Bolshoi Theatre - Moscow, Russia Winter Palace at the Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia

Volga Dream Imperial Tour

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

The Volga River is the linchpin of a single water system linking Moscow and St. Petersburg to five separate seas. For the traveller, the Volga is a key to grasping Russia’s insistent mystery - a cruise on the river revealing the jewels and the scars of centuries past. In partially visible towns flooded by the Soviets, cathedrals rise from the water eerily intact. Medieval Orthodox monasteries are still in use on the riverbanks. Otters, herons, and bald eagle give life and motion to the passing scene.

For many, this is a trip of a lifetime, and choosing the right Russian River Cruise can be confusing. If you are looking for a smaller boat, with friendly service, great food and the option to stay in hotels, rather than in port, in Moscow & St. Petersburg our recommendation is the Volga Dream.

Included:

Volga Dream IMPERIAL caters to discerning travelers who prefer to travel privately or in an intimate group. This journey includes accommodation in the finest 5-star hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg and extensive touring of the most breathtaking sites in a group of 10 guests.

  • Visit to the Kremlin and Novodevichy Convent in Moscow
  • Special early entrance to the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg
  • Visit to magnificent Faberge Museum and Catherine’s Palace in St. Petersburg
  • Private Airport Transfers
  • 6 breakfasts in the hotels / 6 lunches in gourmet Moscow and St. Petersburg restaurants
  • 6 breakfasts / 6 lunches / 6 dinners aboard MS Volga Dream with unlimited house wine, beer and soft drinks included without limit with all lunches and dinners
  • 4 fascinating lectures by Russian professors about Russian history and politics
  • Diverse range of cultural activities aboard MS Volga Dream

Moscow to St. Petersburg: June 20 – July 2  & September 5 – 17

St. Petersburg to Moscow: May 31 – June 12

Download PDF Itinerary here.

Day 1
Arrival | Moscow

Upon arrival in Moscow, you will be transferred privately to the luxurious Four Seasons in Moscow, only steps from the Kremlin and Red Square.

The rest of your day is at leisure to relax or explore on your own. This evening there will be a welcome reception with your guide and fellow travellers.

Meals: None

Accommodation: Four Seasons Moscow

Day 2
Moscow | Moscow

Begin your day today with a “Moscow Architecture” tour. The city boasts unique diversity and variety in terms of building styles: classic, modern, empire and eclecticism amazingly sit alongside more monumental designs, such as Stalin’s towering skyscrapers from the mid-20th century. The architecture of the capital, though seemingly contradictory and contrasting, makes for a dazzling combination in a quite unique city.

Lunch today is on the top-floor of a Moscow skyscraper, offering spectacular views of the city. After lunch, visit the famous Novodevichi Cemetery, where well-known Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets are buried along with famous actors, political leaders, and scientists.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Moscow on your own or seek out a cultural performance at one of the city’s renowned venues.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: Four Seasons Moscow

Day 3
Moscow | Moscow

This morning enter the Kremlin for a visit to the Armoury Museum to view its collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armour and weapons, royal carriages and sleighs, and dazzling Faberge eggs.

After lunch, walk around the famous Red Square and visit GUM - Moscow’s largest department store. Make your way to one of Russia’s medieval masterpieces, St. Basil’s Cathedral.

End your day with a leisurely walk through the newly designed park Zaryadye.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Moscow on your own or seek out a cultural performance at one of the city’s renowned venues.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: Four Seasons Moscow

Day 4
Embarkation | Embarkation

Check-out from the hotel and proceed to the small and cosy former home-estate of Leo Tolstoy. This Russian literary giant lived with his wife and thirteen children in this wooden Moscow home from 1882-1901.

After some time for lunch, your guide will take you to the State Tretyakov Gallery, located in one of Moscow’s most interesting neighborhoods. This area, called Zamoskvoreche (“beyond the Moscow River”) was originally settled in the 13th century. The small winding streets give this area an almost old-fashioned atmosphere, with historic churches and the mansions of 19th century wealthy merchants. The museum only houses Russian artists, ranging from Rublev’s 12th century icons to 20th century masterpieces.

Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to experience the fascinating interiors of the Moscow Metro stations, ornately decorated with beautiful paintings, carvings and chandeliers! The Moscow Metro was created as complex of monumental structures featuring designs of the very best Soviet architects. The stations, most built between 1930 and 1960 are underground palaces, featuring exquisite frescoes, statues, mosaics and stained glass. Each station has its own special theme- our favorite is Teatralnaya. Today this massive public transportation system is one of the largest in the world, carrying over 9 million passengers per day (twice as many as London or Paris!).

Later, you will be transferred to the awaiting luxurious MS Volga Dream to begin sailing along the Russian waterways. Gather for the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner as we begin our cruise.

Volga Dream Experience: Bread, Salt & Vodka ‘Welcome Aboard’ Ceremony

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 5
Uglich | Uglich

After a full day of cruising through forested countryside, dock in the ancient trading town of Uglich -- one of the spokes of Russia’s renowned Golden Ring. Explore the impressive Church of St. Dmitri-on-the-Blood, erected on the site where Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in 1591, and attend an enchanting concert of choral music at St. John’s Church.

Volga Dream Experience: Costumed Russian Tea Ceremony & Russian Cooking Class

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 6
Yaroslavl | Yaroslavl

Founded in 1010, Yaroslavl is one of the oldest cities in central Russia and the Volga’s first port. In the Spassky Monastery see the Transfiguration of the Savior and admire the mosaics at the Church of Elijah the Prophet. Take part in a costumed reception at the governor’s house, and then re-board the MS Volga Dream in time for lunch.

Volga Dream Experience: Barbeque on the Sun Deck

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 7
Goritsy | Goritsy

This morning you cross Lake Beloye, formerly known as the “tsar’s fishing grounds”, before arriving in the peaceful village of Goritsy. Tour the Ferapontov Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent frescoes by Dionysius, one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. He painted the temple ceiling about 10 years before Michelangelo even started on the Sistine Chapel! Return to the ship for a late lunch and afternoon cruising.

Volga Dream Experience: Russian Dinner with Vodka Tasting

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 8
Kizhi | Kizhi

The Kareliya region, which spans the area from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, is a vast wilderness of forest and water. Discover Lake Onega, fed by 58 rivers and home to 1,369 islands, including Kizhi. See a collection of ancient Russian wooden houses and windmills, and the famous Transfiguration church, built in 1714 without a single nail.

Volga Dream Experience: Piano Concert – pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 9
Svirstroy | Svirstroy

The highlight of your day in Svirstroy is being invited into a local resident’s home. Warm and welcoming Svirstroy villagers will offer tea with jam and “pirozhki” (local pies). They will enthusiastically tell you all about Russian tradition, lifestyle and the attractions of Svirstroy village while proudly showing off their homes and kitchen gardens. After tea, a bus will take you for a tour of the nearby town to see the WWII monument and visit a local primary school.

Volga Dream Experience: Farewell Dinner

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Volga Dream

Day 10
Disembarkation | St. Petersburg

Arrive in St. Petersburg via the Neva River and disembark MS Volga Dream.

Enjoy a city tour of St. Petersburg which includes: Split of Basil Island (walking tour), Spilled Blood Church (photo stop), Peter and Paul Fortress (outside), St. Isaac Cathedral, and a drive down the famous Nevsky Prospekt.

After lunch step aboard your small boat for a cruise through the city’s many canals under historic bridges and past magnificent buildings. End your day with a tour Yusupov’s Palace, once home to St. Petersburg most wealthy aristocrats. On your tour of the Palace, you will dive into a bygone world of luxury and splendor. The life and atmosphere of the house will be recreated in a series of short musical performances. In the basement of the house listen to the story about enigmatic monk Grigory Rasputin who was assassinated here by Prince Felix Yusupov.

After the tour, check-in to the Four Seasons Lion Palace.

Meals: B, L

AccommodationFour Seasons Lion Palace

Day 11
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

The morning takes you to one of the most famous museum in the world, the awe-inspiring Hermitage in the lavishly decorated Winter Palace. The Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings and houses 3 million artworks ranging from Stone Age to modern times. The collection includes Leonardo Da Vince, Rafael and Titian. The main building and largest part of the museum is the rococo-style Winter Palace, once the residence of the Czars. Your visit incorporates a unique opportunity: a private visit to see the stunning XVIII century mechanical masterpiece - Peacock Clock - in action. A special early entrance, before official opening hours, has been arranged.

Next, travel to the meticulously restored Peterhof, St. Petersburg’s most famous and spectacular Imperial estate, often cited as the Versailles of Russia. Stroll in the vast Lower Park with 176 fountains of various forms and styles and four cascades, majestic palaces and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil.

Meals: B, L

AccommodationFour Seasons Lion Palace

Day 12
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

This morning, start with a visit to the Fabergé Museum. Opened at the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Canal, the palace houses the celebrated Fabergé collection of the Link of Times Foundation owned by Russian Entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg, which, with its over 1500 choice pieces, now easily outranks the comparatively small collection of the Kremlin Armory Museum. Mr. Vekselberg has assembled the most formidable collection in the world of works by this great Russian master craftsman, best known for his celebrated million-dollar Imperial Easter Eggs.

After lunch, travel to Catherine the Great’s Palace, which houses the extraordinary Amber Room, its six tons of solid amber deftly carved and framed in gold leaf. Once deemed the “eighth wonder of the world,” the room was stripped by the Nazis in 1941, but majestically reconstructed in honour of St. Petersburg’s 300th birthday.

Meals: B, L

AccommodationFour Seasons Lion Palace

Day 13
Departure | St. Petersburg

Your driver will meet you this morning for your private transfer to the airport.

Meals: B

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