St. Petersburg - Rostov-on-Don (20 Days and 19 Nights)
This Volga river cruise will take you from Rostov-on Don, “The Port of Five Seas” all the way to Moscow, the capital of Russia. You will have a unique chance to sail though the docks of Volga-Don Canal, an amazing man-made waterway from Soviet times. You will then make a stop on the Caspian Sea and see Astrakhan and continue on to the Volga River, the longest river in the European territory of Russia, often called Mother Volga. You will see many of Russia's different regions and get a feeling for South Eastern Russia with its link to Asia and the Orient and European Russia - Imperial Russia.
St. Petersburg is Russia´s second largest and second most important city - the Northern capital of the country, Russia´s cultural center, and considered the world´s "Northern Venice" due to its extensive system of canals and islands. Walk along Nevsky Prospect and experience the grandeur of pre-revolutionary imperial Russia. Pass palaces from the past and gaze at the famous embankment of the Neva River with its numerous bridges and striking architecture. St. Petersburg is also home to Russia´s largest and busiest port and with its many world class theaters and museums has a very high level of cultural life.
Mandrogui is really more of a living museum than a live-in village. It features a collection of old wooden houses and is geared towards showing visitors what a traditional Russian village resembled in the past. One of the features here is the Vodka Museum, which contains thousands of different brands and types of Russia´s favorite pastime.
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.
Optional excursions: Trip to Kostroma or Rostov Veliky
Yaroslavl: Stretching for 18 miles on both banks of the Volga, Yaroslavl is an important Volga port with a population of 600,000. It was founded in the 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and is one of the ancient Russian cities making up the Golden Ring. It was destroyed by the Tatars in the 13th and 14th centuries but then restored and rebuilt and by the 17th century it had become Russia’s second largest city after Moscow and an important cultural and political center. Today, Yaroslavl retains many noteworthy monuments of its colorful past. Of special interest is the magnificent 13th century Spassky Monastery ensemble, a group of majestic 17th century cathedrals, an elegant rotunda and remnants of an ancient trading center. The churches of St. Nicholas and Elijah the Prophet have some of the Golden Ring´s most impressive frescoes.
Optional excursions: Trip to Suzdal
Plyos was founded in 1410 on the high banks of the Volga river as a military and border post to protect the borders of the Grand Duchy of Moscow from Bulgarians. In the end of the 19th century, the beauty of this small, quiet and enchanting town was captured in the paintings by the famous Russian artist, Isaac Levitan. He came here in 1888 and was greatly impressed by the town’s natural beauty. He created a great number of breathtaking landscapes of Plyos and thus attracted many citizens of Moscow and St. Petersburg to visit and live there as a summer retreat. Today Plyos is a part of Russia’s Golden Ring. The major attraction of the town is the State Historical, Architectural and Artistic Museum-Reserve consisting of historical, cultural and natural landscape ensembles.
Nizhny Novgorod is one of Russia’s major cities, the dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500-1511), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the Kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral (1624-31), first built in stone in the 13th century. The city has a fascinating history that you will learn more about during your tour. The city was founded in the 13th century and became one of the Russian Empire’s most important outposts by the 16th century. The city played a pivotal role in ending the Time of Troubles by forming an army that would expel the Poles from Moscow. Much of the city downtown is built in the Russian Revival and Stalin Empire styles. There are more than six hundred unique historic, architectural, and cultural monuments in the city leading the way for UNESCO to include Nizhny Novgorod in the list of 100 cities of the world which are of great historical and cultural value.
Kazan is the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, and one of Russia´s largest cities. It is a major industrial, commercial and cultural center, and remains the most important center of Tatar culture. Historically Kazan was the capital of the Tatars and was conquered and by force and brought into the Russian Empire in the mid 16th century by Ivan the Terrible. During the siege of Kazan and in the years that followed almost the entire population was massacred. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers in central European Russia. The famous Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site.
Ulyanovsk: This ancient Russian town was founded in 1648 as a fortress built on top of the Venetz Mountain, 120 meters above the Volga River. Before 1924, it was called Simbirsk and was later named Ulyanovsk in honor of Vladimir Ulyanov (known to the world as Lenin), as his family lived here from 1869 till 1887. The Lenin Museum occupies the house where Lenin was born and it recreates the atmosphere of the family spirit of one of the history’s most famous leaders. Ulyanovsk is also the birth place of world famous “UAZ” cars.
Samara is located on the east bank of the Volga river, which acts as its western boundary. Its northern boundary is formed by the Sokolyi Hills and by the Steppes in the south and east. Legend has it that Alexius, Metroplitan of Moscow and later Patron Saint of Samara visited the site of the city in 1357 and predicted that a great town would be erected there and that the town would never be ravaged. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that during WWII Samara was chosen to be the capital of the Soviet Union if Moscow should fall. Many government ministries and government workers were evacuated to the city at the beginning of the war. The life of Samara´s citizens has always been intrinsically linked to the Volga river, which has not only served as the main commercial thoroughfare of Russia throughout several centuries, but also has great visual appeal. Samara´s river-front is one of the favorite recreation places for local citizens and visitors.
Saratov is a major city in southern Russia with a population of 873,055. The city was initially founded in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the southern districts of the Russian Empire. Situated on the Volga River, Saratov was a major military aircraft manufacturing site, the home of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, and a vital part of the Soviet space program. It has a rich cultural life, as well - among the most famous sites is the Conservatoire designed in a Neo-Gothic style as well as the Drama Theatre named after Ivan Slonov, one of the oldest theatres in Russia. Of other interest, the community of Volga Germans was centered in the Saratov region. In the early 20th century over 800,000 ethnic Germans made their home in this area preserving many of their German customs.
Volgograd is an important industrial city with a population of 1.011 millon people. The city was founded as the fortress of Tsaritsyn in 1589 to defend the southern flank of the Russian Empire and played a major role in Russian Civil War and the development of the Soviet Union. However, the city is most famous for its heroic resistance and extensive damage during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. The battle is seen by most scholars as the pivotal battle of WWII - the battle in which the tide was turned against Hitler’s fascist invaders. Over 2 million Soviet and fascist troops died in the battle which lasted over 6 months.
Optional excursions: Visit to the Kazakh village or Volga
Astrakhan is an old southern Russian city situated on the banks of the Volga River not far from the point where it empties into the Caspian Sea. Older parts of Astrakhan are filled with wonderful examples of Russian architecture, the most notable of which are the Kremlin and the two impressive cathedrals. Before being conquered by Ivan and Terrible and thereby becoming part of the Russian Empire, Astrakhan was the capital of Khazaria (the famed Jewish Empire of the 8th and 9th centuries) and was a stronghold of the Golden Horde. In the 17th century Astrakhan was developed as Russia’s Gate to the Orient and became a truly International city with its population composed of many different nationalities including Indian, Persian, Armenian, Russian, Khivian, Turkish and others. Astrakhan is truly a place where East meets West and a unique Russian and Eastern city all at the same time.
Optional excursions: Visit to Panorama Museum or Rossoshka Military Cemetery
The Volga-Don Canal opened in 1952. The canal helped to unite the five seas of Russia’s European territory into one water system. The total length of the canal is 101 km and comprises 13 locks, 3 water reservoirs, 2 hydroelectric complexes, 13 dams as well as other constructions. Every lock of the canal is richly decorated with sculptural compositions dedicated to certain periods of the canal construction and the country’s history.
Starocherkassk (old Cherkassk) was founded in 1593 and served as the capital of the Don Cossacks for two centuries. Once a fortified town with a population of about 20 000, it is now a farming village which retains the look of the 19th century.
In the afternoon you’ll reach the final destination - Rostov . The program in this city includes panoramic city tour, during which you will see the marvelous architectural ensembles of Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, cross the borderline between Europe and Asia, take a walk along the River Don embankment and see numerous monuments dedicated to Rostov’s prominent citizens as well as famous characters from Russian literature.
Rostov-on-Don, often called “The Port of Five Seas,” is the capital of the Rostov Region and the Southern Federal Region of Russia and has a population of over 1 million people. The city was founded in 1749 as a State Customs point. Shortly after, in 1761, Rostov became a port and a fortress named after St. Dimitriy of Rostov. The city grew rapidly due to its favorable geographical location and eventually became an important merchant center. The city was occupied twice during WWII and suffered great damage and a huge loss life. Today, Rostov is one of the largest cities in Russia and plays an important role in the political, economic, cultural and scientific life of Southern Russia
Prices, per person
Rostropovich 5* vessel has more cabin categories than those listed on site. In the price table, you see the least expensive cabin for each deck.
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* Accommodations in all outside cabins, each with private bathroom facilities, individual temperature control and large picture window
* Three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) per day in the shipґs restaurant with the same menu for all passengers irrespective of cabin category; meal service begins with dinner on day of embarkation and ends with breakfast on day of disembarkation
* Captain’s welcome Cocktail Reception
* Gala farewell Dinner aboard
* Full sightseeing programs in each of the ports of call
* Luggage handling to/from the ship
* Lectures, provided by our guides
* Russian language and song lectures
* Nightly entertainment and dancing
* Daily aerobics
* Tour of the ship’s bridge
* Arrival and departure private transfers
* Visa invitation letters
* Port taxes
* Russian visa invitation - the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.
* Full visa support. 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. To learn more about this option, please visit the Full Visa Support page
* International airfare. However, we can offer you extremely inexpensive flights to Russia through our discount airfare booking engine. Please click here to learn more
* Baggage: excess baggage, forwarding of baggage/ souvenirs
* Luggage handling in the airport
* Gratuities: gratuities for Cruise director, ship’s crew members, guides and drivers are not included and are at passenger’s discretion
* Miscellaneous: Items of a personnel nature such as laundry, bar charges, beauty salon, telephone cable charges and medical services are not included
CONDITIONS OF PAYMENT:
25% – at booking (10% is irrevocable deposit)
75% – 65 days prior the sailing date
CONDITIONS OF CANCELLATION:
94-65 days before embarkation – 25% of the tour price
64-35 days before embarkation – 50% of the tour price
34-12 days before embarkation – 75% of the tour price
11 days or less before embarkation- 100% of the tour price
No-show – 100% of the tour price