Cruise Russia with Exeter International’s Waterways of the Tsars Program
|View from the Volga Dream’s bow|
For those interested in Russian history and culture, museums are a fascinating opportunity to delve into the past. They offer a glimpse into these times and topics, recreating what they can of people, places, and perspectives that have since grown old. But however extensive their exhibits and collections, visiting a museum is still a passive experience. As humans we are naturally curious, and for many a curious person, visiting a museum and looking at exhibits leaves something to be desired. How can one actively experience history though? With a trip on the Volga Dream. Currently the closest alternative we have to traveling by time machine and witnessing the evolution of Russian culture first-hand.
We invite those who currently find themselves with that unappeasable need for exploration, on a voyage through the waterways of the tsars, down the Volga and Neva Rivers, from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and through the cradle of modern Russian civilization: The Golden Ring. An 825 mile journey through time that’s sure to cure your wanderlust.
|The Volga Dream’s route from St. Petersburg to Moscow|
The Volga River is often referred to as Volga-Matushka, or the Volga-mother, in Russian literature and myths because of its size and importance to the development of Russian society. The river runs through the center of Russia, and of the country’s 20 largest cities 11 are located along the banks of the Volga-mother – including the capital of Moscow. Floating peacefully aboard the Volga Dream, travelers are presented with an unfiltered glimpse into Russian culture and history as they travel downstream. The constant but steady change of scenery makes the views from aboard the Volga Dream an illustration in of itself; the rolling countryside, fishermen casting from the banks, and children skipping stones across water. This river is a way of life, and aboard the Volga Dream passengers are enveloped into the culture of the lands they pass through.
|Kizhi Island – A UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Your journey through Russia’s history is punctuated by the Volga Dream’s stops within The Golden Ring. Cities as old as time tell the stories of the inception of Russian civilization to all who pass through them. Aptly described as open air museums, they exhibit Russian civilization at its foundation. Locals in traditional dress, tending to shops, producing crafts; these people maintain a lifestyle that is all but extinct in other areas of Russia. Beautiful examples of 12th to 18th century architecture populate the ancient cities of The Golden Ring, and create a picturesque setting featuring Russia’s characteristic onion domes. These monuments of Russia’s past serve as landmarks, marking and distinguishing this area as the heart of Russia; where the country can remember and celebrate its heritage.
|Saint John the Baptist Church in Yaroslavl|
Travelling by water creates a week long journey from a trip that would otherwise take a high-speed train a little under 4 hours to complete. But that’s the point, isn’t it? The difference between commuting and journeying is all the great things that happen in between destinations; the ever-changing views of the passing countryside, the breath-taking sunset vistas, and the daily activities and stops at historical locations. Your means of transport on your great excursion is the equally great Volga Dream, a 314-foot craft carrying no more than 109 passengers at a time with a crew of 60.
|The MS Volga Dream|
The Volga Dream offers the lowest passenger to crew ratio of all Russian river cruises, and with such a small population of passengers, voyagers enjoy an atmosphere more similar to that of a private charter than a cruise ship. A stark contrast from the economical people movers that sleep and feed hundreds of travelers per journey, the Volga Dream is a smaller ship with bigger personality.
|Welcome aboard! Guests are personally greeted by the cruise director|
Voyagers are greeted and immediately invited to start their journey by a crew that becomes more like family. Activities for voyagers such as Russian cuisine cooking classes and tea tastings have voyagers learning from crewmembers that truly enjoy sharing their culture.
|Bar server on the Sun Deck|
The Volga Dream offers the best of traditional Russian cuisine, international flavors, and extraordinary personal service. For breakfast there’s a choice of continental, American and Russian options. Enjoy Russian pancakes with homemade jams, fresh pastries, steaming hot porridge or a selection of continental meats and cheeses with crispy fresh bread. Or perhaps you’d like a made-to-order omelet or eggs benedict on toast? All this comes accompanied by freshly squeezed juices, fresh fruits, yogurts and mueslis; the Volga’s breakfast will have feel ready to face the day ahead.
|The Volga Dream’s kitchen crew create dishes using fresh, local ingredients|
A delightful daily lunch buffet is served in the restaurant with international dishes created from fresh local fares and produce that is bought onshore from that day’s port of call. The Volga’s cuisine is reflective of the cities the ship visits, and makes your dining experience a culinary adventure as well.
The a la carte evening dinner is the Volga Dream’s main event. With a different theme every day, the Chef brings fine dining to your table night after night. From fresh steamed sturgeon, to a rack of lamb or steak au poivoire, and authentic Russian borsch, every meal is a chance to experience the culinary excellence of the Dream’s innovative kitchen. The culinary crew make dining on the Volga Dream an intimate cultural experience as they share the local food culture of the river you are traveling through.
|The Volga Dream’s dining room|
The cabins aboard the Dream are stately with paneled walls and windows that allow for a view of the passing scenery at all times. Fantastic views aboard the ship aren’t hard to come by, as windows line the lounge areas and the sun deck offers fresh air sight-seeing.
|Volga Dream Junior Suite with two windows to view the passing landscape|
|The Volga Dream’s Sun Deck is used for dining as well|
The Volga also features a library with computers and internet access, a lounge with comfortable seating and a bar, along with live performances of the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Skryabin by the ship’s resident pianist.
|Ship pianist performing Tchaikovsky’s 12 months|
With all these amenities, cruising aboard The Volga Dream is the perfect adventure for travelers looking for an enlightening and enjoyably relaxed journey through Russia’s culture and history!
Call 800.633.1008 or 813.251.5355