Last year, a number of river cruise lines decided to suspend their operations in Russia due to there being ‘uncertainty’ within the country and those that border it. This meant that opportunities to explore the Russian Waterways in 2016 have been slightly limited, resulting in travellers choosing Asian or European river cruises instead.
However, vodka and shashlik (typical Russian kebabs) could soon be back on the menu as operators look to reintroduce Volga River itineraries for 2017. Among the cruise lines to do this are APT, Scenic and Viking River Cruises who are all hoping that interest in exploring this historic destination will still be high now that things seem to have calmed down a bit.
Scenic’s ‘Jewels of Russia’ itinerary will run between May and September, starting in St. Petersburg and finishing in Moscow. There will be stops along the way in Goritsy and Uglich and guests will have the best part of five days to explore each of the major cities at either end of the tour. Shore excursions include a visit to the museum village of Mandrogi, rebuilt after it was flattened during WWII, and the chance to quiz a real Russian cosmonaut about his intergalactic adventures.
Viking River Cruises are one of the few operators to continue operating Russian river cruises in 2016, all be it a reduced program. 2017 sees more departures reintroduced, though, as the line continues to offer its ‘Waterways of the Tsars’ cruise for 12 nights between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The ports visited along the way are very similar to Scenic and APT’s offerings, but include traditional Russian tea with a local family in Uglich and the opportunity to enjoy a night at the Russian ballet in St. Petersburg.
APT, who have reinstated river cruises on the Volga between March and December 2017, have their 10-night ‘Treasures of Russia’ itinerary available. It follows a familiar route between Russia’s two major cities, offering the chance for guests to learn some of the native language, indulge in vodka tasting evenings and discover cultural sights like the Kremlin and Hermitage Museum.
Incidentally, APT has moved to clarify its river cruise options a bit more by categorising them as either ‘Premium’ or ‘Luxury’. Whilst both will still be high-quality, the former can be described as four-star and the latter will provide a five-star river cruise featuring some of the line’s Signature Experiences.
If you are looking to travel on a Russian river cruise in 2017, there are now some excellent options available. Contact us today for more information about the different itineraries.