Often misunderstood, ‘perestroika’ has allowed Russia to open to the West and showcase its intricate, unique and extraordinarily rich culture. This, the largest country in the world, has given us vodka, Tolstoy, cosmonauts, and one of the world’s most complex languages.
Diverse landscapes of icy tundra, dense forests and snow-capped mountains are peppered with ancient fortresses, palaces, churches and wooden villages. Tea and piroshky are always on offer as the sights from St. Petersburg to Moscow unfold along its waterways including the Neva River, Lake Ladoga and the Volga River.
Russia and the Ukraine are a contrast of the extraordinary - ballerinas, circus performers, Cossacks, iconic Fabergé eggs, Ukraine’s Monastery of the Caves and Moscow’s remarkable St Basil’s Cathedral; and of controversy - the 16th century town used by Ivan the Terrible as a base for his attacks against the Tatars; reminders of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl; the fall of the Romanovs; and remnants of the Soviet era at Kirov Square, Gagarin Square, and Lenin Square.
The architecture is often like nothing ever seen, from the Church of Transfiguration, with its 22 timbered onion domes on Kizhi Island to medieval Goritsy’s Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, built in 1397; and Moscow’s Red Square, Tverskaya Street, the KGB building and the Kremlin, seat of the former Soviet Union’s intrigue.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is identified by its huge gilded dome, exquisite mosaics and icons; the Hermitage is the former Winter Palace to the Tsars and houses one of the world’s greatest art collections, and Catherine’s Palace is famous for its grandiose white and gold façade and elaborate gardens.
A journey through Russia is an unforgettable account of recent history, filled with incredible people and previously hidden treasures, all waiting to be uncovered.
Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?
Yes. If you have not already advised your travel agent at the time of booking please let your Tour Director know at the start of the tour any special needs or dietary requirements so they can be best accommodated. Remember your favourite food items will not always be available.
What type of food can I expect?
Be mindful that meals on tour will often reflect the local cuisine and delicacies, which may be different to what you are normally accustomed to. Your dining experiences are certain to enhance your tour and introduce you to the local region and culture.
What else should I be aware of?
Europeans generally dine slightly later than might be your custom and they tend to be less sensitive to issues regarding smoking.
How do I judge how safe it is to travel in these countries?
You must make your own inquiries regarding safety warnings and government warnings in relation to the destinations you are travelling to. Scenic Tours can accept no responsibility for the actions of terrorism etc in certain locations.
Are pickpockets prevalent?
Crowded tourist sites all over the world are at pickpocket risk so you should always be on alert. Keep your money hidden preferably in an inside pocket or money belt. Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
What else should I be aware of?
While travelling don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
What side of the road do cars drive?
Be aware that motorists drive on the right on the continent of Europe, so take care when crossing roads. Please also pay particular attention to bicycle lanes, which are often on the sidewalk. In The Netherlands a red pavement usually designates them. Exercise utmost care when crossing them as trams also often cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths.
What else should I be aware of?
Air-conditioning is not yet as popular in Europe as back home and you may not find it everywhere. In some places due to environmental concerns it is strictly regulated.
European festive days, especially religious holidays, are quite numerous. On these occasions, particularly in May/June, you may find services in general slightly reduced.
Are there any unforseen costs I should be aware of?
Sometimes there is a small charge for public toilets, food and drinks usually cost more and the service may be a little more leisurely than you might expect.
Are there any restrictions on photography?
It may not be possible to use your camera or video camera at some sites of interest, or there may be a fee; please ask your Tour Director for further details. Not everyone might appreciate being on your souvenir home video or holiday photo, so please respect the privacy of local people and cruise directors/local guides by asking permission before filming or taking a photograph, especially in holy places.
Uglich is part of the “Golden Ring”. This refers to a number of ancient towns surrounding Moscow. On your walking tour of the town you will catch a glimpse of what Russia was like 800 years ago. View some of Russia’s oldest churches and famous monasteries.
Scenic FreeChoice - included
Choose ONE activity:
Scenic Enrich - included
Visit the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. Here you will have the opportunity to meet with a real cosmonaut and learn about the history of space exploration. This museum has become one of Russia’s more enduring symbols of the nation’s quest beyond Earth. Cleverly hidden in the evergreen woods northeast of Moscow, you will be able to see full-size mock-ups of all major spacecraft developed in the former USSR including the Mir Space Station.
Moscow Highlight Attractions
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, often considered the central square of the city and indeed all of Russia. Built as a marketplace, the square has been the site of both coronations and official ceremonies.
The name “Red Square” derives neither from the colour of the bricks around it nor from the link between the colour red and communism. It came about because the Russian word “krasnaya” can mean either “red” or “beautiful”. The word beautiful was used to describe nearby St. Basil's Cathedral and was then transferred to include the adjoining square.
The Kremlin is otherwise known as the Russian Parliament, the complex comprises of four palaces and four cathedrals and is the official residence of the President of Russia.
Scenic Tsar will be the first small ship in the Scenic Tours fleet. With a maximum of 112 guests, our passengers will enjoy an intimate experience on this boutique vessel.
93 per cent of its staterooms and suites have their own private balconies and all cabins will be furnished with stylish en-suite bathrooms, satellite TV, in-room safe and mini bar with water replenished daily. The Scenic Tsar offers the ultimate in Russia River Cruising accommodation with four luxurious Royal Suites.
Other amenities on-board are the choice of two bars, a large lounge and entertainment area capable of seating all guests, as well as a wellness area for Beauty and Massage, gym and sauna and of course an on-board doctor for your health and safety.
SAME ALL INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE
With Scenic Tours, everything is included except your personal spending. The all-inclusive prices include all sightseeing tours and events, gratuities, meals and complimentary beer, local wines and soft drinks served with dinner. A Scenic Tours Cruise Director is on board each sailing, along with expert English speaking Program Directors.
PRIVATE BALCONY SUITES
93% of all cabins on the Scenic Tsar have private, full-size outdoor balconies. Furnished with a table and chairs, this is your own private haven. Relax here with a morning coffee or enjoy an evening glass of wine after a busy day and watch the countryside slip by.
Scenic Tsar offers a deluxe single seating dining room, where you can opt for a private table for two or choose to join your friends at a larger table. You will enjoy breakfast with its extensive menu selections, and lunch with its choice of buffet or à la carte options. Dinner is always a treat on a Scenic Tours cruise and on-board the Scenic Tsar is no exception. Tempt your palate with Russian specialities and international cuisine, accompanied by complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at dinner. As you would expect on Scenic Tours, all meals are included.
All Scenic Tours are fully escorted by experienced European Tour Directors, employed directly by Scenic Tours. There will also be three Program Directors on-board to provide commentary and answer any questions you might have.
On board the Scenic Tsar you will be assured of the highest levels of service. The experienced staff, fluent in both Russian and English, are on hand at any time of the day or night. There is also a doctor on board.
Unlike our Europe-based ships, there is NO butler service on-board the Scenic Tsar.