Moscow - Astrakhan cruise by Vodohod

This Volga cruise gives you a unique chance to see many different parts of Russia in one trip.

You will admire the vibrancy of Moscow, enjoy the quiet atmosphere of ancient Yaroslavl and get a feeling for Russian village life as well as have a look at local handicrafts in Uglich and Kostroma. You will visit Nizhny Novgorod, the picturesque old center of the Volga region as well as Kazan and Astrakhan which occupy the former territory of the Golden Horde - all stops are full of history and beauty. While cruising you will sail practically the whole length of the Volga River to the edge of the Caspian Sea.

ITINERARY & MAP

Day 1-3

Moscow: You will be met at the airport or train station by one of our drivers and taken by a comfortable car to the river port where you will board your cruise ship (Transfer is optional). Over the next few days you will have a chance to explore Moscow and learn about its riveting history. You will be taken on a city tour where you will see Moscow’s most interesting sights and learn about this amazing city’s past and present.

You will see the Moscow Kremlin with a visit to one of its cathedrals and have a tour of the Tretyakovsky State Gallery. The world famous gallery contains works of Russian art from the 10th century up until present day. You will view exquisite Russian icons and paintings from the 18th and 19th century including works by Rublyov, Karavak, Vishnyakov, Nikitin, Antropov, Levitsky, Kiprensky, Tropinin, Fedotov, Repin and many others.

Moscow is Russia’s political and financial capital as well as a major world class cultural center. The city includes many must see attractions from the Kremlin and Red Square to the Assumption Cathedral. Moscow is the largest city in Europe. It is unique in that it blends the ancient with the modern. See medieval structures among modern office buildings, walk down crooked old city streets opening up to wide busy boulevards. It is a fantastic city and truly a site that shouldn´t be missed.

Day 4

Uglich: You will be taken on a city tour with visit to Kremlin, the Church of St. Demitrius on the Blood and the Transfiguration cathedral.

Uglich: Founded in 1148 as a small princedom bordering on Muscovy, Uglich is one of the most beloved towns in Old Russia. The view of the town as you approach it from the Volga River is breathtaking with the Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. John´s Church rising up on the horizon. The history of the town is fascinating; At the end of the 16th century, Maria Nagaya, seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible, lived in honorary exile at the Kremlin in Uglich. It was here in her garden that the 10 year old Prince Dmitry of the Rurik Dynasty, heir to the Russian throne was murdered by Boris Godunov who wanted to seize power for himself. On the spot of his death, the Church of St. Demitrius of the Blood was built and still stands today. The death of Prince Dmitri brought on the start of the Time of Troubles, a dynastic and political crises and one of the most tumultuous periods in Russian history which ended 15 years later after the election of a new Tsar Mikhail Romanov (the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty). Inside the Kremlin the oldest building in Uglich, the Palace of Tsarevich Dmitry also stands. During your time in Uglich you will learn more about the town’s past and walk along the paths of Russian history.

Day 5

Yaroslavl: You will be taken to the panoramic city tour with a visit to a local market (free time). You will also see the Church of Elijah the Prophet (exterior), Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker (interior) and enjoy an interactive tour of former Governor´s House (and visit to an Art Gallery).

Yaroslavl: Stretching for 18 miles on both banks of the Volga, Yaroslavl is an important Volga port with a population of 600,000. It was founded in the 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and is one of the ancient Russian cities making up the Golden Ring. It was destroyed by the Tatars in the 13th and 14th centuries but then restored and rebuilt and by the 17th century it had become Russia’s second largest city after Moscow and an important cultural and political center. Today, Yaroslavl retains many noteworthy monuments of its colorful past. Of special interest is the magnificent 13th century Spassky Monastery ensemble, a group of majestic 17th century cathedrals, an elegant rotunda and remnants of an ancient trading center. The churches of St. Nicholas and Elijah the Prophet have some of the Golden Ring´s most impressive frescoes.

Kostroma: You will be taken on a panoramic city tour with visits to the Ipatiev Monastery and the Trinity Cathedral.

Kostroma is a part of the Golden Ring, a group of ancient Russian towns located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers. It was founded in the 13th century and has played a major role in Russian history. After being destroyed by the Mongols in 1238 it became a small principality under the leadership of Prince Vasily the Drunkard the brother of the Russian hero Alexander Nevsky. In the early 17th century, the young Mikhail Romanov who was living at the time at the Ipatiev Monastery was offered the Russian throne – thus beginning the Romanov Dynasty and ending the Time of Troubles. From that time on, the Romanov’s always had a special connection to the city and played an important role in its development. The city’s most prominent landmarks are the Ipatiev Monastery, the Trinity Cathedral, the local market and a museum of wooden architecture and monuments.

Day 6

Nizhny Novgorod: During a city tour you will become acquainted with the city’s most prominent landmarks and you will also see the Kremlin grounds.

Nizhny Novgorod is one of Russia’s major cities, the dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500-1511), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the Kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral (1624-31), first built in stone in the 13th century. The city has a fascinating history that you will learn more about during your tour. The city was founded in the 13th century and became one of the Russian Empire’s most important outposts by the 16th century. The city played a pivotal role in ending the Time of Troubles by forming an army that would expel the Poles from Moscow. Much of the city downtown is built in the Russian Revival and Stalin Empire styles. There are more than six hundred unique historic, architectural, and cultural monuments in the city leading the way for UNESCO to include Nizhny Novgorod in the list of 100 cities of the world which are of great historical and cultural value.

Day 7

Cheboksary: You will be taken on a panoramic city tour.

Cheboksary is the capital of the Chuvash Republic, home to the Finno-Ugric Chuvash people. The city possesses excellent cultural opportunities. There is an Opera-Ballet Theatre, a Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous other theaters (showing productions in both Russian and Chuvash languages). A very popular gathering place for the locals is the recently completed zaliv (bay), beautifully situated in the middle of the city and adorned with the Monument of Mother. People gather there to stroll, visit cafes, and socialize. Cheboksary also has beautiful boardwalks and beaches along the Volga River.

Day 8

Kazan: In this city you will take a city tour with a visit to the Kremlin grounds and get a feel for this most eastern of cities full of history, the capital of Tatarstan.

Kazan is the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, and one of Russia´s largest cities. It is a major industrial, commercial and cultural center, and remains the most important center of Tatar culture. Historically Kazan was the capital of the Tatars and was conquered and by force and brought into the Russian Empire in the mid 16th century by Ivan the Terrible. During the siege of Kazan and in the years that followed almost the entire population was massacred. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers in central European Russia. The famous Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site.

Day 9

Samara: Take a panoramic city tour with a visit to the Art Gallery.

Samara is located on the east bank of the Volga river, which acts as its western boundary. Its northern boundary is formed by the Sokolyi Hills and by the Steppes in the south and east. Legend has it that Alexius, Metroplitan of Moscow and later Patron Saint of Samara visited the site of the city in 1357 and predicted that a great town would be erected there and that the town would never be ravaged. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that during WWII Samara was chosen to be the capital of the Soviet Union if Moscow should fall. Many government ministries and government workers were evacuated to the city at the beginning of the war. The life of Samara´s citizens has always been intrinsically linked to the Volga river, which has not only served as the main commercial thoroughfare of Russia throughout several centuries, but also has great visual appeal. Samara´s river-front is one of the favorite recreation places for local citizens and visitors.

Day 10

Saratov: During a panoramic city tour you will become acquainted with this southern city's most prominent landmarks.

Saratov is a major city in southern Russia with a population of 873,055. The city was initially founded in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the southern districts of the Russian Empire. Situated on the Volga River, Saratov was a major military aircraft manufacturing site, the home of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, and a vital part of the Soviet space program. It has a rich cultural life, as well - among the most famous sites is the Conservatoire designed in a Neo-Gothic style as well as the Drama Theatre named after Ivan Slonov, one of the oldest theatres in Russia. Of other interest, the community of Volga Germans was centered in the Saratov region. In the early 20th century over 800,000 ethnic Germans made their home in this area preserving many of their German customs.

Day 11

Volgograd: We will begin with a Panoramic city tour and visit the memorial complex on Mamayev Kurgan, a hill that saw some of the most intense fighting during the Stalingrad battle. You will see the famous Russian monument Rodina Mat’ (Mother Motherland) and learn about the city’s brave defense against the Nazi invaders during the battle of Stalingrad.

Volgograd is an important industrial city with a population of 1.011 millon people. The city was founded as the fortress of Tsaritsyn in 1589 to defend the southern flank of the Russian Empire and played a major role in Russian Civil War and the development of the Soviet Union. However, the city is most famous for its heroic resistance and extensive damage during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. The battle is seen by most scholars as the pivotal battle of WWII - the battle in which the tide was turned against Hitler’s fascist invaders. Over 2 million Soviet and fascist troops died in the battle which lasted over 6 months.

Day 12

Day on board. You will spend this day on board your cruise ship enjoying an entertainment program.

Day 13-14

Astrakhan: Sightseeing in this city includes a panoramic city tour and a visit to the Kremlin.

On the last day of your cruise you will say goodbye to Russia, your ship’s crew and the many new friends we are sure you will have met during your time with us. We are sure that your memories of the trip will last a lifetime and we look forward to welcoming you to Russia sometime in the future. Our driver will meet you at the ship and take you to the airport to see you off (Transfer is optional).

Astrakhan is an old southern Russian city situated on the banks of the Volga River not far from the point where it empties into the Caspian Sea. Older parts of Astrakhan are filled with wonderful examples of Russian architecture, the most notable of which are the Kremlin and the two impressive cathedrals. Before being conquered by Ivan and Terrible and thereby becoming part of the Russian Empire, Astrakhan was the capital of Khazaria (the famed Jewish Empire of the 8th and 9th centuries) and was a stronghold of the Golden Horde. In the 17th century Astrakhan was developed as Russia’s Gate to the Orient and became a truly International city with its population composed of many different nationalities including Indian, Persian, Armenian, Russian, Khivian, Turkish and others. Astrakhan is truly a place where East meets West and a unique Russian and Eastern city all at the same time.

PRICES & DATES

Prices are per person.

The surcharge for single occupancy in a double cabin is 75% of the total amount for the cruise. 

Included:

  • Accommodation in a cabin of a chosen category
  • Sightseeing programs in each port as per itinerary (optional tours are available on board)
  • Daily international on-board entertainment including concerts, lessons, master classes, movies, welcome bread and salt ceremony, Captain’s cocktail and dinner.
  • English-speaking guides onboard; services of guides speaking other languages are available upon request
  • Use of a cabin safe
  • Luggage handling onboard the ship
  • Russian visa invitation - the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.

Included meals on MS Lev Tolstoy:

  • Full board, three meals per day (from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day): breakfast and lunch are buffet style, dinner is with fixed menu and preliminary order
  • Water in carafs for breakfast, tea/coffee for all meals
  • For each lunch and dinner: 1 glass of wine OR 1 glass of beer OR 1 bottle of mineral water (0.5l) OR 1 bottle of soda (0.5l) per person
  • Welcome bread and salt ceremony on arrival day
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Captain’s farewell dinner with a special menu
  • Russian tea ceremony
  • Mulled wine/hot tea (during cold weather), ice-tea (during hot weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • Coffee station (coffee/tea/cookies): 06:00 – breakfast, 10:00-12:00, 16:00-18:00, 21:00-23:00

Included meals on MS Konstanti Fedin:

  • Full board, three meals per day (from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day): breakfast and lunch are buffet style, dinner is with fixed menu and preliminary order
  • Water in carafs, tea/coffee for dinner
  • 1 glass of red/white wine or juice is included for each dinner
  • 1 bottle of water (0.33l) in cabin per person replenished daily
  • Welcome bread and salt ceremony on arrival day
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Captain’s farewell dinner with a special menu
  • Russian tea ceremony
  • Cocktail party (once per tour) – 1 cocktail to choose out of three cocktails per 1 person
  • Mulled wine/hot tea (during cold weather), ice-tea (during hot weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • Coffee station (coffee/decaf/hot water/milk/cocoa/packed tea/sugar/sweetener/cookies): 06:00 – breakfast, 10:00-12:00, 16:00-18:00, 21:00-23:00

Not included:

  • Russian Visas. For US, UK and Canadian citizens, our company offers Full Visa Support. This is where you send us your passport and other documentation and we obtain the Russian visa for you. 
  • International airfare. 
  • Arrival and departure transfers. We can arrange those for an extra fee.
  • Additional drinks and water in ship restaurant and drinks from the onboard bars
  • Option tours
  • Tips for the crew and ship staff
  • Forwarding of baggage/souvenirs
  • Accident, baggage and trip cancellation insurance (we recommend you purchase insurance).
  • Items of a personal nature (laundry services, bar charges, beauty salon services, telephone and cable charges and medical services).
  • Room service offered at an additional price.
  • Water; you can order packages of water as extra for the following prices. Please contact your order manager for more information.

Please be informed that all pre/post cruise services (additional arr/dep transfers, hotel accommodations, additional excursions, etc.) can also arranged by us.

Conditions of payment: To book your cruise a 20% deposit is required in advance. The trip must be fully paid 41 days before departure.

Cancellation terms for river cruises: 
41 or more days before departure – a fee equal to 20% of the entire package will be charged.
40-20 days before departure – a fee equal to 60% of the entire package will be charged.
19 days or less before departure or in the event of a no-show - a fee equal to 100% of the package will be charged.

Ship

Ships

Nizhny Novgorod 4*

This vessel is going to be refurbished for season 2019. All the following information regarding the ship's features is relevant only for 2019 cruises

Motorship “Nizhny Novgorod” is a comfortable four-deck vessel (type 301) built in Germany in 1977 and refurbished in 2019. The motorship features 2 restaurants, 3 bars, a conference hall, and a souvenir store. There is also a sauna, solarium and a medical room on board. 


SUITE
2 room cabin with separate bedroom and lounge area, around 30 square meters, equipped with private facilities, heating and ventilation system, 220 volt sockets, radio, 4 large opening scenic windows. Lounge area is furnished in a stylish way with a roomy wardrobe, occasional table, cushioned furniture, TV/video, refrigerator. Bedroom is furnished with a king-size bed, wardrobe and console-mirror. Suite can accommodate up to 3 people. Extra bed type - folding-bed.

DELUXE MAIN DECK
Spacious twin cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

DELUXE MIDDLE/BOAT DECK
Spacious twin/double cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

SINGLE
One-bed outside cabin with a large opening scenic window, private facilities, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Equipped wit new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

TWIN
Two-bed outside single-staged cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

TRIPLE
Three-bed two-tiered cabin with two non-opening portholes, equipped with private facilities, heating and ventilation system, refrigerator, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style. Can be used for double accommodation

Nikolay Chernyshevsky 4*

Motorship Nikolay Chernishevsky is a comfortable four-deck vessel (type 301). Built in Germany in 1981, refurbished in 2018, the motorship is equipped with modern navigational facilities and exceeds the speed of 26 km per hour (around 17MpH). The ship features 2 restaurants, 2 bars and a Conference hall. Passengers can use Ironing room, Sauna and Solarium. There is also a Souvenir store and a Medical room on board. 


SUITE
2 room cabin with separate bedroom and lounge area, around 30 square meters, equipped with private facilities, heating and ventilation system, 220 volt sockets, radio, 4 large opening scenic windows. Lounge area is furnished in a stylish way with a roomy wardrobe, occasional table, cushioned furniture, TV/video, refrigerator. Bedroom is furnished with a king-size bed, wardrobe and console-mirror. Suite can accommodate up to 3 people. Extra bed type - folding-bed.

JUNIOR SUITE
Spacious double cabin with 3 large opening scenic windows, equipped with private facilities, heating and ventilation system, refrigerator, 220 volt socket, radio, TV/video. Cabin is furnished in a practical style with a double bed, a wardrobe, occasional table, cushioned furniture. Junior Suite can accommodate up to 3 people. Extra bed type - folding-bed.

DELUXE MAIN DECK
Spacious twin cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

DELUXE MIDDLE/BOAT DECK
Spacious twin/double cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

SINGLE
One-bed outside cabin with a large opening scenic window, private facilities, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Equipped wit new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

TWIN
Two-bed outside single-staged cabin with a large opening scenic window, heating and ventilation system, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style.

TRIPLE
Three-bed two-tiered cabin with two non-opening portholes, equipped with private facilities, heating and ventilation system, refrigerator, wardrobe, 220 volt socket, radio. Cabin is equipped with new furniture and lighting; decorated in modern style. Can be used for double accommodation

TESTIMONIALS

Stephen, UK

We have just returned home to the UK after our visit to Russia and the cruise on the MS Rostropovich. We had a superb time. The quality of the ship was superb and the service provided by all the staff was very friendly and professional. A very good introduction to Russia on our first visit to your country. I am emailing to thank you personally for the very efficient service provided by Express to Russia. From the initial enquiry, through the provision of additional information, to the conclusion of the booking you have always responded very promptly to my emails. This made the whole process much easier than it might otherwise have been and I would most certainly recommend your services to others. Thank-you and best wishes for the future.

Stephen, UK (August, 2018)
Barbara and Louis, USA

Louis and I want you to know that our vacation was just great. The Rostropovich was very nice boat. All the crew were pleasant and helpful, including our guide Antonne. The food was very good. All the transfers worked out perfectly. We certainly would recommend your company.

Barbara and Louis, USA (August, 2018)
Hugo , Ilona , Marie-Pierre and Jean-Marie, South Africa

We had the most wonderful cruise and really enjoyed Russia. The crew on board were fantastic, food was great and we had a professor on board discussing current affairs, amazing. Tours were amazing and informative. Transfers were on time, so all in all, thank you for arranging such an experience, much appreciated.

Hugo , Ilona , Marie-Pierre and Jean-Marie, South Africa (July, 2018)
Gordana, Serbia

Two days ago we have returned from our journey in Russia. It was absolutely a wonderful experience! We had enjoyed every minute of our trip. Beautiful country with so much to offer! Many thanks for the great assistance that you have provided to us with the booking of the cruise!

Gordana, Serbia (July, 2018)
Mike & Irma, South Africa

I want to provide to you some feedback about the boat trip which we undertook from 12 till 19 May 2018. 1. The transfers from the airport to the boat was fantastic. Your driver went out of his way to assist us till into the reception area of the correct boat. He was on time at the airport also. He was very friendly also. 2. The cruise: this was a memorable experience for us. We got much more than we expected. The Russian history lessons; the Russian language lessons; the Vodka tasting lecture – these were very informative 3. The crew on the ship went out of their way to make us comfortable and relaxed. They were always available and very friendly 4. The local tours and the guides were very well planned and executed. The Guides are so passionate about their tasks and made one feel ashamed of the way we were told by our government in the communism era how bad Russia was. 5. The transfer from the ship to the airport in Moscow was great. The driver was there on time and drove safely to the airport with us. Very friendly also. I will definitely recommend the tour and your company to all who ask me about the visit to Russia. Perhaps I will come visit Russia again in the future and spend more time in Moscow also. Thank you once again for assisting with arranging a most memorable vacation!

Mike & Irma, South Africa (May, 2018)
Olive, Australia

I enjoyed my holiday in Russia very much and I found your company to be extremely helpful and courteous, it was a joy to correspond with you, thank you for making my holiday plans easier.

Olive, Australia (September, 2017)
Svetislav, Slovenia

Staff of Express to Russia and especially ms, Galina are exceptional competent ladies: very communicative and prompt with answers; booking, invitation letters, transfer from the airport to pear and in Saint Petersburg to hotel (we extended staying there for five days on our own) etc. went smooth. Pleasure to do business with ms. Galina and Express to Russia!

Svetislav, Slovenia (August, 2017)
Helga and Al, USA

We are back from our beautiful, Russian Cruise Excursion. My wife Helga and I want to thank you for helping me/us to arrange this wonderful trip. The specific reason for this trip was to take once more an adventure trip of this kind as a gift to our self on our 50th wedding anniversary. The anniversary was on the 10th while we were in St. Petersburg were we celebrated at the Astoria hotel with a ballet in the evening at the Mariinsky Theater in Tsar Nicolas Box. Upon our arrival on ship, and thanks to you I felt like a Russian finding the bottle champagne in our cabin and enjoying it. I made a toast to you and want to express my sincere thanks. My wife and I would have liked to have met you while in St. Petersburg. I now would like to say, that we experienced some of the Russian Soul and would wish that the rest of the world would have such love for their country.

Helga and Al, USA (June, 2017)
Jennifer, Australia

It was a long held dream of mine to visit your beautiful country. Cruising between St Petersburg and Moscow was beyond my expectations , so far my best travel experience Thanks to Express to Russia for all their assistance in organising my trip

Jennifer, Australia (May, 2017)
Brian Asmus, USA

I LOVED THE CRUISE!!!!! It was amazing and I had the best time. The food/service/cabin were all great and the price was FANTASTIC!!!!! I have mentioned this to my sister and her husband and they are considering going next year. LOVED it. I don't have ONE complaint :). THANKS for an amazing experience.

Brian Asmus, USA (October, 2016)

Send Request