River cruise company APT announced a return to Russia after 2 years, as well as new itineraries along Danube and Douro rivers. The international line suspended 2016 Russia operations last year because of "uncertainty in Russia".
AmaWaterways also pulled out of Russia at the time and sailings were cut back by Viking River Cruises and CroisiEurope. CroisiEurope and AmaWaterways still do not offer Russian river cruises although Viking River Cruises has regular late spring to autumn Waterways Of The Tsars itineraries from Moscow to St Petersburg.
APT's new Russian Waterways cruises will be on MS Surkov (Viking Helgi). The new 11-day Treasures of Russia cruise between St Petersburg and Moscow includes a visit to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and Unesco-listed Kizhi Island, which is folk museum full of historic wooden buildings. Onboard there will be Russian language lessons, traditional music performances and a vodka tasting evening.
For 2017 APT has also simplified the classification of its cruises into two categories: Luxury (five star) cruises and Premium (four star) cruises. Luxury cruises in Europe and Asia include exclusive excursions as part of the cruise line's Signature Experiences, such as a trip on the Majestic Imperator, a replica Imperial train of the Habsburgs privately chartered between Passau and Linz in Austria.
In China there's a private buffet lunch overlooking an unrestored and rarely visited stretch of the Great Wall of China in Beijing. Also new for 2017 is APT's eight-day Majestic Danube Luxury cruise from Hungary's capital, Budapest, to Munich in southern Germany. This includes an exclusive evening at Palais Coburg in Austria's capital, Vienna, for a private music recital.
To celebrate the launch of its new 2017 Europe and Asia river cruise brochure, APT is offering savings of up to £1,500 per couple with early booking offers on 2017 and 2018 river cruises booked before 31 August.