4 DAYS FROM $1,299
Travel to Russia on an overnight flight bound for St. Petersburg tonight. If you took our pre-trip extension, you’ll arrive by train.
Arrive in the Imperial Capital
If you booked your airfare through Vantage, a Vantage representative will greet you and arrange your transfer to your hotel. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel.
St. Petersburg’s “rainbows”
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 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 after lunch on your own, tour 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.
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.
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.
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 a marvelous art collection, including a stunning room filled to the brim with historic portraits.
Enjoy lunch on your own before transferring to embark the ms Rostropovich. Cultural Connection: This afternoon, learn about the art of breaking bread served with salt, a traditional Slavic greeting.
Today you'll visit Peter and Paul Fortress back in the city, the original citadel of St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great in 1703. This small island is where prisoners were once housed, but today is far more majestic, with a glorious gilded spire and a beachfront that is a hot spot in the summertime.
Cultural Connection: Today, enjoy regional culinary specialties during lunch at a local restaurant.
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 at this UNESCO site this afternoon.
In the evening after dinner, enjoy entertainment on board, with a daily schedule that varies but includes folk and classical music and talent shows.
This afternoon 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 Connections: Back on board, learn the art of painting matryoshka (nesting dolls), and 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.
Lake Onega & Kizhi Island
After a leisurely breakfast on board, you’ll admire passing scenery 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.
Cultural Connection: This afternoon enjoy a lecture on the history and production of Russian vodka.
Toast Goritsky discoveries
Cultural Connections: This morning you’ll learn more about Russian history, and Russian fairytales, during onboard lectures before arriving in Goritsky for a walking tour. Be enchanted by 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. 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.
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. 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 Connections: Immerse yourself in tradition here when you visit a local home, where home-hosted tea and tasty pies await.
Later this evening, indulge in a Captain’s Farewell Dinner, with a talent show and onboard entertainment.
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on board your ship before a port talk on Russia’s capital. This afternoon you’ll 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: Tonight’s dinner is in a local restaurant, where you’ll feast on regional specialties and get a real flavor for traditional culture.
Capital delights beckon
This morning, disembark for us to transport your luggage to your city-center hotel while you enjoy a convenient city tour 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.
Immerse yourself in the arts
This morning, 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 you’ll have an afternoon at leisure or enhance your tour with an optional tour to Izmailovo. Your Farewell Dinner will be in the hotel this evening.
Depart for home
This morning, check out of your hotel and depart for the airport for your flight home.
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.