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See the swirling onion domes and stout towers of Moscow’s Red Square. Share stories at the kitchen table of an Uglich family. Savor Russian caviar with your blini pancakes. Soak up the steam in a traditional banya in riverside Mandrogy village. Envision Peter the Great luxuriating in massive Peterhof Palace, then see how multiple families shared living space at a Soviet-era kommunalka. From Moscow to St. Petersburg, this 13-day voyage reveals the real Russia as never before
Arrive in Moscow and transfer to your ship.* After boarding, you have free time to relax before dinner. (D)
Relax this morning and enjoy an early lunch before your half-day tour of Moscow. See the famed Bolshoi Theater and stop at Red Square for a view of the brightly colored St. Basil's Cathedral and a visit to the famous GUM Department Store. You will also get the chance to experience the city's Metro. Stay in the city center for an evening performance of traditional Russian folkloric music. (B, L, D)
Today you have a full day to further explore Moscow's many buildings, parks and monuments. Or you may choose an optional experience: Take a morning tour to Tretyakov Gallery, the world's foremost museum of Russian fine art. This afternoon you may visit the Cosmonaut Museum with displays that trace the history of space exploration or take a Jewish Moscow tour, illustrating the history and spirit of the Jewish people who settled in the city. Dine aboard for dinner, then relax or take an optional Moscow by Night tour. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, travel to the city's famous red brick enclosure known as the Kremlin. You'll go behind its walls to see historic gems like Tsar's Canon and Tsar’s Bell, and tour inside two cathedrals. Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Moscow Canal after lunch as we depart the city. (B, L, D)
We cruise through the morning. After lunch, disembark for your walking tour through the provincial village of Uglich, one of the Golden Ring cities that preserve the memory of Russia's historical events. See the former Kremlin of Uglich and visit the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, built on the site where Ivan the Terrible's son Dmitry was mysteriously killed. Then a local family invites you into their home for tea and friendly conversation. Depart before dinner; cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
Arrive this morning in Yaroslavl, another Golden Ring city. Tour this ancient town rich in monuments and visit the covered food market where you may shop for handcrafted souvenirs. During your free time, you may visit the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, featuring detailed frescoes and icons. Return to your ship for lunch and departure. (B, L, D)
We dock this morning in Kuzino, a typical Russian village. From here, you visit the renowned Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded by Saint Cyril in 1397. Take a guided walk through the monastery's historic grounds, seeing several small wooden chapels, the Assumption Cathedral and a museum. You will also have the opportunity to visit a children's school in Kuzino or the local Merchant House. Return to your ship for lunch and an afternoon departure. Spend the remainder of the day cruising along the Volga-Baltic Waterway. This system of rivers and canals, spanning 229 miles and seven locks, links the Volga River with the Baltic Sea. (B, L, D)
We cruise through the morning, admiring the tranquil waters of Lake Onega, Europe's second largest lake, and arrive this afternoon at the island village of Kizhi. Set out on a walking tour through the Open Air Museum of Architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, see a collection of wooden houses, windmills and churches representing ancient Russian architecture, highlighted by the famous three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church, a fairy-tale-like structure built in 1714 without a single nail. Depart in the evening and cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
Spend a relaxing day cruising Russia's intricate waterways. Sail the scenic Svir River, traveling the 139-mile “Blue Route” as it takes you southwest from Lake Onega. Stop in Mandrogy and take some time to explore this museum village. Visit the Vodka Museum or shop for handmade Russian craft items. For a truly immersive experience, try an optional visit to a banya, a traditional Russian bath house. Or, on board your ship, take the opportunity to witness and participate in the art of matryoshka doll making. Continue along the Svir, then cross Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake, on your way to the Neva River. All meals are served aboard your ship. (B, L, D)
Sail on the Neva River into St. Petersburg early this morning. After a leisurely breakfast, visit the Winter Palace to tour the legendary Hermitage Museum, where you marvel at the vast collection of art, antiquities, jewelry and sculpture. Return aboard for an early dinner, followed by an evening performance of traditional Russian ballet. (B, L, D)
Today's excursion goes to the Pushkin area where you visit Catherine Palace, the elegant rococo 18th-century summer residence of the Russian tsars, named for Catherine I (widow of Peter the Great). Tour its various halls, including the storied Amber and Agate Rooms, and see the ornate decor throughout. Return to your ship for lunch. After lunch embark on a city tour; see noted sights including St. Isaac's Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress and Nevsky Prospekt. Dine aboard, then relax or attend an optional evening folkloric performance. (B, L, D)
You have the day free to see the sights that interest you. Visit one of the many palaces, churches or museums, or take an optional morning tour to Peterhof Palace, with its landscaped gardens and beautiful fountains. In the afternoon, you may choose to join an optional kommunalka visit to get a glimpse of these communal living spaces or take an optional tour of St. Petersburg from the water. Lunch and dinner are served aboard. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, choose to extend your voyage with 2 additional nights in St. Petersburg—giving you more time to explore this magnificent city—or journey into another country with 3 nights in Helsinki, Finland, the “White City of the North.” (B)
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