Russian River Cruises fleet
Review of Russian River Cruises
CruiseMapper's "Russian River Cruises" hub provides detailed information on ships, itineraries, tours and prices on cruises along rivers and lakes in Russia. Here you'll also find concise info on the largest Russian cruise companies, including Vodohod, Mosturflot, Infoflot, Doninturflot-Orthodox, Imperial River Cruises Russia.
In the "Fleet" section you will find an extensive list or Russian cruise ships. By following each ship link you will find the ship's review, deck plans, scheduled itineraries and cruise pricing information. Live ship tracking is also provided on a digital map. It shows the vessel's current location, cruising speed and course.
In the "Itinerary" section you will find maps and day-by-day scheduled activities planned by Europe's largest cruise companies, also operating in Russia via chartered riverboats.
Volga River Cruises in Russia
Volga river cruising in Russia places you in another time. The longest and largest river in Europe stretches from Ivan the Terrible to Catherine the Great. Today, live along the central artery of Russia looks like it always has - the villages, the churches, the people, just like an old painting you have seen in a gallery.
The Volga flows through central Russia into the Caspian Sea and is often called the national river of Russia. 11 of the 20 largest cities of the country, including the capital Moscow, are in Volga's watershed. Some of the world's largest reservoirs can be found along the river, which has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture, referred to as Mother Volga (Volga Matushka) in Russian folklore and literature.
Explore the land of the Tsars while sailing down the historic Volga river, typically between Moscow and St Petersburg, the traditional homeports (of embarkation and debarkation). Tour landmarks are the Red Square and Kremlin in Moscow, the Hermitage and Catherine Palace in St Petersburg.
Once unthinkable as a cruise vacation destination, Russia is today more accessible than ever, with stops along its largest European lakes and rivers. For river travel lovers accustomed to European itineraries, the Russian experience will be quite different. Russia has a special feel of uniquely designed riverboats. Built to handle larger lakes (Lake Ladoga for example, is the largest European freshwater body of water), these vessels usually feature larger size and capacity (up to six decks), deeper draft, and most of them are refurbished instead of being newbuild.
The itineraries offered are activity-intensive in Moscow and St Petersburg, with long periods of cruising and less ashore time in the middle. Smaller "Golden Ring" cities (so named due to their historic significance) are full of icon-riddled monasteries and Orthodox churches. Most cruise lines hire local experts and fill the days of sailing along the river with lectures on country's history, cooking demonstrations and language lessons.
Most of the tours offered by the companies sailing along Volga River are identical, so customers choosing between the different itineraries should look at how the river ships spend the time within Moscow and St. Petersburg. Some lines have their guests stay onboard, which can be as far as 1 hour out of both cities. Others put their clients up at hotels near the center of the city, with several meals at customer's expense.
Compared with other river routes, Russia features a short season, between early May and late October, with high season in June (known as White Nights because of the endless daylight), July and August. Even if the weather is chilly, there are some advantages to sailing early or late: you'll beat the crowds which can make a visit to the Hermitage a bear. Most Russian museums lack air-conditioning, and while the climate is generally temperate, in the summer Moscow often experiences high humidity heat waves.
Remember to think about your Russian visa at least 2 months before your voyage, to have enough time to fill out the paperwork, including a lengthy online application. And don't forget that the Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Even in the cities, you'll rarely find signs in English, so learning some letters and a few phrases will help you get around.
List of largest Russian river cruise companies
Vodohod ("ВодоходЪ", 2004-founded) is Russia's largest river cruise line, and a fully-owned subsidiary of "Volga Shipping Company". It has headquarters in both Moscow and St Petersburg. To its fleet were added all vessels of the company "Volga Flot Tour", to a total of 50+ ships. Regions of operations include the rivers Volga, Don, Kama, Moscow canals, Volga-Don canal, Volga-Baltic Waterway, the lakes Onega and Ladoga.
- Volga Shipping Company ("Волжское пароходство") was founded in 1843 as a steamship freight and passenger shipping company operating exclusively on River Volga. The company was restructured in 1994 and currently owns a fleet of over 300 ships (including Vodohod's fleet) with an annual capacity of approx 6,7 million tonnes (cargo) and around 400,000 passengers.
- In 2016, Vodohod's passenger capacity was 497,000. The reported revenue for 2015 was RUB 2.6 billion (USD 42 million).
- In 2018, the company introduced to the fleet 4 fully-refurbished ships - MS Chernishevsky, MS Fedin and MS Kronshtadt.
In May 2020, Vodohod (via Algador Holdings Ltd) acquired Helsinki Shipyard Oy (fka Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy, with all its assets). With Helsinki Shipyard Vodohod placed 3x shipbuilding orders for expedition cruise ships to be operated by its travel brand Swan Hellenic Cruises. The newbuilds were scheduled for deliveries in 2021 (SH Minerva), 2022 April (SH Vega) and 2022 November (TBN).
In October 2020, Vodohod signed a strategic partnership agreement with Tam Wing Kun Holdings Ltd (1977-founded, Hong Kong-based) to provide the company with a direct presence in Asia. Tam Wing Kun Holdings represents in Asia many of the world's largest airlines and logistics companies through its offices (or partners) in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, The Philippines. As of 2021, Vodohod's fleet included 26 vessels (11 of which dedicated to international passengers).
Mosturflot (Мостурфлот / Moscow Tourist Fleet / "Московский туристический флот") is subsidiary of Moscow River Shipping Company (established in 1857).
- Mosturflot owns pleasure boats and cruise ships and is also licensed as a river cruisetour operator.
- The company provides its own ship repairs and technical maintenance, as well as shipping security, pilotage, escorts (boat assistance).
- Mosturflot's cruise tour services include inland cruises (on its own boats) on the Russian rivers Volga, Neva, Kama, Don, Oka, as well as on the lakes Beloe, Onega and Ladoga. Itineraries (a selection of over 300 routes) have durations between 1-day (mini cruises) and 22-day. The list of over 50 call ports features Uglich, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Ples, Nizhny Novgorod, Murom, Kazan, Ufa, St Petersburg, Moscow, Astrakhan, Rostov. Main departure ports are Moscow and St Petersburg.
- Mosturflot also operates as a travel agency for Russian (river- and sea-going) and international cruises.
- The company organizes private cruise ship charters (for leisure and business meetings) with passenger capacity 8 to 300, optional staterooms, shipboard catering and entertainment, custom-made excursions (in port cities).
- Mosturflot's fleet includes the ships Rossia, Knyazna Victoria, Knyazna Anastasia, Sergey Obraztsov, Nikolay Karamzin, Andrey Rublev, Leonid Krasin, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov, Sergey Yesenin, Alexander Grin, Valery Bryusov, Ivan Krylov, Russ, also the pleasure boats Maxim Gorky, Soyuz, Mir.
Infoflot (Инфофлот) is a Russian cruise and tour operator company founded in 2003 and headquartered in St Petersburg.
- Infoflot's fleet includes the boats Lebedinoye Ozero (Swan Lake), Lunnaya Sonata (Moonlight Sonata), Dmitry Furmanov, Nekrasov, Karl Marx, Alexander Benois, Vasily Chapaev, Solnechnoy Gorod (Sunny City).
- Company's annual passenger capacity is about 100,000. It also serves as a travel agency for Russian and international river and ocean cruises.
Orthodox Cruise Company operates a fleet of USSR-design large river ships and serves mainly foreign tourists. The parent company Doninturflot (established in 1992) is the shipowner and manages the fleet.
- Doninturflot started operations with the ships MS Maxim Litvinov, MS Mikhail Sholokhov and MS Sergei Dyagilev.
- Since 2002, Docturflot charters Akademik Glushkov (currently MS Igor Stravinsky) owned by OOO Rosflotinvest.
- In 2004 was acquired MS Anton Chekhov from Yenisei River Shipping Company (Russia).
- In 2006 were acquired MS Peter Tchaikovsky and MS Ivan Bunin from the Moscow-based cruise shipping company "Passenger Port".
- In 2008 was bought MS General Lavrinenkov from "Ukrrechflot" (Ukraine).
- In 2011 was bought MS Marshal Koshevoy (from Ukrrichflot, Ukraine) but in April 2013 the ship was sold to Viking Cruises (now operates as Viking Akun).
- In 2016, was purchased MS Tikhi Don from the UK-based Grand Circle Travel company. In 2017, the ship started operations for Orthodox Cruise Company serving international tourists.
"Imperial River Cruises Russia" was founded in 1992 and operates on inland waterways in both Russia and Ukraine. Company's chartered ships navigate on the rivers Volga, Don, Neva, Svir, Dnieper (also on the Danube) and the Russian lakes Onega and Ladoga.
The most operated itineraries are between Moscow and St Petersburg (visiting Uglich, Kostrom, Yaroslavl, Goritzy). Specially designed itineraries visit Vladimir, Suzdal, Zagorsk, Solovki Island. Also offered are itineraries Moscow-Volgograd and Moscow-Rostov, roundtrips from Kiev, and even grand voyages connecting two seas - Baltic and Black. Also offered are themed cruises - especially on food and music, with live performances by grand orchestras and choirs.
Imperial River Cruises Russia has an exclusive partnership with "Orthodox Cruise Company" - one of Russia's largest tour operators. As their names suggest, both companies target mainly foreign tourists - booking in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia. Ships' capacity varies between 180-250 passengers. English (or German) speaking licensed tour guides are provided on all excursions. The daily onboard entertainment program offers live musical performances, folk shows, enrichment lectures.
Russian river cruise deals
- Departure port (dock/berth), check-in, boarding and landing times are indicated on the company's website and on passenger boarding passes. Ship's exact departure time is clarified on the website the day prior departure.
- Kids discount ticket prices are offered for children up to 14 years of age (14-yo including), the age being fixed on departure day.
- Kids from 2 to 5 years of age (5-yo including) travel free of charge, but without providing an additional bed (if there are no free beds in the cabin). Shore excursions are also free of charge.
- Toddlers (kids under 2) travel free of charge, but the bed, food, and tour services are not provided. Extra beds in staterooms (baby cribs, cots) are not available on the ship.
- TWIN (double cabin) single supplement rate is 75%.
- Ticket prices are inclusive of 3 meals a day. Onboard dining includes Breakfast (buffet style, drinks - cocoa, milk, juices, hot-cold dishes), Lunch (buffet style) and Dinner (waiter-served, 1 Starter, 1 Main course (choice of 3 / meat-fish-vegetarian), 1 Dessert (choice of 2 or fruits). Water in pitchers is always provided. Tea/coffee is served.
- On embarkation day and disembarkation day (at the end of the voyage) meal times depend on landing times. If a land tour coincides with a meal time (lunch), passengers are provided with complimentary food at a local restaurant (cafe) or given "dry rations".
- Ticket price inclusive onboard events are Welcome Aboard ("bread and salt" ceremony), Welcome Cocktail (complimentary 1 glass of champagne or juice per person), "Tea Ceremony" (with traditional pies), "Vodka Show" (blini and vodka tasting), Cocktail Party (once per cruise, complimentary 1 cocktail per person), Captain's Dinner (gourmet menu, once per cruise), mulled wine or ice tea (weather-depending / upon returning from excursions), complimentary Coffee Station (coffee, hot water, packed tea, milk, cocoa, cookies), 1 bottled water (0.33l pp per day in cabins). Tickets are also inclusive of foreign language speaking guide services, onboard entertainment (language class, singing lessons, live music, nightly dancing music, Wheelhouse tour).
- Complimentary excursions are detailed in the ship's cruise itinerary program. Optional tours are available for onboard booking. For excursion services, foreigner passengers may be charged with additional fee pp per day (varies by cruise tour length).
- Cruise tickets don't include land transfers (excepting foreign travel agency bookings), beverages and snacks (in onboard bars-lounges), phone calls, sauna visits, optional excursions, travel insurance, gratuities, personal spendings. Ticket prices include 18% VAT.
- Smoking on the ship is allowed only in designated areas (marked with "Place for smoking" signs). Smoking is prohibited in all interior spaces and on open decks (except at designated areas).
- On most ships are available health gymnastics and morning exercises (led by a certified physician/ship's doctor), oxygen cocktail, dietary food.
- On most ships are provided (free of charge) the following medical services - emergency medical care (assistance required for sudden acute illnesses, conditions, exacerbation of chronic diseases), measurement of blood pressure and body temperature, primary treatment of wounds.
- Boarding starts 2 hours prior to departure. All passengers must be boarded at least an hour prior to departure. Late passengers missing their cruise tour are not refunded.
- Russia's main river cruise departure ports are Moscow, St Petersburg, Astrakhan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Samara, Kazan, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov.
Russian cruise ships
Currently, in Russia is operated a huge fleet of over 200 river cruise ships. All these vessels were built during the USSR (Soviet Union) times, roughly in the period between 1950-1990. Depending on class and series, these boats differ in terms of size, equipment (different engine designs), passenger capacity, onboard facilities and venues, cabins (types and number). Amenities additionally differ by shipowner (cruise company).
All these old-design Russian ships were completely refurbished and rebuilt for their new shipowners, Some of these ships are operated (via partnerships or under charter) also by foreign companies (like Viking, CroisiEurope, Uniworld, AMAwaterways, Grand Circle, Nicko). During their multi-million-dollar drydock refits, vessels passenger capacities were considerably reduced to improve travel comfort and safety.
Most boats are of the following classes:
- "Rossiya" (Project 785, 36 vessels built 1952-1958)
- "Baykal" (Project 646, 15 units built 1953-1956)
- "Rodina" (Project 588, 49 vessels built 1954-1961)
- "Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya" (Project 26-37, 14 units built 1957-1962)
- "Dunay" (Project 305, 47 vessels built between 1959-1964)
- "Kuybyshev" (Project OL400, 9 units built 1975-1983)
- "Vladimir Ilyich" (Project 301, 22 vessels built between 1975-1983)
- "Dmitri Furmanov" (Project 302, 27 vessels built between 1983-1991)
Regardless of their age, all these motor ships undergo regular drydock refurbishments, machinery and safety checks, scheduled repairs (including annual surveys). Drydocks are every 5 years and include repairs, hull inspection, propulsion-steering inspection, general maintenance works.
Each ship is equipped with life-saving appliances (lifeboats and rafts) in amounts exceeding the boat's max passenger and crew capacity. Each cabin is equipped with lifejackets with illustrated instructions in several languages. All ships are equipped with modern fire-fighting systems. Crew and staff are experienced and highly professional certified employees.
New Russian cruise ships
In August 2016, at Lotus Shipyard (Astrakhan Russia) part of USC (United Shipbuilding Company) started the construction of the first Russian passenger ship after the USSR times. Support for the new PV300-class cruiser came from Russian Federation's President Vladimir Putin.
The Marine Engineering Bureau office engineers developed the PV300VD cruise ship design, the first of which was completed/launched in 2019 (Pyotr Velikiy/Пётр Великий). The project belongs to Saint Petersburg team of Marine Engineering Bureau SPb, working in Russia since the year 2000. Its other branch is in Odessa Ukraine.
The first USSR-built river cruise ships (MS Soviet Union, and MS Lenin) were constructed at Gorky Plant in 1959-1960. As with its ocean ships, the Soviet Union bought foreign-built riverboats - until 1989-1990. However, these were not entirely foreign as they were created to order and developed for operation in Russian conditions only (seasonal navigation on large/wide rivers and lakes). These vessels were built mainly in Austria, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. After 1990, Russian riverboats were no longer ordered and the business was carried on for years utilizing old tonnage. The same happened with the Russian passenger fleet as the ships were banned in North America after Russia's invasion in Afghanistan (1979-1989).
Russia's new passenger ships are planned to be "river-sea" cruisers. The PV300 class was specifically developed for waterways with max waves 3 m (inland seas and large lakes). The new Russian cruisers are much more powerful than the typical Danube and Rhine deployed riverboats. Dimensions for the new 310-passenger ships are 141x17 m (463x56 ft). The PV300VD concept emerged in 2010-2015 by order of Russia's Federal Marine Agency. Program's state customer and coordinator was country's Ministry of Industry and Trade. The shipbuilding cost varies between RUB 2,5-3,5 billion (USD 37-52 million) with payback period 5-20 years. Next photo shows the design of Mosturflot-Vodohod's new project PV300VD.
Next photo combo shows the design of Mosturflot's PV300 ship project.
The routes foreseen for the new Russian ships are in season (May to October) between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, then taking travelers from Moscow to Samara and Rostov-on-Don. In the winter the ships cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean (and even further south to Red Sea), with call ports like Rostov-on-Don, Taganrog, Novorossiysk, Sochi, Trabzon Turkey, Istanbul Turkey, Alexandria Egypt. Also scheduled are Black Sea cruises visiting the largest ports in Crimea (Sevastopol, Yalta, Feodosia, Kerch, Yevpatoria), as well as ports on Azov Sea and Caspian Sea.
The newbuilds could carry about 500,000 passengers annually, of which about 100,000 foreign tourists. The number of foreigners declined by nearly a half in 2014 as western tour operators cut Russian programs and westerners stayed away. According to the Ministry of Industry and trade, buyers of the new ship would be operators like Mosturflot (GK Sea and River shipping company), Vodohod and Orthodox. Given the high cost of the vessels, it is planned to lease them to operators. The main difference of this 4-deck ship is that it will be able to navigate not only rivers but seas as well. The vessels will also be more luxurious than past ships and will include western amenities, such as French balconies and comfortable large suites.
Volga River cruise port terminals
Next are shown VODOHOD's ship terminals (dock sites / berths) adresses in ports:
- Moscow - North River Station (Metro "Rechnoy Vokzal", Leningradskoye Str 51) - Северный речной вокзал, метро "Речной вокзал", Ленинградское 51)
- St Petersburg: - Utkina Zavod pier (Oktyabrskaya Naberezhnaya Str, 31 (free shuttle bus service is provided from Proletarskaya metro station to the dock) - причал "Уткина Заводь", Октябрьская набережная, 31
- Nizhny Novgorod - Nizhne-Volzhskaya embankment (berth 14) located in front of "The Hero" monument, Markin Square, 15A, berths 5-6 (Нижне-Волжская набережная, причал 14, площадь Маркина, 15А., причалы 5-6), "River Station" (berths 5-6, Markina Square 15A) - Причал "Речной Вокзал" 5-6 (пл Маркина 15А), Причал 14
- Samara - Maxim Gorky Str, 82 (berths 3-4) - Максима Горького, 82 (причалы 3-4).
- Kazan - Devyataev Str, 1 (Девятаева, 1)
- Astrakhan - River Station berth (Admiralteyskaya Str, 1, pier 17) - Причал "Речной Вокзал", Адмиралтейская 1, пристань 17)
- Perm - River Station berth (Ordzhonikidze Str 2) - Причал Речной Вокзал (Ул Орджоникидзе 2)
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All river passenger shipping line companies and their fleets are listed there.
Itinerary of Russian River Cruises
CruiseMapper's "Russian River Cruises" itinerary section provides information on itineraries and ports of call offered by the largest Russian and European river cruise companies - Vodohod, Viking, Uniworld, Scenic, CroisiEurope. Each foreign company has a partnership with a local company and operates as a joint venture one or more Russian ships.
For detailed itinerary information (routes) visit our pages of the following departure ports - Saratov, Volgograd, Samara, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, Astrakhan, Moscow, St Petersburg.
Volga River cruise ports highlights
- St Petersburg (Russia's second-largest city - after Moscow) was built by Tzar Peter the Great in 1703. It is located in the Neva River delta (Gulf of Finland's east coast). Saint Petersburg includes the territories of more than 130 islands interconnected by over 300 bridges. The city has a huge number of cultural and historical sights, architectural landmarks, museums, magnificent palaces (Russian Tsars' former residences), grand parks, wide avenues, bridges, numerous monuments. Among its most famous tourist attractions are the Hermitage museum (housing over 2 million pieces of art). Two days is never enough to see everything in this remarkable city. However, passengers will usually visit the Hermitage, admire the city's 19th-century architecture during a canal cruise tour, take in a cultural performance, visit one of the Versailles-style palaces in St. Petersburg's countryside (Pushkin or Peterhof).
- Moscow (Russian Federation's capital and largest city) was founded in 1147 by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. The city was destroyed several times - by the Mongolians, Napoleon, the Nazis. The heart of the city lies in the Red Square, which contains Lenin's Tomb, St Basil's Cathedral, and GUM Department Store. Kremlin's red walls also border the square. Inside the fort are the Armoury (containing the Faberge eggs) and 9 onion-domed churches. Art-fans can seek out Pushkin Gallery or see a show at Bolshoi Theatre.
- Yaroslavl is one of the Golden Ring cities of Russia, and the largest city to visit during the middle of your Volga cruise. The town is famous for its gorgeous churches. It also offers several pedestrian-only streets full of shops and cafes, as well as a lovely embankment used as a park.
- Uglich has a provincial setting. It was found in the 10th century and was a scene of some of medieval Russian history's most remarkable events. Here were exiled the Ivan Terrible’s 7th wife and her son Tsarevich Dmitry. Soon after, Tsarevich was mysteriously murdered here. Soon after, a dedicated to this event church ("Church of St. Demetrius on the Blood") was erected. Within the Uglich Kremlin walls is the town's oldest building - "Prince’s Palace". Other attractions are St. John’s Church and the Transfiguration Cathedral.
- Astrakhan was founded at the end of the 13th century and is located on the Volga's left bank. Port’s activities extend 100 km downstream and over 300 km upstream along the river. The city is a major trading center and its main business is freight shipping (coal, timber, salt, food, industrial products). Astrakhan is not linked to the railroad network. Cargoes are transferred by floating cranes from river ships to seagoing vessels.
- Goritsy is a small village on River Sheksna, famous for its Resurrection Convent, At approx 4 ml (7 km) from Goritsy is Kirillov - a pilgrimage site with many historical and architectural monuments. Among those are the Kirillo-Belozerski monastery, Ferapont monastery (UNESCO site), 12 churches, 25 civil monuments.
- Kizhi Island (Lake Onega) is located approx 70 km (40 ml) to the northeast of Petrozavodsk. The island has two onion-domed churches. Also here is the 17th-century-built 22-domed church - constructed without using a single nail. Its "Church of the Transfiguration of our Savior" and "Church of the Intercession" were rebuilt several times and are preserved in their original 17th-century design.
- Mandrogi (Mandroga) is a small village on the Svir river recently created as a tourist attraction. It features small wooden log cabin houses. Its “town of masters” is a market for hand-made Russian art craft, including paintings, painted wooden dolls, embroidery, pottery. Other attractions are the elk nursery and the quail farm, horse-riding tours, food tasting (pastry), vodka tasting (museum of Russian vodka).
- Kostroma is also one of the Golden Ring cities, and once was one of Russia's 3 largest cities - after Moscow and Yaroslavl, It is located at the confluence of the rivers Volga and Kostroma. Among the attractions are the St Ipathy monastery, an open-air museum (traditional wooden architecture- izbas, mills, churches are gathered in one place).
- Kizhi is famous the whole world over. It has become the symbol of the grandeur of unique Russian culture. Visiting the Kizhi Islands gives a great chance to appreciate the enchanting medieval atmosphere and get acquainted with the customs and free spirit of men living in a spacious area with a rigorous climate
- Kazan. The largest port in the Volga basin, it transships cargoes transported by water alone or by water and rail. The port receives coal from Kuznetsk Basin for Kazan's heat and electric power plant, food and industrial products, and ships out products of city's enterprises and Siberian timber. The port includes Tsentral’nyi, Kama, and Volga cargo areas, as well as a number of landings, the biggest of which is Naberezhnye Chelny and Chistopol’. The basin of the Tsentral’nyi Cargo Area and passenger area are protected by a breakwater.
- Novgorod (Nizhniy Novgorod) is an ancient stronghold founded by Gran Prince Yuri as a frontier post, is now the 5th largest city of Russia as well as one of the main centers of river tourism in the country. In the 19th century, Nizhniy became the trade center of the whole state as it was the place of the biggest fair in the Russian Empire. A proverb of that time says: "Moscow is the heart of Russia, St. Petersburg is its head, and Nizhniy Novgorod - its pocketbook". The city was renamed "Gorky" in Soviet times, in honor of the writer Maxim Gorky, born there. Until 1990, Nizhniy Novgorod was “closed” to foreigners as USSR protected its military secrets. Nizhniy Novgorod is included in the UNESCO list of 100 cities constituting world cultural and historical value.
- Samara - during the Soviet period the city was named Kuybyshev, in honor of the Soviet party figure Valerian Kuybyshev. The shortest ways from Central and Western Europe to Kazakhstan, Siberia, and Central Asia run through Samara. The city has a rich cultural heritage: Alexey Tolstoy spent his childhood and youth there. Maxim Gorky started his literary career in the city - he worked in "Samara Newspaper". The Czech writer Yaroslav Gashek also worked in Samara, during the Civil war. Famous artists like Ilya Repin, Ivan Ayvazovsky, Vasily Surikov, lived in the city. During the Great Patriotic War, the Seventh Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich was performed in Samara for the first time.
- Tver - the White Trinity Church (1564) is the sole ancient monument of Tver as in 1763, there was a great fire after which the city was rebuilt in Neoclassical style. There are also a lot of buildings of Catherine the Great. Tver State University is highly rated in the region. In 1931, Tver received the name Kalinin, in honor of the Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin. The city was occupied by the German army in 1941. Only 2 months later it became the first big city in Europe liberated from the occupation.
- Ulyanovsk is located on the right bank of the Kuibyshev Reservoir. Port's activities extend 90 km downstream and 100 km upstream along the Volga. The port unloads mineral construction materials, food, and industrial products for the cities of Saransk and Uljanovsk, and ships out coal from Kuznetsk Basin, automobiles, foodstuffs. Its passenger area was rebuilt in 1969 and includes a large number of landings, the biggest being Melekess and Sengilei. The basin of the port of Ulyanovsk is protected by a breakwater.
- Saratov (founded in 1590) is the capital city of a huge province that as size equals the territories of Albania, Belgium and Switzerland combined. In the late 19th century, Saratov became a center for industry and trade, Among the city's attractions, are Moskovskaya street (Europe's longest straight street), one of Europe's longest bridges (2,8 km long), children’s theater, puppet theater, Russia’s oldest circus, musical conservatory, beaches, Art Galleries, Lipki Park, two large casinos.
- Volgograd (currently Stalingrad) was founded in 1589. This is a major port and shipping hub linking Donets Basin with the Urals and Upper Volga Region. It ships grain, coal, food, and industrial products upstream and receives mineral construction materials and timber. The port’s districts are situated within the cities of Volzhsk and Volgograd (Tsentral’nyi). Kamyshin is the biggest landing belonging to the port. Among Volgograd's attractions is the Mamayev Hill with numerous sculptures devoted to the WW2 victims and topped with the world’s largest freestanding statue “Mother Russia” (height 52 m / 171 ft). Adjacent is the "Museum of the Defense" (war artifacts, weapons, uniforms).
All ships listed here operate on Russian waterways. To this long list should be additionally added the following boats, which are currently listed in the fleets of their own companies:
- Scenic Tsar (company Scenic Cruises)
- River Victoria (company Uniworld)
- Viking Rurik, Viking Akun, Viking Helgi, Viking Ingvar, Viking Truvor (company Viking Cruises)
Viking River Cruises in Russia - Itinerary "Waterways of the Tsars"
Viking's itinerary is named "Waterways of the Tsars" (13-day cruise) inclusive of:
- all transfers and port charges
- Riverview stateroom
- 10 guided tours (audio headsets provided)
- all onboard meals (including 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners, Welcome Cocktail Reception, Gala Dinner)
- complimentary beverages (wine, beer, and soft drinks with all dinners and lunches)
- complimentary Wi-Fi
- visiting four UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- enrichment events (onshore live music and dance performances), onboard Russian language lessons, history-themed lectures, Russian cooking workshop, Russian tea time).
- Viking's Russian cruise fares are between USD 5,100 - 5,600 PP. Prices are inclusive of international airfare from 30 USA airports.
- Airport transfers (meet & greet) are included only when flights are purchased through Viking Cruises.
Optional (additionally priced) extensions are:
- (pre-cruise) 2-night Moscow hotel package (Radisson Royal Hotel or similar), with included 2 breakfasts, Moscow Subway guided tour, Viking host services.
- (post-cruise) 3-night Helsinki hotel package (Radisson Blu Plaza or similar), with included 3 breakfasts, guided walking tour, Viking host services, train travel (St Petersburg to Helsinki), all hotel and ship transfers.
Itineraries are two: northbound (Moscow to St Petersburg) or the reverse southbound (St Petersburg to Moscow).
- (Day 1) Moscow arrival, airport to ship transfer, onboard dinner
- (Day 2) half-day Moscow tour (Bolshoi Theater, Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, GUM Department Store, Moscow Metro)
- (Day 3) free time full-day Moscow touring, or an optional morning tour to Tretyakov Gallery Russian fine art museum). Other optional tours are in the afternoon (Cosmonaut Museum, Jewish Moscow) and in the evening (Moscow by Night).
- (Day 4) Moscow tour to Kremlin (Tsar’s Canon, Tsar’s Bell, 2 cathedrals), scenic Moscow Canal cruise (after lunch) as the ships departs the city.
- (Day 5) Uglich arrival (after lunch), disembarkation for a guided walking tour (Kremlin of Uglich, Church of St Dmitry on the Blood, tea at a local family home), before dinner departure
- (Day 6) Yaroslavl arrival in the morning, guided tour (covered food market, handcrafted souvenirs shopping), free time, ship lunch, departure.
- (Day 7) Kuzino morning arrival, tour to Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (guided walk- wooden chapels, Assumption Cathedral, museum), children’s school, ship lunch, afternoon departure.
- (Day 8) Kizhi Island (Lake Onega cruising) afternoon arrival, walking tour (Open Air Museum of Architecture- wooden houses, windmills, churches, Preobranzhenskaya Church), evening departure.
- (Day 9) Mandrogy (Svir River cruising) afternoon arrival (Vodka Museum, handmade Russian craft shopping, optional banya / Russian bathhouse visit, optional tour (matryoshka doll making workshop), Lake Ladoga cruising to Neva River.
- (Day 10) — St Petersburg (Neva River cruising), early morning arrival, onboard breakfast, guided tour (Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum), onboard dinner and evening live Russian ballet performance.
- (Day 11) St Petersburg tour to Pushkin district (Catherine Palace), ship lunch, city tour (St Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress, Nevsky Prospekt), optional evening folklore performance.
- (Day 12) free time St Petersburg touring (optional morning tour to Peterhof Palace, optional afternoon kommunalka tour, optional St Petersburg canal cruise from), onboard lunch and dinner.
- (Day 13) St Petersburg - onboard breakfast, ship disembarkation, ship to airport transfer for the return flight.
Uniworld Cruises in Russia - itinerary "Imperial Waterways of Russia"
The 13-day long itinerary is named "Imperial Waterways of Russia" and operated by the ship River Victoria. Uniworld's Russian cruise fares range between USD 5,200 and 9,900 PP (depending on cabin category.
- Day 1 – Moscow (Sheremetyevo Airport arrival, ship transfer, embarkation)
- Day 2 – Moscow (city tour, metro tour, Arbat Street) - Bolshoi Theatre, Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, Russian lunch included, onboard Captain’s Welcome Reception, Gala Dinner
- Day 3 – Moscow (Kremlin, Armory Museum)
- Day 4 – Moscow (leisure day)
- Day 5 – Moscow Canal and Volga River cruising to Uglich (walking tour)
- Day 6 – Yaroslavl (Lake Rybinsk cruising) - city tour
- Day 7 – Goritsy (Lake Onega cruising) - monasteries, St Cyril of the White Lake Monastery, Children’s Arts and Crafts,
- Day 8 – Kizhi Island (Lake Onega cruising) - Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture
- Day 9 – Svir River cruising to Mandrogi, Lake Ladoga cruising - Mandrogi walk tour (picnic lunch)
- Day 10 – St Petersburg (city tour, canal cruise, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, ballet performance at Alexandrinsky Theatre)
- Day 11 – St Petersburg (Catherine Palace, Pushkin Park)
- Day 12 – St Petersburg (Winter Palace - Hermitage Museum, Captain’s Farewell Reception, Gala Dinner)
- Day 13 – St Petersburg (disembarkation, transfer and return flight).
Scenic River Cruises in Russia - itinerary "The Imperial Wonders Of Russia"
The itinerary is operated by Scenic Tzar and named "Imperial Jewels of Russia". Its duration is 15-day, along Volga and Svir rivers. Scenic Cruises deals are inclusive of:
- Scenic Enrich - handcrafted, Scenic passengers exclusive tour experiences (private shows, family meals prepared by local hosts)
- Scenic Sundowners - exclusive cocktail events
- all onboard meals (including complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunches and dinners)
- onboard doctor
- onboard entertainment
- in-cabin room service
- Wi-Fi internet (Mac mini infotainment system via the cabin's TV)
- all gratuities
- Scenic's Russian cruise fares are USD 11,500 PP.
Day-by-day itinerary info: Day 1 (Moscow), Day 2 (Moscow, Sundowners canal cruise), Day 3 (Moscow - Kremlin), Day 4 (Moscow - Cosmonaut meeting), Day 5 (Moscow - Tretyakov Gallery), Day 6 (Uglich), Day 7 (Yaroslavl - city tour), Day 8 (Goritsy - Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery), Day 9 (Kizhi Island - Church of Transfiguration), Day 10 (Mandrogi - Museum village), Day 11 (St Petersburg - Hermitage), Day 12 (St Petersburg - Peterhof Palace), Day 13 (St Petersburg - Private Ballet performance), Day 14 (St Petersburg - canal cruise), Day 15 (return flight).
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