home to more than nine million people. Enjoy a tour highlighting historic and famous landmarks including Red Square (UNESCO), St. Basil’s Cathedral and Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s grand boulevard, lined with shops and restaurants. The balance of your day is at leisure.
Day #4 Moscow - Cruising - Take the Moscow Metro to visit the 15th century Kremlin. Known as the “Underground Palace,” each Metro station was designed by a Russian architect, sculptor or artist. At the incredible Kremlin (UNESCO), view the priceless collection of Imperial treasures in the Armory Museum, including the crown jewels. Set sail from Moscow through the countryside of Russia and enjoy nightly on-board entertainment such as a romance concert, a classical music concert, and even Russian dancing lessons! Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception, followed by the Captain's welcome dinner.
Day #5 Uglich - Approach the picturesque Golden Ring city of Uglich and soak in a lovely view of the magnificent architectural monuments from the deck. A walking tour features historic Transfiguration Cathedral, where a local choir brings the church's acoustics to life during a brief demonstration. Also see the blue-domed Church of Prince Dimitry on the Blood. Visit a local handicraft market to view regional crafts and learn about the Chaika watches. Continue along the mighty Volga River through unspoiled forests and rural villages. While sailing, enjoy a unique sampling of local cuisine such as blini and caviar.
Day #6 Goritsy - Enjoy breathtaking scenery as you sail south to Goritsy, a peaceful farming community. Later, sail in the vast White Lake, once known as the Tsar’s fishing grounds. As you continue cruising, enjoy one of the many daily on-board discussions.
Day #7 Lake Onega - Kizhi Island - Cruise through picturesque Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe and one of the world’s purest. This morning arrive at Kizhi Island, at the northern end of Lake Onega. Kizhi is renowned for its open-air museum. Visit these fascinating buildings of northern wood architecture including the remarkable Church of the Transfiguration. This spectacular church has 22 domes in three tiers and is the ultimate in Russian fairytale architecture. Continue on your cruise, enjoying an authentic Piroshki tea party and learning about local tea traditions.
Day #8 Svir River - Green Stop on Mandroghi or Svirstroy - Cruise through the 119-mile Svir River which connects Lake Onega with Lake Ladoga. Pause for a few hours in a quaint riverside settlement where you may explore various buildings which represent country life in Russia. This evening, enjoy a festive Captain’s dinner.
Day #9 St. Petersburg - Sail along the Neva River to St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s magnificent creation and one of the loveliest of European cities. Your morning tour of this fabled city of canals will take you to Palace Square, the historic heart of St. Petersburg (UNESCO), and along Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main boulevard. See the monumental St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Admiralty Tower and other great buildings that stand as monuments to the extravagant splendors of Imperial Russia. This afternoon, enjoy a guided tour through the world-famous Hermitage Museum, the crown jewel of St. Petersburg. No museum rivals the Hermitage in size, grandeur and holdings, including masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens and Picasso.
Day #10 St. Petersburg - Today, take an excursion to Tsarskoye Selo (formerly known as Pushkin) and tour the magnificent Catherine Palace. Marvel at the blazing robin’s egg blue of the exterior and tour its distinctive rooms. After your visit, enjoy lunch at a nearby folk restaurant featuring delicious local cuisine. The remainder of your afternoon is free to soak in the best of St. Petersburg.
Day #11 St. Petersburg - Disembark Ship - Tour Concludes - Your tour ends, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful vacation.