Moscow - St. Petersburg Cruise 5-star cruise by Vodohod (long)

Travel along the beautiful Volga River as you make your way between Russia's largest and most fascinating cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Both these cities are rich in history, art, architecture and the food is pretty good too! By taking a river voyage, a ship can easily link these two great imperial cities of the czars. Moscow has a wonderful heritage of historic buildings and is known as the medieval and 20th century capital of Russia, while St. Petersburg is a dreamland of 18th century architecture and craftsmanship. Besides offering visits to sites of unique historical and architectural interest, these cruises afford a relaxing alternative to traveling by taking you along the Neva River, Lake Ladoga, the Svir River, Lake Onega, the Baltic canal, White Lake and the Volga River.

ITINERARY & MAP

Day 1 - 3

Moscow:

Day 1: 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). After a brief check-in, you’ll meet the ship’s crew at a delightful cocktail and caviar reception – a relaxing way to begin your adventure after a day’s travel.

Day 2: Explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Get inside the renowned Kremlin to see famous Tsar Canon and Tsar Bell, visit one of the Cathedrals which played the major role in all of Russian tsars’ lives. Red Square will amaze you with the grandness and unique architecture of surrounding buildings. Use you free time to enter colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral or memorable department store GUM. Recently opened Zaryadie park which is also called park of the future will introduce you to the diversity of nature in Russia with landscapes from different climatic zones. Visit the best photo point – floating bridge to take excellent picture of the Kremlin and Red Square. Your lunch today combined with picturesque cruise around the city centre. After the lunch enjoy a walk along legendary pedestrian Arbat Street with its free spirited artists and musicians. Experience the most beautiful metro in the world and visit some of the stunning metro stations. Dinner in the city restaurant will give you another chance to enjoy the scenery of Moscow. Folk artists will entertain you today’s evening after the performance you’ll have an exclusive chance to meet stars of the show and learn more about them and see some specially performed tricks. 

Day 3: Your third day in Moscow will present you with unique opportunity to see the city from its highest point and go underground to the deepest place. Start your day with exclusive visit to the observation deck in newly built skyscraper, enjoy bird’s-eye view of the whole Moscow crowd free as the observation deck exclusively closed for Vodohod guests. Try ice cream and chocolate produced there, don’t limit yourself and get as many as you want. After being at the top of the world, descend into the deepest bunker in Moscow. The bunker was built in 1951 in connection with the imminent threat of a nuclear war with the United States, it is a unique, one of a kind attraction, unparalleled in the world. In the 1960s, Bunker-42 was fully equipped with everything necessary in case of a nuclear strike. Stocks of products, fuel, systems of regeneration and purification of air, supply of drinking water could provide combat alert personnel for several months. In the afternoon we depart from Moscow and start our exciting journey.

Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. This amazing city has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Moscow has had a tumultuous history dating back to medieval times when it was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki (Yuri of the Long Arms, known for the length of his arms!) in the early 12th century. It has seen numerous invasions and sieges from the Mongols to the Poles and Lithuanians to the Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and finally the Nazi's but it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city is filled with unique architecture from the Kremlin and Red Square to giant Stalin skyscrapers to new office blocks built during the economic boom of recent years and it contains a strikingly beautiful metro system. The city is the center of political as well as economic power in Russia and visitors can feel the energy in the streets. There is always something going on in Moscow and there is so much to see. Your tour will give you valuable insights into Russia's history, its art and most importantly its culture and people. Welcome to Moscow, we are sure you will have an unforgettable stay with us!

Day 4

Uglich: After spending the morning enjoying the scenery from the ship’s board, arrive to the gem of Russia’s Golden Ring – little ancient town Uglich. Visit Kremlin of Uglich and beautiful church with dark name Church of St. Dmitry on the spilled blood, which was built on the place where son of Iva the Terrible died under mysterious circumstances. Exclusively for the guests of Mustai Karim concert of choir Kovcheg will be arranged.  Spend the  rest of the afternoon being hosted in a home of a local family, special treats and engaging conversations are waiting for you.

Day 5

Plyos: Today you visit picturesque provincial town Plyos which inspired painters and artists for years. During the city tour you’ll visit the museum of legendary Russian landscape painter Isaak Levitan and learn more not only about Russian art, but about everyday life of provincial aristocracy.

Enjoy “country house evening in Plyos” with dinner in national restaurant “Chugunok” with caviar degustation and interesting conversation about Russian cuisine. Musical evening "Unexpected encounters with Russian music stars“ is to follow. The descendant of Mustai Karim himself is running the town and some special surprises are prepared here for you. 

A small town of Plyos can’t but inspire so beautiful it is. No wonder it inspired the most outstanding landscape painter Isaac Levitan. Dating back to the 15th century every year Plyos hosts hundreds of tourists who come to the town attracted by its charm and tranquility and by a great opportunity to visit Levitan museum where his best paintings are exhibited.

Day 6

Yaroslavl: Explore the capital of Russia’s Golden Ring, which marked its 1000 year anniversary in 2010. Historical center of the city is included n the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After getting to know the city during sightseeing tour, visit mansion of the ex-governor, where the guides portraying his daughters will show you around the house and invite you for a cocktail in the ballroom to the accompaniment of live music. 

Show display the Golden Ring of Russia n miniature will amaze you with unique night projections, lighting effects on buildings, sounds of cities and other surprises. After that see the only enamel art museum in Russia with a rich collection of works created by leading enamel artists in Russia and abroad. Try your hand in creating enamel art yourself during the master class.

Day 7

Goritsy: Start your way to the ancient Feropontov monastery from a peaceful village of Goritsy. The monastery which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site is unique in its beauty, authenticity and consistency of architectural details of different centuries. The object of special interest is the Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin, which walls are covered with invaluable frescoes by the great medieval painter Dionisius.

Goritsy is a tiny settlement 7 kilometers from the St. Cyril on the White Lake Monastery. The remains of the Nunnery of the Resurrection that sits on the banks of the Sheksna River can be visited and is within a quarter of a mile of where the ship stops. Goritsy is definitely a site to see for anyone with an interest in Russian history. St. Cyril on the White Lake was founded in 1397 by Kirill Belosersky on the shore of Lake Siverskoye. The monastery had wide trade in the 15th to 17th centuries and was used as a fortress to protect Russia's nobility during the Times of Troubles.

Day 8

Kizhi IslandAfter crossing the second largest lake in Europe – Onega, discover the island of Kizhi, home of another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the unique historical, cultural and natural complex, admire the beauty of Transfiguration Cathedral built without a single nail according o the legend, visit traditional wooden house and Russian banya (sauna). After the tour enjoy excusive concert “Music of Northern Village”.

Kizhi Island: Via the Volga Baltic Canal, our cruise takes us to the tiny island of Kizhi, located at the northern end of Lake Onega. The island is renowned for its open-air Museum of Architecture, which is assembled from over 80 monuments of wooden architecture from various areas of the country and restored to form a glimpse of the past. The most impressive site on the island is the Church of the Transfiguration or Preobrazhenskaya (the church of twenty-two wooden domes). This masterpiece of architecture, featuring five tiers of 22 domes, was built in 1714 without the use of a single nail, only an axe and pine trees. The church magically changes color as the day grows old, it is certainly one of the most interesting things you will see during your time in Russia.

Day 9

Enjoy the day at leisure on board, today you are passing through the Europe’s two largest lakes Onega and Ladoga. Today you are invited to Russia’s food fest – learn more about cuisine of different nationalities in Russia

Day 10 - 12

St. Petersburg

Day 10: After relaxing day on board, start your day with early passage under the world renowned  draw bridges of St.Petersburg. Get to know the Northern capital of Russia during bus city tour and special tour of rivers and canals. After substantial lunch learn the mysteries of Yusupov Palace, where one of the most controversial figures in Russian history – Grigory Rasputin was murdered. Today’s evening is the special occasion as you are exclusively invited to the Catherine Palace for the emperor’s reception. Enter the palace through the Golden gate with orchestra accompaniment, visit celebrated Amber Room and enjoy yourself with champagne and music. After a relaxing day on board, a truly unique experience awaits: at night, you’ll pass under the drawn bridges of St. Petersburg – a privilege exclusive to Vodohod guests.

Day 11: Start your day with exclusive crowd-free visit to Hermitage museum and enjoy rare opportunity to see famed golden peacock clock being wined up, this is the world’s only large machine of the XVIII century that has survived by this day unchanged. Spend the morning exploring one of the richest museums in the world with paintings of Da Vinhi, Rafael, Rembrandt, Rubens and many others. After lunch high speed hydrofoils will take you to the Peterhof which was created to beat the fame of the Versailles, see exquisite fountains of the lower park and visit one of gorgeous palaces.

Day 12: 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).

PRICES & DATES

Prices are per person.

The surcharge for single occupancy in a double cabin is 75% of the total cruise price. Surcharge for single occupancy in Suites is 100% of the cruise price.

Included:

  • Full board catering (three times meal) including dinner upon arrival and breakfast on the departure day
  • Russian welcome “Bread and salt” ceremony on the embarkation day
  • Coffee station available 24/24
  • 1 bottle of mineral water (0.5 l) per person daily in the cabin
  • 1 bottle of mineral water (0.5 l) per person for the excursions
  • Water at table for breakfast and lunch (including lunches in the city)
  • Dinner (including dinner in the city): water on the table + 1 glass (150 ml) of red or white wine or 1 glass of juice (200 ml) or 1 beer (0,33 l) or 1 soda (0,33 l) per person
  • Welcome drink on embarkation day – 1 glass of sparkling wine or 1 glass of jus and 1 canape per person
  • Crew presentation cocktail – 1 cocktail per person (choice of 3 cocktails: 2 alcoholic and 1 nonalcoholic)
  • On board service in English/French/Italian/Spanish/German language
  • Daily entertainment including lessons of Russian language, live lounge music, live dancing music at night, piano music concerts, lectures about Russian history and culture, etc
  • Russian Tea Ceremony
  • Midnight soup
  • Excursions as per itinerary
  • Farewell cocktail – 1 glass of sparkling wine or 1 glass of jus and 1 canape per person
  • Captain’s Farewell dinner (special menu)
  • Themed dinners on board
  • Reception desk available 24/24
  • Hot tea (during cool weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • Ice tea/fruit drink (during hot weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • On embarkation/disembarkation day from 16:00 till 17:00 serving of broth with small bread
  • Afternoon snacks (traditional cuisine of Russian regions)
  • Bathrobes and slippers in all cabins
  • Umbrella in all cabins
  • Minibar all cabins (for additional fee)
  • Round the clock reception
  • Hot towels after return on board from shore excursions
  • Using earphones
  • Russian visa invitation - the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country. 

PLEASE NOTE: your passport should be valid for no less than 6 months after the planned departure from Russia and it should have at least 2 blank pages. The process of applying for visa may take a long time and we recommend that you start in 3 months before your trip. In case you are booking the trip last minute, we recommend that you check with the Russian Consulate in your country whether you have enough time for visa application process. In case you have to cancel your trip because of visa issues standard cancellation policy will be applied. 

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.
  • Travel and health insuranceWe highly recommend the purchase insurance before embarking on your trip to Russia.  It's always good to have extra protection for peace of mind while traveling far from home. Click here to learn more.
  • Drink packages
  • Degustation of vodka and traditional snacks
  • Birthday greetings (cake, music)
  • Gratuities
  • Sauna / hairdresser / massage
  • Sports equipment rental: bicycles, Nordic walking poles, folding chair canes
  • Personal spending
  • Luggage handling in river ports from the inspection point to the ship and from the ship to the bus, as well as on board the ship
  • Culinary master class

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

BOOKING AND CANCELLATION POLICY

Conditions of payment: To book your cruise a 25% deposit is required in advance. The trip must be fully paid 65 days before departure.

Cancellation terms: 
65 or more days before departure – a fee equal to 25% of the entire package will be charged.
64-55 days before departure – a fee equal to 50% of the entire package will be charged.
54-36 days before departure – a fee equal to 75% of the entire package will be charged.
35 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

Mustai Karim 5*

This luxurious four-deck vessel was built in Russia in 2019. The ship features 2 bars, a restaurant, a reading lounge, conference hall/movie theater, a souvenir store and a medical room. The ship has an elevator which makes it stand out from many other Russian cruise ships. All cabins are outside with floor-to-ceiling windows, equipped with wardrobe, satellite-TV, safe, fridge, hairdryer, radio, telephone, private facilities (shower, bathtub in Suite), panoramic window or balcony, 220 volt sockets.


Standard cabin on MS Mustai Karim
Standard cabin
Twin/double cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows. Cabin is equipped with comfortable furniture, spacious bathroom and decorated in modern style. Size of cabin is around 18.4sqm. Twin/double cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows, AC, wardrobe, occasional table and 2 arm-chairs, 220 volt socket, TV, radio, safe, telephone, hair dryer, minibar, vanity table.

Deluxe Cabin on MS Mustai Karim
Deluxe cabin
Spacious twin/double cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows. Cabin is equipped with comfortable furniture, spacious bathroom and decorated in modern style. Size of cabins is around 20.2sqm. Floor-to-ceiling windows, AC, wardrobe, occasional table and 2 arm-chairs, 220 volt socket, TV, radio, safe, telephone, hair dryer, minibar, vanity table.

Junior Suite cabin on MS Mustai Karim
Junior Suite cabin
Spacious twin/double cabin with lounge area, floor-to-ceiling windows. Cabin is equipped with comfortable furnitur, spacious bathroom and decorated in modern style. Lounge area, floor-to-ceiling windows, AC, wardrobe, occasional table and 2 armchairs, 220 volt socket, TV, safe, telephone, hair dryer, minibar, vanity table.

Suite cabin on MS Mustai Karim
Suite cabin
Suite cabins with with floor-to-ceiling windows. Cabin is equipped with comfortable furniture, spacious bathroom and decorated in modern style. Size of cabins is around 29.88sqm - 36.59sqm. Floor-to-ceiling windows, AC, 220 volt sockets, radio, occasional table, TV, minibar, safe, telephone, two beds which can be placed separately or together, wardrobe, vanity table, hair dryer.

Owner's Suite cabin on MS Mustai Karim
Owner's Suite
Two-room cavernous stateroom with separate bedroom and lounge area, step-out balcony. Cabin is equipped with comfortable furniture, spacious bathroom and decorated in modern style. Size of cabins is around 44.34sqm. Separate bedroom and lounge area, step-out balcony, AC, 220 volt sockets, radio. Cushioned furniture, occasional table, TV, minibar, safe, telephone, two beds which can be placed separately or together, wardrobe, vanity table, hair dryer.

TESTIMONIALS

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)
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)
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)

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