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Moscow to Saint Petersburg

13 days – 12 nights

Moscow to St. Petersburg

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Gold, Platinum  Airport transfer / Check-in at centrally located Marriott Aurora***** or Ararat Park Hyatt*****

Imperial : Private airport transfer / Check-in at the luxurious Four Seasons Moscow***** only a minute from the Kremlin and Red Square

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Volga dream experience:


Gold: City Tour / Novodevichy Cemetery Imperial, Platinum:  City tour / Lunch in a Moscow City Skyscraper / Novodevichy Cemetery / Sparrow Hills

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Meals: Breakfast

Platinum / Imperial

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Gold:  Moscow Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square / GUM Department Store

Platinum:  Moscow Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square / St. Basil’s Cathedral / GUM Department Store / Park Zaryadye

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Gold:  Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro Tour.

Platinum:  Leo Tolstoy House-Museum in Hamovniki / Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro Tour.

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Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Gold, Platinum:  Town of Uglich / Church of St. Dmitri-on-the-Blood

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Volga dream experience: Costumed Russian Tea Ceremony & Russian Cooking Class


Gold, Platinum:  Yaroslavl City Tour / Governor’s house 

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Volga dream experience: Sun Deck Barbeque


Gold:  Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery  

Platinum:  Ferapontov Monastery

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Russian Dinner with Vodka Tasting

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Gold, Platinum: Kizhi Island / Lake Onega

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Volga dream experience: Piano Concert – Compositions by Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov


Gold, Platinum:  Svirstroy village / Local resident’s home / Local primary school

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Volga dream experience: Farewell Dinner, Captain’s cocktail

St. Petersburg

Gold:  City Tour / Peter and Paul Fortress

Platinum:  City Tour / St. Isaac’s Cathedral / Canal boat / Yusupov Palace

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Gold:  The State Hermitage Museum / Peterhof: Park and a historic Cottage

Platinum:  The State Hermitage Museum (Early Entrance!) / Gold Room / Peterhof: Park and a historic Cottage

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Gold:  Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

Platinum:  Faberge Museum / Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

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Meals: Breakfast / Imperial

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Gold, Platinum, Imperial: Check-out / Airport transfer

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Volga dream experience: -

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All prices are per person based on double occupancy.

All rates are per person, based on double occupancy. Actual size of cabins can slightly differ within one category.

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Premium River Cruise Packages

Do you wish to discover more than the cultural capitals of Russia and major cities? Want to do it with the highest level of comfort and ease? Well, then we say premium river cruise is how your next trip to Russia should look like. During your premium river cruise to Russia, you will have the best of both worlds - the most exciting cultural and sightseeing program alongside the best 5-star accommodation on board as well as on land. Once you settle on a premium river cruise itinerary, you won't need to lift a finger. All you should care about is packing your luggage and exchanging some Russian rubles for souvenir purchases, as the rest of the details will lay on your trusted tour operator's shoulders. We will take care of every logistical aspect of your trip. We will arrange 5-star accommodation, book your day trips, and reserve the best local English-speaking guides alongside the premium private transportation to get you from one point to another. However, don't wait too long to start planning as your Russian visa process takes time, and the spaces onboard the ship are limited. Start planning today!

Things To Do & Places To See on Preminum Cruises

Don't miss out on any important sights & experiences on Premium River Cruises

Enjoy in full the Premium River Cruise trip with the top-notch facilities and the most famous landmarks on your itinerary.

River Cruises Highlights

  • Luxurious MS Volga Dream ship
  • 5-star hotels in the capital cities
  • Gourmet lunches and daily meals
  • The best local guides
  • Education activities on board
  • Visiting unique museums
  • Russian Visa invitation
  • Support line during the trip

River Cruises Travel Tips

Check out carefully-choosen tips for your best adventure.

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What to pack

You will be walking a lot; make sure to bring a pair of comfortable footwear.

On board you have delicious daily meals. In the cities you taste gourmet lunches.

Many travelers are bringing home matryoshka dolls, caviar and tea. Don't hesitate to choose some hand-made gifts too.

How much to tip

If you liked the service, feel free to tip 10% of the bill amount. However, tips are not obligatory and remain at your will.

The Russian climate, especially during a cruise, can get a bit harsh. Make sure to have some wind-proof clothes and sunscreen If cruising in the Summer.

If you are planning to purchase souvenirs or leave tips - you will need to have cash on you. Exchange your money to Rubles prior to your trip to avoid fees.

We loved our Volga Dream Cruise

The itinerary was well planned with excellent guides and adequate free time in each stop.

Fantastic tour - Volga Dream Cruise, May 2017

Fantastic tour. Only suggestion would be to maybe substitute the visit in St Petersburg to the Mini Russia exhibit to something else more suited to the age group. Felt this was more of a family outing with kids.

Treasures of Three Capitals + Volga Dream cruise

Enjoyed every minute of it. Would be happy to travel with the company again

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U.S. News Announces the 2023 Best Cruise Lines

Virgin Voyages earns its first No. 1 ranking in the Best for the Money category.

U.S. News 2023 Best Cruise Lines

Washington, D.C. – U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hotels , Best Vacations and Best Travel Rewards Programs , today released its annual rankings of the Best Cruise Lines .

The 2023 rankings highlight 17 cruise lines to help every type of traveler find the cruise that’s right for them. For the first time, Virgin Voyages takes the No. 1 spot in the Best Cruise Lines for the Money ranking, offering the best value among cruise lines. U.S. News considered the overall cruise line quality and average base fare per night, as well as extra benefits such as free gratuities, Wi-Fi access and all-inclusive package options. Carnival Cruise Line, known for its budget-friendly fares and frequent sales, and Celebrity Cruises, which offers a more upscale experience at reasonable rates, rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

For the ninth consecutive year, Disney Cruise Line is the Best Cruise Line for Families . The family-oriented line offers ships with character meet-and-greets, themed dinners, nighttime fireworks, waterslides and more. Royal Caribbean International comes in at No. 2, thanks to its onboard amenities that cater to guests of all ages, while Carnival Cruise Line ranks No. 3, offering family-friendly perks like water parks, basketball courts and ropes courses on its ships.

"After more than two years of sailing restrictions and limited voyage options due to the coronavirus pandemic, cruisers and cruise lines are excited to be on the seas again,'' said Nicola Wood, senior travel editor at U.S. News. "The Best Cruise Lines rankings evaluate a variety of cruise types, making it easy for travelers to find the best options that fit their budgets, cruising styles and desired destinations."

U.S. News ranks cruise lines in six categories: Best Cruise Lines for the Money, Best Cruise Lines for Families, Best Cruise Lines for Couples, Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean, Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean and Best Luxury Cruise Lines. The rankings follow a comprehensive, transparent methodology that factors in expert evaluations of ship quality, traveler ratings, health assessment results and more.

This year's rankings are accompanied by editorial roundups of the top gay cruises for 2023, the top cruise lines for solo travelers and the best cruise insurance ; each piece aims to provide helpful advice and planning information to a wide community of cruisers. U.S. News also offers additional cruise tips and recommendations, such as what to pack on a cruise , the top river cruise lines , fun adults-only cruises and more.

2023 Best Cruise Lines Rankings

See the full rankings here .

Best Cruise Lines for the Money 1. Virgin Voyages 2. Carnival Cruise Line 3. Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Lines for Families 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Royal Caribbean International 3. Carnival Cruise Line

Best Cruise Lines for Couples 1. Viking Ocean Cruises 2. Seabourn Cruise Line 3. Azamara

Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Virgin Voyages 3. Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean 1. Viking Ocean Cruises 2. Seabourn Cruise Line 3. Azamara

Best Luxury Cruise Lines 1. Viking Ocean Cruises 2. Seabourn Cruise Line 3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

For more information on the Best Cruise Lines , explore Facebook , Twitter and Instagram using #BestCruises.

Media Contact: Michelle Day, [email protected] , 202-955-2212

About U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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Find Cheap Cruises from Moscow

Great deals for cruises from moscow.

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Discover the best cruise from Moscow

How can i find a cheap moscow cruise.

With Expedia, you can find plenty of Moscow discount cruises and cruise deals from Moscow to fit your travel wants and needs. For cheap cruises out of Moscow, consider staying in an economy-style cabin, booking an all-inclusive trip, or traveling with a low-cost cruise company. Regardless of your budget, you’ll likely be able to find deals from several of the top Moscow cruise lines. Planning and booking a 2025 cruise from Moscow in advance can help unlock even more discounts and a greater choice of itineraries. Booking last-minute cruise deals from Moscow can also be another way to experience new destinations at wallet-friendly prices.

How can I find good deals on cruises from Moscow?

You can search cruise ships leaving from Moscow throughout the year and then sort the results by price. Moscow cruise deals are automatically updated, so you can be sure you’re getting the right price at the right time. Moscow cruise prices will vary depending on your destination and the time of year you plan to travel, as prices can fluctuate with demand. However, booking 2025 cruises out of Moscow in advance can often lead to big savings and additional perks. If you have some flexibility or are just the spontaneous type, you can also find discounts on some of the best cruises out of Moscow by looking for last-minute deals.

What to look out for when you book your Moscow cruise?

When booking a Moscow cruise vacation on Expedia, you can look for the cabin experience you want, the amenities you’d like included, and which cruise lines out of Moscow you’d like to travel with. Whether you’re looking to book a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adults-only trip, you’ll be able to choose from a number of cruise ships out of Moscow, all while getting fantastic Moscow cruise prices. Expedia’s Moscow cruise finder will present you with some of the top cruise deals out of Moscow – and on some of the most popular cruise ships out of Moscow – so that you can plan and book with ease.

How to book a cruise from Moscow on Expedia?

Seamlessly find cruises departing from Moscow by inputting your travel dates and the number of travelers in the search wizard. The results will present you with a variety of cheap Moscow cruises and the most popular cruise lines from Moscow so you can find your dream Moscow cruise vacation. Our search wizard also allows you to select your cabin type, the included amenities, and the cruise type. Depending on the time of year, your preference of Moscow cruise ships, and your travel requirements, your choice of cruises departing from Moscow will vary. Once you’ve chosen your Moscow cruise, you’ll be redirected to cabin selection and be asked to finalize your details. After that, you’re ready to embark!

Do you need a passport to cruise out of Moscow?

Depending on your itinerary, you may be required to bring a passport for cruises leaving from Moscow. Passports are not required for closed-loop cruises out of Moscow to certain destinations. It’s advised to check entry requirements prior to your Moscow cruise vacation to ensure you have the right documents with you. While you may not need a passport for certain Moscow cruises, you will be required to show a valid ID card and your Moscow cruise ship boarding pass.

Can I cancel my Moscow cruise booking?

Yes, you can cancel or modify your cruise from Moscow via the ‘My Trips’ section on Expedia. For help canceling your cruise booking, it’s advised to contact customer service. Cancellation and refund policies are determined by your Moscow cruise line. Generally, the further in advance you cancel your Moscow cruise trip, the more likely you are to receive a refund.

Why should I book a cruise from Moscow with Expedia?

Searching for cruises leaving from Moscow is a seamless experience with Expedia, your one-stop-shop for all things travel. We put the best cruise lines out of Moscow at your fingertips, and all deals and discounts will be automatically applied to the displayed price. Expedia compiles the deals offered by top Moscow cruise lines so that you can find a cruise ship from Moscow that’s perfect for your needs – and at a price that won’t break the bank. Booking Moscow cruises in advance for 2025 can provide you with better flexibility, more itinerary options, and an abundance of Moscow cruise destinations.

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Find the Best Cruise for You

U.S. News has ranked more than 150 cruise ships. Find the best cruise for your vacation.

Cruise Line Rankings

U.S. News has made it easier to find the cruise that's right for you with our Best Cruise Lines rankings, which identify the best cruise lines for a variety of traveler types in a range of regions.

Best Cruise Lines for the Money

  • # 1 Virgin Voyages
  • # 2 Celebrity Cruises
  • # 3 Princess Cruises

Best Cruise Lines for Families

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Best Cruise Lines for Couples

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Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean

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Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean

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Vagrants Of The World Travel

Russian River Cruise from St Petersburg To Moscow.

By: Author Kate O'Malley

Posted on Last updated: December 6, 2021

Home >> Russia >> Russian River Cruise from St Petersburg To Moscow.

Have you ever dreamed of strolling through Moscow’s Red Square or seeing the ballet in St Petersburg – A city where opulent palaces offer a glimpse into one of the world’s most  intriguing royal dynasties .

Russia’s two great cities still invoke the old school romance of travel – a journey into the enigmatic and exotic. However, in a country as immense as it is fascinating, there is so much to see beyond the metropolis of Russia’s great cities.

A Russian River Cruise , St Petersburg to Moscow on Viking Cruises Waterways of the Tsars cruise will take you to Russia’s great cities and beyond.

Take a Russian river cruise from Moscow to St Petersberg to see sights like Moscow's famous Red Square. We enjoyed our Viking River Cruise.

Sailing the rivers and lakes of Russia from St Petersburg to Moscow takes you into Russia’s heartland. It is deep in the country where you find the Golden Ring cities, charming towns and iconic, sometimes forgotten monuments that helped define Russia’s history.

A Russian river cruise opens up possibilities to visit parts of Russia that may otherwise be logistically difficult. It also offers a very efficient and cost-effective way to see the best of this vast country.

Viking river boat with temple on an island in the background.  River cruises in Russia are popular and a viking river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow is the best way to see Russia

Table of Contents

Visiting Russia

Unfortunately, Russia is a country too often sidestepped by many travellers. It has been more than two decades since Russia emerged from behind the Iron Curtain and began welcoming tourists with semi-open arms and a cold stony smile.

However, Russia still carries the stigma of being a difficult country to travel to and in. Thanks mostly to a reputation of complicated, bureaucratic visa processes and rumoured corruption.

multi coloured parapets of russian church.  If you want to see some unique things in Russia then a viking river cruise through russia will leave you plenty of time for self exploration.

Russian Visa Requirements

If you are travelling through Russia on a river cruise, unless you are eligible for the new 16 day e-Visa, most foreign nationals must have a tourist visa.  The Russian visa process can take up to a month or two. It is important to check your visa requirement and make sure you get it submitted well in advance of your intended travel date.

The gradual introduction of the new e-visa is making the process simpler but is restricted for visits of only eight days and specific entry points. Based on this, the e-visa is not suitable for a river cruise in Russia. 

Applying online for your Tourist Invitation Letter is quick and simple, allowing you to proceed with your application. You can read more about planning your trip to Russia here . 

people walking under yellow archway in Moscow.  Getting around Russia is easy on a river cruise in Russia but you will need a russian visa.  We can also show you how to get a tourist visa for russia

Travel in Russia

As independent travellers, our biggest dilemma with Russia is logistics. Russia covers two continents and nine time zones, and the highlights and must-sees are spread far and wide, with nothing in between.

When you don’t have unlimited time or an unlimited budget, the distances can pose some issues. Transport through Russia can be expensive and less than comfortable, and car hire could be a costly alternative.

Golden room with light spilling through the archways and people looking at the painted ceilings and golden walls.  you will see these things in Russia if you go on a viking river cruise and cruise St Petersburg to Moscow

Is a River Cruise The Best Way To See Russia?

We would say yes, a river cruise is a fantastic way to see Russia. For most, Russia is a once in a lifetime adventure, so, it boils down to how much of Russia do you want to see.

A river cruise makes sense for most travellers to Russia and most travel budgets. A cruise enables visitors to experience more of Russia than perhaps they would on their own.

yellow building with black parapet above the archway.  a unique thing to see in russia on your river cruise.

You Might Also Like: What to Take on A Russian River Cruise

Viking River Cruise in Russia

Much like some of the unreliable, uncomfortable transport methods available in Russia, some of the Russian cruise lines are shall we say, still a little Soviet.

Viking Cruises, on the other hand, offers a product in Russia to the same high, 5- star standard as their river cruises throughout Europe. A full-service luxury river cruise from the moment you make your booking to the time you disembark.

And much like Viking’s European itineraries, the Viking Russian Cruise itineraries are destination focused with high quality shore excursions and enrichment experiences. 

3 viking river cruise boats docked.  a viking river cruise is the best way to see europe and russia

Plan Your Trip to Russia: Know The Best Time to Visit Europe

Viking’s All-Inclusive Cruise Packages

The big appeal of cruising for some is the all-inclusive aspect, so they know what to expect. With Viking Cruises, you can expect so much more than just an all-inclusive cruise package of meals and drinks.

In addition to optional excursions, there are also lots of free shore excursions throughout the cruise. 

Fly Cruise Packages

You can book your Russian river cruise inclusive of flights from your home port, wherever in the world that may be. An attractive option for those wishing to take the guesswork out of arranging flights, knowing you have access to Vikings Cruises discounted fares and upgrades.

Fly cruise packages include all taxes and airport transfers in Russia. Helpful for those who don’t like to navigate the taxi hustle on arrival in a new country. (Speaking from first-hand experience, Russia certainly has some good taxi scams running from the airport).

Information to assist you with the visa process is also included, the most daunting prospect of visiting Russia for many.

More Incredible Viking Cruises You Can Take in Europe:

  • Viking Cruises Paris to Swiss Alps Christmas Market River Cruise
  • Viking River Cruises Danube Waltz – Passau to Budapest River Cruise
  • Viking Homelands Cruise Review. The Best of Northern Europe
  • Passage to Eastern Europe Cruise on the Danube Budapest to Bucharest

red and blue church set on emerald green grass on the banks of a river during a cruise from st petersburg to moscow.

Shore Excursions and Tours in Russia

During the river cruise, a high quality tour itinerary of shore excursions and tours are included to ensure you experience the best things to do in Russia.

There are also some delightful surprises, such as an evening at the ballet in St Petersburg. The tour schedule is designed with the arts and culture in mind, not just the big tourist hot spots.

Additional or Optional Tours can also be purchased at each destination such as our traditional Russian Banya experience in Mandrogy or the vodka tasting on board.

dinner setting russian style with vodka glasses and plates of russian food. fine dining is one of the many great things about a viking river cruise.

You also have access to some very appealing Exclusive Access tours such as a behind the scenes look at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.  All tours include transfers where required, entry fees and extremely knowledgeable, tourism professionals as your guides.

a russian river cruise shore excursion with people walking up the T shaped staircase on the red carpet.  river cruising is the best way to see russia.

On Board Lectures, Demonstrations and Activities.

In addition to activities during cruising times, such as cooking demonstrations and traditional Russian tea’s, the guides also offer daily lectures on Russian history and politics.

The lectures are one of the highlights of the trip. Engaging and well-researched lectures, delivered from a Russian perspective, provide an entirely different and refreshing perspective on Russian culture and politics.

chef showing viking river cruisers how to make a typical russian dish on their cruise st petersburg to moscow

Russian Cuisine on Board

Viking River Cruises always excel when it comes to onboard dining. Interchangeable a la carte menus are available at all meal times showcasing Russian cuisine and produce.

The less adventurous are well catered for with an excellent “always available” a la carte menu. Portions are sensible to allow for all courses to be tried and savoured. Unlike the glutenous portions or “ all you can eat” buffet’s some cruise ships favour. 

Viking River Cruises Fine Dining

Drinks are complimentary with all meals, including a tipple of champagne at breakfast if you are so inclined.

A Silver Drinks Package can be purchased, which gives you unlimited drinks from the bar for the entire cruise as well as a vast selection of wines.

The Convenience and Comfort of River Cruises

There is a lot to be said for having your floating hotel accompany you on your journey through Russia. Unlike some ocean cruises where the focus can be on shipboard life at the expense of the destinations, on this Russian river cruise, the destinations are the focus.  

You get the complete package of the best things to see in Russia without having to navigate multiple modes of transport or having to unpack, pack and move accommodation all the time.

viking river cruise boat deck with tables and chairs.  luxury cruising through russia on a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow

Once you are on board, whether it be in the big cities or the remote countryside, you only need to check in and out once. You do feel like you have your hotel on the road with you – A fantastic boutique hotel.

And it is not only the tour guides who are tourism professionals. You also have at your disposal a 5-star hotel team — professional food and beverage staff, well versed in the art of fine dining and world-class chefs.

set dining tables on a viking river cruise where you will get the finest russian food on your river cruise in russia

The staterooms are spacious and extremely comfortable. Private balconies, quality furnishings, and enough high tech amenities such as Satellite TV and WIFI to keep you entertained are standard throughout the ship.

There are also plenty of comfortable public spaces, both indoors and out with panoramic views to relax and take in the vista while you are cruising.

stateroom with double bed and balcony on a viking river cruise

Cruise St Petersburg to Moscow

For us, opting to travel through Russia on a river cruise was primarily motivated by the itinerary. Most people would be happy to visit Moscow or St Petersburg. But why make an effort to visit this intriguing country and miss all the beautiful and exciting things to see outside of the main cities despite the vast geographic distances.

abonded church with green roof sinking into the ground. unique things to see on your russia holiday

The Cruise Itinerary

The river cruise itinerary is what sold us on this mode of travel. The itinerary enabled us to spend ample time in St Petersburg and Moscow; then with our floating hotel in tow, we took to the river.

It is here where we saw the other Russia. Stunning countryside, small villages, abandoned churches and majestic cathedrals dotted along the river banks. A view of Russia that speaks volumes about the country’s history and culture.

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As we slipped down the river, we had the  White Nights  in our favour so could take advantage of the long days and very short nights of summer. Enjoying the sights of the Russian countryside en route to our next destination. Each day a different destination with a cruising schedule set to maximise time spent ashore.

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Waterways of the Tsars Schedule

Seven different destinations are visited in the 13 days onboard. This includes three full days in both Moscow and St Petersburg. We would not have achieved this on our own in the two weeks we had.

Viking Cruises Waterways Of The Tsars itinerary

Viking Cruises Waterway of the Tsars St Petersburg to Moscow Itinerary

Commencing either in St Petersburg or Moscow, the itinerary allows for three days in each city. You can read about the cruise itinerary and shore excursions in St Petersburg and Moscow here.

St Petersburg & Moscow

Between Moscow and St Petersburg, you can experience the beautiful Golden Ring cities and villages of Russia. These are the towns and cities that lie beyond Russia’s great cities on the Waterways of the Tsars. 

Fortress of Schlusselburg Russia which sits in the middle of a lake.  best things to do in russia is to cruise past these unique russian places to visit

Mandrogy Russia

Mandrogy, built in 1996 as an open-air museum, is a replica of   Verkhine Mandrogi , a Russian village destroyed during WWII. The enterprise was intended to give travellers cruising between St Petersburg and Kizhi a feel for traditional Russian life. 

Unfortunately, we found Mandrogy to be very much that – a fabricated tourist attraction including costumed craftsmen and women with innumerable craft stalls and workshops selling the same trinkets. 

Mandrogy Russia

Paint your Own Russian Matryoshka Doll

The central premise for this village appears to be shopping and, of course, the famed Russian Matryoshka Dolls. You can partake in a workshop to learn how to paint your own nesting dolls or, watch any number of the local artists paint dolls in their style. These, of course, are available for purchase. 

While Mandrogy was not our cup of tea, there was a silver lining to this little settlement – the traditional Russian Banya.

Mandrogy Russia

Experience a Russian Banya

The banya is one of those quintessentially Russian experiences.  One of the oldest Russian traditions dating back centuries. A tradition that has not lost its appeal and is still popular today.

Essentially the banya is a steam room or sauna where water is poured over hot rocks to create steam with temperatures often exceeding 93ºC. However, the banya comes with a little more ceremony than your average steam room or sauna.

Specific brooms are used in the banya called veniks . These are usually bunches of birch or oak branches which are dipped into cold water in the sweltering steam room. They are then smacked briskly over the body.

Typically,  there will be a person responsible for this task – a banschik.  As the banya is considered a very social activity, a  banschik  is often not required as friends will usually smack each other with the veniks.

branches tied together and hanging on a rail waiting to be used to whip the hell out of you in a russian banya. viking river cruises will stop here and allow you to be beaten to a sweating pulp by local russian folk

Thankfully our experience included a banschik as we would not have known the sequence of events nor the protocols for polite smacking! So, how does one banya?

  • Enter the banya and wait for temperatures to become almost unbearably hot.
  • Relax while the banschick  completes a ceremonial beating of everyone’s bodies with the veniks.  It includes intense rustling of the branches either side of your head, which is repeated several times.
  • Leave the banya and allow the  banschick  to pour freezing cold water over you.
  • Adjourn to the adjacent room for tea and jam.
  • Repeat steps 1 & 2.
  • Leave the banya house and run to the river to plunge into the icy waters.
  • Repeat step 6.

Traditional Russian Banya Mandrogy with man serving tea to two viking guests after being in the banya.  this really is a unique thing to do in russia

You get the gist! Used as a method of bathing in Russia for centuries, the banya is said to have a myriad of health benefits. There are many communal or public banyas in the cities and towns, and some people still have private banyas in their homes.

The banya is one Russian experience we highly recommend, providing you have the constitution to withstand the intensity of it.

Traditional Russian Banya Mandrogy with men and women running down a pier to jump into the icy waters.

Near the centre of the Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe, you will find the wild and isolated island of Kizhi. Kizhi is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed open-air museum.

At only 6 km long and 1 km wide, this tiny island is one of Russia’s most visited. The settlements buildings date back to the 15th century, some of which were moved from various Karelian villages during Soviet times to help preserve them.  

wooden buildings on Kizhi Island Russia.  the best way to see russia is with a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow.

However, the islands most notable and recognisable attractions are the famous wooden onion-domed buildings- the twenty-two domed Transfiguration Church and the nine domed Intercession Church.

Locals will tell you; both churches were constructed without the use of a single nail. The unknown builder is also said to have destroyed his axe on completion of the Transfiguration Church. He is quoted as saying: “ There was not and will not be another to match it”.

the two domed church on Kizhi Island Russia - viking's Waterways of the Tsars Cruise is the best way to see russia in a short period of time

Within the smaller Church of the intercession, you may hear the local clergy, a beautiful and moving baritone choir intone the ancient liturgy. The islands ancient settlement gives insight into the harsh realities of life in the Russian heartland. Places where entire settlements were isolated for much of the year throughout long winters. You can read more about  visiting Kizhi Island here .

3 men singing in a church on Kizhi Island Russia. viking river cruises provide unique opportunities to live like a local for a short while whilst on their river cruise in russia

Along the Volga – Baltic waterway you will find the urban settlement of Kuzino approx. 600km north of Moscow.

In addition to some fascinating churches, some abandoned or in various states of repair that are worth exploring, the highlight of this region is the Kirillo – Belozersky Monastery. More like a fortress than a monastery, the magnificent complex sits on Severskoye Lake.

the Kirillo - Belozersky Monastery set against the river with 5 steeples around the outer perimeter.

Severskoye Lake is deemed so pure no motorboats are allowed on it. According to urban myth, the waters were blessed, giving them qualities similar to those of the mythical fountain of youth.

From humble beginnings in 1397 when two monks founded the monastery in nothing more than a cave dug by two men. By 1494, now a stone structure, it was the largest church in medieval Russia.

Defended by thick walls and towers it was a refuge for not just monks and peasants, but also a place of pilgrimage for Tsars and so benefited from generous donations and tax breaks. Ivan the Terrible was said to be a regular visitor and big tipper. The financially favourable guest list enabled the monastery to grow in size and importance.

Kuzino Russia

By 1764, Catherine the Great had stripped the monastery of its land and converted the complex into a prison. In 1924 the Bolshevik government shut the complex down and executed or arrested the monks. Interestingly, unlike most monasteries, it was not converted into a concentration camp but rather a museum.

Kirillo - Belozersky monastery Russia

Yaroslavl, the largest city on the Volga, lies just 250 km’s north of Moscow which makes this Golden Ring city a popular weekend getaway.

Perhaps this quaint city of six hundred thousand should be called the city of churches because here you will find an impressive kaleidoscope of onion domes. At the convergence of the mighty Volga and Kotorosl rivers is the historic part of the city, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site.

white church with gold topped green parapets in Yaroslavl Russia. these are the amazing things you will see on a viking river cruise st petersburg to moscow

The city dates back to Prince Yaroslav or Yaroslav the Wise  when he came ashore in around 998, slew the sacred bear worshipped by the local pagan tribes and converted them to Christianity. Hence, the bear on the city’s coat of arms.

Yaroslavl Russia

While these events may have attributed to the city’s religious fervour – the churches that now adorn the skyline were the work of 17th and 19th century merchants on a quest to outdo each other in a bid to beautify the city.  To this day it remains a magnificent city, one that appears to have remained unscathed by the soviet facelift given to much of Russia. 

4 golden domes atop a church in Yaroslavl Russia

Uglich, another of the Golden Ring Cities. A picturesque riverside city filled with inviting parks and brightly coloured church domes. The history of Uglich is steeped in a murder mystery that changed the history of Russia.

Ivan the Terrible was never quite right following the death of his wife Anastasia and so instituted a reign of terror that earned him his name. Although respected for his military victories and management of Russian interests, he was also feared for some terrible deeds.

Uglich Russia

One such deed was accidentally killing his son and heir with a blow to the head. Due to this faux par on Ivan’s behalf, his crippled son Feodor, who by all reports was not well in mind or body, ascended to power. However, the country was being run by Feodor’s brother in law, Boris Godunov.

Uglich Russia

Quietly in the wings was Dimitry, Ivan’s younger son who could have succeeded the throne in light of Feodor’s lack of interest in political issues. In 1591, at the age of ten, Dimitry was found dead thanks to a stab wound. It was decided Dimitry slit his own throat with a sword during an epileptic fit.

At the risk of stating the obvious – it was widely assumed the boy was murdered. However, those who dared to accuse Boris Gudunov only did so once. The mystery remains, and so does this beautiful city close to Moscow.

white church with 3 blue domes in Uglich Russia.  Best things to do in russia are from st petersburg to moscow

Should You Choose A River Cruise to Travel Russia?

When it comes to visiting a country like Russia, we feel a river cruise is possibly the best way to maximise your experience of this incredible country.  Had we decided to travel independently, there is no way we would have had the vast and varied experiences we were able to on this cruise.

abandoned church in the middle of the river.  one of the unique things you will see on a Waterways Of The Tsars. St Petersburg to Moscow river cruise with viking river cruise.

The 5-star hotel service, excellent dining and professional tour organisation far exceeded any of our expectations. We now understand why people often choose river cruises as the best way to experience a country. We have since travelled on a number of river cruises through Eastern Europe and the Danube and still believe it to be a value for money way to travel, especially in Europe.

Moscow Russia

If you are looking to see Russia beyond the big cities, cruising the waterways from St Petersburg to Moscow will reveal the beauty of the towns and the landscapes of Russia’s heartland. A river cruise is a fabulous way to travel Russia and a great way to glean a deeper understanding of this mysterious country.

Waterways Of The Tsars. St Petersburg to Moscow

Viking River Cruise In Russia Facts

  • Viking River Cruises has three vessels operating in Russia offering a  13-day “Waterways Of The Tsars” cruise  running between Moscow and St Petersburg.
  • Prices start at ~USD $4,500. Viking Cruises also offer some great “Early Bird” specials available for advance bookings.
  • The cruise includes accommodation, all meals, drinks with meals, tours and onboard lectures. Additional or  Optional Tours  can be purchased on board.
  • Flights, including taxes and transfers, can be arranged inclusive of your cruise price.
  • A tourist visa will be required for most foreign nationals to enter Russia, it is important to check if you will require this well in advance of your cruise date.

We would like to thank Viking Cruises for hosting us on the Waterways Of The Tsars cruise to facilitate this article. As always, all opinions expressed are our own and have not been influenced in any way.

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12 Amazing Cruises You Can Book Now for 2021

best cruise lines near me

It may be time to move from daydreaming about your next cruise vacation to serious planning and checking the calendar and budget. Are you thinking about a romantic couple's trip or maybe a family get together to make up for a missed vacation this year? Is it time to check off a bucket list cruise, perhaps across the Atlantic or through the Panama Canal? Have you always longed to see the pyramids or glaciers?

Cruises are planning to get underway again, and eager travelers are already booking journeys for later this year. For many, the main attraction of a cruise is the ability to visit many destinations with all the arrangements made and no packing, unpacking, or making connections. Cruises are ideal for multi-generational groups with their range of onboard activities and shore excursions.

We’ve gathered an assortment of cruise lines, destinations, durations, costs, and styles to help you get started. Once you begin browsing, you just might find one that sounds perfect. And won’t it be fun to have a cruise vacation to plan for and anticipate?

AmaWaterways River Cruise “Secrets of Egypt & the Nile”

The luxurious new AmaDahlia , AmaWaterways’ 25th river cruise ship, will set sail beginning September 2021 with an 11-night land and cruise adventure . The 68-passenger ship will offer 10 staterooms and 24 suites along with a heated pool on the sun deck and Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. Guests will visit the Temple of Luxor, Valley of the Kings and Queens, Pyramids of Giza, and the Great Sphinx. A private tour of the Abdeen Presidential Palace and a visit to the Egyptian Museum and Alabaster Mosque in Cairo are also on the itinerary.

Regent Seven Seas “Glitz, Glamour & Splendor”

The new all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Splendor was christened in February 2020, showcasing luxury in its 350 suites, Elite Slumber beds, eight dining venues, infinity edge pool, and entertainment venues. Starting in Monte Carlo, Monaco, this fifteen-day cruise visits Provence, Barcelona, Malaga, Casablanca, Lisbon, Bordeaux and other glamorous ports before ending in London. A day of cruising the Mediterranean and Bay of Biscay provides time to enjoy the amenities of the fabulous new ship.

Disney Cruise Line “Eastern Caribbean Cruise”

This seven-night cruise begins in Port Canaveral, Florida aboard the Disney Fantasy and includes four destinations and three days at sea. Ideal for family vacations, Disney cruises offer something for everyone from young children to teens as well as adult-exclusive activities. There’s time to enjoy the ship while cruising toTortola, British Virgin Islands, for a day of relaxing on the beach or swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. The cruise ends with a day at Disney Castaway Cay for beachside activities for all before heading back to Port Canaveral.

Holland America Line “14 Day Great Alaskan Explorer”

Explore scenic Vancouver before you board the Maasdam, the only Holland America Line ship outfitted with Zodiacs, for up close exploring on your cruise . Sail along Alaska’s Inside Passage, with waterways, fjords, rainforests, and rugged coastline. You’ll visit Ketchikan, Skagway, Anchorage, and Homer. Thrill to the blue ice of the Hubbard Glacier, pan for gold, meet Iditarod sled dogs, take helicopter tours over glaciers, kayak, zipline, and more with the company that has been cruising Alaska for more than 70 years.

Seabourn “14-Day Panama Canal & the Humboldt Route”

Departing from Barbados in October 2021, this cruise is one of the first aboard the new Seabourn Venture , featuring the Constellation Lounge with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and 270-degree views from the highest indoor point on the ship and 132 all-veranda, all oceanfront suites. Board in sunny Bridgetown, Barbados and enjoy two days at sea on your way to Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. After another day at sea, you’ll arrive in Panama as you anticipate the adventure of cruising the Panama Canal.

Norwegian Cruise Line “Nine-Day Cruise to Scandinavia, Russia & Baltic”

Board Norwegian Escape in Copenhagen where your cruise begins and ends. The award-winning ship offers 18 dining venues, a waterfront cocktail lounge, spa, and wide range of staterooms. Relax and enjoy the amenities as you sail to Berlin for your first port and then on to Helsinki, Finland. In St. Petersburg, you’ll have two days to take in the city’s museums, architecture, and culture before cruising on to Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. Stockholm, Sweden is the next port before a day at sea takes you back to Copenhagen.

Princess Cruises “Nine-Day Japan Explorer Spring Flowers”

Timed to take advantage of Japan’s blossoming gardens, this cruise aboard the Diamond Princess begins and ends in Tokyo. Ports include Shimizu for a view of Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kagoshima, and Busan in South Korea, covering Japan’s islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Two days at sea provide time to enjoy onboard entertainment, spa, freshwater pool and hot tubs, art gallery, cooking demonstrations, speakers, family activities, and programs for kids and teens.

Crystal Cruises “Ancient Dynasties and World Wonders”

This 139-night cruise is truly a “journey of a lifetime,” starting in Miami before passing through the Panama Canal and stopping in Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, and Hawaii. Then on to Australia and Asia, visiting ports in Singapore, Japan, China, Vietnam, India, Dubai, and others. The Crystal Serenity then cruises the Nile, stopping at Luxor and transiting the Suez Canal on its way to Greece and Italy. Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and France are on the exciting itinerary, and the journey ends in London.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises “Imperial Waterways of Russia”

The 12-day cruise of Russia’s lakes and rivers aboard River Victoria begins in Moscow with a tour of the city that includes the Kremlin, Armory Museum, and Cathedral Square. The ship proceeds along Moscow Canal to the historic town of Uglich and then on to Lake Rybinsk and the city of Yaroslavl, a UNESCO city designed by Catherine the Great. After passing through rural villages and lakes, the cruise reaches St. Petersburg and its canals, churches, palaces, and Hermitage Museum. A Russian ballet performance is on the itinerary as well.

Celebrity Cruises “Italy, Croatia & Montenegro Cruise ”

The seven-night cruise begins in Venice aboard the Celebrity Infinity , soon to be totally renovated, and after a day to explore the romantic city of canals, the ship heads to Split, Croatia on the Adriatic. The next port is Kotor in Montenegro and then on to Corfu Greece, both UNESCO World Heritage cities. After a day at sea to relax and enjoy the ship’s pool, spa, and onboard amenities, you’ll arrive in Naples with an opportunity to sample the local delicacies before cruising to Rome’s Civitavecchia.

Royal Caribbean “Nine Night Canada and New England Cruise”

In time for autumn and colorful foliage if the timing is right, this cruise leaves from New York City aboard the Freedom of the Seas . After a day at sea, you’ll arrive in Portland, Maine in Casco Bay and then on to historic Boston. Your next port is Bar Harbor, Maine with Acadia National Park’s panoramic scenery and New England’s famous lobster dinners. Cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia to explore its many lighthouses and enjoy its fresh seafood cuisine. St. John, New Brunswick is the next port before a day at sea and a return to New York.

Silversea “Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Lisbon, Portugal”

This 13-day transatlantic cruise aboard the Silver Shadow leaves from Fort Lauderdale for two days at sea before arriving in Hamilton, Bermuda for two days of pink sand beaches, glass bottom boat tours, and historic venues. The next four days crossing the Atlantic can be spent enjoying the ship’s pool, lounges, restaurants, and ocean views. At Horta and Punta Delgada in Portugal’s Azores, guests can experience the volcanic landscape, natural hot springs, and beaches before two more cruising days and arrival in Lisbon.

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On a river cruise in Russia you’ll likely visit two of this expansive country’s most important cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow. St. Petersburg has always been more of a city focused on the arts and Moscow on business and politics. Tolstoy even remarked about this dichotomy in his masterpiece novel Anna Karenina . In St. Petersburg you’ll find the ornate Hermitage Museum, an art museum which was started by Catherine the Great. In Moscow you’ll be wowed by the colorful onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral at Red Square. When cruising through Russia you’ll also get a chance to experience the rural parts of Western Russia in Goritsy or the Mandrogi village, which is reconstructed to look just as it did during the 18 th century.

Things to Do on a Cruise to Russia

Adopt the pluck and determination of the Russian people and realize that there is nothing you can’t do on your cruise to Russia. Russia is full of crazy stories, exciting history and beautiful traditions, so drink it in with some unforgettable experiences. A few of our favorite things to do are outlined below:

Russia Cruises Kremlin Palace and Wall in Moscow, Russia

  • Explore the armory at the Kremlin where you can see the stunning royal jewels of the czars and czarinas. Don’t forget to check out the Faberge eggs, intricately decorated and jewel-adorned eggs created in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  
  • Visit a wooden church with 22 domes that is made without one single nail. This remarkable building is in Kizhi Island surrounded by other buildings at an open air museum.  

Russia Cruises Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Spend a day discovering the more than 3 million works that make up the Hermitage Museum, which is housed in the Winter Palace, a former home of Russian royals located in St. Petersburg.  
  • Though ballet comes from Italy, Russia has made this elegant dance form what it is today. Be sure to enjoy a performance at either the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow or the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.  

Russia Cruises GUM Department Store in Moscow, Russia

  • Enjoy a Shashlik lunch. Shashlik is a Russian variation of a shish kebab which generally consists of grilled beef or cubed lamb that is been marinated and is roasted on a spit often paired with a variety of vegetables such as tomato, onion and eggpant.  This is a popular fast food dish in Russia.  
  • Go to GUM, Moscow's exorbitant shopping mall, to shop (or just browse) through one designer store after the other.  

Map of Russia:

Top 10 russia cruises, russia: cruise lines.

River cruise lines offer in-depth visits to Russia where you’ll get a real sense of the nation’s culture – from the big cities to the rural outposts. Each day is packed with history, art and tradition. 

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Russia: Departure Ports

Russian river cruises either flow north or south, meaning they either start in St. Petersburg or Moscow. Moscow is the current capital of the country, but St. Petersburg used to hold that title and was the home of many of the country’s czars. Both of these large cities offer great art museums and incredible domed churches. No matter where your river cruise starts, you’ll get a real sense of Russian culture as St. Petersburg offers an exploration of Russian history while Moscow is on the cutting edge and looking forward. 

Photo Gallery for Russia Cruises

Catch a glimpse into grand Russia in our Russia cruising photo gallery. Preview many of Russia’s national treasures – like the Peterhof Palace, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Katherine’s Palace and Red Square – before contacting one of our cruise experts to plan your very own trip to this fascinating nation.

Assumption Cathedral in Yaroslavl from Volga

Assumption Cathedral in Yaroslavl from Volga River

Church of the Dmity in Uglich Volga River

Church of the Dmity in Uglich from the Volga River

Fountains in Petrodvorets Peterhof Saint Petersbur

Fountains in Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg

Interior of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Bl

Interior of Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood


Katherine's Palace in Pushkin, Russia

Matrioshka Nesting dolls souvenirs from Russia

Matrioshka Nesting dolls from Russia

Red Square in Moscow Russia Federation

Red Square in Moscow, Russia

St. Basil

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow

Assumption Cathedral in Yaroslavl from Volga

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Experience Luxury at Every Turn on a Russia Cruise

Russia is a vast, breathtaking country known for resplendent cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, where world-class art, unique architecture, and rich history await. Beyond its biggest cities, however, there are remote villages and fishing towns that thrive despite a menacing climate, making Russia home to a wilderness more beautiful than you could possibly imagine.

Once the capital of imperial Russia, today St. Petersburg is a creative hub full of art, culture, and cherished institutions just waiting to be explored on a Russia cruise. From breathtaking ballet and opera centers to ornate palaces and cathedrals, the City of Tsars still feels every bit the royal city it once was. Get to know another side of Russia in Petropavlovsk, a port town where 29 active volcanoes and the rugged Kamchatka Peninsula contrasts with its snow-capped mountains and inviting thermal hot springs.

With the safety of our guests and crew always our top priority, we are removing St. Petersburg, Russia from upcoming itineraries in 2022, due to the current situation in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all who are impacted by this conflict.

Russia Cruise Highlights

Fascinating history.

Centuries of history mark every street and attraction of St. Petersburg. Marvel at the Church on Spilled Blood, a memorial to Alexander II known for its breathtaking mosaics, or explore centuries of imperial history with a visit to the Winter Palace. Board a high-speed train to Moscow and see the world-famous Kremlin and the Red Square. In Petropavlovsk, discover the history of Russia’s far east at the Military Glory Museum.

Local Cuisine

Explore the flavors of historic St. Petersburg on a journey to a local market under the expert guidance of our Celebrity Chef. Stroll through popular markets in the city, admire fresh local produce, artisanal cheese, caviar, natural honey, fresh fish, and choice meats. Sample some of the market’s delicious offerings before you source ingredients with your chef on board. In Petropavlovsk, sample traditional Russian delicacies like borsch, smoked fish, and baked Kamchatka salmon.

Arts & Culture

St. Petersburg is home to an astounding array of cultural attractions to explore. Visit one of the largest art museums in the world at the State Hermitage Museum, where you’ll see priceless works of art by Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh, and more. Stroll the grounds of Peterhof Palace and witness one of the most impressive private collections of porcelain in the world. A night of Russian ballet at one of the city’s lavish theaters is a can’t-miss experience.

Featured Ports

St. petersburg.

Colorful, metropolitan St. Petersburg is one of Russia’s greatest cities, decorated with incredible palaces and grounds like the Winter Palace and the Peterhof. Called “The Venice of Russia,” St. Petersburg’s winding canals and cobblestone streets rival Europe’s greatest cities. Watch a once-in-a-lifetime Russian ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre, or take a high-speed train on a day trip to Moscow. 


Venture off the beaten path to the far east of Russia and enjoy a more rustic side of the country in Petropavlovsk. Thanks to its large population of hefty Kamchatka black bears, Petropavlovsk is a perfect getaway for animal enthusiasts hoping for bear sightings. Explore a traditional Kamchatka village, or get close to Siberian huskies at a local kennel. Fields of bubbling geysers, an active caldera called Lake Kurilskoye, and an entire museum dedicated to the area’s volcanic activity are reminders of East Russia’s powerful landscape. 

Russia Cruise Itineraries

Cruises to Russia and Scandinavia depart from Amsterdam aboard Celebrity Reflection and Southampton aboard Celebrity Silhouette. Itineraries last from 12 to 14 nights and include an overnight in St. Petersburg, where you’ll have two days to explore the city. On a transpacific cruise from Tokyo to Vancouver, you’ll visit the fascinating port town of Petropavlovsk.


View all cruises to russia, why sail to russia with celebrity cruises.

On a luxury cruise to Russia with Celebrity Cruises, you’ll discover the captivating metropolis of St. Petersburg and the vibrant cities of Scandinavia, or the vastness of the Bering Sea and the picturesque town of Petropavlovsk. Spend luxurious days at sea enjoying the onboard spa, world-class restaurants, and thrilling live performances. During days in port, you’ll experience the striking architecture, culture, and signature cuisine of the region. Enjoy fine wine recommended from a dedicated sommelier, or stay out dancing at one of our innovative lounges. 

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Russian Tours and Cruises from Express to Russia

  • St. Petersburg - Moscow Cruise

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This 8-day Russian river cruise by luxury ship will take you to the jewels of Russia - St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as the most significant towns between these 2 magnificent cities: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island with its amazing wooden architecture and Uglich and Goritsy with their tranquil, country atmosphere.

  • Route St. Petersburg - Mandrogui - Kizhi - Goritsy - Uglich - Moscow
  • Languages English-speaking guide is guaranteed. Other languages are on request.
  • Cruise Ship 5-star cruise ship MS Rostropovich
  • Group Tour This is a group tour. There will be other people in your group.

MS Crucelake, photo by crucemundo website

This is a great Russian river cruise on a comfortable 4-star ship that will take you to St. Petersburg and Moscow and the most significant places between these 2 cities: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island with its amazing wooden architecture and Uglich and Goritsy with their tranquil atmosphere.

  • Route St. Petersburg - Mandrogui- Kizhi - Goritsy - Uglich - Moscow
  • Cruise Ship 4-star cruise ship: MS Crucelake

MS MOONLIGHT SONATA, photo by infoflot website

This is our shortest St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise and it is a perfect choice for those who have already been to Moscow and St. Petersburg and would like to explore the small, charming towns lying between the Two Capitals.

  • Route St. Petersburg - Shlisselburg - Valaam - Svirstroy/Lodeynoe Pole - Mandrogui - Kizhi - Kuzino - Myshkin - Uglich - Moscow
  • Cruise Ship 3-star cruise ships: MS Swan Lake, MS Moonlight Sonata

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This is our most popular St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise. Besides in depth visits to St. Petersburg and Moscow, the cruise covers all the most important areas between the two capitals: Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island with its beautiful nature and wooden architecture, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

  • Route St. Petersburg - Mandrogui - Kizhi - Goritsy - Yaroslavl - Uglich - Moscow
  • Cruise Ship 3-star cruise ships: MS Zosima Shashkov

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This is a classic St. Petersburg - Moscow cruises that takes you to the Two Capitals as well a number of charming ancient towns on the way: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island, Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

  • Cruise Ship 4-star cruise ships:, MS Nikolay Chernyshevsky, MS Nizhny Novgorod, MS Konstantin Fedin, MS Sankt-Peterburg, MS Kronshtadt

MS CRUCELAKE, photo by Crucemundo website

This St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise is a great way to discover Russia. The cruise includes in-depth visits to Russia’s two capitals and also makes stops at all of the important sites along the route including Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island with its beautiful nature and wooden architecture, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

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This 11-day St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise covers all the important places: Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

  • Cruise Ship 3-star cruise ship: MS Moonlight Sonata

Ms Mustai Karim, photo by Vodohod website

This 8-day Russian river cruise on a luxury ship takes you to Russia’s two capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as to the ancient towns of Uglich and Goritsy, Kizhi island with its outstanding wooden architecture, and Mandrogui village, famous for traditional handicrafts, and Valaam archipielago with its amazing monastary.

  • Route St. Petersburg - Valaam - Mandrogui - Kizhi - Goritsy - Uglich - Moscow
  • Cruise Ship 5-star cruise ship MS Mustai Karim


We would like to thank you very much for making the arrangements for our river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow in Sept-Oct. We were very pleased with every aspect of the cruise. The accommodation and the meals were excellent, the staff very knowledgeable & courteous, the quality of the tours was excellent. We found the lectures on the boat very interesting & everything possible was done to make sure the tourists had a wonderful experience. Thank you, too, for arranging the hotel for us the night before the cruise. It was in a great location & very comfortable. All aspects of the trip were wonderful & it was great value for money spent. Our sincere thanks.

We just wanted to thank you again for your help in setting up our Russian cruise. We've appreciated your support all the way through - from taking us through the complex paperwork of the visa application to talking to our taxi driver in St Petersburg to make sure that we were in the right place. Great service! We absolutely loved the cruise! We learned a lot, relaxed a lot and were dazzled by beautiful cities and landscapes. We couldn't have asked for a better introduction to Russia. Thanks again!

St. Petersburg Cruise

This St. Petersburg cruise to Moscow Cruise is a great combination of ancient Russian cities, famous for their history, architecture and art. Travel along the magnificent Volga River that links these 2 beautiful and historic cities. Port calls include the Russian capital Moscow , Saint Petersburg , Kizhi , Goritsy and Uglich . The river cruise ship will take you along the Neva River , Lake Ladoga ,the Svir River , Lake Onega , the Baltic canal , White Lake and the Volga River . The beauty of the countryside will make your trip unforgettable. Come to Russia in the summer of 2021 with Express to Russia.

Frequently Asked Questions From Our Travelers

A russian land tour or a river cruise - which is better.

This decision completely depends on your preferred way of travelling. During the Russian river cruise you will not only visit the two largest cities of Russia, but also small towns and villages along the route and you will have a chance to participate in master classes, learn a little Russian language and dive into local Russian culture and hospitality. For those who prefer custom-made programs and more free time in the cities of their choice we recommend a land tour, both are excellent options. To find out more about the differences click here .

Do I need a visa for a Russian River Cruise?

If your citizenship is not on the list of countries with visa-free access to Russia, you will need a valid Russian visa. Please make sure to start the process in a timely manner, so as to avoid any last-minute pressure. More details on Russian Visas can be found here .

What is the best Russian river cruise line?

There are several Russian river cruise lines. Each cruise line offers a number of ships and programs at different price ranges. You call feel confident in choosing any of them. All of these cruise lines are well trusted and have been in business for a long time. We also recommend checking guests' reviews and asking our reservation specialist for more details regarding any concerns.

How far in advance should I book a Russian river cruise?

Usually the cruise operating companies set their schedules and prices well in advance - at least one year before the actual cruise starts. So, we may recommend that you book your cruise and place a deposit as early as possible so that you have enough time to arrange all other components of your journey. Please also note that cruise cabins sell out quickly, so it is always a good idea to book your cabin of choice in advance.

What should I pack for a Russian River Cruise?

The weather here can be unpredictable. So first of all it is important to have comfortable clothes and some wind/waterproof items. We highly recommend that you check our new article that contains full information on packing for a Russian river cruise .

What is the voltage in Russia?

Russia uses 220V voltage as does most of Europe. So before packing your devices, do not forget to take a proper adapter, so you may recharge all of your devices with no stress. For more information please see our useful tips .

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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Kremlin responds to claims Russia is targeting Olympics

After reports that Moscow is targeting the Paris Olympics with a disinformation campaign, the Kremlin has responded. Meanwhile, NATO only has two to three years to prepare before Russia regains its ability to launch a conventional attack on the alliance, Norway's top general has said.

Wednesday 5 June 2024 06:37, UK

Vladimir Putin at the Beijing Capital International Airport. Pic: Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP

  • Big picture: Everything you need to know about the war right now
  • Kremlin denies disinformation campaign targeting Olympics  
  • Russia could be ready to attack NATO in three years, Norway warns
  • Baby among seven civilians injured in overnight missile strike
  • Navalny's mother and supporters visit grave on his birthday  
  • Live reporting by Bhvishya Patel

Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Before we begin, here is a recap of the key events over the last 24 hours.

  • US President Joe Biden announced overnight that he will meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit to Europe this week;
  • The US also is set to provide a $50bn loan to Ukraine that would be repaid by profits from frozen Russian assets if the EU can indefinitely extend sanctions against Moscow, according to reports
  • Russia could be ready to attack NATO in two to three years, Norway's top general said;
  • The Kremlin has said there is no substance to allegations that Russia was targeting this summer's Olympics with a disinformation campaign;
  • Alexei Navalny's mother and his supporters visited his grave to lay flowers and pay tribute to the late Kremlin critic on what would have been his 48th birthday.

We're pausing our coverage for today but we will be back tomorrow with more updates.

Here is a rundown of the key developments today:

  • Norway's top general said NATO only has two to three years to prepare before Russia regains its ability to launch a conventional attack on the alliance;
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Ukraine's use of Western-supplied weapons to strike targets in Russia will not "contribute to escalation";
  • Microsoft made allegations in the New York Times that Russia was targeting the upcoming Olympics with a disinformation campaign;
  • The mother of Alexei Navalny and his supporters visited his grave to lay flowers and pay tribute to the late Kremlin critic on what would have been his 48th birthday.

You can scroll back through the blog to read all our updates from today.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said any foreign military staff training Ukrainian troops will not have any "immunity" from Russian strikes.

"Any instructors who train the Kyiv regime's troops don't have any sort of immunity," he said in a conference call with reporters today.

Reports have suggested talks are ongoing over whether French instructors could soon be sent to support training centres in Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops have been preparing to fire towards Russian positions on the frontline in the eastern Donetsk region.

Donetsk is one of the four provinces Vladimir Putin proclaimed as part of Russia in an illegal referendum at the start of the war and fighting here is particularly intense.

Russia's two biggest banks plan to open branches and offices in the regions of Ukraine that Moscow claimed to have annexed next month.

Sberbank chief executive German Gref said in Russia's upper house of parliament the bank would be "present throughout the whole country's territory".

VTB chief executive Andrei Kostin said they would open two offices in Luhansk in July and had plans to start serving clients in Donetsk and the port city of Mariupol by the end of the year.

For context : Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in September 2022, after what Ukraine and its Western allies branded sham referendums. 

The move was condemned by many countries as illegal. 

Russian forces only partly control the four regions.

Manufacturers and distributors need to improve compliance with Russia-related sanctions, the deputy secretary of the US Treasury has said.

American companies in particular need to pay more attention to their supply chains to ensure they are not complicit with Russia's evasion of sanctions over Ukraine, Wally Adeyemo said in an interview with CNBC.

He said manufacturers of microelectronics and machine tools especially needed to step up compliance to help cut off supplies of "dual use" goods to Russia, including from Chinese producers. 

Freight forwarders and distributors need to do the same and financial institutions need to look at their relationships with small and medium-sized banks in "countries of concern" because Moscow is looking for ways around US sanctions, Mr Adeyemo said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's chief of staff has said that using Western weapons to strike inside Russia was a vital decision that would impact Moscow's tactical aviation and its offensive ability in border regions. 

"This will impact the conduct of the war, planning of counteroffensive actions, and will weaken Russians' abilities to use their forces in the border areas," Andriy Yermak said on Telegram. 

Russia has said the move would mark an escalation to the conflict and has threatened war with NATO if Western weapons are used in its airspace.

By  Ivor Bennett , Moscow correspondent

Dozens of Alexei Navalny supporters have visited his grave to lay flowers and pay tribute to the late Kremlin critic on what would have been his 48th birthday. 

The opposition leader died at an Arctic prison colony in February, prompting outrage from Western governments.

Nearly four months on, his family say the cause of his death remains unexplained.

His widow Yulia Navalnaya has accused Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder, and last week his allies called for additional sanctions to punish the Russian president's inner circle.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his death. According to his death certificate, he died of natural causes.

Navalny's mother, Lyudmila, as well as his mother-in-law Alla Abrosimova, were among those who gathered at his grave in the Borisovskoye cemetery in southeast Moscow today.

Video posted by SOTAvision on the social media platform Telegram shows a memorial service led by Dmitry Safronov, a priest who was previously banned from clerical duties by the Russian Orthodox Church for presiding over a similar service in March, which marked 40 days since the activist's death.

According to the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, three police officers were on duty near the cemetery but they did not make any arrests.

Having been convicted of multiple charges, ranging from fraud to extremism, Navalny was serving sentences totalling more than 30 years when he died.

His Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) is outlawed in Russia, and has been accused by the authorities of having links to the CIA.

What remains of his team now operates in exile.

Polish farmers have resumed their protest blockade at the Ukrainian border crossing due to agricultural imports from the country.

Farmers in Poland have staged sporadic demonstrations at the border since last autumn.

The demonstrators are blocking trucks from leaving Ukraine.

Cargo vehicles heading to Ukraine are allowed to enter by 12 trucks per 12 hours and by four trucks with humanitarian aid per hour, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service said.

Other vehicles are continuing as usual.

"Representatives of Polish farmers demand reduced imports of Ukrainian crops to Polish territory from Ukraine," the Border Guard Service said.

Disputes over crop imports have strained the relationship between Warsaw and Kyiv, with both countries being major agricultural producers.

Polish farmers have complained that Ukrainian products create uneven competition, particularly since the EU lifted tariffs in 2022.

Poland banned the import of several products from Ukraine, including grain, corn, and rapeseed, in 2023.

In our last post, we brought you news that Microsoft had made allegations in the New York Times that Russia was targeting the upcoming Olympics with a disinformation campaign.

Moscow has now branded those accusations "absolute slander", with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying there is no substance to them.

Russia is widely accused of having waged disinformation campaigns over the years, often targeting elections in the United States, Europe and Britain.

Moscow has always denied it uses disinformation to influence public opinion. 

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  1. The 15 Best Russian River Cruises for 2022

    8 days and 7 nights. Enjoy a short Russian river cruise on a comfortable 4-star ship. Our program includes all the most important sights on the Moscow to St. Petersburg route. Besides the Two Capitals, you will visit the ancient towns of Uglich, Goritsy, the island of Kizhi, and Mandrogui village. $ 811 From/Per person.

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    14 days and 13 nights. With this cruise, you will get a feeling for both the south-eastern Russia with its link to the Asia and the Orient and the European, imperial Russia. You will start your trip in Astrakhan and sail practically the whole length of the Volga River from the edge of the Caspian Sea to Moscow. $ 2140 From/Per person. Details. +.

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    Our 20 Best Russian River Cruises of 2022. Create unforgettable memories, meet new friends and be amazed at what you see as you cruise along the beautiful Volga River between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Our cruises are the most relaxing and also the most budget friendly way to visit Russia. Supreme on-board entertainment, great Russian and ...

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    Premium River Cruises. If you are looking for luxury Russia cruises on premium quality 5-star ships along the Volga River, consider our specially tailored programs for your experience of a lifetime with the perk of included Russian visa invitations. Immerse into the authentic beauty of the gorgeous Volga River and its charming villages, setting ...

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  21. St. Petersburg

    8 days and 7 nights. This is a great Russian river cruise on a comfortable 4-star ship that will take you to St. Petersburg and Moscow and the most significant places between these 2 cities: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island with its amazing wooden architecture and Uglich and Goritsy with their tranquil atmosphere. $ 930 From/Per person. Details. +.

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