Road Scholar : Home
Russian River Voyages Between Moscow and St. Petersburg

Program Number: 14304RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/2/2015 - 9/14/2015; 5/25/2016 - 6/6/2016; 7/13/2016 - 7/25/2016; 8/10/2016 - 8/22/2016; 9/7/2016 - 9/19/2016;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $3,866.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Immerse yourself in the vast country of Russia through the prism of life along its waterways. Learn about Russia’s imperial past in St. Petersburg, experience the Lakes, canals and Volga region’s traditional villages, and explore the dynamic city of Moscow. Expert-led talks and walking excursions reveal Russia’s fascinating history and culture, and delve into its current issues.

Activity Particulars

Walking about two miles a day, up/down hills and steps, on cobblestone surfaces and uneven terrain; standing in some museums, no wheelchair/walker accessibility.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

St. Petersburg, 3 nights; sailing aboard M/S Mstislav Rostropovich, 5 nights; Moscow, 3 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-5: Arrival Saint Petersburg / transfer to hotel/ embark M/S Mstislav Rostropovich.

Discover this magnificent Baltic Sea port city, founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. Learn about the Romanov Tsars during field trips to the Peterhof Estate-Park and opulent Catherine Palace. Examine the art treasures from all parts of the world during an expert-led visit to the State Hermitage Museum. Learn about the 900-day siege in Leningrad during WWII, and discuss the modern life and contemporary issues during a lecture on "Russia today." Enjoy an evening performance. Lodging: Comfortable Four-star hotel (two nights) and on board the ship (one night).

Day 6: Mandrogy:

Experience the whimsical wooden cottages of this recreated 19th-century Russian village and Russian style picnic lunch ashore. Sail down the picturesque winding Svir River and into lovely Lake Onega. During on board presentation learn about Russian musicians and artists who were inspired by the beauty of area we are sailing through.

Day 7: Kizhi:

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kizhi on an island on Lake Onega, where you find stunning 18th-century wooden churches and an octagonal clock tower. Participate in an onboard presentations on local arts and crafts and traditions, as well as famous Russians connected to these regions.

Day 8: Goritsy:

Today’s shore excursion takes you to the Goritsy Monastery of Resurrection, a Russian Orthodox monastery that holds a collection of rare, beautiful icons. Also, participate in an organized walk in the village; meet the villagers, visit their houses and a local school, and learn of the local lifestyle.

Day 9: Uglich:

Attend a lecture on board dedicated to Russian medieval History. Join a local expert leading a field trip in this quaint town, over a thousand years old. Learn about Russian turbulent medieval history during the 'Time of Troubles', visit the local kremlin (fortress) and the cathedral. See the site of the dramatic historic events which took place here in the medieval time.

Days 10-13: Moscow / disembark / transfer to hotel/ departure:

Complete your adventure in Russia’s energetic capital. Explore the legendary Kremlin compound and Red Square. At the Kremlin Armory chamber, view Russia’s crown jewels, Fabergé eggs and more. Spend a morning visiting the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, where we learn from the a expert about the USSR's legacy related to the outcome of WWII. Attend an evening performance and savor time on your own to make independent discoveries. Lodging: Onboard the ship (one night) and at a four-star hotel (two nights).

M/S Mstislav Rostropovich

Within the river cruise fleet operating in Russia the motor ship 'Mstislav Rostropovich' is regarded as one of the top river cruise vessels. This 4 passenger deck ship was built in Chekhoslovakia in the 1980's and was completely rebuilt and redesigned in 2009-10 to provide luxurious service in the Volga-Baltic Waterway. With a capacity for 212 passengers, it has staterooms featuring all the modern amenities. Comfortable public areas include a Panorama Lounge and a Conference room for our onboard lectures and performances. The friendly all-Russian, English-speaking crew and staff are well-trained in servicing Western passengers.


Russia developed under the influence of intellectuals, peasants, tsars and demagogues. Byzantine origins meld with Christianity in vibrant architecture, while religion, folkways and revolution inspired artists from Stravinsky to Chagall. Oppressive regimes helped to create the Iron Curtain, but the late 20th century ushered in glasnost, perestroika and a democratic nation of billionaires, ongoing reforms and an integral role in modern geopolitics.

Meals and Lodgings
   Original Sokos Olympia Garden Hotel
  St. Petersburg, Russia 2 nights
  Various ports of calls, Russia 7 nights
   Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
  Moscow, Russia 2 nights
 Original Sokos Olympia Garden Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Sokos Hotels are part of Finland's premier hotel chain, with nearly forty hotels across Finland. The Original Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden opened in 2008. It is a modern and comfortable hotel located in central St. Petersburg, in a leafy park along one of the city's main roads, Moskovsky Prospekt, and a 3-minute walk to a Metro [subway] station on a direct line to the heart of the city -- Nevsky Prospekt. The hotel is conveniently located within walking or a short walking and driving distance to the Trinity Cathedral, the Yusoupov Palace Museum, the Mariinsky Theater and other famous museums and theaters.
  Ship Information: N / A
  Contact info: Bataysky pereulok 3-A
St. Petersburg,   Russia
phone: +7 812 335 2270
  Room amenities: The hotel has 348 comfortable, spacious, and well-equipped guest rooms, all with individual climate control and complimentary WiFi access, and all the modern amenities of a European, 4-star hotel: flat screen TVs, modern private facilities, hair dryers, and other features.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has 348 comfortable rooms, a pleasant lobby, excellent meeting and conference facilities, a cozy restaurant and a lively bar. It has a well-equipped fitness center and sauna, boasts 14 hi-tech meeting venues, and a full range of standard business and leisure facilities. There are a number of shops and restaurants near the hotel, and the nearest Metro station is directly across a lovely, small park. The hotel has 24-hour security and English-speaking staff.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: approx $250 /twin Additional pre-program hotel nights can be requested by contacting Road Scholar Travel Services. RSTS will confirm the reservation and rate, and you will pay the hotel directly by credit card or cash for the additional nights. Do note that such a reservation will be separate from the program reservation, and it is likely that you will need to check out of the room and check back into a different room with the group.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

Type: Riverboat
  Description: For 7 nights your floating hotel will be your river cruiser. Within the river cruise fleet operating in Russia, the motor ship Mstislav Rostropovich, named after the world-famous cellist, is regarded as one of the top river cruise vessels sailing in Russia. This 4-passenger deck ship was built in Czechoslovakia in the 1980's and completely rebuilt and redesigned in 2009-10 to provide luxurious service along the Volga-Baltic Waterway. With a capacity for 212 passengers, it has beautiful staterooms featuring all the modern amenities. Comfortable public areas include a Panorama Lounge and a conference room for our onboard lectures and performances. The friendly all-Russian, English-speaking crew and staff are well-trained in servicing Western passengers. Other on board services include: Complimentary specialty tea and coffee station; Complimentary wine(1 glass per person) served at dinner on board; additional for purchase; Bottled water for all meals and additional complimentary bottled water provided in cabins; WiFi service on board... but this service is not available throughout sailing; Hair salon, massage room, and a small fitness room; One elevator on board connecting all decks (limited use); Quality linen and contemporary furnishings in cabins; Laundry service (the fee is similar to charges of those at New York hotels).
  Ship Information: This river ship is equipped with the latest navigational system and radio communication. Technical data: Length: 443 feet; Beam (width): 52 feet; Draft: 9.5 feet; Speed: 16 mph. Maximum passenger capacity: 212 passengers and 130 crew members.
  Contact info: St. Petersburg River Station. Terminal Utkina Zavod'
Oktyabrskaya Naberezhnaya 31
St. Petersburg,   Russia
phone: +7
  Room amenities: For this program the following cabins are reserved: 1/ De luxe cabins with private balconies (approx. 170 sq. ft. plus balcony) on Boat deck 3 (type B+) 2/ Standard cabins with private balconies (approx.130 sq. ft. plus balcony) on Middle Deck 2 (type H+) The same Standard cabin type and configuration are used for both twin and single-occupancy. All these cabins are air conditioned, have a large window/door, 2 twin hotel style beds which can be put together or set apart, bedside tables, a vanity, chair, wardrobe, a small fridge, a safe, and a TV. All bathrooms feature a toilet, sink and shower area separated by a shower curtain. Bed linen is changed every 3 days, and towels are changed daily. Hairdryers are provided in all cabins; electrical outlets are for 220V and require round prongs. An extension cord is strongly recommended for CPAP users.
  Facility amenities: M/S Mstislav Rostropovich has 4 passenger decks, connected both by stairs and an elevator. One of the two restaurants is situated in the stern of Boat Deck 2, and the other is in the stern of the Middle Deck. The Panorama Lounge with a bar offers a beautiful view of the area through which we sail. The Conference Room for lectures and other activities is found on the main deck, where the reception area, a gift shop, a well-equipped infirmary with a medical doctor, a massage room, and a hair salon are also located. For the Road Scholar program, we have reserved: Deluxe Balcony staterooms (170 sq. feet plus a private balcony, 2 twin hotel style beds on Boat Deck 3 ) and Standard staterooms (130 sq feet plus a private balcony, 2 twin beds, on Middle Deck 2) - reserved for Twin and Single use.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: A modern unit: a toilet/sink and a shower area separated by a curtain -- standard style and of same configuration in Deluxe cabins and in Standard cabins.
  Elevators available: Yes

 Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Moscow Marriott Tverskaya Hotel is housed in a beautiful, modern building in the city center; it is a rather small and comfortable hotel, recently renovated (162 non-smoking rooms and suites). It is located approximately 2.5 miles from Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theatre. Public transportation (metro [subway] and trolleybus) is easily available. This is a totally non-smoking hotel.
  Ship Information: N/A see a separate page
  Contact info: 34 1 Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street
Moscow,   Russia
phone: +7-495-258-3000
  Room amenities: Guest rooms are air conditioned, spacious, well appointed and quiet, most of them have 2 twin beds, Guest rooms include all amenities of a modern Marriott hotel, including flat screen TVs, modern bathrooms with standard amenities and a hair dryer, telephone and internet connection (a fee applies in standard rooms). Free internet connection is available in the hotel lobby.
  Facility amenities: This beautiful hotel has a nice lobby, two nice restaurants, a lobby bar, free Internet connection on the ground floor and available for a fee in guest rooms, foreign exchange office, ATM machine in the lobby, small business center, concierge service, room service, laundry service, a small fitness center and health club, and safe deposit boxes at the front desk. This is a non-smoking hotel. It employs English-speaking staff and offers 24-hour security.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: $300/twin approx. Additional pre/post program hotel nights can be requested by contacting Road Scholar Travel Services. RSTS will confirm the reservation and rate, and you will pay the hotel directly by credit card or cash for the additional nights. Do note that such a reservation will be separate from the program reservation, and it is likely that you will need to check out of the room and check back into a different room with the group.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 2: 3:00 pm - hotel check-in starts. 6:00 pm - meet in the hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Original Sokos Olympia Garden Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Day 13: 9:00 am -- program officially ends. 12 noon - official hotel check out. Drop off at airport. You will be staying at Marriott Tverskaya Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Public transportation (bus) to the program hotel in St. Petersburg is not recommended. Hotel shuttle service is not reliable.
To Start of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest city or town:  St.Petersburg
  Nearest airport:  LED Pulkovo
  Transportation to site: A group ARRIVAL TRANSFER is organized for all participants who purchased an air-inclusive program and arrive on the program start date. Independent travelers are welcome to join group transfers to program hotel. A GROUP ARRIVAL SCHEDULE is announced in the 2nd mailing 4-5 weeks prior to your departure. From Pulkovo airport: Public transportation (bus) is not recommended. If you need to hire a taxi at Pulkovo Airport (LED) upon arrival, please go to one of the several official taxi stands in the arrival hall, where you can verify or prepay the fare to the hotel in rubles (approximately the equivalent of $30-40). In order to obtain rubles, a currency exchange desk and ATMs that dispense rubles are located in the airport arrival hall.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Moscow
  Nearest city or town:  Moscow
  Nearest highway: n/a
  Nearest airport:  DME Domodedovo
  Transportation from site: DEPARTURE transfers are organized for all participants who purchased an air-inclusive program and depart on the group date; Independent travelers are welcome to join these pre-arranged bus transfers. Otherwise, a taxi can be ordered at the hotel's concierge. Public transportation is not recommended. A DEPARTURE TRANSFER SCHEDULE WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE MOSCOW HOTEL 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight Flight From U.S.
(Wednesday, September 2)

Note: Travel overnight, arriving the next day

 Depart From: Depart USA via overnight flight to St Petersburg.

Day 2: Arrival at St. Petersburg airport / Hotel Check-in
(Thursday, September 3)

Note: This 'Active' program, is not suitable for participants with wheelchairs, walkers or scooters. Be prepared to walking 1-2 miles daily on cobble stone and unpaved terrain and up/down steep stairs (12 steps each) with hand rails on board the ship. No elevators at some museums; and one elevator is available on board. Luggage space is limited; we recommend to bring 1 suite case and 1 carry on. All special diets must be cleared in advance prior to travel, and they are subject to availability.

 Afternoon: Arrivals at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. Look for the arrival agent, who will be holding a Road Scholar sign and will lead you to the vehicle for the hotel. This city of more than 5 million people was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 and is considered by many to be Russia’s cultural capital.

Independent travelers are welcome to join the pre-scheduled group transfers which are announced in this mailing. The expected number of participants on this program is 24-25. Hotel check-in: Available from 3 p.m.

Program Registration: We meet in the hotel lobby at 6 pm.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: Orientation: Meet the Group Leader and your fellow participants. We will review the updated daily schedule and discuss responsibilities, schedule changes (if any), safety guidelines, emergency procedures, contact numbers for key staff, and answer all your questions. (Note: depending on the final arrival schedule, this meeting may be moved to the next morning).
Accommodations: Original Sokos Olympia Garden Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Theme of the day: “Historical overview of St. Petersburg and the Romanov Dynasty” / Visit to Tsarskoye Selo-Pushkin / WWII Memorial Museum / Evening performance
(Friday, September 4)

Note: Walking in the palace and park. Comfortable shoes are a must. Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Begin exploring St. Petersburg with an on-site presentation on the history of St. Petersburg and the Romanovs, the long-reigning Russian royal family who founded the city. This morning we take an expert-led field trip to the town of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo, or “Tsar’s Village”) to explore the Catherine Palace and adjacent park. Tsarina Elizabeth built this elaborate baroque residence in 1752 to honor the memory of her mother Katarina, first wife of Tsar Peter I (not Catherine the Great). This palace was later rebuilt to become the main summer residence of Tsarina Catherine II (the Great). Inside the palace, experience what some have been inspired to call the “Eighth Wonder of the World" — the extraordinary Amber Room, decorated with six tons of solid amber, carved and framed in gold leaf. Learn about the room’s mysterious disappearance during World War II and theories regarding its yet-unknown whereabouts, and hear the story of its meticulous reconstruction in 2003 by a team of Russian restoration artists.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Visit the museum dedicated to the defenders of Leningrad during the 900-day siege. Participate in a talk on the events of WWII (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War) in Leningrad. See the impressive monument and a small museum featuring old documents and photographs relating the heartrending story of the city’s 900-day siege between 1941 and1944.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room or in the city.
 Evening: Attend an evening performance of national dance and music.
Accommodations: Original Sokos Olympia Garden Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Visit to Peterhof / Transfer to the motorship Mstislav Rostropovich / Lecture on board / Ship's orientation
(Saturday, September 5)

Note: Walking two miles in the park. Be prepared to walk up/down steps in the Lower Park. No elevators. Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Continue exploring the royal life style of the Romanovs with an expert-led visit to Peterhof - the stunning summer residence of the Russian tsars - along the Gulf of Finland. Learn about Tsar Peter I and his vision to build a city on the Baltic Sea to “open a window on the West” for then-medieval Russia in the early 1700s. Walk in the famous Lower Park amid more than 150 fountains and other constructions beautifully restored to their former splendor (note: inside visits to the Grand Palace and other museums on site are not part of the visit).
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Transfer to and embark the motorship Mstislav Rostropovich. After a short rest attend a lecture on "Russia today" (prepared for Road Scholars).
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: Attend a ship orientation meeting introducing you to the vessel and enjoy a free evening onboard.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: St. Petersburg's history and architecture by bus / Hermitage Museum / SET SAIL
(Sunday, September 6)

Note: For city excursions, air-conditioned motorcoaches without onboard facilities are used. Rest stops are made. At the Hermitage, be prepared to walk two miles and possibly to stand for long periods. Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: After breakfast have a panoramic city drive. Built on the order of Tsar Peter I (the Great) to rival Venice and Amsterdam, a city the tsar greatly admired, St. Petersburg became the new capital of Russia in 1712 and was the seat of the Russian Empire for over two centuries. Architectural and historical highlights of this stunningly beautiful city affectionately dubbed the "Venice of the North" include the Peter and Paul Fortress, Palace Square, the Winter Palace of the Russian tsars, and numerous canals and graceful bridges. Drive along Nevsky Prospekt (the city’s main boulevard), by St. Isaac's Cathedral, by the Bronze Horseman statue (dedicated to Peter I), and see many other important sights leaving you with a lasting impression of the city’s beauty and grandeur.
 Lunch: In a city restaurant along the route of the bus excursion.
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy a visit to the Hermitage Museum, one of world's greatest art galleries. This dazzling collection was founded by Tsarina Catherine the Great in the mid-18th century. Today the museum collection (about 2.7 million items) is housed in six buildings, including the Winter Palace - the former residence of the tsars, where the largest collection of world-famous paintings is displayed, including works by the Old Masters, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. Delight in art treasures from all corners of the world as a licensed expert leads you among the stunning staircases and opulent rooms.
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: SET SAIL AT 7 PM. Enjoy an onboard evening program, including a concert.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arts and crafts lecture onboard / 11 am-2 pm: Mandrogy village
(Monday, September 7)

Note: Walk on uneven terrain and unpaved surfaces at your own pace.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on the arts and crafts of the regions through which we sail (offered by onboard staff). Arrive in Mandrogy village. Enjoy the lake region and beautiful northern forest. Take a stroll in this quaintly recreated village dotted with wooden cottages - an open-air museum reproducing a typical rural Russian settlement of the 19th century. Free time. Note: this is a mandatory (technical) stopover required for all river vessels.
 Lunch: A shish-kebab lunch is served ashore in Mandrogy village.
 Afternoon: Later in the afternoon, back on board attend a lecture on Russian national identity and modern challenges (prepared for Road Scholars). Continue sailing down the 139-mile long Svir River and then along the southern shores of Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, the first- and second-largest lakes in Europe, respectively. More like inland seas than lakes, these immense bodies of water can experience waves as high as four feet during inclement weather. Glide past sandy and rocky beaches and admire beautiful shores overgrown with graceful willows and tall, stately pines. Enjoy an onboard program including Russian language lessons.
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: Enjoy an onboard concert.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: 8-11 am: Wooden architecture of Kizhi Island / Lecture on famous Russian artists and musicians of the Volga and lake regions
(Tuesday, September 8)

Note: Walking excursion requires comfortable shoes.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Arrive at Kizhi — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 1,650 islands on Lake Onega — for an expert-led walking excursion among the island’s unique wooden churches. These fairy-tale structures on the island are a superb example of traditional Russian wooden architecture. Most spectacular among them is the Church of the Transfiguration, adorned with 22 domes built in 1714 without the use of a single nail and famed for its rare icons and iconostasis.
 Lunch: In the ship's dining room.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a presentation on famous Russian artists and musicians whose life and creations are connected to the Lake and Volga regions (prepared for Road Scholars). Later in the afternoon participate in a Russian language class.
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: Entertainment on board.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Lecture onboard / 1 - 4 pm: Excursion in Goritzy / onboard program.
(Wednesday, September 9)

Note: Expected walking up to 1-2 miles on uneven and unpaved terrain.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Lecture on Russia's medieval history (prepared for Road Scholars). Arrive in Goritzy.
 Lunch: In the ship's dining room.
 Afternoon: Goritzy is a small, picturesque village located near the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded in the 15th century and famous for its collection of rare icons. This area is also known for its convent, which was used as a place of exile for politically unpopular ladies of nobility, including Maria Nagaya, seventh wife of Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). She was exiled here from Uglich by Boris Godunov, the notorious Russian ruler of the late 1500s. Join a local expert on an informative walk describing this historic farming village, meet the locals and see their homes (for Road Scholars only). Later back on board, participate in an onboard presentation of Russian tea ceremony traditions, and learn some Russian songs.
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: Enjoy an onboard concert.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: 9 am - 12 noon: Excursion in Uglich / Captain's Farewell Dinner / Onboard program
(Thursday, September 10)

Note: Walking on uneven terrain.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Arrive at the ancient town of Uglich — founded in 1148 and pronounced “Ooglich” — and join a local expert for a walk through this quaint, old town. The view of the town from the Volga River is especially lovely, with the blue-domed Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. John's Church looming on the horizon. At the end of the 16th century, Maria Nagaya, seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible, lived in exile in the kremlin (fortress) at Uglich. It was here that Tsarevich Dmitry, son of the deceased Ivan the Terrible, met his "mysterious" death in 1591 and where the Church of St. Dmitry on the (Spilled) Blood stands today. Located within the kremlin walls is the oldest building in Uglich, the Palace of Tsarevich Dmitry, which you’ll see from the outside.
 Lunch: In the ship's dining room.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, take part in a program onboard the ship: learn about Russian fairy tales and folklore, and learn to sing some Russian songs.
 Dinner: In the ship's dining room.
 Evening: Spend the evening at the Captain's Farewell Dinner celebrating the last sailing night onboard the ship before arriving in Moscow.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Round-table discussion: “Life in Russia Today” / Moscow's architectural highlights / Excursion of the Kremlin grounds
(Friday, September 11)

Note: Walking up to 2 miles, including on cobblestone surfaces.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Attend a round table discussion on "Life in Russia" followed by a Q&A session (prepared for Road Scholars).
 Lunch: In the ship's dining room.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Moscow and explore its cultural and historical treasures by bus while an expert teaches you about the modern life of Moscow residents. Stop along the way at Moscow University, Manezh Square, the Bolshoi Theater, the exterior of Novodevichi Convent, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and other important sights and landmarks. Continue your afternoon in Moscow with an expert-led field trip to the legendary Kremlin compound. Go inside the Kremlin walls and visit the grounds as you learn about the medieval history of Moscow and see and take pictures of the fortress walls, armory, cathedrals and palace, with an opportunity to photograph the famous Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell.
 Dinner: In the city's restaurant.
 Evening: Evening free, return on board
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Visit the Armory Chamber / Walk in Red Square / Transfer to the hotel / Evening performance
(Saturday, September 12)

Note: Walk about 1-2 miles, including on cobblestone surfaces and up/down stairs; no elevator..

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the ship's dining room.
 Morning: Disembark. Participate in an expert-led visit to the Armory Chamber in the Kremlin compound, housing a rich collection of royal jewels, including famous Faberge eggs and many other treasures of the Russian tsars. Following the visit enjoy a walk in Red Square: see the Kremlin walls, visit the GUM department store, and take pictures of St. Basil's Cathedral.
 Lunch: Lunch in the city on your own.
 Afternoon: If desired, take a ride on the famous Moscow Metro and admire beautiful underground stations decorated with mosaics and chandeliers. Transfer to the hotel. Have a short rest before the evening event.
 Dinner: Dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: Attend an evening performance: an a capella choral concert of church and classical pieces.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: WWII museum / Tretyakov Picture Gallery / Free time.
(Sunday, September 13)

Note: Walk up to 2 miles in museums. Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel restaurant
 Morning: Participate in a special visit to the Great Patriotic War Memorial Museum -- Poklonnaya Gora [Hill of Homage]. Learn about Russia's (USSR) contribution to the Allied victory in WWII. See the museum exposition led by museum staff.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in the city.
 Afternoon: An expert-led visit to the Tretyakov Picture Gallery housing unique Russian paintings of all eras.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel or city restaurant.
 Evening: Evening to pack.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departures
(Monday, September 14)

Note: Transfers to airports

 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant
 Morning: Program ends. Transfers to the airport(s) for all participants holding air tickets issued by Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join the pre-arranged group bus transfer(s), or to arrange a taxi at the hotel desk. Transfer schedule to be announced by the Group Leader 24 hours in advance.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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Eyewitness Guide Moscow

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This outstanding guide covers Moscow's culture, history and attractions with maps, site plans and hundreds of color photographs.

Eyewitness Guide St. Petersburg

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: With excellent local maps and site plans, this outstanding visual guide introduces the culture, history and attractions of St. Petersburg.

Land of the Firebird, The Beauty of Old Russia

Author: Suzanne Massie

Description: Massie traces both minuscule details and larger movements in pre-revolutionary Russian art, literature and daily life in this affectionate overview of 19th-century palaces, courts and culture.

Lenin's Tomb

Author: David Remnick

Description: A gripping eyewitness tale of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Remnick, the Washington Post reporter on the scene, combines fine historical scholarship with great storytelling.

Moscow Map

Author: ITMB

Description: A handy, folding map of Moscow.

Odyssey Guide Moscow, St. Petersburg & The Golden Ring

Author: Masha Nordbye, Patricia Lanza (Photographer)

Description: A comprehensive guide to the art, culture and history of two great Russian cities, filled with maps and fine color photographs.

Peter the Great, His Life and World

Author: Robert Massie

Description: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Massie portrays the giant of history who transformed Russia from backwater tsardom into a major empire.

Romanov Riches, Russian Writers and Artists Under the Tsars

Author: Solomon Volkov

Description: Volkov effortlessly unwinds the twisted relationship between art and the royal family from the rise of the Romanovs in 1613 to their downfall in 1917, including a chapter on Catherine the Great and her era.

Russia from St. Petersburg to Moscow Map

Author: Falk Maps

Description: A detailed map of northwest Russia at a scale of 1:750,000, well-suited for a river cruise between St. Petersburg and Moscow. It covers all but the northernmost extent of the route.

Russia of the Tsars

Author: Peter Waldron

Description: Waldron recounts the exploits of Peter the Great and the Tsars and the splendor of their capital city, St. Petersburg, in this lively, well illustrated and compact overview of the largest and most diverse empire of its day.

Russia, A Concise History

Author: Ronald Hingley

Description: Well-known scholar Hingley sketches Russia's multiple transformations from her illiterate, pagan, Slavic roots to a multi-ethnic empire in this highly readable, well-illustrated brief history.

Russian Short Stories

Author: Robert Chandler (Editor)

Description: This fine collection of tales captures the sweep and soul of Russian literature, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tolstoy along with lesser-known greats.


Author: Edward Rutherfurd

Description: In this absorbing, complex novel Rutherfurd transforms Russian history into an epic saga. The bestseller follows the fate of interconnected families over 800 years. Catherine the Great, Tolstoy, Pushkin and Rasputin all make appearances.

Speak, Memory

Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Description: Nabokov's richly imagined memoir wonderfully evokes cultural life among the well-to-do in turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A detailed, laminated city plan of St. Petersburg, with street index inset. Place names are in transliterated English.

Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia

Author: W. Bruce Lincoln

Description: A wonderfully written, informative portrait of St. Petersburg, focusing on the city's development in the 18th and 19th centuries as Russia's "window on the West." Highly recommended for travelers with an interest in the character and significance of the city and its monuments.

The Art and Architecture of Russia

Author: George Hamilton, Judith Gordon

Description: An elegantly written introduction to the art and architecture of Russia. Published in 1954, it's a good handbook for the traveler that goes beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg. Includes 314 black-and-white illustrations.

The Hermitage: A Journey in Time and Space

Author: Kultur Video

Description: This 116 minute documentary, directed Vladimir Ptashchenko and accompanied by orchestral music, showcases the extraordinary collections, Originally established as the private collection of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

The Ransom of Russian Art

Author: John McPhee

Description: McPhee tackles a rather unusual topic for him: the story of suppressed Russian art and the man who brought it to America.

The Winter Queen

Author: Boris Akunin, Andrew Bromfield (Translator)

Description: Akunin sets a suspected murder among the glitterati of late 19th-century Moscow in this first book in the series of clever detective novels starring the rascal Erast Fandorin, wildly popular in Russia. The series continues with: The Turkish Gambit (RUS263), set during the 1877 Russo-Turkish War; Murder on the Leviathan (RUS225), an homage to Christie; and The Death of Achilles (RUS291), back in Moscow. Fandorin is deputy to the governor-general of czarist Moscow in Special Assignments (RUS371), facing a serial murder and a swindler.

Vodka, A Global History

Author: Patricia Herlihy

Description: A professor of history at Brown, Patricia Herlihy tracks our fascination with this most versatile of spirits from its mysterious 14th Century Slavic origins to today's global dominance in this throughoughly entertaining, erudite and illustrated short history. A volume in the lively Edible History Series, which also includes the ideal companion: Olives, A Global History.

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