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Imperial Russian Waterways: Moscow to St. Petersburg - 2018

Moscow • Uglich • Goritsy • Lake Onega/Kizhi Island • Mandrogi • St. Petersburg
  • VISIT MOSCOW’S RED SQUARE, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
  • ENJOY AN INCLUDED TOUR OF THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
  • THE FANTASTIC FOUNTAINS OF PETERHOF PALACE
  • CHURCH OF THE TRANSFIGURATION, KHIZI ISLAND
  • THE MS ROSTROPOVICH, REBUILT IN 2010
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Moscow to St. Petersburg

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DAY 1:

Fly to Russia

Travel to Russia on an overnight flight tonight.

DAY 2:

Arrive in the capital

If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will greet you in the airport in Moscow after your flight and arrange transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner and Briefing at your hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Marvelous Moscow

Your Russia travel itinerary begins with a grand city tour of Moscow, including the KGB building, Kremlin Towers, and the Arbat, a massive pedestrian thoroughfare filled with many shops that put any Cold War-era memories of bare shelves, well, on the shelf! Plus, you'll have free time to explore iconic Red Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where colorful St. Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum beckons.

Cultural Connection: On today’s tour, you’ll also visit Moscow’s Metro, which serves as a sort of art gallery, a public-works remnant from the 1950s. Some stations even have massive chandeliers!

This afternoon, enjoy leisure time for further explorations and dinner on your own, or join us for an optional tour to the World War II Museum and Poklonnaya Hill, where you can enjoy a lovely panorama of the city.

This evening, you’ll admire even more views during an included Moscow by Night tour. You’ll witness New Maidens' Convent, Victory Hill, and have several photo stops including Red Square with its twinkling lights.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: World War II Museum & Poklonnaya Hill

World War II Museum & Poklonnaya Hill

  • Approximate Cost: $54 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Moscow, Russia
  • When: Afternoon tour
Known to most Westerners as World War II, Russians call this the Great Patriotic War, and you’ll learn more about it from another vantage point at this fascinating museum featuring hundreds of exhibits like weapons, clothes, and wartime photographs. Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill includes a large ensemble of monuments commemorating Russian war triumphs, especially that over Napoleon. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, it was where the French general expected — in vain — that the keys to the Kremlin would be presented to him. Today the site includes a Holocaust memorial mosque, a church, tanks and machinery, and the country’s tallest obelisk.

DAY 4:

Immerse yourself in the arts

This morning, check out of your room so your luggage can be transferred to the ms Rostropovich, and then visit the Tretyakov Gallery — a fascinating introduction to Russian art and culture — with more than 100,000 works charting the development of Russian painting from the 10th to 20th centuries.

This afternoon after an independent lunch, transfer to your ship for a Cultural Connection on the art of breaking bread served with salt, a traditional Slavic greeting. You’ll savor dinner on board tonight, with live music at the bar.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 5:

The mighty Kremlin

Visit Russia's symbol of might and majesty, the Kremlin, on a guided tour that includes the State Armory Chambers, the repository of the bejeweled Fabergé eggs. Cultural Connection: Feast on local specialties during an included lunch.

This afternoon, you’ll toast your discoveries in Russia’s capital during a Captain's Welcome Reception with champagne, then enjoy a lively Captain’s Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Life on the Volga

Away from the cities, Russia is a land of villages, fields, forests, and lakes, all threaded by rivers such as the mighty Volga, Europe's longest. Cultural Connections: Learn about Russian life at an onboard lecture that also includes local handicrafts — available in the onboard gift shop — and enjoy a lively "Russian language for travelers" lesson. Discover Uglich this afternoon, one of the motherland’s oldest cities that is part of the storied Golden Ring along the picturesque Volga. A favorite city of Ivan the Terrible, you’ll learn more about its fascinating history on a walking tour. Cultural Connection: Immerse yourself in local life here when you visit a local family, where home-hosted tea and tasty pies await.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Toast Goritsky discoveries

Cultural Connection: Before arriving at your next port of call, enjoy a lecture on the history and production of Russian vodka.

This afternoon, you’ll arrive in Goritsy for a walking tour, and enjoy the tranquil village’s fascinating history as a former home to several monasteries. Cultural Connections: Visit a local school to learn about day-to-day life, and a local home. The Resurrection Monastery awaits you next, and its storied history (founded by one of Ivan the Terrible’s daughters-in-law) is as fascinating as the architecture.

This afternoon back on board, try your hand at Russian specialties during a cooking lesson, followed by vodka and tea with a blini tasting. These traditional pancakes are usually made with buckwheat flour and garnished with sour cream, butter, or caviar.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Lake Onega & Kizhi Island

Cultural Connection: After a leisurely breakfast on board and a port talk on the imperial capital of St. Petersburg, you’ll learn more about Russian history during onboard lectures. Marvel at views of Lake Onega before arriving at Kizhi Island, whose church and the adjacent clock tower are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This open-air museum of wooden architecture is a true site to behold, and you’ll admire fascinating examples of traditional wooden buildings collected from around Russia. Among the notable structures is the Church of the Transfiguration, an ornate structure with 22 domes, built entirely without nails.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Eats and arts

This morning takes you on an excursion to the village of Mandrogi, where you’ll visit a wooden home and a local handicrafts market, followed by a shashlik (Russian barbecue) lunch. Cultural Connection: Back on board, learn the art of painting matryoshka (nesting dolls) and attend a presentation on Russian fairytales by the Cruise Director. Toast your Russian river cruise at the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Welcome to St. Petersburg

Today you'll begin your discoveries of St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s “Window on the West,” a dazzling baroque city of white, gold, and pastels — and one of the best reasons to travel to Russia. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city that's been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also admire Church on Spilled Blood, where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881, and Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare that is the focal point of shopping, dining, and nightlife. Its myriad bridges make it a lovely walking path to admire the glistening canals — the reason why this metropolis is often called the “Venice of the North.”

This afternoon, you’ll visit the Hermitage Museum, which features over 3 million works of art collected by Empress Catherine the Great spread out over a complex of five massive buildings. Perhaps you’ll come back and visit in your spare time to see even more than what you’ll admire this afternoon.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Marvel at Peterhof, the “Russian Versailles”

Travel a short distance outside of St. Petersburg this morning to visit Peterhof, a UNESCO site often called the "Russian Versailles." Peter the Great built the splendid palace and elaborate gardens on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. You’ll admire the spray of fountains set to music and the marvelous art collection, including a stunning room filled to the brim with historic portraits.

This afternoon, join us for an optional tour for true insights into a unique facet of life here and architectural style particular to this region: the kommunalka. These communal flats were built in the years following the 1917 revolution to align with new political ideals that brought together all walks of life, from laborers to university professors. You’ll also enjoy conversation and a snack of tea and traditional blini pancakes here.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Kommunalka Tour with Blini Tasting

Kommunalka Tour with Blini Tasting

  • Approximate Cost: $54 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2 hours
  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • When: Afternoon tour

Enjoy a fascinating glimpse inside the life of a Russian family post 1917 revolution, when peasants were the new neighbors of university professors in living quarters known as Kommunalka, communal apartments with long central corridors and shared kitchen space. Today, this design still affects the way citizens interact and you can immerse yourself in traditional ways of life, along with enjoying conversation and traditional blini pancakes and tea.

Please Note: This tour is only available on the Moscow to St. Petersburg itinerary.


DAY 12:

Follow in the steps of the tsars

St. Petersburg is lovely for strolling — perhaps you’ll walk through any number of public parks, take an independent hop-on, hop-off canal cruise, or visit the Fabergé museum and marvel at the works of master jeweler Carl Fabergé, who created his famous artisanal eggs and more for the last two Russian tsars.

Today you'll also visit Catherine I's palace, yet another magnificent landmark of the tsarist era and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built for the wife of Peter the Great, the palace is surrounded by serene gardens and once served as the summer residence of the Russian tsars.

This afternoon, enjoy an optional tour to the Cruiser Aurora — considered the cornerstone of the 1917 revolution, where the first shots to set off the conflict were fired — and the Museum of Russian Political History.

The rest of the day is yours to explore, or join us for another optional tour at a lively show of Russian folk music and dance this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Roots of Revolution: 100 Years Later,

Roots of Revolution: 100 Years Later

  • Approximate Cost: $66 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • When: Afternoon tour

Step on board the legendary Cruiser Aurora, the flagship of the Russian Navy, on this optional tour that also includes the Museum of Russian Political History. Your explorations begin on board the vessel that has anchored the waterfront of Petrogradskaya Embankment since 1948, a landmark symbolizing the shot that was fired to signal revolutionaries to storm the Winter Palace in 1917, the start of the Revolution. Step back in time on board for 500 fascinating nautical artifacts, then head to the Museum of Russian Political History, housed in a former mansion that was once a Bolshevik headquarters.  Learn about Stalin, the formation of the Soviet state and the social life and private life of the Soviet people.


Palace Folklore Show

Palace Folklore Show

  • Approximate Cost: $110 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • When: Evening show
There’s no better way to get acquainted with the soul of a people than through the arts, and you can learn about the rhythms of life here at a folklore show at Nikolaevsky Palace. Tap your toes to traditional songs, watch as skirts twirl wildly with centuries-old folk dances, and be wowed by ballet dancers, too. You’ll also feast like a tsar with canapés including caviar, vodka, champagne, and more.

DAY 13:

St. Petersburg’s “rainbows”

Your included tour today features St. Petersburg’s canals, which are part of the historic group of monuments known collectively as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And besides a storied history, what connects these banks? Beautiful bridges, of course. Adornments include statues, horses, griffins, and sphinxes, and the spans all come in a plethora of hues. See them and Yusupov Palace, legendary site of Rasputin’s slaying. This afternoon you have at leisure, or take our optional Back in the USSR tour, visiting the apartment of the first mayor of Leningrad.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Back in the USSR tour

Back in the USSR tour

  • Approximate Cost: $48 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2.5 hours
  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • When: Afternoon tour

Step into the shoes of the Stalinist era, with a perfectly preserved apartment belonging to Sergei Kirov, the leader of the Leningrad Communist Party. You’ll experience how the Bolshevik elite lived, see 1920s technology like the first soviet-produced typewriter, and see how schoolchildren learned in the 1930s with a re-created schoolhouse reconstructed above Kirov’s apartment.

Please Note: This tour is only available on the Moscow to St. Petersburg itinerary.


DAY 14:

Return home or continue on to Helsinki, Finland

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or begin your optional Helsinki, Finland extension.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and are therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.

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