Cruising Through Imperial Russia

Exploring Russia's Waterways aboard the Volga Dream


Get ready for an exciting journey into the Russian past with professional lecturers, try the most delicious dishes of traditional Russian cuisine, enjoy the masterpieces of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, and learn some useful phrases in Russian! The on board program includes four fascinating lectures by professors about Russian history and politics, a costumed Russian tea ceremony, cooking class, lessons of the Russian language, festival of traditional cuisine, vodka tasting party, piano concert of Russian classical music, Matroishka painting master class, and many other activities aimed at enhancing your knowledge of our outstanding country.

Family owned and operated, the Volga Dream offers a truly Russian cruise experience. All crew members are Russian natives, fluent in English and hand-picked by the owner, whom you can frequently meet aboard the ship. Proudly, the Volga Dream is famous for her hard working and very hospitable personnel who take care of every aspect of your life on board and do their best to organize a seamless journey for you.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Day 1

When you arrive in Moscow, transfer to your hotel in the historic city center. In the evening gather for a welcome reception with your guide and fellow travelers.

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Day 2
City tour / Sparrow Hills / Novodevichy Cemetery

Begin the day with an orientation tour of Moscow. The city boasts unique diversity and variety in terms of building styles: classic, modern, empire and eclecticism amazingly sit alongside more monumental designs, such as Stalin's towering skyscrapers from the mid 20th century. The architecture of the capital, though seemingly contradictory and contrasting, makes for a dazzling combination in a quite unique city. Lunch is served in a restaurant on the top-floor of one of Moscow's skyscrapers offering spectacular city views. After lunch, visit the famous Novodevichi Cemetery, where well-known Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets, are buried along with famous actors, political leaders, and scientists.

City tour highlights: Tverskaya Street, Lubyanka Square, Kremlin embankment. Red Square (stop and walk), Novodevichiy Convent (photo stop), and if time permits, a stop at the Christ the Savior Cathedral and Sparrow Hills.

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Day 3
Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square Walk / St. Basil’s Cathedral / GUM Department Store / Park Zaryadye

The morning consists of a stroll through the famous Moscow Kremlin with its beautiful cathedrals and unique museums. The Armory hosts an impressive collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armor and ancient weapons, royal carriages, and sleighs.

After lunch, cross Red Square to visit GUM, Moscow's largest department store, and enter a masterpiece of medieval Moscow—St. Basil's Cathedral. Then proceed with a leisurely walk through the newly designed park Zaryadye, a stone's throw from the Kremlin and Red Square.

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Day 4
Leo Tolstoy House-Museum in Hamovniki / Old Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro / Embarkation aboard the MS Volga Dream

The first stop after checking out of your hotel is the small and cozy former home-estate once owned by one of Russia's literary greats, Leo Tolstoy. He lived with his wife and thirteen children in this two-story wooden Moscow house from 1882 to 1901; it is now a carefully preserved memorial. 

After a relaxed lunch, the sightseeing continues after lunch at the State Tretyakov Gallery with its extraordinary collection of Russian art, ranging from Rublev's 12th century icons to 19th century masterpieces. Explore Moscow's Metro, famed for its architectural splendor.

Meanwhile, the lovely MS Volga Dream awaits as your voyage along Russia’s extensive waterways is about to begin. The Captain's welcome reception and dinner mark the start of our unforgettable cruise. Tonight enjoy a bread, salt, and vodka “Wecome Aboard” ceremony.

Day 5

After a full day of cruising through idyllic forested countryside, MS Volga Dream ties up in the ancient trading town of Uglich, a key point in Russia’s renowned "Golden Ring." Explore the impressive Church of St. Dmitri-on-the-Blood, erected on the site where Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in 1591. Then enjoy an enchanting concert of choral music performed in St. John’s Church. Tonight you experience a costumed Russian Tea Ceremony and cooking class.

Day 6

Founded in 1010, Yaroslavl is one of central Russia’s oldest cities and boasts the Volga’s first port. There is much to see: the Spassky Monastery houses the Transfiguration of the Savior and the Church of Elijah the Prophet, an impressive collection of mosaics. Take part in a costumed reception at the governor’s house before re-boarding the MS Volga Dream in time for lunch for a barbecue lunch on the Sun Deck.

Day 7

This morning takes you on an early crossing of Lake Beloye, or the White Lake, formerly known as the “tsar’s fishing grounds”, before arriving in the peaceful village of Goritsy, where you can tour the Ferapontov Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent frescoes by Dionysius, one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. He painted the temple ceiling about 10 years before Michelangelo even started on the Sistine Chapel! Return to the ship for a late lunch and afternoon cruising. Tonight enjoy a traditional Russian dinner with vodka tasting.

Day 8

Kareliya is a region that must be seen to be believed, it spans all the way from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, a vast wilderness of forest and water. Lake Onega is fed by 58 rivers and is home to 1,369 islands, including your stop, Kizhi with its quaint collection of ancient wooden houses and windmills including the famous and remarkable Transfiguration church, built in 1714 without a single nail being used. Tonight there will be a piano concert with pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.

Day 9

The highlight of your day in Svirstroy is being invited into a local resident’s home. Warm and welcoming Svirstroy villagers will offer tea with jam and “pirozhki” (local pies). They will enthusiastically tell you all about Russian tradition, lifestyle and the attractions of Svirstroy village while proudly showing off their homes and kitchen gardens. After tea, hop on a bus for a tour of the nearby town to see the monument of the WWII and visit a local primary school. Tonight you enjoy a Farewell Dinner with the captain and crew.

Day 10
St. Petersburg / City Tour / St. Isaac’s Cathedral / Canal boat / Yusupov Palace

The MS Volga Dream ties up in St. Petersburg on the Neva River where you disembark for a city tour, including Peter and Paul Fortress (outside), the Royal Romanov burial site and Nevsky Prospect with its rich selection of fine shops, cafes, and museums. You'll then proceed to St. Isaac's Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the city skyline. Sculptures and massive red granite columns decorate the façade, while the interior is even more lavishly appointed with mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli. After a relaxed lunch, embark on a canal cruise sailing under the city's many historic bridges and past its magnificent pastel. The day ends with a tour of Yusupov's Palace, former home to one of St. Petersburg's wealthiest aristocrats. The enigmatic story of Grigory Rasputin, the monk assassinated here by Prince Felix Yusupov, is told in this very basement.

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
St. Petersburg, Russia
Days 10 to 12 (3 nights)
Day 11
The State Hermitage Museum (Early Entrance) / Gold Room / Peterhof: Park and One of the Small Cottages

The morning takes you to one of the most famous museums in the world, the awe-inspiring Hermitage in the lavishly decorated Winter Palace. (To avoid the crowds, a special Early Entrance has been arranged for you, before official opening hours.) The Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings and houses 3 million artworks ranging from Stone Age to modern times. The collection includes Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael and Titian. After exploring the main galleries, proceed to the Gold Room, usually closed to general public, with a collection of gold Scythian artwork and elaborate imperial gifts. Lunch is followed by a tour to the most famous and spectacular Imperial estate of Peterhof, often dubbed the Russian Versailles. The vast Lower Park, with its 176 fountains and four cascades, is a glorious place to walk, taking in majestic palaces and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. You enjoy a truly spectacular day before returning to St. Petersburg.

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
St. Petersburg, Russia
Days 10 to 12 (3 nights)
Day 12
Faberge Museum / Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

Enjoy a full sightseeing day with a visit to the Fabergé Museum, founded by entrepreneur, Viktor Vekselberg. The museum was opened in December 2013 to display a glittering collection of Faberge eggs and objects d‟art created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his staff. Vekselberg's collection is rated as one of the world's most valuable and includes items he bought from the Forbes family in 2004 for $100 million. After lunch you will travel to the Tsar's Village to visit the famous Catherine's Palace and the exquisitely recreated Amber Room. A stroll through the formal gardens is highly recommended. You enter the Pushkin grounds through the Golden Gate and ascend the staircase to the Grand Hall. The Golden Enfilade offers a glorious view of the Amber Room.

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
St. Petersburg, Russia
Days 10 to 12 (3 nights)
Day 13

Transfer to airport for your outbound flight.

St. Petersburg to Moscow

Days 1-4: St. Petersburg
Day 5: Svirstroy
Day 6: Kizhi
Day 7: Goritsy
Day 8: Yaroslavl
Day 9: Uglich
Days 10-13: Moscow



Special early entrance to Hermitage Museum and Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin
Visit eight World Heritage Sites including the Kremlin and Red Square
Savor Russian cooking classes, vodka tastings, and a tea ceremony
Enjoy a private home visit in St. Petersburg


Length: 13 days
Cost From: $6395  
Arrive: Moscow, Russia
Depart: St. Petersburg, Russia
Lodging: 6 nights aboard the 5-star Volga Dream, 6 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included aboard ship (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: River Cruising
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration and walking tours
Cruise collection 2021 brochure

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