Arrive Moscow, Russia
Arrive in Moscow, the capital of Russia, where you are transferred by private vehicle to the luxurious Four Seasons Moscow, situated steps from the Kremlin and Red Square, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Alternately, opt to stay at the Marriott Aurora or Ararat Park Hyatt in the city’s historic center. This evening, gather with your fellow guests for a welcome reception, or spend the remainder of the day exploring central Moscow independently.
Moscow | A City with Diverse Appeal
Today, get to know dazzling Moscow, a city brimming with classic, monumental and modern architecture. View Tverskaya Street, Lubyanka Square, the Kremlin embankment and Novodevichy Convent, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Time permitting, stop at the Christ the Savior Cathedral and Sparrow Hills, a panoramic hill on the banks of the Moskva River. Pause for lunch on a rooftop restaurant to take in spectacular views of the city. Afterward, visit Novodevichy Cemetery, where well-known Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, poets, political leaders and scientists, such as Anton Chekhov and Boris Yeltsin are laid to rest. Return to your hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Moscow | Storied Sights
This morning, stroll through the famous Kremlin, with its beautiful cathedrals and unique museums. Visit the Armory, home to an impressive collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armor, ancient weapons, royal carriages and sleighs. After lunch, cross Red Square to GUM, Moscow’s largest department store. Proceed to St. Basil’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Continue on a leisurely walk through landscaped Zaryadye Park.
Moscow | Setting Sail
Discover the former wooden home of Russian literary great, Leo Tolstoy, now a carefully preserved memorial. After lunch, proceed to the State Tretyakov Gallery, seeing its extraordinary collection of Russian art, ranging from Rublev’s 12th-century works to 19th-century masterpieces. Explore Moscow’s Metro, famed for its architectural splendor. Then, board your luxurious vessel, ‘Volga Dream,’ to begin your waterway adventure. This evening, attend a Captain's welcome reception and dinner to mark the unforgettable journey ahead.
Uglich | Discovering the “Golden Ring”
Cruise through idyllic, forested countryside before arriving in the ancient trading town of Uglich — a key point in Russia’s “Golden Ring.” Explore the impressive Church of St. Dmitry-on-the-Blood, erected on the site where Dmitry, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered. Then, enjoy an enchanting concert of choral music performed in St. John’s Church. Back on board, attend a costumed Russian tea ceremony and cooking class.
Yaroslavl | Inspiring Mosaics & Costumed Reception
Discover Yaroslavl, one of central Russia’s oldest cities, founded in 1010. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Spassky Monastery, which houses the Transfiguration of the Savior, and the Church of Elijah the Prophet with its impressive collection of mosaics. Then, attend a costumed reception at the governor’s house. Re-board your vessel in time for a barbecue lunch on the Sun Deck.
Goritsy | Majestic Monastery
Early this morning, cross Lake Beloye (the White Lake) — once known as the “tsar’s fishing grounds” — before arriving in the peaceful village of Goritsy. Visit the Ferapontov Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent frescoes by the renowned Russian painter Dionysius. Note the temple ceiling, which was painted nearly a century before Michelangelo began work on the Sistine Chapel. Return to your ship for a late lunch and afternoon spent cruising. This evening, sit down to an authentic Russian dinner, complemented by a vodka tasting.
Kizhi | Intricate Wooden Homes
Marvel at glorious Kareliya, a vast wilderness of water and forest stretching from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle that includes Lake Onega. This lake, fed by 58 rivers, is home to 1,369 islands, including Kizhi Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View its ancient wooden houses, windmills and the remarkable Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1714 without a single nail. Later, attend a piano concert back aboard your vessel, featuring pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.
Svirstroy | Experiencing Village Life
Arrive in Svirstroy, where you are welcomed into a local resident’s home to experience daily life here firsthand. While you enjoy tea, jam and pirozhki (local pies), learn about Russian traditions and local history. Then, after seeing villagers’ homes and kitchen gardens, board a bus to the site of a World War II memorial and primary school, which you visit. This evening, attend a farewell dinner on board.
St. Petersburg | Incomparable Architecture
Disembark in St. Petersburg for a city tour, viewing the exterior of Peter and Paul Fortress, the royal Romanov burial site, the Spit of Basil Island, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and Nevsky Prospect, with its rich selection of fine shops, cafés and museums. Continue to Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, noting its gilded dome; massive, red granite columns; and lavish interior laden with mosaics, icons, and malachite and lapis lazuli columns. After a relaxing lunch, embark on a canal cruise, gaining insight into the city from a unique vantage point. Cap your day with a visit to Yusupov Palace, former residence of a wealthy local family. Check in to your luxurious hotel, where the evening is yours to spend as you choose.
St. Petersburg | Art for the Ages
Pay an early morning visit to the lavish Hermitage before crowds arrive. Occupying six magnificent buildings, it houses three million works of art dating from the Stone Age to modern times, including pieces from Da Vinci, Rafael and Titian. After exploring the main galleries, proceed to the Gold Room, usually closed to public. See its collection of gold Scythian artwork and elaborate imperial gifts. After lunch, explore spectacular Peterhof Palace, referred to as the “Russian Versailles.” Observe its gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes, wander through majestic palaces and see its breathtaking Lower Park, featuring 176 fountains and four cascades.
St. Petersburg | Village of the Tsar
Today, explore engaging, historic St. Petersburg. Visit the Fabergé Museum, filled with glittering eggs and objets d’art. Continue to the Tsar’s Village, where you stroll through the formal gardens. Enter the Pushkin grounds through the Golden Gate and see the Great Tsarskoe Selo (the Catherine Palace) and the exquisite Amber Room. Ascend the staircase to the Grand Hall and take in panoramas from the Golden Enfilade before returning to your hotel.
Depart St. Petersburg
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and board your departing flight.