tour@expresstorussia.com

Moscow - Astrakhan cruise

14 days and 13 nights

  • Route
    Moscow - Uglich - Yaroslavl - Kostoma - Nizhny Novgorod - Cheboksary - Kazan - Samara - Saratov - Volgograd - Astrakhan
  • Languages
    English-speaking guide is guaranteed. Other languages are on request.
  • Cruise Ship
    4-star cruise ships: MS Lev Tolstoy, MS Konstantin Fedin
  • Group Tour
    This is a group tour. There will be other people in your group.
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Itinerary

Day 1-3

Moscow: You will be met at the airport or train station by one of our drivers and taken by a comfortable car to the river port where you will board your cruise ship (Transfer is optional). Over the next few days you will have a chance to explore Moscow and learn about its riveting history. You will be taken on a city tour where you will see Moscow’s most interesting sights and learn about this amazing city’s past and present.

You will see the Moscow Kremlin with a visit to one of its cathedrals and have a tour of the Tretyakovsky State Gallery. The world famous gallery contains works of Russian art from the 10th century up until present day. You will view exquisite Russian icons and paintings from the 18th and 19th century including works by Rublyov, Karavak, Vishnyakov, Nikitin, Antropov, Levitsky, Kiprensky, Tropinin, Fedotov, Repin and many others.

Moscow is Russia’s political and financial capital as well as a major world class cultural center. The city includes many must see attractions from the Kremlin and Red Square to the Assumption Cathedral. Moscow is the largest city in Europe. It is unique in that it blends the ancient with the modern. See medieval structures among modern office buildings, walk down crooked old city streets opening up to wide busy boulevards. It is a fantastic city and truly a site that shouldn´t be missed.

Day 4

Uglich: You will be taken on a city tour with visit to Kremlin, the Church of St. Demitrius on the Blood and the Transfiguration cathedral.

Uglich: Founded in 1148 as a small princedom bordering on Muscovy, Uglich is one of the most beloved towns in Old Russia. The view of the town as you approach it from the Volga River is breathtaking with the Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. John´s Church rising up on the horizon. The history of the town is fascinating; At the end of the 16th century, Maria Nagaya, seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible, lived in honorary exile at the Kremlin in Uglich. It was here in her garden that the 10 year old Prince Dmitry of the Rurik Dynasty, heir to the Russian throne was murdered by Boris Godunov who wanted to seize power for himself. On the spot of his death, the Church of St. Demitrius of the Blood was built and still stands today. The death of Prince Dmitri brought on the start of the Time of Troubles, a dynastic and political crises and one of the most tumultuous periods in Russian history which ended 15 years later after the election of a new Tsar Mikhail Romanov (the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty). Inside the Kremlin the oldest building in Uglich, the Palace of Tsarevich Dmitry also stands. During your time in Uglich you will learn more about the town’s past and walk along the paths of Russian history.

Day 5

Yaroslavl: You will be taken to the panoramic city tour with a visit to a local market (free time). You will also see the Church of Elijah the Prophet (exterior), Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker (interior) and enjoy an interactive tour of former Governor´s House (and visit to an Art Gallery).

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.

Kostroma: You will be taken on a panoramic city tour with visits to the Ipatiev Monastery and the Trinity Cathedral.

Kostroma is a part of the Golden Ring, a group of ancient Russian towns located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers. It was founded in the 13th century and has played a major role in Russian history. After being destroyed by the Mongols in 1238 it became a small principality under the leadership of Prince Vasily the Drunkard the brother of the Russian hero Alexander Nevsky. In the early 17th century, the young Mikhail Romanov who was living at the time at the Ipatiev Monastery was offered the Russian throne – thus beginning the Romanov Dynasty and ending the Time of Troubles. From that time on, the Romanov’s always had a special connection to the city and played an important role in its development. The city’s most prominent landmarks are the Ipatiev Monastery, the Trinity Cathedral, the local market and a museum of wooden architecture and monuments.

Day 6

Nizhny Novgorod: During a city tour you will become acquainted with the city’s most prominent landmarks and you will also see the Kremlin grounds.

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.

Day 7

Cheboksary: You will be taken on a panoramic city tour.

Cheboksary is the capital of the Chuvash Republic, home to the Finno-Ugric Chuvash people. The city possesses excellent cultural opportunities. There is an Opera-Ballet Theatre, a Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous other theaters (showing productions in both Russian and Chuvash languages). A very popular gathering place for the locals is the recently completed zaliv (bay), beautifully situated in the middle of the city and adorned with the Monument of Mother. People gather there to stroll, visit cafes, and socialize. Cheboksary also has beautiful boardwalks and beaches along the Volga River.

Day 8

Kazan: In this city you will take a city tour with a visit to the Kremlin grounds and get a feel for this most eastern of cities full of history, the capital of Tatarstan.

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.

Day 9

Samara: Take a panoramic city tour with a visit to the Art Gallery.

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.

Day 10

Saratov: During a panoramic city tour you will become acquainted with this southern city's most prominent landmarks.

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.

Day 11

Volgograd: We will begin with a Panoramic city tour and visit the memorial complex on Mamayev Kurgan, a hill that saw some of the most intense fighting during the Stalingrad battle. You will see the famous Russian monument Rodina Mat’ (Mother Motherland) and learn about the city’s brave defense against the Nazi invaders during the battle of Stalingrad.

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.

Day 12

Day on board. You will spend this day on board your cruise ship enjoying an entertainment program.

Day 13-14

Astrakhan: Sightseeing in this city includes a panoramic city tour and a visit to the Kremlin.

On the last day of your cruise you will say goodbye to Russia, your ship’s crew and the many new friends we are sure you will have met during your time with us. We are sure that your memories of the trip will last a lifetime and we look forward to welcoming you to Russia sometime in the future. Our driver will meet you at the ship and take you to the airport to see you off (Transfer is optional).

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.

Ships

The M/S “Lev Tolstoy” is a beautifully designed, comfortable ship constructed in Austria using high quality materials. The Tolstoy was designed for high ranking Kremlin officials and to host foreign dignitaries - experience history on board! This Russian river cruise ship offers single, double and triple accommodation in air-conditioned cabins with private facilities, 220V sockets, a picture window and radios. The boat has many interesting features for the enjoyment of our passengers. On board you will find 2 cozy bars, including one with a swimming pool, a restaurant, reading salon, music lounge, TV room, souvenir shop, beauty salon, sauna and a conference room on the sun deck. Laundry and medical service are also available. Today, the Tolstoy is still one of the top ships in Russia, with its luxurious decor, well-appointed cabins, elegant public areas and wide circular stairs. The Tolstoy accommodates 168 guests, versus 200 - 300 on other ships of similar size. A little more about our ship; Spend a relaxing and leisurely evening in the beautiful Kostroma Lounge listening to piano music and watching the fascinating landscapes pass by or have a drink in the Kostroma Bar. Visit the Neva bar with its cozy armchairs and a swimming pool with glass roof above it. Enjoy a book and relax or play a table game in the Pushkin library on the second deck The Tchaikovsky Hall on the sundeck welcomes you to numerous lectures on Russian history and culture and concerts. The spacious Sun Deck and the smaller Patio Deck are ideal for cocktail receptions. The charming Katrina Restaurant is lined with panoramic windows. So while enjoying your meal you also can enjoy the beautiful landscape outside. At the restaurant you can find tables for groups of four and six people. Right in front of the restaurant there is a coffee station where coffee and tea are available from early morning until dinner time. On the main deck you can find a spacious reception area with reception desk and two spiral stairs, a sauna which can accommodate up to 6 people, our doctor's office, a beauty salon and a souvenir shop.

This vessel is going to be refurbished for season 2018. All the following information regarding the ship's features is relevant only for 2018 cruises Motorship “Konstantin Fedin” is a comfortable four-deck vessel (type 301). Built in Germany in 1980, refurbished in 2012, the motorship is equipped with modern navigational facilities and exceeds the speed of 26 km per hour (around 17MpH). Vessel features: Restaurant-bar Piano bar Conference hall Ironing room Sauna Souvenir store Solarium Restaurant Medical room Coffee bar

Prices and Terms

8 Sep - 21 Sep 2018
Lev Tolstoy 4*
Main Deck Cabin (per person) $2649
Middle Deck Cabin (per person) $2756
Boat Deck Cabin (per person) $2851
Junior Suite (per person) $3591
Suite (per person) $3913
11 Sep - 24 Sep 2018
Konstantin Fedin 4*
Middle Deck Cabin (per person) $2649
Boat Deck Cabin (per person) $2756
Deluxe Main Deck Cabin (per person) $2935
Deluxe Middle/Boat Deck Cabin (per person) $3257
Suite (per person) $3567

The surcharge for single occupancy in a double cabin is 75% of the total amount for the cruise. 

Included:

  • Accommodation in a cabin of a chosen category
  • Sightseeing programs in each port as per itinerary (optional tours are available on board)
  • Daily international on-board entertainment including concerts, lessons, master classes, movies, welcome bread and salt ceremony, Captain’s cocktail and dinner.
  • English-speaking guides onboard; services of guides speaking other languages are available upon request
  • Use of a cabin safe
  • Luggage handling onboard the ship
  • Russian visa invitation - the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.

Included meals on MS Lev Tolstoy:

  • Full board, three meals per day (from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day): breakfast and lunch are buffet style, dinner is with fixed menu and preliminary order
  • Water in carafs for breakfast, tea/coffee for all meals
  • For each lunch and dinner: 1 glass of wine OR 1 glass of beer OR 1 bottle of mineral water (0.5l) OR 1 bottle of soda (0.5l) per person
  • Welcome bread and salt ceremony on arrival day
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Captain’s farewell dinner with a special menu
  • Russian tea ceremony
  • Mulled wine/hot tea (during cold weather), ice-tea (during hot weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • Coffee station (coffee/tea/cookies): 06:00 – breakfast, 10:00-12:00, 16:00-18:00, 21:00-23:00

Included meals on MS Konstanti Fedin:

  • Full board, three meals per day (from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day): breakfast and lunch are buffet style, dinner is with fixed menu and preliminary order
  • Water in carafs, tea/coffee for dinner
  • 1 glass of red/white wine or juice is included for each dinner
  • 1 bottle of water (0.33l) in cabin per person replenished daily
  • Welcome bread and salt ceremony on arrival day
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Captain’s farewell dinner with a special menu
  • Russian tea ceremony
  • Cocktail party (once per tour) – 1 cocktail to choose out of three cocktails per 1 person
  • Mulled wine/hot tea (during cold weather), ice-tea (during hot weather) upon returning to ship after shore excursions
  • Coffee station (coffee/decaf/hot water/milk/cocoa/packed tea/sugar/sweetener/cookies): 06:00 – breakfast, 10:00-12:00, 16:00-18:00, 21:00-23:00

Not included:

  • Russian Visas. 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. 
  • International airfare. 
  • Arrival and departure transfers. We can arrange those for an extra fee.
  • Additional drinks and water in ship restaurant and drinks from the onboard bars
  • Option tours
  • Tips for the crew and ship staff
  • Forwarding of baggage/souvenirs
  • Accident, baggage and trip cancellation insurance (we recommend you purchase insurance).
  • Items of a personal nature (laundry services, bar charges, beauty salon services, telephone and cable charges and medical services).
  • Room service offered at an additional price.
  • Water; you can order packages of water as extra for the following prices. Please contact your order manager for more information.

Please be informed that all pre/post cruise services (additional arr/dep transfers, hotel accommodations, additional excursions, etc.) can also arranged by us.

Conditions of payment: To book your cruise a 20% deposit is required in advance. The trip must be fully paid 41 days before departure.

Cancellation terms for river cruises: 
41 or more days before departure – a fee equal to 20% of the entire package will be charged.
40-20 days before departure – a fee equal to 60% of the entire package will be charged.
19 days or less before departure or in the event of a no-show - a fee equal to 100% of the package will be charged.

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