Russian River Cruise

11 days / Land & Cruise Tours
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About This Experience

Cruise along Russia’s rivers to discover a vast geography, dramatic history and unexpected beauty. Board the ship in romantic St. Petersburg, then journey east into the heartland, with stops in the charming village of Svirstroy, the outdoor museum of Kizhi and the rural monasteries in Goritsy. Admire the picturesque architecture and remarkable history of Uglich. End your journey amidst Moscow’s golden domes.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 9 nights aboard the M/S Lavrinenkov

  • Breakfast daily, 8 lunches, 9 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Jet overseas to Russian waters

If you didn’t take our pre-tour extension, your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to St. Petersburg aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Cruise9 nights - hotel info

Day2

All aboard the M/S Lavrinenkov river cruiser

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to Russia. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport and escorts you to your ship’s port, where you’ll board the M/S Lavrinenkov. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day3

Look through Russia’s Window to the West—sparkling St Petersburg

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Paul & Peter Fortress

Follow a local guide through the vibrant city of St. Petersburg. You’ll pass Palace Square, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt, Alexander Nevsky Monastery and the Summer Garden. Other highlights include the gilded dome of St. Issac’s Cathedral, the Bronze Horseman and the monumental Thunder Stone.

Day4

Ogle at the endless art and amazing architecture at the Hermitage

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hermitage

Pay a visit to the Hermitage, located in historic Palace Square. The museum and surrounding buildings are the size of a small town. Within these four linked buildings you’ll find one of the most extensive and engaging collections of art and artifacts in the world. Peruse work by the likes of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Degas. Later this afternoon, set sail toward Svirstroy.

Day5

Get a taste of Russian village life in Mandrogi

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Stop in Mandrogi, one of the largest villages on the banks of the Svir River. Here, you’ll have free time to explore. You might visit the main building in the village to see many craftspeople making matrushkas, lace, ceramics and other handicrafts. Or, venture to the Vodka Museum, which features hundreds of different brands of Russia’s favorite drink.

Day6

Count the domes of the whimsical wooden churches of Kizhi Island

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kizhi Pogost, Church of the Transfiguration

Located at the northern end of Lake Onega near St. Petersburg, the island of Kizhi is famous for its array of wooden churches. Within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kizhi Pogost site, you’ll find the famous Church of the Transfiguration, whose unique multi-story, multi-cupola design boasts 22 onion domes. Afterward, spend your time exploring the many wooden buildings and structures of the island’s open-air museum.

Day7

Explore the turrets and towers of centuries-old monasteries in Goritsy

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kirillo-Belozersky Men’s Monastery

This afternoon, visit Goritsy, a picturesque village where old and new architecture exists side by side. You’ll visit the Kirillo-Belozersky Men’s Monastery, founded in 1397, where Ivan the Terrible once had his own cell. Once inside, take note of the monastery’s magnificent architecture. You may also see the remains of the Nunnery of the Resurrection on the banks of the Sheksna River.

Day8

Contemplate the striking beauty and bloody history in tiny Uglich

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Uspenskaya Trade Square, Church of St. Demetrius on the Blood

Today’s port of call is Uglich, an age-old town famous for its clock and watchmaking. The city also contains two of Russia’s most historic churches. Here, you’ll visit Uspenskaya Trade Square. Then, learn about a violent chapter in Russia’s past with a look at the Church of St. Demetrius on the Blood. Return to your cruise ship later today for dinner.

Day9

Marvel at the medieval mystery and communist legacy of modern Moscow

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

New Maiden Convent, Red Square

Dock in Moscow this afternoon, where a local guide leads you on a panoramic tour of this fascinating city. You’ll see the building that once hosted the KGB, Red Square and the Tverskaya Ulitsa, a wide boulevard of 19th century palaces and 1930s apartment blocks. Pass by the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and end at the New Maiden Convent and Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Return to your boat for tonight’s included dinner.

Day10

Explore the mighty Kremlin—seat of power for nearly a millennium

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kremlin

Today’s guided tour takes you to the palaces, buildings and churches of the Kremlin, the seat of post-tsarist Russian government. See the Tsar Cannon, Tsar Bell, Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the breathtaking Cathedral Square, home to three gorgeous Orthodox churches.

Day11

Pack up your memories and sail away home

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Disembark from your cruise this morning and transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Extend Your Stay

Add St. Petersburg City Stay $399*

Created by Peter the Great in 1703 to be his “window on Europe,” St. Petersburg combines a fascinating Russian heritage with a distinctly European outlook. One of the cultural capitals of modern Russia, St. Petersburg is rapidly regaining its reputation as one of the great cities of Europe. From the vibrant blooms of spring, through endless twilights of the famous White Nights of summer, the brilliant golden colors of autumn, and into the crisp brightness of winter, St. Petersburg casts a unique spell over visitors.

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Get another dose of Russia’s glorious imperial capital

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to St. Petersburg aboard an internationally recognized airline.

St. Petersburg2 nights - hotel info

Day2

Stroll the boulevards, cruise the canals, explore the palaces

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to St. Petersburg. Meet up with your group at tonight’s included welcome dinner.

Day3

Immerse yourself in the watery wonderland of Peterhof

Optional Excursion - Peterhof

Breakfast

Spend a free day in St. Petersburg however you wish. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to nearby Peterhof, also known as Peter’s Palace, a stunning ensemble of palaces, dining halls and summer homes that rivals Versailles.

Optional Excursions

Peterhof $105* pp

Journey to the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland to visit Peterhof, Peter the Great’s summer residence. On a guided tour, you'll explore the opulent palaces and gardens of Peterhof and learn how this former retreat of the czars has changed throughout Russian history.

Day4

Say do svidaniya to St. Petersburg

Breakfast

Today, you’ll transfer to the port of St. Petersburg to join the rest of your group for your cruise.

About the Ship

This modern, fully air-conditioned, 212-passenger ship was built specifically for cruising the rivers of Russia and was renovated in 2012. It features all outside cabins with picture windows, perfect for marvelous views of the countryside and cityscapes. It also offers a range of facilities, including two restaurants, a music salon, dance hall and souvenir shop. English-speaking cruise managers guide you through a variety of activities from special guest lectures on Russian history to language lessons. In the evening, enjoy music performances as well as exclusive arts and cultural activities on the mainland.

Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Russia, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the reentry date. Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in advance in order to enter Russia. You may choose to obtain your individual visa by applying directly to the Russian consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. If you opt to apply with the Russian consulate and require additional assistance and/or documentation from Go Ahead, a special arrangements fee of $95 per person may be charged. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Russian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in St. Petersburg and depart from Moscow. When you first arrive in St. Petersburg, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the cruise ship’s port.

Clothing and Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort is essential. Temperatures in this region are cool even in the summer, so it’s a good idea to dress in layers for daytime shore excursions (also, keep in mind that the river cruise ship is air conditioned). A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is also recommended for shore excursions and exploring the cities. Be prepared for any event; rain wear is advised. “Smart casual” attire, meaning a jacket and tie for men and a casual dress or pants for women, is recommended for the captain’s evening. Remember that it’s preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Russia, but you should check with your health care provider at least eight weeks prior to departure for the latest overseas travel requirements.

Dining Arrangements

The ship’s restaurant features a variety of Russian specialties, as well as Western-style and vegetarian options. Russian cuisine is famous for its exotic soups, meats (often in pies or casseroles) and cooked vegetables (especially cabbage). Pelmeny is Russia’s version of ravioli. Pancakes (bliny) or porridge (kasha) are common for breakfast. Vodka is ubiquitous and the ship offers several vodkatasting sessions and bar service.

Electricity

Electricity on board and in Russia is 220 volts, the European standard.

Time Zones

Moscow, St. Petersburg and each destination on your cruise fall in a time zone three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GST), or eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 8 p.m. in Moscow.

Currency

The Russian ruble is the currency you’ll be using on this trip. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries rather than in the U.S. or Canada, although it may be worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. Currency exchange is not provided aboard the boat as this would be infringing official regulations. Please use the official change offices at the harbors. During the cruise, ATM’s are most readily available in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Please make sure to take enough money in cash with you during the trip. Traveler’s checks will likely not be accepted. For more information on money concerns in Russia, please feel free to give us a call. When bringing cash, also make sure to take steps to protect your money from theft.

Tipping

The cost of porterage is included in your tour price, and it’s not necessary to tip baggage handlers. However, any additional tipping is not included. The amount of your tip is left to your discretion and should be seen as a reward for good service. It’s customary to offer your Tour/Cruise Director a gratuity the equivalent of 5-7 EUR per person, per day of tour (roughly $6-9 USD/CAD). If you enjoy the services of your local guide and driver, a 1-2 EUR per person per tour tip will be appreciated. Any tips to service people on the cruise are also at your discretion. Subject to your satisfaction and to show appreciation to the on board crew for a job well done, we recommend a gratuity of 10 EUR per person, per day (roughly $13 USD/CAD). Please note that tips can only be paid in cash.

Beautiful Trip

When you read the reviews many say take money, tours will be offered that you will want to take Peterhoff is a must. The ships crew is so much fun and they do well understanding our English. The food was good. GO and have a great time.. Jackie Palm Springs


3 / 5

Traveled On: 9/9/2012

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great scenery

The Russian River Cruise gives you great scenery of the Russian landscape and many picture taking opportunities at the "onion domed" churches along the route, the best being St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square, in Moscow. Our Tour Director, Olga, was excellent and took care of all the fine details, allowing the tour group to see as much as possible in the time we had available. Having a Tour Director who spoke fluent English, my native language, definitely helped in making the tour go as smoothly as it did. Also, I was impressed with the superb overall service and the food on our river boat, the M/S General Lavrinenkov.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/17/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Russian Cruise

Excellent Tour Director who made sure everyone was taken care of. Please consider an overnight in Yarloslavl - a few hours is not enough.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 8/4/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The boat was bad, travel was great

The good: Russia was an amazing country to visit. Very interesting, lots of history and art to appreciate. Olga, the tour director, was absolutely wonderful. The visits to the Hermitage and Kizhi Island were particular favorites of mine. The bad: When we first arrived in St. Petersburg and were picked up by the driver, we were just dropped off in the parking lot where the ship was docked. There was no representative to bring us on board the ship, as Olga was working with other passengers. There was no direction of where to go or who to talk to until much later. The ship had fairly poor accommodations. I had called twice to confirm with Go Ahead that there would be internet access on the ship, and I was told that there would be internet both times that I called. There was no wifi or internet at all to be had on the ship, which proved to be a significant problem for work-related reasons. The tour was advertised as having an english speaking crew on board the ship, which was barely true. Most of the waiters and staff did not speak english, which would not have surprised me except that it was advertised as such by Go Ahead. The food quality on board the ship was poor. There was little access to potable water or snacks while on board the ship, and tours did not provide nearly enough time or access to purchase supplies if shopping for souvenirs was to be done. Having to pay for drinks during lunch would have been okay if it weren't for the fact that the ship provided a single small pitcher of water for an entire table and would not refill it. On board the ship, there was significant downtime without many planned activities or facilities to make up for the large amounts of time spent on board. The selection of locations to visit became very monotonous. After visiting over a dozen Russian Orthodox Cathedrals, Monasteries or Nunneries, the touring did not seem as interesting as it could have been, since there are plenty of other options for touring within the country. Variety would have been appreciated, because it seemed less like a tour of Russia and more like a tour of Russian Cathedrals.

2 / 5

Traveled On: 8/4/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Disappointing Accommodations and Food

I thought the itinerary for the trip was excellent but the accommodations that fell short of the comfort level that I had previously experienced with Go Ahead Tours. The hotel in St. Petersburg while the room was comfortable we had to walk three flights of stairs to get to our room as the hotel had no elevator. We had to meet the tour group in the hallway as there was no central meeting area. The bus was unable to pick-up our luggage from in front of the hotel because the street was so narrow the bus could not access the hotel entrance. We had to haul our luggage one block to a larger street. The ship accommodations and food were awful. I expected the room to be small but I did not expect that we would not be able to cool the room to a comfortable level. The room was not very clean. The ship was extremely hot not only in the rooms but on the entire ship. The dining area was the worst as it was extremely hot. The food was always a mystery but I knew that the left over food that we had for lunch would return for either dinner or lunch the next day. The food was bland and had no flavor. Dessert, usually ice cream, was the best course. Overall, the ship was old and needed updating and the food menu needed to be replaced. The tour director, Olga, was the highlight of the trip. She worked extremely hard to make everyone as comfortable as possible and to make the trip worthwhile. If it had not been for her I do not think I would consider going with Go Ahead Tours again.

1 / 5

Traveled On: 7/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Good director

Everything was good except for the hotel in St. Petersburgh which was a little less than desirable. The a/c control was with the front desk. Shower was not hot.There was no lobby, or a restaurent. We had to check out and wander around till the the time to take the bus to the boat. We had to use restrooms outside the hotel and pay for it. The bus won't stop in front of the hotel, and we had to carry all luggage to a bus stop(difficult in old age and hazardous). There was no easy transport back to the hotel after the city tour in Moscow, if one didn't opt for the armory tour.We had to wait for another tour group to finish, in the cold, to piggy back a ride in their bus to get back to the boat.(hard in 80+years) We had to carry luggage from bus to the air port in Moscow on a climbing road for a considerable distance (again difficult in 80+ age) These could be easily corrected to make the tour old man friendly. I am the most healthy 80+ old man and still workout in a Gym daily.So what it would be for less fit people?

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: MA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Fell a little short

I believe you fell a little short. In the past I received 5 star treatment, this trip maybe a 3. The hotel in St Petersburg as old and not upgraded. We stayed on the 3rd floor, no elevator, bags were delivered and after that no further assistance was given. The air conditioner was controlled by the front desk and they turned it off at will. There was no common meeting place, as a group we met and stood in a stair well, no seats were available. On the day of departure to the ship the tour guide Olga kept trying to get the bus to pick us up in front of the hotel, he refused because the street as to narrow. We took our suitcases to the next large intersection, when the bus arrived we had to hurry because the bus was parked in a public bus stop, Everyone helped store the bags. The ship (M/S Litinov) needed updating. I knew the ship would be small but hopefully a little thought would go into fresh looking wood work and bed covers. The bathroom needed help, the mat on the floor had not been changed in sometime and the chain on the sink was less than clean, The shower water fluctuated from cold to scaling hot. When is was hot there was no place to go so I had to jump next to the sink to avoid injury. The food was horrible and at times a mystery. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. The best food was fish. The Pot Pie had a crust that had to be chopped off and then you had 3 pieces of meat and the rest was chopped potatoes, thank the Lord they served ice cream at most meals. Mac and cheese, noodles with cheese and as someone pointed out on the top was the ham from breakfast. I think you get the general idea. The crew were very respectful and pleasant to deal with. Olga the tour guide did everything in her power to make us as satisfied as possible. This is out of your control but I share it anyway. The trip home by United Air. The airplane from Moscow to Frankfort was fine. The plane in Frankfort, after going thru all the hoops was unable to leave, the air conditioner in the rear was not working. They tried to fix it and failed, we disembarked. We spent 5 1/2 hours waiting for direction. The PA system was not audible. They finally took us to near by hotel where 400 people had to register. Keep in mind no one had eaten. the hotel proved food which we ate at 10pm. The only instructions we had were to be on the bus to the airport at 9am for a flight at 11:45. At the airport we reported to zone Z with our boarding passed only to be told we had to go to section B window 501 for new boarding passes. Boarded the airplane, and discovered our seats had been changed. Some families were no longer sitting together. The crew did it's best to reshuffle people. In the meantime we are still waiting only to discover not enough buses had been dispatched to the hotel and more people would be joining us. Of course we lost our spot for take off. So we waited, again. We arrived home 24 hours later than expected.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 7/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Russia by Ship

The trip was terrific! We had a wonderful tour guide! Moscow was fascinating! Needed another day there Enjoyed it immensely!!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/16/2013

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tour Director with a Lot of Know How

Our Russian River Tour was wonderful. Our tour guide, Olga, helped us at every turn. My room mate and I went early and were in St. Petersburg two days before the rest of our group arrived. There were 15 of us in the early group. Only 4 joined later. Olga took us on a walking city tour in St. Petersburg and pointed out places we might want to visit on our own. Then that afternoon we rode a bus to Pete4rhof, the summer placace of Peter the Great. The city guide there, Elena gave us a thorough guided tour that also included the gardens with numerous fountains. The fountains were all unusual and had a history. Olga gave us written recommendations of restaurants and places we could visit. She continued to be that special guide through out the whole trip.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/14/2013

Number of Past Tours: 15

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Rusian River Cruise

This trip is up there as one of the best trips ever. Olga our tour director was the best I have ever had, she was very knowledgeable. All of the Americans traveling with Goahead Tours agreed that Olga made this trip go so smooth. The Ship was ok , it needs to be upgraded, but I am not a spoiled American. The service on the ship was great. I traveled July 17th - July 27, 2012. All I have to say is I would recomend the Russian River Cruise. Shery LaPorte

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/16/2012

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

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