Cruising is a perfect way of travelling stress-free while exploring multiple destinations. You do not have to worry about hotels, trains, busses and transfers to move from town to town; just relax on board of your ship where you will be able to appreciate the view, have a nice meal, meet your fellow travellers and participate in various workshops. What is great about Russian river cruises is that you will also have an opportunity to leave the ship at every stop to explore. Today’s article will explore the best Russian cruises in terms of routes, ships, entertainment and more!
Moscow to St Petersburg cruises (or in reverse)
The most popular route for a cruise in Russia is no doubt a cruise between Moscow and St Petersburg. Why? Because it allows the traveller to see the best of the European part of the country. Apart from spending a few days in Moscow and St Petersburg, you get a whole bunch of additional stops in cities which have a more traditional, authentic way of life, scenery and habits than the two Russian capitals. These stops would usually include such places as Uglich, with its chilling stories of the young Tsarevich Dmitry’s (last tsar of the Ruirik dynasty) murder which inflicted 15 years of The Times of Troubles on Russia in the 16th century; Yaroslavl, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the unofficial capital of the Golden Ring of Russia; Goritsy with its charming Resurrection Convent; Kizhi, an island on the Lake Onega which boasts its marvels of wooden architecture; and Mandrogui, with its provincial lifestyle, unique crafts and the Vodka museum!
You will never get bored during such a cruse either. Unlike, somehow soulless, ocean cruises, Russian river cruise vessels are relatively small (in size and numbers of passengers), which gives an opportunity to meet your fellow travellers and make new friends much easier. And how can you not make friends when you are involved into such fun activities as nesting dolls painting, pancakes making, vodka tasting and learning traditional Russian dancing?
As for the ship standards, they, like hotels range from 3 to 5 star while following the same route, so there are options for any budget!
Pancake making class on board
If you have already seen Moscow and St Petersburg, why not go slightly south to see the cities of the Golden Ring while on a cruise and travel from Moscow to Astrakhan? Due to the weather conditions the Moscow to Astrakhan cruise (and in reverse) is mainly available in autumn and requires planning ahead. Because there is only one ship per year each way, it is not as easy to book a few months in advance. However, it is definitely worth it! In addition to Uglich and Yaroslavl mentioned above, your ship will make a stop in such authentic Russian towns as Kostroma, known for its Ipatievsky Monastery where the fist Romanov tsar, Mikhail, spent his early years; Nizhny Novgorod, blooming after the reconstruction for FIFA2018; Cheboksary, the lovely capital of the Chuvash republic; Kazan, the multi-cultural and religiously diverse heart of Tatarstan; Samara, with its beautiful riverfront; Saratov, the centre of higher education, research and scientific activities in Russia; Volgograd, known for its massive statue The Motherland Calls – the tallest statue of the woman in the world reminding of the losses the country suffered at the WWII; and Astrakhan, the Caspian capital. As you can see, there are many more stops on this route which makes it even more attractive for people who want to cover as much of Russia as possible in one trip (can be beaten only by the famous Trans-Siberian railway journey!).
Source: gelio.lifejournal.com; Astrakhan
Looking for more adventurous routes?
However, if you are looking for an adventure, the best direction to look at, if you want to do it on board of a cruise ship, is a Lena River Cruise or a Far East Cruise. The former option is a milder one but still involves meeting local people, enjoying their indigenous performances, passing awe-inspiring mountains as well as crossing the Polar Circle! The latter options is similar to an expedition in the style. Apart from visiting small local settlements it involves watching wild life such as Steller sea lions, horned puffins and even grey whales if you are lucky!
Visa-free cruises to Russia!
One of the most exciting things about cruising in Russia is that you can visit St Petersburg on board of a cruise ship and stay in the city for 72 hours completely visa-free! Such cruises would usually start in one the Baltic/Scandinavian countries such as Helsinki, Tallinn or Stockholm and give a traveller a chance to explore not one but a few counties in one go. Visa-free cruises are also really affordable. The cruises range from £470 to £700 and include not only the cruise itself but also your stay in St Petersburg, which and an amazing panoramic city tour too!
Visa-free cruise ship to Russia
Russian River Cruises: https://www.into-russia.co.uk/tour-packages/river-cruises
Visa-Free Tours: https://www.into-russia.co.uk/visa-free-tours