Arrive at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
If Russia is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” as Churchill famously said, then Moscow presents an intriguing starting point for cultural discovery.
A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Note: Throughout your visit to Moscow, the order of sightseeing is subject to change. Venues may be closed unexpectedly for unannounced government functions, holidays or religious observances, necessitating changes in our program.
Moscow Panoramic city tour with Red Square visit
Tour of metro and Arbat Street
Moscow Panoramic city tour with Red Square visit
It can be difficult to get a handle on this vibrant and sprawling capital, which amazes visitors with its stunning contrasts. A panoramic tour with a knowledgeable local guide will introduce you to the most famous sights: the Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Tverskaya Street, which are all close together in the heart of the historic city. Sparrow Hill, on the right bank of the Moscow River, gives you a fabulous view of the city below, as well as of the Moscow State University. A bit farther afield, you’ll see such landmarks as the New Maiden Convent, Bow Hill and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Step off your motorcoach for a short walking tour of Red Square, the historic heart of the nation; it has, over the centuries, been the site of national celebrations, coronations, executions, hand-to-hand battles and May Day parades glorifying Communist might. These days you are more likely to find huge rock concerts or large-scale fashion shows held on the square itself, but the mystique of the space remains intact, and any visitor can sense echoes of its tumultuous history.
You’ll notice many restaurants in this busy neighborhood; choose one to experience a typical Moscow lunch with the locals—your knowledgeable guide will happily recommend venues, as well as dishes you should be sure to try.
This morning, you’ll have the chance to explore the Kremlin and adjacent Armory Museum. The Kremlin, a fortified complex in the heart of Moscow and the government’s headquarters, offers an intriguing look at Russia’s political and cultural heritage. Take a look at a collection of Russian regalia at the Armory Museum and wander through the exquisite Cathedral Square. Plenty of adventures await this afternoon with free time in Moscow to explore on your own.
Featured Excursion: Kremlin and Armory Museum visit
While cruising through the Moscow Canal, you’ll get your first glimpse of rural Russia on your way to the quiet and historic town of Uglich. Be prepared for a panorama of magnificent architectural monuments.
Choice of Uglich walking tour with Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood or Hydropower GULAG tour
Uglich walking tour with Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood
Green, blue and silver onion domes top colorful churches along the Volga, announcing that you have arrived in Uglich. Like other Golden Ring cities, it was founded in the Middle Ages and played a major role in regional trade and politics in the 16th century, but it is chiefly known for the death of Prince Dmitry, the 10-year-old son of Ivan the Terrible whose murder was blamed on Boris Godunov. Legend, history, art and mystery come together under the blue domes of the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, so named because it was built where the child’s body was found. Inside you’ll see magnificent frescoes dating from the 1700s and icons from the 17th and 18th centuries, painted by the finest imperial icon artists, and you’ll learn a little about Prince Dmitry, whose tale has been told in Russian fiction and opera for centuries.
The ship docks within walking distance of the town, so you may browse through charming local shops and stroll along the promenade where vendors offer a great selection of souvenirs. You might want to take in Wonderful Assumption Church; with its three octagonal spires and onion domes, it is an outstanding example of 16th-century Russian Orthodox architecture.
Credit for Yaroslavl’s well-designed, UNESCO-protected city center goes to none other than Catherine the Great, who was even more than a mighty Russian ruler—she was a forward-thinking urban planner as well. Visit an Orthodox church and a lively market.
Later, relax onboard the ship as you travel across Lake Rybinsk, formed in 1941 between the upper Volga River and its tributaries. At the time of its construction, it was the largest man-made body of water on earth.
Featured Excursion: Yaroslavl city tour
Yaroslavl city tour
Stroll through Yaroslavl’s UNESCO World Heritage–designated city center, which reflects both its late-medieval roots and, with its wide, tree-lined streets and attractive parks, the urban planning ordered by Catherine the Great. Step inside the exquisite Church of Elijah the Prophet, a masterpiece of Orthodox architecture whose interior is covered in frescoes, from the floor to the top of the domes high overhead. Along with religious imagery, you’ll see scenes of daily life—peasants harvesting hay, weddings, animals—that give you a sense of how ordinary people lived in this area during the 17th century, when the paintings were made. At the outdoor market, where you’ll find locals shopping for fruits and vegetables, you can taste some of the excellent local cheeses or purchase a bottle of Russian vodka.
Beyond Russia’s major cities lies a completely different world—the fabled land of Mother Russia, celebrated for centuries in art, songs and great works of literature. Explore two rural villages today for an authentic and unforgettable glimpse of everyday life in a Russian province.
Later, relax on board as your ship cruises through the second-largest lake in Europe. Fed by 58 rivers, Lake Onega has 1,369 islands and is bordered by the Republic of Karelia on the west, north and east, and by Leningrad Oblast and Vologda Oblast on the south. A great inland sea that creates its own weather, just as the Great Lakes in the United States do, its shores are lined with birch forests. You may think this wild and beautiful country is uninhabitable—and indeed it has few inhabitants—but people have lived along these shores for thousands of years, as petroglyphs carved into the granite on the eastern shore attest.
Choice of Goritsy "Village Day" or "Let's Go" village walk
To approach the towering wooden Church of Transfiguration from the water can be a transformative experience. Step ashore for an up-close view of this incredible church.
Choice of Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture or "Let's Go" village and island nature hike
Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture
Be sure to come up on deck as the ship approaches Kizhi Island. The silhouette of the amazing Church of Transfiguration looms out of the water, its multiple onion domes impossibly intricate—and utterly unmistakable. After the ship docks at the island, a guide will take you through the famous open-air museum, which features 89 fascinating samples of traditional wooden architecture. Very simple wooden structures represent the first settlements on Kizhi, which appeared between the 10th and 12th centuries, but the jaw-dropping UNESCO-designated Church of Transfiguration is the ultimate in Russian fairytale architecture. Its 22 shimmering shingled domes were built without a single nail in 1714. Less ornate log and shingle buildings from throughout Northern Russia have been assembled here—cottages, barns and windmills, as well as churches—to create a window into the architectural heritage of the region. You can see what life was like for 19th-century inhabitants of the region in a re-created peasant house furnished with items typical of the time and place.
Travel back in time to the 19th century at a reconstructed Russian village populated by talented artisans who make handmade items using traditional materials and techniques. Other highlights today include a rustic shashlik lunch.
Later, your ship cruises along the southern shores of Lake Ladoga, a vast freshwater inland sea that was once connected to the Baltic Sea. Islands dot the water while forested nature preserves and beaches line the shores. Relax and enjoy the scenery.
Choice of Mandrogi “Village Day” walking tour with Shashlik lunch or "Let's Go" village hike
Mandrogi “Village Day” walking tour with Shashlik lunch
Ramble through the area known as the Old Village, made up of traditional buildings moved from other locations and rebuilt here, with the Cruise Manager. There was a village on this site in earlier times, but it was destroyed during WWII. The village that stands here now gives international visitors an idea of how Russians lived in the 19th century. It isn’t just for international visitors either; Russians come here to experience life as their forebears knew it, staying in the little cabins, feeding livestock and cooking on wood stoves. Observe craftspeople in the workshops creating beautiful handmade items: miniature Fabergé-style eggs mounted as pendants, Karelian birchwood boxes painted with exquisite scenes and gorgeous dolls in traditional costumes. Stroll from studio to studio, admiring these treasures, and when you are ready for a break, sample the best piroshki in Russia. A highlight of your visit to Mandrogi will be a traditional and rustic shashlik picnic lunch (weather permitting), with shish kebab and all the trimmings, as well as local entertainment.
St. Petersburg is a city of canals, palaces and cathedrals that presents a glorious juxtaposition of East and West. See the sights by land as well as water. Later, spend an evening watching a ballet at the Alexandrinsky Theater, home of the oldest theater company in Russia. Considered one of the architectural jewels of the city, you can see first hand one of the finest works of the great neoclassical architect Carlo Rossi.
Note: Throughout your visit to St. Petersburg, the order of sightseeing is subject to change. Venues may be closed unexpectedly for unannounced government functions, holidays or religious observances, necessitating changes in our program.
St. Petersburg city tour with canal cruise
Russian ballet performance
Russian ballet performance
No visit to Russia would be complete without experiencing the world-renowned Russian ballet. And today you get to experience Russia’s distinctive style of ballet in the city where it originated. One of the finest gifts of Peter the Great—whose move to modernize Russia included embracing Western dance forms—ballet became the exemplar of Russian culture. From Pavlova to Baryshnikov, the Russian stages have been graced with dancers of extraordinary talent and breathtaking grace. As the orchestra strikes up and the dancers come onstage, you’ll be enchanted by their virtuosic performance.
St. Petersburg finds you with an appropriately imperial excursion: a guided tour through the world-famous Hermitage Museum. It is the crown jewel of the city and is located in the former home of the tsars, the Winter Palace.
Featured Excursion: Hermitage Museum
Founded by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage is one of the premier museums in the world, composed of five buildings and housing some three million works, ranging from the Stone Age to the contemporary. Among the ancient artifacts is a seventh-century Scythian stag made of gold, along with numerous other astonishingly beautiful pieces from the nomadic cultures of Russia. Nearly all of the Western European masters, from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to Édouard Manet and Auguste Rodin, are represented, and there is also an extensive collection of Russian art and artifacts. The impressionist collection, a closely guarded secret for five decades, is now world famous. Following your tour, St. Petersburg is yours to explore on your own. Shuttles will be available to take you to and from the ship, so you could spend more time among the marvels of the Hermitage before returning to the ship.
Cross the threshold of the summer residence of the tsars—the lavishly decorated Catherine Palace—where you’ll see opulent staterooms and the near-mythic Amber Room, meticulously restored to its former glory. Marvel at the palace’s immaculate grounds, dubbed Pushkin Park, then spend the rest of the day exploring on your own.
A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Featured Excursion: Catherine Palace and Park in Pushkin
Catherine Palace and Park in Pushkin
First developed during Peter I’s reign, when it was a modest 16-room mansion that he gave to his wife, Catherine (for whom the estate is named), this vast palace owes its extraordinary grandeur to Empress Elizabeth, Peter the Great’s daughter. She lavished enormous sums on it, hiring architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli to completely redesign the palace and the finest artists of the day to embellish its interiors. Twenty staterooms are open to the public, each more opulent than the last. The Amber Room was Rastrelli’s masterpiece: Sheathed in panels of amber mosaic (given to Peter the Great by Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia) that were augmented with gemstone mosaics, mirrors and gilding, the stunning room was used to set off collections of amber pieces and fine porcelain. Unfortunately, the original room was dismantled by Nazis and sent to Germany, where the amber panels were lost. The room you see today is the result of a meticulous—and hugely expensive—restoration project that took two decades. Your tour will also take you through the beautiful neoclassical rooms designed for Catherine the Great by her favorite architect, Charles Cameron, and out into the grounds, which boast a lake (with boathouse), grottoes, fountains, pavilions, formal parterres and semi-wilderness areas.
After the palace visit, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant serving traditional Russian cuisine.
Spend the rest of your day in St. Petersburg exploring the city on your own. You could tour Aleksandrovsky Park, where you’ll find bronze miniatures of the major architectural works of St. Petersburg, along with a tribute to the key architects who designed the buildings. The replicas were created by famous Russian sculptor Alexander Taratynov. You could stroll along the Neva embankments and admire the elegant granite barriers erected to protect the city from flooding, which are adorned with sculptures of sphinxes and lions. The grocery store Yeliseyevsky, on Nevsky Prospect, is a gourmand’s delight. Even if you aren’t in the market for caviar or chocolates, it’s worth visiting just for its marble counters and stained-glass windows.
You have sampled culinary delights, explored history and experienced the best of life along the Volga River. Now the journey comes to a close and it’s time to disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Pulkovo International Airport for your flight home. Your Uniworld adventure may be over, but we know you’ll enjoy the memories you’ve made for years to come.
All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
Prices exclude additional port charges of $300 per person.