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12 nights
from £4695

The Glories of Russia 2018

A captivating river cruise linking St Petersburg and Moscow with exclusive cultural and music highlights with London Festival Opera & Guest Speaker Professor Ludmilla Selezneva

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  • History and Culture
  • St Petersburg - Winter Palace

Travel with us aboard the luxurious MS Volga Dream on this exclusive charter that promises to be a truly inspiring journey in Russia’s heartland, with its rich cultural heritage, wonderful architecture and dramatic history. We begin in St Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities and cruise to Moscow, a city full of contrasts and energy. Whilst cruising between Russia’s two greatest cities we will travel through quieter rural landscapes and also visit unique Uglich, Yaroslavl and Kizhi.

We have arranged for some memorable excursions for our journey along the Volga including specially arranged early entrances to the Hermitage and the Armoury Museum at the Kremlin and to further enhance the journey we will be accompanied by London Festival Opera who will perform a selection of wonderful Russian repertoires. Our Guest Speaker, Ludmilla Selezneva will complete the experience with fascinating talks on all things Russian, especially its history and peoples.

With such a wealth of the arts, history and architecture, a journey to Russia can be a challenge to plan. However the beauty of this trip is that over the course of only 13 days you will have gained a vast amount of knowledge in the most comfortable means possible. The shore excursions, talks by Ludmilla and music performances by London Festival Opera will provide a unique insight into Russian life, past and present, and altogether makes for an unforgettable trip.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • Featured Experts

    We are delighted to be joined by London Festival Opera who bring together artists from the major British opera companies including the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The company has a considerable reputation and has appeared in some of the world’s leading opera houses. Artistic Director, Philip Blake- Jones will provide a comprehensive programme during our time sailing and whilst moored, the repertoire planned being:

    • Soirée d’Opéra’ – featuring the operas of Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Bizet

    • ‘Opera Gala ‘– with arias and ensembles from the works of Verdi, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky and Puccini

    • ‘Russian Gala’ – featuring highlights from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ and songs by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. The artists will appear in costume for this performance

    • ‘Farewell Opera Gala’ – featuring the works of Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov

    More information

Volga Dream

Volga Dream

The vast network of Russian waterways is served by numerous standard class vessels, however for our journeys along the Volga we are fortunate to be using the deluxe MS Volga Dream for our journeys along the mighty river. The elegant MS Volga Dream entered service during the spring of 2007 and was rebuilt from a 200 passenger vessel to accommodate just 100 passengers in an intimate setting. The result is a splendid and spacious vessel which offers the most superior accommodation and services on the route.

View vessel details


Day 1 - London to St Petersburg, Russia.

Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival, transfer to the MS Volga Dream and embark. Meet your fellow travellers this evening at the Welcome Drinks & Dinner on board.

Day 2 - St Petersburg.

Begin today at the meticulously restored Peterhof, St Petersburg’s most famous and spectacular Imperial estate, often cited as the “Versailles of Russia”. Visit Bath Cottage and stroll in the vast Lower Park with its 176 fountains of various forms and styles, four cascades, and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. Afterwards, return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil where we will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon we will visit the wonderful Fabergé Museum at Shuvalov Palace. This beautiful museum contains the world’s largest collection of works by Carl Fabergé, including nine of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs, regarded not only as the finest jewelled works of art, but also as unique historical artifacts. The museum’s collection also includes decorative and applied works made by the Russian masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Return to the MS Volga Dream for dinner which will be followed with a performance by London Festival Opera on board.

Day 3 - St Petersburg.

This morning we visit the famed Hermitage Museum, where we have an early entrance allowing us to enjoy the masterpieces away from the crowds. This former residence of the Russian Tsars has 400 rooms and contains spectacular examples of nearly all schools of Western art. Proceed to the Gold rooms of the Hermitage (closed to the general public), to see the amazing collection of Scythian gold and Tsarist jewellery. Lunch in a local restaurant will be followed by a relaxing ceremonial canal cruise, offering fantastic views of St Petersburg’s greatest landmarks, including the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Winter Palace and the Old Stock Exchange on Vasilyevsky Island, as well as St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Admiralty. Return to the ship for an evening onboard, or for those who pre-book, there will be a musical evening ashore at the Mariinsky Theatre or similar (subject to schedules and availability).

Day 4 - St Petersburg.

This morning drive to Tsar’s Village for a visit to Catherine’s Palace. See the exquisitely restored Amber Room and stroll in the formal gardens. After lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the magnificent Yusupov Palace, once the residence of the wealthiest and most respected family in Imperial Russia, which saw one of the most dramatic episodes in Russia’s history – the murder of Grigori Rasputin. Return to the MS Volga Dream this evening and set sail.

Day 5 - Mandrogi & the Svir River.

This morning we will step ashore for a brief visit to the vacation village of Mandrogi to experience daily life in a quaint wooden village. Continue cruising as we navigate the Svir River towards Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest freshwater lake, past a shoreline dotted with graceful willows, alder trees and stately pines. This afternoon enjoy a second performance by London Festival Opera.

Day 6 - Kizhi.

Today we explore the tiny, picturesque island of Kizhi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Lake Onega. The open-air Museum of Architecture includes the Church of the Transfiguration, a unique oniondomed masterpiece built without a single metal nail and resembling something out of a Russian fairy tale.

Day 7 - Goritsy.

Today we cross Lake Beloye, or the White Lake, formerly known as the “Tsar’s fishing grounds”. Arrive in the peaceful village of Goritsy to tour the fortress-like Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery with magnificent frescoes by one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters.

Day 8 - Yaroslavl.

This morning we will be in Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga River and a World Heritage Site. We will visit the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet with its detailed frescoes and icons and will be treated to a stirring à Capella choir performance. Afterwards there will be time to experience the lively farm market before re-boarding the MS Volga Dream. Alternatively, join an excursion to the Governor’s Palace, a living museum of Russian art, history and culture. Evening on board with a performance by London Festival Opera.

Day 9 - Uglich.

We arrive this afternoon in Uglich which dates back to the 10th century. A walking tour of this Golden Ring city includes the Chapel of Dimitry, a 17th century treasure built on the site where Ivan the Terrible’s 10 year old son met his death. Visit the Church of the Transfiguration, noted for its beautiful iconostasis, and attend a concert of choral music.

Day 10 - Moscow.

We arrive into Moscow mid-morning and after an early lunch on board, depart for a tour to see Red Square, with its iconic St Basil’s Cathedral and GUM department store. We continue on to visit the Old Tretyakov gallery to view its extraordinary collection of Russian art, ranging from 12th century icons to 20th century paintings.

Day 11 - Moscow.

This morning we depart for an early visit to the Kremlin to see the Armoury Museum, with its collection of Tsarist thrones, ceremonial crowns, coaches and gifts of state. View the ornate gems of the Diamond Fund, including Catherine the Great’s diamond-encrusted coronation crown and the 190 carat Orlov diamond. Also visit the Square of Three Cathedrals (with entrance to one Cathedral). After lunch in a local restaurant, the afternoon will be at leisure or you may wish to join the optional guided tour of the Moscow Metro, where you can experience some of the most beautiful stations in the world. This evening for those who pre-book there will be an evening of music ashore at the Bolshoi Theatre or similar (subject to schedules and ticket availability).

Day 12 - Moscow.

This morning we take a trip to see the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the fascinating Novodevichy Cemetery. The cemetery holds the tombs of notable Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets, as well as political leaders and scientists. After lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the Pushkin Museum, the largest museum of European art in Moscow and home to top works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse. Return to the MS Volga Dream and this evening enjoy your Farewell Dinner on board followed by a final highlight performance by London Festival Opera.

Day 13 - Moscow to London.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return scheduled flight to London.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
11 to 23 September 2018
Category Price
Standard twin - Cabin Deck £4695
Superior twin - Main Deck £5095
Deluxe double - Promenade Deck £5395
Junior Suite double - Promenade/Sun Deck £5695
Superior stateroom twin - Sun Deck £6195
Deluxe Junior Suite Double £6395
Owner's Stateroom double - Promenade Deck £6995
Standard Single - Promenade Deck £4695
Deluxe single - Sun Deck £4995
Standard twin for sole occupancy - Cabin Deck £7395
Deluxe double for sole occupancy - Promenade Deck £7945

Tour Reference Code: RCVD110918

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 12 nights aboard the MS Volga Dream on a full board basis, complimentary house wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, shore excursions as described, music performances by London Festival Opera, gratuities, Tour Manager, Guest Speaker, transfers, port taxes, UK airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, Russian visa; optional tours and musical evening ashore as described.

NB. Excursions, music events and performance days subject to change depending on availability, schedules and entrance time to venues. Details of music programmes and prices will be available approximately 2 months prior to departure. Ports and itinerary are subject to change.

  • All Decks


Volga Dream

The vast network of Russian waterways is served by numerous standard class vessels, however for our journeys along the Volga we are fortunate to be using the deluxe MS Volga Dream for our journeys along the mighty river. The elegant MS Volga Dream entered service during the spring of 2007 and was rebuilt from a 200 passenger vessel to accommodate just 100 passengers in an intimate setting. The result is a splendid and spacious vessel which offers the most superior accommodation and services on the route.

  • MS Volga Dream
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Superior Junior Suite
  • Library/Games Room
  • Owners Stateroom
  • Appetizer
  • Lounge
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Cabins are located over four decks and categories range from standard cabins on the Cabin deck to staterooms on the Sun Deck.

    All cabins are outside facing with Standard staterooms featuring porthole windows, Main and Promenade deck cabins feature large picture windows, except for the Owner’s suite located on the Promenade deck which has both large picture windows and a private wrap around terrace. All cabins and suites on the Sun deck feature picture windows. On the upper two decks, Promenade and Sun, you will find deluxe cabins and suites.

    All cabins offer individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, direct dial telephone, satellite flat screen television and minibar. Additional comforts provided include bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer, bathroom accessories kit, bottled water (replenished daily).

  • Your Space

    Spread over four decks, the onboard facilities include a delightful restaurant which accommodates all guests in one sitting. The lounge is a pleasant space for relaxation with large panoramic windows and bar area. On the large, spacious Sun Deck you will find comfortable deck furniture. There is also a library which features board games and internet access (charges apply), an outside bar with comfortable deck furniture, fitness centre, sauna, and boutique.

  • Your Dining

    The stylish restaurant is located on the Main deck and sits all passengers at once in tables of four, six and eight. In keeping with the superior quality of the vessel, the cuisine aboard the MS Volga Dream is what you would expect aboard a luxurious river vessel and both Russian and international cuisine is served. Breakfast is served buffet style with both continental and cooked meal options, and lunch is served buffet-style, with an a la carte option for your main course.  When weather permits guests are welcome to enjoy their meals on the Sun deck. Dinner is usually a four course affair, including some specialist themed evenings which will feature national delicacies. Afternoon tea is served daily in the lounge and there is a coffee and tea station operating 24hours a day.

  • Life Onboard

    With just 100 fellow passengers and 60 crew members, the MS Volga Dream prides itself in its personal and friendly ambiance. Although the atmosphere aboard is informal, the comfort and service is akin to a five star hotel, otherwise not available in remote rural areas of Russia. 

    Your daily programme will be busy ashore, but your time on board will be relaxed and convivial. In addition to shore excursions there will be daily activities aboard the vessel for your enjoyment, such as Russian language classes, a traditional tea party, Russian cooking classes and if the weather permits a barbecue on the Sun deck.

    To further enhance your enjoyment Guest Speakers will join you on your cruises as well as carefully selected guides.

  • For your comfort

    The MS Volga Dream’s dedicated crew of 60 is there to ensure that your journey along Russia’s iconic river is comfortable, informative and above all safe. The ship is not designed for those with severe mobility restrictions or wheelchair dependent passengers as there are no elevator facilities onboard. There is a full time doctor on board in the unlikely case of an emergency or a passenger seeking medical attention.

    Smoking on board is restricted to a specially designed area on the Sun deck.

    On board we use a boarding card system to ensure all passengers are accounted for. The reception is manned 24 hours day.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 


  • Deck plans
    • All Decks


Onboard Team

  • Ludmilla Selezneva

    Ludmilla Selezneva

    Professor Ludmilla is a graduate with honours from Rostov State University and received her first doctorate there, in history, in 1982. She attained her second doctorate in 1996 from the Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow. Since 2001, Ludmilla Selezneva has worked as a professor of history and politics at the University of the Humanitarian Education in Moscow.

    Professor Selezneva has published more than 50 articles and authored or co-authored 10 books. She is a well-recognised authority on 20th century Russia, the Russian political movements and parties, and the modern political history. Speaking tours have taken her universities, schools, and business conferences, local communities in UK (London, Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.), USA, Canada, Netherlands, France, and Austria.

    Ludmilla Selezneva will be on the following tour dates: 11 to 23 September 2018
  • London Festival Opera

    London Festival Opera

    We are delighted to be joined by London Festival Opera on many of our tours and cruises. We have long been associated with London Festival Opera and each year our music themed cruises grow in popularity. London Festival Opera have achieved a considerable reputation for presenting opera in palaces, castles, country houses, theatres, concert halls, embassies and private homes and gardens. Recent engagements have been throughout the UK, Europe and as far afield as Barbados, Marrakech and Moscow.

    Particular attention is given to the design and quality of our costumes which are as authentic as possible. Whether it is a period evening dress, such as Regency or Victorian to enhance a gala performance or a full production, the costumes will be of the highest quality and style.

    Bringing together artists from the major British opera companies including the Royal Opera, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the company has a considerable reputation and has appeared in some of the world's leading venues including as a guest company in one of the Italy's greatest opera houses, La Fenice in Venice.

    London Festival Opera will be on the following tour dates: 11 to 23 September 2018

Itinerary Highlights

- Onboard costumed performances by London Festival Opera
- Onboard lectures by Professor Ludmilla Selezneva
- Opportunity to attend optional evenings of music ashore in St Petersburg & Moscow
- Specially arranged early entrances to the Hermitage and State Armoury
- Guided tours of the Diamond Fund, the Old Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum
- Visits to Peterhof, Faberge Museum, Catherine’s Palace, Yusupov Palace, the Kremlin, Red Square, and Novodevichy cemetery
- Concert of a famous Spiritual choir in Yaroslavl



River Guides

  • To see our current selection of tours for the river Volga click here.
    • The Assumption Cathedral along river Volga

    The Volga is Europe’s longest river and flows through the centre of Russia’s vast spaces with eleven of the country’s largest cities in its drainage basin. It has some of the world’s largest reservoirs along its route that provide hydroelectric power and, with its many tributaries, it drains most of western Russia and ends in the Caspian Sea. There are many navigable waterways connected with it too linking Moscow to the White Sea, the Black Sea and the Baltic as well as to St Petersburg and the vast lakes Ladoga and Onega. For three months of the year it freezes.

    The Volga system flows through the most populated area of Russia though that is sometimes hard to believe. Outside the great cities, this is a landscape of woods and water. Occasional villages and windmills and the onion domes of churches rise above endless forests of silver birch. It is still, quiet and not even an aeroplane vapour trail can be seen in the sky. Not something you can say about Moscow, a fitting introduction to the enigma that is Russia. In Red Square the Kremlin, powerhouse for decades of a regime that suppressed religion, faces the baroque gilded gingerbread masterpiece that is St Basil’s Cathedral. Across the square from them both is the great emporium GUM, nowadays an extravagant mall filled with the likes of De Beers and Cartier, conspicuous consumerism having long replaced the drabness of the Soviet era. St Petersburg is exquisite, built on numerous islands, criss-crossed by bridges and canals, and lined with 18th century palaces. Must-sees include St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Hermitage, the world’s best ballet and the scene of Rasputin’s murder, a stroll down Nevsky Prospekt. and Catherine the Great’s Palace – that marvel of white marble and goldleaf she called her “little toy”.

    Smaller but no less fascinating gems can be found between the two great cities of Russia. Kizhi Island is on Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake – frozen from October to May. It is essentially an outdoor museum with a multitude of original wooden buildings, including the Transfiguration Cathedral built in 1714 without a single nail. Its 22 onion domes sheathed in aspen shingles shimmer like silver in the sun. Uglich is another highlight with the medieval gem of the Alexeyevsky Monastery and the Resurrection Monastery with its huge cathedral – where you shouldn’t miss a concert of male voices (with those famous Russian basses).

Also of Interest

Timeless Russia

A cultural journey through the heartland of Russia, from Moscow to St Petersburg aboard the Volga Dream with Guest Speaker, Professor Ludmilla Selezneva & Special Guest, Virginia Ironside

Volga Dream
  • London to Moscow, Russia.
  • Uglich
  • Yaroslavl
  • Goritsy
  • Kizhi
  • Svir River/ Island of Mandrogi
  • St Petersburg
Timeless Russia
12 nights from £4195
Next Departure 3 May 2018 View all dates
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