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Best River Cruises

Waterways of the Tsars – Viking River Cruise

Viking brings you insightful, behind-the-scenes experiences, and unique and different ways to see the country’s great attractions and mingle with the locals. With a spectacular, newly-refurbished fleet of ships, let Viking show you all of Russia’s highlights and introduce you to her people, culture and history.

Viking Helgi Kizhi


From St. Petersburg airport Viking takes you to your ship where you can enjoy time to relax, or explore the city before dinner.

Included meal: dinner.


In the city that was founded by Tsar Peter the Great, enjoy a guided tour of the Winter Palace and legendary Hermitage Museum with its vast collection of art, antiquities, jewellery and sculptures. The Hermitage features more than three million items, including works from Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Matisse and Rubens as well as Cézanne, Van Gogh and Picasso. Your afternoon is free to spend at your leisure before enjoying an early dinner, followed by an evening performance of traditional Russian ballet or opera.

Included excursions: guided Hermitage Museum tour; evening ballet or opera performance.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


A Pushkin excursion features Catherine’s 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 fabled Agate and Amber Rooms – the Amber Room was constructed from more than six tons of carved amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors and was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. During WWII, German soldiers disassembled the room and it was never seen again – until 2003 when it was reconstructed, enabling visitors to once again enjoy its brilliance. In the afternoon, a panoramic city tour takes in all the splendour of this historic city. Enjoy dinner on board and an optional evening Russian folkloric performance.

Included excursions: Pushkin excursion featuring Catherine’s Palace; panoramic city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


On your last day in this magnificent city, enjoy free time 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, beautiful fountains and French Gothic interiors. In the afternoon, explore more of the city or take an optional relaxing canal cruise or Yusupov Palace tour.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Spend a relaxing day cruising Russia’s intricate waterways. Sail the Neva River and cross Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake. Cruise the Svir River to Mandrogy where you have time to explore this museum village. Visit the vodka museum or shop for handmade Russian crafts. For a (literally) immerse experience join an optional visit to a Russian bath house, the banya. Continue along the Svir’s 139-mile ‘Blue Route’ towards Lake Onega.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise though the early morning along the tranquil waters of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake. Arrive during breakfast at the island village of Kizhi. Enjoy a walking tour through the Open Air Museum of Architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This collection of ancient Russian wooden houses, windmills and churches features the famous three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church – a fairytale like structure built in 1714 without a single nail.

Included excursion: walking tour of Open Air Museum.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise the Volga-Baltic Waterway; spanning 229 miles and seven locks, it links the Volga River with the Baltic Sea. Arrive in Kuzino, a typical Russian village. Take a guided walk through the historic Kirrilo-Belozersky Monastery, and see small wooden chapels, the Assumption Cathedral and a museum. Or, see the Monastery followed by the afternoon in a Russian province, visiting a children’s art school and restoration workshop.

Included excursion: Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery guided walk.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Arrive in Yaroslavl, one of the Golden Ring cities; a group of historically significant cities northeast of Moscow. The city’s riverside promenade is one of the finest along the Volga, bordered by a picturesque greenbelt known as Lime Tree Avenue. Take a stroll through the covered food market, or join an excursion to the Governor’s Palace, a living museum of Russian art, history and culture. Or visit the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, one of the city’s most beautiful churches, featuring icons and detailed frescoes of prophets Elijah and Isaiah – some of the best examples of old Russian art. Shop for handcrafted gifts before returning aboard for dinner.

Included excursion: tour of city centre, including visit to Church of St. Elijah the Prophet.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, take a walking tour through the provincial village of Uglich, another Golden Ring city, and a favourite city of Ivan the Terrible. Visit the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood where Ivan the Terrible’s son Dmitry was mysteriously killed. The nine-year-old Dmitry is portrayed as a saint in frescoes depicting his murder. Afterwards, enjoy tea and conversation with a local family in their home.

Included excursion: guided walk with Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


This morning, cruise the Moscow Canal that links the great city to the Volga and St. Petersburg. You approach Moscow during lunch. Disembark for a half-day city tour. See the famous Bolshoi Theatre and stop at Red Square to see the colourful onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. You also get the chance to explore the famous GUM Department Store and experience the city’s unique Metro. Enjoy an evening performance of traditional Russian folkloric music followed by a late dinner on board.

Included excursions: panoramic city tour including Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russian folkloric performance.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy a full free day to further explore Moscow. At the centre of Russia, the city boasts 2,500 historical and architectural monuments, 70 museums, 50 theaters, 4,500 libraries and 500 colleges and research institutes. The city was founded by Uri Dolgoruki, Grand Prince of Suzdal and Kiev, and the first written reference to Moscow dates to 1147. You can, if you wish, join an optional excursion to Sergiev Posad, a glorious Golden Ring city with important Russian Orthodox monasteries. Or take a morning tour of the Cosmonaute Museum and trace the history of space exploration. Alternatively, visit the Military Museum with Red Army veterans and explore Russia’s military history. Dine aboard, then relax – or take an optional Moscow by Night tour.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Visit the Kremlin, see its many tall towers and elegant palaces and tour inside one of the brightly coloured cathedrals. At the centre of the Kremlin, amid a sea of domes, is Cathedral Square. The Cathedral of the Assumption was once the most important church in the country; here both the tsars and the metropolitans (archbishops) of the Orthodox Church were crowned. The afternoon is free for you to relax and further explore Moscow or admire the fine art in the Tretyakov Gallery before returning to your ship for a Farewell Dinner.

Included excursion: guided Kremlin tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Viking takes you to Moscow airport.

Included meal: breakfast.

Waterways of the Czars

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