Cruising Russia

August 7-18, 2018 • 12 Days • $4790 – SPACE AVAILABLE!

Moscow–St. Petersburg

With New Traveler Discount: $4390**

We sample a small slice of this fascinating country on a cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

**NEW Traveler Discount: New Travelers receive a discount on most tours of up to $200 off domestic trips and up to $400 off international tours.

View Daily Itinerary

Join us once again as we explore this ancient land Winston Churchill described as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

This program offers a safe, comfortable, well-managed travel experience that includes Russia’s two most famous cities and many magical miles along the Volga-Baltic Waterway visiting the “less traveled” side of this largest country on the planet! The ship is our floating hotel and the crew is at the top of our list. Our Russian guides Galia and Svetlana, among others, work tirelessly to bring out the best in each day and add immeasurably to our education of their homeland, as well as the fun quotient!

Highlights:

  • Moscow – a walking tour of the Kremlin, the political, military, and spiritual heart of Russia; and a walk through Red Square, past multi-turreted St. Basil’s Cathedral, and along the Moskva River
  • Tiny Kizhi Island – with its intriguing UNESCO Open-Air Museum, featuring the wooden 22-domed Church of Transfiguration
  • Gardens of Peterhof – extensive walking paths and strikingly photogenic fountains
  • St. Petersburg – with a walk past highlights such as the renowned Hermitage museum; Cathedral of Peter and Paul, resting place of the Romanovs; and the city’s 500+ bridges
  • Volga Baltic Waterway – canals, rivers, and lakes between Moscow and St. Petersburg

Ship Details:

Originally built for the Russian elite, the M/S Sergei Yesenin will undergo renovations in the spring of 2018. With just 3 decks and a passenger capacity of 108, all standard twin cabins are approximately 130 sq ft, located above water, outward facing, and featuring picture windows that open with two twin berths.

Upgrades to cabins are available as follows:

  • Category A Cabins: $100 per person
  • Junior Suite: $440 per person
  • Balcony Suite: $565 per person

**Cabin upgrades: Adventure price includes limited space in Category B cabins on the Main Deck. Two Category C cabins are available for a discount of $60 per person.

Including:

  • 12 day/11 nights river cruise on the M/S Sergei Yesenin from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the Volga-Baltic Waterway including the Moscow Canal, the Volga River, Rybinsk Reservoir, Lake Beloye, Lake Onega, the Svir River, Lake Ladoga (Europe’s largest lake), and the Neva River
  • Group airfare package available – More details to come!
  • Airport to ship transfers on first and last day (if participating in optional Group Air Package)
  • Port fees and cruise fuel surcharges (subject to change)
  • 32 meals: all breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 11 dinners as denoted (BLD)
  • Memorable guided walks that connect you with essence of Moscow, Uglich, Yaroslav, Kizhi Island, and St. Petersburg
  • Fees for walking credit (IVV sanctions are expected for all 6 walks)
  • Moscow walk passing Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and entering Church of Jesus Christ our Savior
  • St. Petersburg walk passing the Church on Spilled Blood, Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum, Peter and Paul Fortress, and Neva River
  • Blini, caviar, and vodka tasting onboard our ship
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Cruise managers providing lectures on Russian history and language, art, and modern Russia
  • Local guide service in Moscow, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kizhi Island, and St. Petersburg
  • Tips to local guides/coach drivers and cruise manager (pooled tip for on-ship personnel is optional, and not included)
  • Single Supplements: Pricing is based on double occupancy. We have a limited number of single cabins available for a $700 fee. Contact us for roommate options!

Activities/Visits to:

  • Guided motorcoach tour of Moscow
  • Kremlin tour – Moscow
  • Armory Museum – Moscow
  • Metro tour – Moscow
  • Church on Spilled Blood – Uglich
  • Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery – Yaroslavl
  • Visit to local home in Volga village of Goritsy
  • Visit to open air museum of Kizhi Island including the Winter Church (Church of the Intercession)
  • Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul – St. Petersburg
  • Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg
  • Catherine’s Palace – St. Petersburg
  • Peterhof Gardens – St. Petersburg
  • More fun and educational stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Moscow evening activity – TBA (DAY 2)
  • St. Petersburg cultural performance – TBA (DAY 9)
  • St. Petersburg cultural performance – Cossack Folklore Show (DAY 10)
  • St. Petersburg evening canal cruise – (DAY 11)

“You do a great job of combining knowledge, culture experiences, exercise and safety – I always know I will be safe with you.”

-Maggie M; Coral Gables, FL


“WAI tours are educational and absolutely worry free – Culture and history are always included. Walks are often off the beaten path – Many new friendships result from sharing these wonderful experiences.” 

-Sharon F; Anacortes, WA


“You’re just so good at putting together interesting adventures. I only think of you for traveling.”

-Sue C; Tigard, OR


“WAI tours are always so very well planned and the WAI staff is always watching for ways to make the experience the very best for the client. They treat us like friends from day 1. I feel they are a company of high integrity.”

-Donna S; Corvallis, OR


“I think that WAI is the very best. Every one of our 27 trips have been A1.”

-Jill S; Vacaville, CA


“WAI is the only tour company I would use.”

-Judy E; NS, Canada


“WAI has always exceeded my expectations regarding accommodations, meals and general tour experience.”

-Chuck H; St. Cloud, MN

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Lodgings

Travelers will be lodged in outward-facing cabins aboard our ship; upgrades available.

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Group airfare package available – More details to come!

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

YOUR GUIDES

Guides Jana & Roger DorwayRoger & Jana Dorway. Roger’s business background connecting buyers and sellers, and Jana’s career as a teacher provide this couple with a gift for connecting with people. They have always appreciated the experiential, paradigm-expanding value of travel, and have been privileged to explore destinations on 4 continents. Since retirement, they’ve increased their commitment to discovering the world, fostering a growing desire to share cultural and historical insights as part of the WAI guide team. They look forward to sharing the fascinating history, colorful culture and amazing architecture of Russia with you!

NATIONAL GUIDE

National Guide GaliaGalia Saifulina has accompanied our tours to Russia since 2007. Her wry humor, extensive knowledge of the country of her birth, fascinating background growing up in the USSR, and wealth of experience leading tour groups for many years make her a valued asset to any tour group and a delight to travel with!

Galia was born in Leningrad in 1960, and graduated from Leningrad State University with a major in English and Foreign Literature. She has been working as a local guide in St. Petersburg since 1996 and has accompanied Russian river cruises since 2000.

Itinerary

Day 1-August 7: Arrive Moscow (D)

Travelers arriving from North America today will be met at the airport and transferred to our ship. This evening’s Get Acquainted dinner aboard ship will introduce us to the delicious cuisine that will be typical of our Russian Adventure.

Day 2-August 8: Activities in Moscow (BLD)

The day begins with a tour inside the Kremlin—political, military, and spiritual heart of Russia. The splendor of the architecture, including multiple dazzling Russian Orthodox churches, is more than matched by the drama of its violent history. On the edge of the Kremlin compound, the State Armoury holds a portion of the vast treasury of the czars, a fascinating window into the opulent lifestyle of Russia’s ruling class. Following free time for lunch and exploring in the colorful area around Red Square, we return to the ship late this afternoon for dinner.

Optional Excursion: After dinner, you have the option to participate in an evening excursion in Moscow.

Day 3-August 9: Activities in Moscow (BLD)

Moscow Capital of Russia Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

We return to the center of Moscow this morning stopping en route at a couple of the cities highlights, like Sparrow Hill and New Maiden Convent, outside the historic core.  Highlights of today’s walk include Red Square; passing Lenin’s Tomb and the colorful, multi-turreted Cathedral of St. Basil; strolling along the impressive Kremlin walls and Moskva River; and visiting the Cathedral of Christ our Savior. We return to our ship via Moscow’s famed Metro system. Built by Stalin in the 30’s, the décor and workmanship of this prolific people-mover is a significant sight in its own right. Aboard ship this evening, dinner is served while setting sail along the Moscow Canal and Volga River.

Day 4-August 10: Cruising: Port of Call–Uglich (BLD)

Uglich Small Town Russia Walk – 8 km, rated 2A

Following a morning and early afternoon of cruising the Volga Baltic Waterway, with several fun and interesting activities conducted by our Russian guide team, we arrive in the small, quiet riverside community of Uglich. Our route explore the 10th century town of Uglich, providing us a visit to the tiny, wedding-cake-looking Church of St. Demetrius on the Blood (also called the Church on Spilled Blood), erected where Ivan the Terrible’s seven-year old heir was mysteriously murdered in 1591.

Day 5-August 11: Cruising: Port of Call–Yaroslavl (BLD)

Yaroslavl Garden of Church Spires Walk – 8 km, rated 1A

Our morning walk through the 11th century, Volga town of Yaroslavl connects a busy downtown market, the Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery, and the Assumption Cathedral, along with a plethora of lollipop-domed churches, and a riverfront stroll along the Volga. This afternoon, we relax aboard ship, anticipating a late afternoon caviar tasting party with blini pancakes, vodka, champagne, and red caviar. Dinner is served as we glide along the Volga Baltic Waterway.

Day 6-August 12: Cruising: Port of Call–Goritsy (BLD)

Explore a typical Russian riverside village in Goritsy today, including an invitation into a Russian home. A derelict monastery on the outskirts of town evokes images of the dark side of the rule of the czars; many female relatives were forced to “take the veil” here—to be confined when their political ambitions or influence outgrew the tolerance of Russia’s supreme ruler. Numerous shipboard activities are available throughout the cruise, including lectures on Russian history and culture, Russian language classes offered by our Russian cruise managers, dance lessons, and handicraft presentations.

Day 7-August 13: Cruising: Port of Call–Kizhi Island (BLD)

Kizhi Island Miracle Church Walk – 8 km, rated 2B

Combined with a lovely lakeside stroll past traditional, wooden Russian homes, tiny Kizhi Island offers one of our favorite Russian walking experiences highlighting the intriguing UNESCO World Heritage Open Air Museum. The undisputed highlight is the 22-domed Church of the Transfiguration, all wood and built without nails!

Day 8-August 14: Cruising: Port of Call–Mandrogy (BLD)

A relaxing day cruising the Svir River and Lake Ladoga is punctuated by a stop at Mandrogy, a small village in the forest exhibiting various Russian arts and crafts. After lunch ashore, we’ll set sail for beautiful St. Petersburg on the Neva River, looking forward to this evening’s Captain’s Gala Dinner!

Day 9-August 15: Activities in St. Petersburg (BLD)

St. Petersburg Canals & Cathedrals Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

A legacy of Czar Peter the Great, St. Petersburg is a city of canals, bridges, and islands in the delta of the river Neva. Today’s outstanding sightseeing walk explores this city that was capital of czarist Russia from 1712 until 1918, passing St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Hermitage, the Church on Spilled Blood, and a multitude of majestic St. Petersburg panoramas. One of the highlights is a visit to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul where we see the elaborate tombs of the Romanoff czars, including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the family of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, forced to abdicate during the communist revolution and later executed along with his family. After the walk, you’ll have free time for lunch and to explore the shops and gardens of this vibrant northern Russian city.

Optional St. Petersburg Excursion: Following dinner aboard ship, you’ll have the option of returning to the city to participate in a cultural activity, which will be announced earlier during the cruise.

Day 10-August 16: Activities in St. Petersburg (BLD)

Kamennyy & Yelagin Islands Walk – 6 km, rating unknown

Housed amongst the opulent décor of Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace, the State Hermitage Museum boasts one of the world’s great art collections, which we sample this morning on a private guided tour. The afternoon activity is a new walk on Kamennyy and Yelagin Islands. In the 18th century, these islands were used by the imperial family as a retreat from city life. Aristocrats, and industrial magnates, and celebrities soon added their dachas. Today, the islands are again an oasis for Peterburgers wishing to escape the city. We look forward to enjoying this retreat on a new WAI walk route. After a full day of activities in St. Petersburg, we return to dinner onboard the ship.

Optional Excursion-Cossack Folklore Show: At the end of a full schedule in Russia, those with stamina to make one more amazing memory are invited to join us for another evening performance—the energetic Cossack Folklore Show! Estimated price: $70

Day 11-August 17: Activities in St. Petersburg (BLD)

We drive through the countryside today to visit two of the iconic palaces of the age of the czars. First stop is the flamboyantly baroque Catherine Palace (built by Catherine I, not Catherine the Great), epitome of the excessive lifestyle of Russian royalty, including the fabled, disappearing Amber Room. This afternoon we stroll the expansive, Versailles-like gardens of Peter the Great’s Peterhof, bejeweled with a delightful ensemble of gravity-fed fountains. Watch out for the trick fountains; Peter had a sense of humor!

Optional Excursion-Evening Canal Cruise: Our time in St. Petersburg has been rich and full. Relax this evening aboard ship and take care of final packing for tomorrow’s departure. Or consider joining us for one last evening’s sightseeing in St. Petersburg on a canal cruise. The Venice of the North is criss-crossed with palace-lined canals adorned with hundreds of picturesque, vintage bridges. Snacks and champagne add a sophisticated glow to our final evening in Russia. Estimated price: $65

Day 12-August 18: Depart from St. Petersburg (B)

The Adventure draws to a close this morning with a transfer to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo International Airport. What a priceless opportunity to gain firsthand understanding of this ancient land which continues to play a vital role in the story of our times!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your registration ($500) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted.

Already Early Birded?

If you are among the travelers who submitted a $50 Early Bird deposit, you have until Wednesday, September 20 to secure your spot with an additional $450 (total of $500) registration.  After September 20, your spot on the tour will be released, and your Early Bird deposit available for refund or transfer to the tour of your choice.

Modified Payment Terms

Because of the ship’s payment terms, our standard payment and cancellation terms must be modified. A deposit of $500 is due at the time of registration to hold your spot and is nonrefundable. A second deposit of $500 is due on February 1, 2018 and is nonrefundable at that time. Final payment is then due 90 days before departure, and our usual cancellation terms then apply. Cancellations received in writing between 89 and 60 days prior to departure receive a 50% refund. No refund is available for cancellations received less than 60 days before departure. As always, you will be reminded with an invoice a couple of weeks before final payment is due.

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on this international tour!

Group Travel Credit

If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible for submitting your name in writing to us before you register, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit, but a full deposit is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will be reflected on your final statement.

For more details check out Traveler Savings.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

Our ship—M/S Sergei Yesenin

River cruising in Russia is unique. Nearly all of the cruise ships plying the waters of Mother Russia are of the same vintage, built in the 1970’s and 80’s and designed for cruising the narrow rivers, low lying bridges, and tight locks that connect the Russian water-ways. Therefore, though quite comfortable, they are small and practical and should not be compared with modern oceanliner cruise ships to which Western travelers have become accustomed. That being said, we’re excited to offer the M/S Sergei Yesenin. Originally built for the Russian elite, the M/S Sergei Yesenin will undergo renovations in the spring of 2018. With just 3 decks and a passenger capacity of only 108, all standard twin cabins are approximately 130 sq ft, located above water, outward facing, and featuring picture windows that open with two twin berths. This ship is a considerable improvement over other ships on which we have sailed in Russia!

CABIN UPGRADES: Adventure price includes limited space in Category B cabins on the Main Deck. Two Category C cabins on the Main Deck are available for a discount of $60 per person.

Upgrades to other categories are as follows:

  • Category A Cabins: $100 per person
  • Junior Suite: $440 per person
  • Balcony Suite: $565 per person

View deckplan for M/S Sergei Yesenin.

Do I need a Visa?

Yes, all travelers to Russia require a visa before departure. We will send our recommendations on how to obtain your tourist  visa in the Adventure Advice Memo that also includes air booking information. Cost for the visa should run about $150 plus the service fee of any company you choose to help process your visa.

Optional Group Airfare!

The official start point for this Adventure is our ship in Moscow. The official finish point is our ship in St. Petersburg. Travelers may fly on their own to Moscow or take advantage of our group air package on Finnair out of New York’s JFK International Airport. Finnair takes us into Moscow’s northern airport, the one closest to where our ship docks, and provides us with better schedules and routing departing for home from St. Petersburg. Which Moscow airport we arrive at is extremely important since airport to ship transfers can take 3-4 hours if arriving at Moscow’s southern airport.

Travelers who participate in the group flight will receive the complimentary airport-hotel transfer that comes with it. Those who opt out of the group flight are offered a personalized transfer for the additional fee charged by our Russian supplier.

More details about group flight arrangements, travel agent contact information for the connecting flight into JFK Airport, and the airport-hotel transfers are provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, which will be emailed and mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen  circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR– call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 2 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a minute to peruse the enclosed itinerary: envision yourself cruising up the Volga Baltic Waterway, marveling at the contrasts between packed and bustling Moscow and the massive lakes and wide open spaces of the north, sampling Russian culture and cuisine, enjoying the interaction with our personable Russian guides, gaining new understanding into this old civilization, and making new walking friends. Then give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for an unforgettable cruise through Russia!