A Russian Odyssey 2019 Riviera Travel River Cruise

Brand New Cruise for 2019

Russia, the world’s largest country, is a land of superlatives matched by its epic history, monumental architecture, incredible culture and sweeping landscapes of immense beauty. Perhaps the best way to cover the breadth of its myriad gems and feel the might of empires past is on a relaxing river cruise, where every turn reveals a fascinating new view.

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You fly to Moscow, where a coach will transfer you to the ship, moored in this unique city. The professional crew welcomes you on board and there’s time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the layout of the ship before dinner is served.

Our adventure has truly begun and there’s a real sense of excitement on board. Set yourself up for this morning’s tour with breakfast from the buffet, whilst chatting with your fellow passengers about what lies in store. Starting with a fasinating tour, you will get the chance to explore all that Mosow has to offer whilst learning about it's incredible history.

Visit and explore the iconic Red Square with its wealth of instantly recognisable buildings including St Basil’s Cathedral. See the austere granite slabs of Lenin’s mausoleum and the mighty State Historical Museum. Visit the famous GUM State Department Store, with its immense glass roof reminiscent of London’s 19th-century railway stations, see the dazzling white façades and shining domes of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and enjoy panoramic views of this intriguing city from Sparrow Hills overlooking the mighty Moskva River.

We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, after which you’ll have free time to further explore. Share your stories with fellow passengers over dinner, before retiring to the bar for a nightcap.

Rise refreshed and ready to discover more of this historic city. This morning we return to the Kremlin, which formerly housed the Russian government, with stunning palaces and cathedrals enclosed behind its vast walls. See the Tsar’s Bell and Cannon and the mighty Ivan the Great Bell Tower. You’ll learn more about the history of this immense complex and enjoy a stroll around its grounds, seeing the Cathedral Square lined by three magnificent, gold-topped cathedrals. After lunch back on board, the rest of the day is at leisure, so why not take a trip on the famous marble-clad metro or see the impressive university and the stunning Bolshoi. Perhaps visit Stalin’s bunker or the thought-provoking Gulag Museum, Or simply wander the grand arcades of Tverskaya Street and soak up the atmosphere.

As we set sail along the Moscow Canal, which connects the Moskva and Volga rivers, the Captain’s welcome cocktail reception is served before dinner, so relax in the lounge and take in the changing views through the ship’s panoramic windows.

There’s something special about waking on board a river cruiser and finding yourself transported somewhere new. Draw back the curtains to reveal a hilly landscape with a scattering of wooden houses and quaint churches amidst the green slopes. Head up on deck to watch some of this tranquil scenery slipping by as our ship glides through the calm waters of the Volga.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch in the restaurant before we arrive in picturesque Uglich. We will enjoy a walking tour of the city’s Kremlin, once surrounded by water and now perched high on the river bank. It’s an impressive ensemble of seven buildings, including the renowned green-domed Cathedral of Transfiguration and the striking Church of St Dmitry on the Blood, a blaze of red-and-white façades and royal-blue domes.

We return to the ship with time to relax before dinner.

During this morning’s breakfast, our ship arrives in the ancient city of Yaroslavl. We will wander the charming old town, admiring the elegant façades of merchants’ houses, each more impressive than the next. See the exquisite 17th-century church of Elijah the Prophet, known for its vibrant frescoes, and stroll the grounds of an ancient monastery with its medieval holy gate. The more energetic may fancy climbing the cathedral’s bell tower for wonderful views of the rivers and city below.

We return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxed afternoon’s cruising through the Rybinsk Reservoir. As evening falls, enjoy another delicious dinner in the ship’s restaurant and live music in the bar afterwards.

Admire the Captain’s skilful handling of our vessel as we dock at the pretty medieval village of Goritsy, the centre of one of the largest accumulations of monasteries in Russia. From here a coach will take us to the magnificent Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. On our guided walk of its historic grounds, you will learn about its history and wealthy patrons, including Ivan the Terrible and the Romanovs.

After lunch, relax on board as we cruise the Volga-Baltic Waterway, part of an impressive 229-mile network of rivers and a canal linking the Volga to the Baltic Sea. Dinner is served by your crew, after which take a digestif in the bar with newly made friends, or head up on deck to enjoy the views as evening descends.

Today you will enjoy another wonderful morning’s cruising as we enter the waters of Lake Onega, Europe’s second-largest lake. Later we moor on the tiny island of Kizhi, an enchanting green sliver at the northern end of the lake. We enjoy a walking tour to learn more about the history of this remarkable place.

Reflect on all you have encountered today with your fellow travellers over tonight’s dinner as we slip our moorings once more.

We experience another highlight this morning as we cruise the scenic River Svir. Before long, we moor in picturesque Mandrogi. This quintessential Karelian village, reliant on its fishing and mills, was a place unchanged for decades until it was completely destroyed during the Second World War. Stroll through the artisans’ quarter and browse the traditional handicraft: paintings, embroidery, pottery and, of course, the beautifully painted ‘matryoshka’ dolls – the famous wooden stacking dolls in colours of every hue. Enjoy time at leisure absorbing the ambience; why not take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and stop for a ‘piroshka’, a delicious puff pastry, or perhaps a shot of vodka.

After a barbecue lunch on shore (weather permitting), we’ll spend the afternoon relaxing on board. Tonight we’ll sample the gastronomic specialities of the region during the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

This morning as we reach our journey’s end, early risers will enjoy our stately arrival along the River Neva into spectacular St Petersburg. We enjoy a panoramic tour seeing the main sights, including bustling Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s most famous avenue, its largest department store, the National Library and the monument to Catherine the Great. See the spectacular Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood with its exquisitely colourful domes and glorious frescoes, and the glistening golden domes of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, the fourth largest in the world.

We return to the ship for lunch with free time after to explore. Perhaps return to the historic heart of St Petersburg to see the Russian Museum’s extensive collection, shop at the historic Gostiny Dvor arcade, or stroll through one of the many lovely parks to absorb the cosmopolitan ambience. By evening you’ll have worked up an appetite, so why not relax in the ship’s lounge with your favourite aperitif before dinner is served.

Today brings another highlight with our guided visit to the world-renowned Hermitage Museum. See the ornate Great Church, the Romanovs’ private place of worship, and the opulent Pavilion Hall with its exquisite mosaic tables and extraordinary golden Peacock Clock, created by an English clock maker. There’s the Gold Rooms of the Treasure Gallery, containing a dazzling array of ornaments and jewellery plus a whole host of further galleries with jaw-dropping collections of artworks by Rembrandt, Da Vinci and Caravaggio – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

After lunch in a local restaurant, you may wish to return to the ship or remain in St Petersburg to further explore the historic centre. Perhaps stroll the fine boulevards admiring the city’s elegant architecture, or visit the Fabergé Museum, located in a superbly restored palace and home to the world’s largest collection of pieces by the famous jeweller, which includes nine imperial Easter eggs.

When dinner is served, you’ll no doubt have stories to recount with newly made friends before returning to the bar to unwind and enjoy tonight’s live entertainment.

The day is at leisure so you may wish to further explore or relax on board. So what is it to be? Perhaps visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, a former prison founded in 1703. Its ornate cathedral, with beautiful marble columns and chandeliers, is the final resting place of many of the country’s rulers, including Catherine the Great and the Romanovs. Art aficionados may wish to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art or return to the Hermitage to visit the General Staff Building. For lovers of history there is a host of palaces, such as the Stroganov Palace or the superb Marble Palace. Or simply wander the city’s parks and stroll along the network of canals, stopping to admire some of the city’s countless bridges.

As evening falls, enjoy your final dinner on board and reflect on what has been a truly memorable cruise.

Transfer to the airport for your return flight.

Price Guide

Date Price (pp)
06 June 2019 £2,269
17 June 2019 £2,269

What's Included

  • Return flights from the UK - regional airports are available but may carry a supplement
  • 12 Nights on board the MS Rossia
  • All Meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day.
  • Guided tours of Moscow, St Petersburg, Uglich and Yaroslavl
  • Walking tour through the Open-Air Museum of Architecture in Kizhi
  • Visits to the Kremlin, the Hermitage Museum, Mandrogi and the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Goritsy
  • Live entertainment every night including a classical concert and a folklore show
  • On-board lecture on Russian history plus cultural demonstrations including Russian cooking, language, handicrafts and tea-tasting
  • Complimentary WIFI on board
  • All Port charges, airport taxes & overseas transfers
  • Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager