23415
Russia

Russian River Voyage From St. Petersburg to Moscow

Explore the many wonders of Russia as you journey its waterways with experts, exploring St. Petersburg, ancient villages, the wooden churches of Kizhi and the grandeur of Moscow.
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Program No. 23415RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
4,499
Flights start at
850
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15 days
14 nights
32 meals
13 B 7 L 12 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive St Petersburg, Check-in, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. Petersburg
D
Novotel St. Petersburg Centre

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Driving approximately 14 miles (23 km); about 1 hour to hotel.

Afternoon: Upon arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment, then settle in for some time to relax.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a 3-course plated dinner with appetizer or soup, a main course, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, bottled water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. As possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change). This may mean that free time in port is limited. Regardless of the time in port, Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program. All routes, field trips, and excursions when crossing the lake are subject to change as weather and lake conditions may affect the itinerary. Lake conditions could affect the progress of the ship, sometimes making it run late and/or miss ports if it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice for the safety of participants. Walking 2+ miles per day, climbing stairs. Aboard ship, climbing 2-3 flights of steep steps with handrails multiple times per day (one small elevator). Deck hallways have 1-2 inch metal bars to step over; not suitable for mobility-assistance devices; buses not equipped for such devices. The ship meets or exceeds Russian standards of quality in its appointments, amenities, and meals. These standards may be different from other parts of the world. You will select your dinner. “Free Time and “At Leisure” periods offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while exploring on your own, engaging in activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing.

DAY
3
General Staff Building, Impressionists, Free Time
St. Petersburg
B,D
Novotel St. Petersburg Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles during group activities at the museum. Opportunities for more dependent on personal interest.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After boarding a motorcoach with our local expert, we’ll go on a field trip to the most recent addition and expansion of the Hermitage Museum: the renovated, redesigned General Staff Building. In spite of its unexciting name, this is one of the most famous architectural monuments in St. Petersburg with its stunning crescent shape and central triumphal arch directly across from the Winter Palace. It now houses the Hermitage’s collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works as well as exhibits on Art Nouveau, French and Russian decorative arts, and pre-1917 revolutionary Russian art. We’ll have an orientation to the museum followed by time to see what interests you most. At the conclusion of our field trip, we’ll return to the program hotel, or you may wish to stay in the city independently.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a city restaurant, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Pushkin, Catherine's Palace, WWII Memorial
St. Petersburg
B,D
Novotel St. Petersburg Centre

Activity note: Walking 2+ miles during group activities in the museum and in the city. Photography is strictly prohibited in the Amber Room.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that will include hot and cold items, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: We’ll continue studying the royal lifestyle of the Romanovs with an expert-led field trip to the town of Pushkin — originally called Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar’s Village) — to explore the Catherine Palace and its adjacent park. This elaborate baroque residence was built by Tsarina Elizabeth in 1752 to honor the memory of her mother Katarina, the first wife of Tsar Peter I “the Great.” It was later rebuilt to become the main summer residence of Tsarina Catherine II “the Great.” Inside the palace, we’ll come face to face with a magnificent reconstruction of what some have called the Eighth Wonder of the World: the extraordinary Amber Room, made with six tons of amber, decorated with other gemstones and gold leaf, and inlaid with mirrors. We’ll learn how the room’s panels of amber mosaics were taken by the Nazis during their invasion of Russia in World War II, how they mysteriously disappeared, theories regarding the yet-unknown whereabouts, and how teams of Russian artists and conservators worked meticulously from 1979 until 2003 to reconstruct the entire room.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit one of four museums dedicated to the defenders of Leningrad — as St. Petersburg was called then — during the siege that lasted from September 8, 1941 until January 27, 1944 — 900+ days when more than 700,000 civilians died. We’ll learn about the sacrifice and endurance that defined this terrible time in the city’s history.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: Following dinner, we’ll transfer to attend a performance at one of St. Petersburg's notable venues. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not available. Avoid purchasing additional tickets for free evenings until the date of the performance is confirmed. We’ll then return to the hotel. Be sure to prepare for transfer to the ship and embarkation tomorrow.

DAY
5
Peterhof, Faberge Museum, Embarkation
St. Petersburg
B,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: The drive to/from Peterhof is approximately 1.5 hours. Walking approximately 2+ miles including steps in the Lower Park; no elevators. Rest areas available. Walking about 2 miles during the field trip; according to your personal preference during free time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll board a motorcoach for a field trip through St. Petersburg and on to Peterhof. En route, a local expert will give a presentation on the city’s history, its founder Tsar Peter the Great, and the Romanovs who reigned from 1613 to 1917 — the longest-reigning Russian royal family. Peterhof is the stunning summer estate of Russian tsars on the Gulf of Finland. Upon arrival, we’ll set out on an expert-led walking field trip in the Lower Park. Peter the Great himself sketched out what became one of the most extraordinary royal garden creations anywhere in the world. His successors the Empress Elizabeth (his daughter) and Catherine the Great continued to expand and improve these gardens. The Lower Park is considered a masterpiece of garden design incorporating plants and trees, exceptional architecture, sculpture, and water features including the famous fountains — over 150 in number! — and other objects beautifully restored to their original splendor. Visits inside to the Grand Palace and other onsite museums are not part of the field trip.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Upon return to St Petersburg, we will be dropped off at the privately owned Fabergé Museum situated in the Shuvalov Palace. This museum preserves and displays some amazing items in Russia's cultural heritage including famous pieces from the world's largest collection of works by jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920): nine of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs. Designed in the form of real Easter eggs, Fabergé’s creations utilized precious metals and jewels as well as a “surprise." The museum also includes works by some of his contemporaries and pupils. While here, we’ll enjoy self-directed exploration of the museum's collection with the help of handheld audio devices. Afterwards, we’ll transfer to the M/S Mstislav Rostropovich, named for the renowned musician, followed by embarkation.

Dinner: In the ship's dining room, we’ll have a plated 3-course meal with an appetizer or soup, main course and side dish, and dessert, plus a glass of wine, coffee, tea, bottled water; other beverages are available for purchase. (Note: On the first evening, the meal is pre-set. During the voyage, we will choose soup and main course in advance; bottled water may not be served in individual bottles.) If you want a snack later, the ship’s coffee-tea-cookie station is open 24 hours.

Evening: After an orientation to the vessel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. On rare occasions in May and September, the itinerary and ports of call may change on short notice due to weather events and local conditions. The ship is cleared to sail in waters with waves up to 6.5 feet (2 meters). In recent years, waves on these very large lakes have reached much higher. In such cases, the captain will chart a different route for the sake of everyone’s safety. Certain waterways have pre-scheduled time slots for passage. If we are delayed, we may have to wait for other vessels to go before us; updates will be provided aboard ship.

DAY
6
Highlights of Petersburg & Hermitage Museum
St. Petersburg
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles total throughout the day, up/down stairs.

Breakfast: In the ship’s restaurant, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet, with milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We’ll set out from the ship on a panoramic drive through St. Petersburg. Built on the order of Tsar Peter the Great, his beloved city was intended to rival Amsterdam and Venice. It became the capital of Russia in 1712 and was the seat of the Russian Empire for more than two centuries. Architectural and historical highlights of this stunningly beautiful “Venice of the North” include the Peter and Paul Fortress, which we’ll visit inside; Palace Square; the Winter Palace of the Russian tsars; and numerous canals and graceful bridges. We’ll drive along Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s main boulevard, past St. Isaac's Cathedral and the Bronze Horseman statue dedicated to Peter the Great, and see many other important sights for a lasting impression of the city’s beauty and grandeur. Next, we’ll go on an expert-led field trip to the Hermitage Museum to see the highlights of one of world's greatest repositories of art treasures, founded by Tsarina Catherine the Great in the mid-18th century. Today, the collection of more than 2.7 million items is housed in five buildings. As we have only a few hours, we will focus on highlights including the Winter Palace, the former residence of the tsars, and 1 to 2 adjacent buildings as time permits where one of the largest collections of world-famous works of art is on display. We’ll delight in Old Masters and art treasures from around the world as a licensed expert leads us among the stunning staircases and opulent rooms. We’ll then transfer back to the ship.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Back aboard the ship, we’ll have an exclusive Road Scholar round-table discussion led by the Group Leader on aspects of life in contemporary Russia, followed by a Q&A session.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: As we begin our cruise, we’ll join together for a safety briefing and welcome cocktail. Each evening, there will be live entertainment provided by members of the ship’s staff.

DAY
7
Russian Food, Mandrogi, Russian Language Lesson
Various ports of calls
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles; unpaved surfaces, cobblestones.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning, we’ll learn how to cook authentic Russian food! We’ll reach the village of Mandrogi for a technical stop required of all river vessels. The village is set amid beautiful northern forests in the lakes region. Once a mill and fishing settlement, it has been re-created as an open-air museum with ornate wooden cottages and other buildings typical of the 19th century.

Lunch: Open air lunch provided by the ship.

Afternoon: With our Group Leader, we’ll set out to explore Mandrogi and enjoy more of the village. You may wish to take some time to explore independently as well. Later, we’ll regroup to participate in Russian language lessons led by the Group Leader.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Kizhi Island, Lecture
Various ports of calls
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles total throughout the day, including steps/stairs; unpaved and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll begin the day with a Road Scholar exclusive lecture given by our Group Leader as we continue sailing from Lake Ladoga along the 139-mile long Svir River to the southern shores of Lake Onega, one of the world's purest bodies of water. These are 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 9 to 13 feet (3-4 meters) that can alter our itinerary. Kizhi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 1,650 islands on Lake Onega. Upon docking here, we’ll go out for an expert-led walking field trip among the island’s unique wooden churches. These fairy-tale structures are a superb example of traditional Russian wooden architecture. Most striking among them is the Church of the Transfiguration, adorned with 22 domes, which was built in 1714 without the use of a single nail and is famed for its rare icons and iconostasis.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: As we spend the afternoon cruising on Lake Onega, you may wish to participate in the ship’s Russian class, a classical music concert and a presentation of Russian folk wear.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: We’ll then enjoy the onboard concert and dancing.

DAY
9
Russian Nesting Doll, Goritsy Village, Lecture, Tea Ceremony
Various ports of calls
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking 2+ miles total throughout the day; uneven and unpaved terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll spend the morning cruising on Lake Beloye and the Sheksna River as we join the ship staff for a Russian nesting dolls painting class or singing Russian songs.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Goritzy is a small, picturesque village near the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded in the 15th century and famous for its collection of rare icons. The area is also known for its convent, 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. We’ll join a local expert for a walking field trip to learn about this historic farming village. Aboard the ship, we will attend a presentation by the ship’s staff and to participate in a traditional Russian tea ceremony.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: We’ll then gather for an onboard lecture provided by our Group Leader.

DAY
10
Russian Crafts, Town of Uglich, Lecture
Various ports of calls
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking at personal preference; uneven terrain, unpaved hilly surfaces; rest areas available ashore.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Getting off the ship, we’ll take a walking field trip with a local expert to explore the quaint old town of Uglich (pronounced “Ooglich”), founded in 1148 C.E. During the “Time of Troubles” (1598-1613 C.E.) — a period of instability marked by foreign invaders, internal revolts, and attempted take-overs of the throne — Uglich was the scene of many clashes. During a terrible battle in 1609, Polish forces attacked and burned the Alekseyevsky Monastery, killing all who had taken refuge. There are exceptional churches and other structures from the period that followed. The view from the Volga River is especially lovely, with the blue-domed Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. John's Church on the horizon. While here, we’ll visit the Uglich Kremlin, the Church of Saint Dmitry on the Blood, and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll spend the afternoon cruising on the Volga River and through its series of locks. There will be a shipboard presentation given by our Group Leader on the arts and crafts of the regions through which we will sail.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: We’ll enjoy the ship’s onboard entertainment – a traditional concert.

DAY
11
Highlights of Moscow & Kremlin Compound, Captain's Dinner
Various ports of calls
B,L,D
Vodohod's Mstislav Rostropovich

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles in the Kremlin compound, including stairways; rest areas available.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Once off the ship, we’ll board a bus for a field trip to get an overview of Moscow’s cultural and historical treasures. A local expert will provide commentary along the way about the modern life of Moscow residents as we make stops to see important sights and landmarks such as Moscow University, Manezh Square, the Bolshoi Theater, the exterior of Novodevichi Convent, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. We’ll continue with our local expert on a field trip to the legendary Kremlin compound. Beginning in the 13th century, the Kremlin became the seat of both temporal and spiritual power in Russia. This medieval fortress grew to include palaces, churches, and armories. We’ll go inside the walls, explore the grounds, and learn about Moscow’s ancient history. We’ll be able to take pictures of the fortress walls, armory, cathedrals, palace, and the famous Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell. We’ll then stroll by St. Basil’s Cathedral and through the Red Square, the historic heart of Russia. On our way back to the ship, we’ll pass by the Lubyanka (KGB Headquarters).

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Aboard ship, we’ll enjoy the Captain's Farewell Dinner to celebrate our last night together aboard the study cruise before disembarking in Moscow tomorrow. We’ll have a plated 4-course dinner with wine included, plus live music and dancing.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation tomorrow.

DAY
12
Disembarkation, WWII Memorial, Lecture
Moscow
B,D
Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Center

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles in the park and palace, including steps/stairs; rest areas available.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After disembarkation, we will take a motorcoach to the Victory Park and WWII Museum (Poklonnaya Gora) for a field trip with a local expert. Poklonnaya Hill, on which the museum and other structures stand, overlooks Moscow from a commanding vantage point on the western side of the city. Over the years and multiple wars, Poklonnaya Hill has become a national symbol for the triumph of Russia over aggressors, from Napoleon to fascist leaders.

Lunch: At a local restaurant we'll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue by motorcoach to the hotel, where we’ll check in and have some free time to relax and unpack before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel we'll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll attend a performance at one of Moscow's notable venues. Whether an orchestral or choral concert, ballet, or musical show, we’ll deepen our appreciation for the richness and diversity of the performing arts. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not confirmed. When available, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number. (Note: Date of performance may be changed. Avoid purchasing additional tickets for free time until then.)

DAY
13
Tretyakov Picture Gallery, Red Square, Metro Ride
Moscow
B,L
Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Center

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles total throughout the day; stairways in the museum; elevators on request only.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that will include a variety of hot and cold items, plus juice, coffee, tea, and bottled water.

Morning: We'll board a motorcoach and ride through central Moscow for an expert-led field trip to the State Tretyakov Gallery, with its inimitable collection spanning a millennium of Russian artistic history. In 1892, Pavel Tretyakov, a merchant and patron of the arts, donated his personal collection to the city of Moscow, forming the basis of the museum bearing his name that now boasts more than 170,000 works.

Lunch: In a city restaurant, we’ll have a plated 3-course meal; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then set out on a walk with the Group Leader in Red Square, which contrary to popular belief, is not affiliated with communism, nor the even to the physical color of many of the surrounding buildings. In reality, the name is derived from the old Russian word for “beautiful” – krasnyi – which now means “red” in modern Russian. With modest beginnings in the 1400s as a run-down neighborhood beneath the Kremlin, it was eventually cleared to make way for public space. In the 20th century, it was host to many military parades for the Soviet Union. Nowadays, it is used more often for public events such as concerts, festivals, fireworks, and other events. We’ll then have some time to explore the city independently. You may wish to return to the hotel or stay in the city on your own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: We'll join our Group Leader for a ride on the Moscow Metro.

DAY
14
The Armory Chamber, Free Time, Performance
Moscow
B,D
Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Center

Activity note: Walking approximately 2+ miles in the museum including steps/stairs. Opportunity for more dependent on personal interest during free time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll take an expert-led field trip to the Armory Chamber in the Kremlin compound, Moscow's oldest and most prestigious museum. Its collection features Russian and foreign armor, jewelry, and tsarist artifacts such as clothing, vestments, ceremonial objects, royal regalia including crowns, sumptuous gold and silver pieces, Fabergé eggs, and much more.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time to continue our independent explorations.

Dinner: At the hotel's restaurant, we’ll have a plated 4-course dinner featuring typical Russian dishes with appetizer, soup, main course, dessert, with coffee, tea, water and a glass of beer, wine or vodka included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
15
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Transfers will begin at 2:00 a.m. Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. Verify your scheduled departure time and airport. Passengers must arrive at the airport 2.5 hours prior to flight time. A group transfer from the hotel to the airport is included for participants who made air arrangements through Road Scholar Travel Services.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. Those with early departures may take a packed breakfast. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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