The Hidden Gems of Russia 2021 Saga River Cruise
Explore impressive St Petersburg during a two-night hotel stay then cruise to historic Moscow. Discover a wealth of historic treasures – from the picturesque wooden buildings of Kizhi Island to the splendours of the Hermitage collections – on this leisurely voyage.
Travel to St Petersburg and transfer to a locally rated 4-star hotel in the city for a two-night stay with breakfasts included and dinner on your first night.
Enjoy a day at leisure in this stately city.
Check out after breakfast and after some more time at leisure, transfer to the port where you will embark your ship, the 4-anchor MS Mstislav Rostropovich, named after one of the great cellists of the 20th century. The cabins on board are spacious and most come with balconies while there are two elegant restaurants on board, plus a gym, solarium, hair salon and a lift serving all four decks.
Founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 as Russia's ‘Window on the West’, this city was built as a showpiece, with impressive neo-Classical buildings and spacious avenues. An included panoramic tour takes in the city’s beautiful monuments and architecture, including Summer and Winter Palaces, the impressive Admiralty Building, the Victory Column and St Isaac’s Cathedral. After an included lunch in the city enjoy a visit to the celebrated Hermitage State Museum. The museum is one of the greatest art galleries in the world and is set in a magnificent palace that contains enough treasures to keep you fascinated for days! Here is a cross section of the history of Western European art, ranging from Florentine and Venetian Renaissance art to Impressionism and post-Impressionism. In addition, there's an extensive collection of prehistoric, Egyptian and Oriental art plus temporary exhibitions. The museum covers a large area and the visit includes a considerable amount of walking, a few flights of stairs and standing for quite long periods. Enjoy a welcome cocktail party and live music on board as you sail overnight bound for Mandrogi.
Onboard this morning you can enjoy a programme of varied entertainment including yoga, exercise, a lecture on Russian history and a visit to the captain’s bridge as you cruise towards Mandrogi, a reconstructed traditional Russian village built on the bank of the Svir River. Experience provincial Russian life as you wander among charming old wooden houses and cobblestone walkways this afternoon. Perhaps watch artisans and craftsmen creating mastryoshkas – Russian dolls, of course! – and buy some souvenirs in the workshop or sample the country’s favourite beverage in the Vodka Museum, which boasts 250 varieties of the national drink. Enjoy a picnic lunch ashore. Set sail again later this afternoon and this evening you can immerse yourself in the culture of the country with a themed Russian dinner and a folk music concert onboard.
You can enjoy more onboard entertainment this morning, including a yoga and exercise session, another lecture and a screening of a documentary on Russian history and a visit to the captain's bridge. Today's included excursion takes you to an island in the middle of Lake Onega. Kizhi is home to an open-air museum of wooden architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll around the island will reveal old wooden churches, chapels, bell towers, peasant houses, farm buildings and windmills which were built in the traditional northern Russian style. The highlights are sure to be the Transfiguration Cathedral, dating from 1714, which features 22 domes and is linked to the neighbouring Church of Intercession, built 60 years later, by a bell tower. The more modest Chapel of the Resurrection of Lazarus dates from 1391 and it is the oldest standing wooden church in Russia.
As you sail on towards Goritsy this morning you can enjoy a relaxed brunch onboard and perhaps take the opportunity to brush up on your verbal skills with a Russian language lesson or join a lecture on the history of Russian fairy tales. Disembark in the small village of Goritsy in the north west of the country and board a coach for an included excursion to the Resurrection Convent, standing on the shores of a lake. The 14th-century monastery of St Cyril on the White Lake was one of the major Orthodox strongholds of Old Russia. See majestic churches enclosed within fortress walls and view ornate frescoes and ancient icons, among the oldest in Russia, at the monastery museum. This afternoon's entertainment onboard includes a tea ceremony with a lesson in traditional Russian song and dance.
An included tour reveals the highlights of Uglich, including its own Kremlin and the Church of St Dmitry on the Blood – a temple with red walls and blue domes built on the site of the death of Ivan the Terrible’s heir in the 16th century. If you have a hidden talent, then why not showcase it at the guest and crew Talent Show, which will take place after your Captain's Cocktail Party and Farewell Dinner this evening.
Sail through the morning and this afternoon look forward to seeing some of the great landmarks of Russia's cultured capital city today. Hop aboard a bus to see Leningradskaya Street and pass by the KGB headquarters. Head to Red Square, home to many of the key attractions, such as the colourful St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum and the Kremlin complex with its gold-domed churches and iconic bell tower. See the Palace of Congresses, Senate square, the Arsenal, the Tsar bell and cannon, among other attractions, and admire a vast collection of impressive Russian art, including ornate Fabergé eggs and delicate tapestries before some free time in Red Square. Dinner is in a restaurant in the city tonight.
Check out after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
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- Low deposit of only £99pp
- Savings of up to £500pp on selected cabin grades and departures
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance or a discount if not required†
- Return travel from the UK
- 2 nights in a locally rated 4* hotel followed by 7 Nights on board MS Mstislav Rostropovich
- All meals on board
- All gratuities on board
- Entertainment and activities on the ship
- Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
- St Petersburg sightseeing tour with Hermitage State Museum visit
- Visit the monastery of Kirillo-Belozersky in Goritsy
- Open-air museum on the island of Kizhi
- Walking tour of Uglich
- Moscow highlights tour with Kremlin visit