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Jewels of Russia
(Moscow to St. Petersburg, National Geographic Cruise)

15 days with Scenic  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Moscow
Arrive in Moscow and transfer to our elegant ship, which awaits us on the Moscow River. Settle into your spacious cabin and enjoy dinner on board. (Dinner)
Day 2 Moscow
Once the center of power of the vast Soviet empire, Russian’s capital city is the political heart of the nation—an ever-evolving metropolis where remnants of the past intermingle with a vibrant, modern culture. Begin our day with a tour of some Moscow’s famed sights including the grand Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; Lomonosov Moscow State University; and the notorious Lubyanka prison, former headquarters of the KGB. Gain insight into contemporary life during a ride on the Moscow Metro, which carries millions of Muscovites each day, and tour some of its opulent stations. Have lunch at a local restaurant, then set out to explore world-renowned landmarks including Red Square—the site of public executions, parades, and protests—and the 16th-century St. Basil’s Cathedral, crowned by colorful onion domes and spires. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Moscow
Visit the legendary Kremlin, once the religious center of the Russian Orthodox Church and a former residence of the tsars. Today, this iconic fortress is the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation and a World Heritage site, along with Red Square. Venture inside its sprawling complex of towers, cathedrals, and palaces, which tell the story of Russian’s turbulent history over the centuries. Visit the Armoury Chamber, which houses a vast collection of imperial treasures including weaponry, jewelry, and royal vestments—including the gold coronation robes worn by Peter II. This evening, attend a Russian folk show featuring traditional costumes, music, and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Moscow
Explore the history of space exploration at the Museum of Cosmonautics, learning about Russian and Soviet achievements in space exploration, and enjoy a specially arranged talk with a Russian cosmonaut. Later, return to our ship and enjoy lunch on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Moscow
Today, we continue our exploration of Moscow with your choice of activities. Delve into Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery; or visit the fascinating Museum of the Great Patriotic War, where you’ll have an opportunity to examine a vast collection of Russian military memorabilia from World War II. Alternatively, visit the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, which features contemporary exhibitions as well as a collection of Soviet-era photography. In the afternoon, take a walk with our National Geographic photographer in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure—named after celebrated Russian author Maxim Gorky and locally known as Gorky Park. Designed in the 1920s by avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov, this riverside park is one of the most popular outdoor spaces in Moscow. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Uglich
Sail north on the Volga River to picturesque Uglich, part of the famed Golden Ring of historic towns. Believed to have been founded in the 10th century, Uglich is known for its small-town charm and quiet streets, presenting a dramatic contrast to the urban bustle of Moscow. This peaceful setting belies a darker history—the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible was murdered here in 1591, and the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood was constructed in his honor. Visit the crimson-colored church as well as the five-domed Transfiguration Cathedral. Later, enjoy free time to browse local shops, and perhaps stop in at the Museum of Myths and Superstitions of the Russian People, which houses an unusual collection of wax vampires, goblins, and other characters from Russian folk tales. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl’s history dates back to 1010, when it is believed to have been founded by Prince Yaroslav I. Sacked by the Tatars in the 13th century and by Ivan I Kalita a century later, the city eventually became a prosperous trading hub and industrial center. Explore its beautiful World Heritage–listed historic center, dotted with churches. Then visit the Yaroslavl Art Museum, housed in the former governor’s mansion and featuring exhibits on 18th- to 20th-century Russian artwork—including thousands of paintings, icons, and sculptures. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Goritsy
Disembark at the small town of Goritsy and drive through forested hills to Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery—one of the largest and best-preserved medieval monasteries in Russia. Founded in 1397, this religious center flourished under the patronage of the Russian tsars, including Ivan the Terrible. Explore the monastery’s vast lakeside complex containing numerous churches, and visit a museum housing a magnificent collection of Russian Orthodox icons. Later, if you wish, sample some local vodka—a spirit that has been integral to Russian culture for hundreds of years. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Kizhi Island
Continue north through the Volga-Baltic Waterway to Lake Onega—the second largest lake in Europe—in the Karelia republic. On Kizhi Island, visit Kizhi Pogost—a World Heritage site and an open-air museum that is home to dozens of historic wooden structures. Discover centuries-old churches, houses, and a windmill, as well as the island’s most impressive sight: the 18th-century Church of the Transfiguration. Adorned with 22 intricate cupolas, this architectural masterpiece—made entirely from wood—is one of the finest examples of traditional Russian carpentry. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 Mandrogi
Spend the day exploring the charming, 18th-century village of Mandrogi, where Russian craftspeople continue age-old artisan traditions. Walk amid intricately-carved, whimsical cottages—reproductions of original structures that were destroyed during World War II. Visit an array of workshops to observe blacksmiths, weavers, and potters at work, as well as artists painting Matryoshka “nesting dolls.” Visit the local vodka museum, which houses thousands of varieties of Russia’s national drink, and enjoy an authentic shashlik barbecue. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 St. Petersburg
With over a hundred miles of canals, picturesque bridges, and countless architectural gems, St. Petersburg is one of the most enchanting cities in the world. The historical and cultural heart of the nation, the city was conceived by Peter the Great as Russia’s “window on the West” and served as the county’s capital from 1712 until just after the revolution. Start your day with a tour of this dazzling metropolis and its historic district—a World Heritage site—followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Then enjoy a guided visit to the world-famous State Hermitage Museum, home to a treasure trove of priceless art including works by da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Picasso. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 St. Petersburg/Peterhof
Today, we visit the site where Peter the Great built his grand country estate, Peterhof, on a ridge by the Gulf of Finland. Nearly all the estate’s palaces were left in ruins after World War II and have since been painstakingly restored. Explore the elegant home of Catherine Block and the gilded fountains of the Lower Park, or be seduced by the extravagance of the Grand Peterhof Palace, which was designed to rival Versailles. Alternatively, explore both the Upper Garden and Lower Park of the estate, which unfold with lush greenery, beautiful statues, and the tsar’s mischievous “trick fountains.” This afternoon, return to St. Petersburg and choose to visit the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the largest Russian Orthodox church in the city, along with the famed Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood; or discover the riverside Yusupov Palace, where Grigori Rasputin was murdered in 1916. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Pushkin/St. Petersburg
Travel outside the city to Pushkin, site of the lavishly-adorned Catherine Palace—the country estate of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great, which was originally built in 1717. Embark on a guided tour of the estate, including the iconic Amber Room, clad in brilliant panels of amber. Enjoy a traditional Russian lunch at a local restaurant. This evening, take your seat inside the majestic Vladimir Palace and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before watching a splendid performance of Russian ballet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14 St. Petersburg
Enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the city's canals, gliding beneath some of its hundreds of elegant bridges, and gather for a farewell dinner on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 15 St. Petersburg
Depart this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
All This Included
Discover the country’s pulsing political heart in Moscow, where onion-domed cathedrals glitter amid Soviet-era monuments. Glide through the countryside, exploring the storybook towns of the Golden Ring, historic monasteries, and artisan villages. Cruise into Lake Onega to discover the centuries-old wooden structures of UNESCO World Heritage–listed Kizhi Pogost. Cap off your journey amid the opulent palaces and graceful canals of St. Petersburg, one of the most magnificent cities in the world. As we sail these storied waterways, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—from guided tours of iconic sites to culinary experiences and active adventures.

These departures will be accompanied by a National Geographic expert who will give talks throughout the week and join guests on off-ship excursions. Additionally, a National Geographic photographer will be on board to share techniques and help guests hone their photography skills. We’ve added extra choice excursions as well, from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.

National Geographic Photographer (June 7 - 21, 2020 departure): Davide Monteleone
Davide Monteleone is a photographer and visual journalist with extensive work related to Russia and post-Soviet countries. Born in Italy, he has lived in Moscow for long periods of time since 2001, and has published five books about the region (Dusha, Russian Soul–2007; La Linea Inesistente–2009; Red Thistle–2012; Spasibo–2013; The April Theses–2017). Davide’s projects, which primarily focus on social and geopolitical issues, have earned him multiple awards and grants, including several World Press Photo prizes, the Aftermath Grant, European Publishers Award, and Carmignac Photojournalism Award. Monteleone regularly contributes to leading publications across the globe, and his work has been presented as installations, exhibitions, and screenings at festivals and galleries worldwide, from the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and Saatchi Gallery in London to the MEP in Paris and Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. During the occasion of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he went on assignment for National Geographic exploring the region’s deep-rooted culture and customs in cities and towns along the Volga River. Other stories cover a range of subjects, such as life in the remote Pamir mountains of Tajikistan and refugees along Greece’s northern border with Macedonia. Holding a masters in art and politics from the Goldsmiths University in London, Davide is also active as a curator and educator for numerous institutions and international workshops
  • 41 meals including 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches and 14 Dinners
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Scenic Tsar
  • Itineraries are subject to change.
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.

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