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Russia River Cruises 2024/2025

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Russia Travel Guide

Setting sail on a river cruise in Russia is an adventure into the vast heart of this expansive country. The Volga, Europe's longest river, serves as the main artery for these cruises, offering a route that runs through the country's soul. You'll pass by ancient cities, witness the grandeur of imperial architecture, and explore the cultural fabric of Russia. From the iconic onion domes of Moscow's Red Square to the elegant palaces of St. Petersburg, every stop presents a piece of Russia's rich history. Beyond the historical allure, the Russian rivers wind through picturesque countryside, with opportunities to see traditional rural life that has remained unchanged for centuries. This is not just a trip; it's a deep dive into the stories and sights that have shaped Russia, presented to you from the unique perspective of its waterways. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Russia river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

Russia Travel Guide

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Russia Travel Guide

Russia River Cruises Highlights

  • Red Square and the Kremlin (Moscow): The heart of Moscow and arguably Russia, the Red Square is surrounded by architectural masterpieces, including the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral. The Kremlin nearby is the president's residence and a historic fortress with palaces and cathedrals.
  • Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg): Housed in the former Winter Palace, this world-famous museum boasts over three million items, from ancient artifacts to paintings by the great masters. It's a treasure trove of art and history.
  • Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (St. Petersburg): With its multicolored domes, this church stands out as a masterpiece of Russian architecture and a tribute to the late Tsar Alexander II.
  • Kizhi Island (Karelia): Home to the Kizhi Pogost, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this island showcases stunning wooden architecture, including a 22-dome church built without a single nail.
  • Volga River Embankment (Samara): A picturesque spot ideal for a leisurely walk, offering great views of the river and a chance to mingle with the locals.
  • Mandrogi, the Crafts Village: A reconstructed village that replicates traditional Russian life, where you can experience age-old crafts and taste homemade vodka.
  • Yaroslavl Historic City Center: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this area features beautiful churches and monuments that date back to the 12th century.

Russia River Cruises Travel Tips

  • The currency in Russia is the Ruble, and it's wise to have some cash on hand, as smaller vendors may not accept cards.
  • Make sure to respect all of the local customs of the area, as those living here feel strongly about them.
  • June has something known as White Nights because of the almost endless hours of sunlight that they get. 
  • Summer calls for light clothing, a hat, and sunglasses, but always bring a jacket for cooler evenings. Spring and autumn can be unpredictable, so layering is key. A waterproof jacket and sturdy walking shoes are also must-haves for shore excursions.
  • For cultural sites, especially churches, bring attire that covers shoulders and knees to respect local norms.
  • Keep a phrasebook or translator handy, so you can speak with the locals and find what you need while you are there. 

Russia River Cruises Things To Do

  • Moscow

    Moscow is a fascinating city to visit on any Russian River cruise, and therefore, several days should be spent in the city before embarkation. When you take an all-inclusive river cruise, you often can take advantage of a self-guided tour of the city. One of the key attractions is the Kremlin, which once was once the residence of Russia's tsars, and which was first established in the 1400s. Travelers can also browse the famous GUM department store when they want to make a switch from visiting historical sites.

    Best Time to Visit

    According to U.S. News World Travel, the best time to travel to Moscow is in either April or May. During those months, the temperature hovers at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You will pay less for river cruise travel, as summer is the peak season when the city's tourist trade picks up.


    You Should Know

    Red Square is the country's symbolic core – home to Lenin's Tomb and the memorable St. Basil's Cathedral, which displays colorful onion-shaped domes. Moscow is one of the most expensive cities worldwide. According to Forbes, 84 billionaires live in Moscow, which also claims more billionaires than any city internationally.
  • Pushkin Versailles-Styled Palace
    Pushkin Versailles-Styled Palace

    Catharine the Great was very big on decorating and having lavish palaces and places of interest built in the past. The Pushkin Palaces with Versailles-styled architecture are some of the most beautiful buildings you will ever see.   

    Best Time To Visit

    Visiting this and other palaces can be done throughout the year, whenever you are visiting. The gardens outside of the palaces are nice, so good weather can be ideal.  


    You Should Know

    This is not the only palace in Pushkin, there are a series of other palaces that were constructed. The palaces were based on Baroque-style architecture and art.  
  • Red Square
    Red Square

    Located in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square is a place of interest for so many. Inside the square, you can find the St. Basil's Cathedral, GUM Department Store, and Lenin's Tomb. All of these are open and ready for the general public to come and see once you walk through the Red Square.  

    Best Time To Visit

    Since the square is outside, you may want to visit when the weather is warmer and nicer. You can find that walking during this time is more pleasant and you can stop into all of the points of interest.   


    You Should Know

    The president of Russia lives right to the side of the Red Square. The Kremlin is to the other side of the square, so you can make an entire day of visiting these areas.  
  • Pushkin Gallery
    Pushkin Gallery

    The Pushkin Gallery is located in Moscow. With not just art inside, but other arts including music and dance, you will find that there is a lot for you to take in. You can go during the time when they are offering shows or other performances.   

    Best Time To Visit

    It is ideal to visit this area when the weather is mild, or even if it is raining since it is inside. You can walk through and not have to worry about the weather.   


    You Should Know

    The International Musical Festival Sviatoslav Richter's December nights is held in this museum and have been since 1981. They do charge for tickets to come in, RUB 200-400.  
  • Kazan

    Kazan is an interesting mix of culture and history. It is one of the oldest cities in both Eastern Europe and Russia, and about 150 years older than Moscow. The city, which was established in 1005, became a part of the Mogol-Tartar Empire. Ivan the Terrible seized Kazan in the 1500s, bringing it under the reign of the Russian Empire.

    Best Time to Visit

    Visit the lively city in the spring, so you can enjoy the sights without fighting crowds of tourists.


    You Should Know

    Kazan is home to over 40 museums and 30+ universities. The city is considered Russia's third city, behind the two capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Because it is a university town, Kazan has a vibrant nightlife.
  • Church of St. Elijah the Prophet
    Church of St. Elijah the Prophet

    This church not only has beautiful architecture inside and out, but it comes with a story behind it. This is why many people enjoy visiting. You can learn more about the history and folklore that brings a lot of residents and visitors inside just to see and feel the magic within.  

    Best Time To Visit

    When the outside is chilly and raining, you can go inside the church for warmth and to take in the sights, sounds, and everything else that comes with it.  


    You Should Know

    White with green onion domes and topped with gold crosses, the colors of the church make it stand out more. The church is a 14th-century church, so it holds a lot of history.  
  • Yaroslavl

    A significant Golden Ring city, it is worth visiting to see all of the attractions hidden within the circle. It is also the biggest city you will visit while on a river cruise through Russia. There are also a handful of streets full of cafes and shops that are made just for pedestrians, so you don't have to worry about traffic.  

    Best Time To Visit

    The best time to come to Yaroslavl is when the weather is warm, and the sun is out. You will be doing a lot of walking, so the weather should be comfortable to do so in.  


    You Should Know

    Check out the embankment to the side of the city, this is where locals go to eat lunch and use the greenery as a park. This area is also home to many gorgeous, older churches.  
  • Rostov-on-Don

    Also known as Rostov-na-Donu, Rostov-on-Don is the administrative center for the Rostov Oblast, or province, in southwest Russia. It sits beside the lower Don River, and is located 30 miles above the river's mouth, next to the Sea of Azov.

    Best Time To Visit

    Your travel dollars are better spent during the spring, when the prices are lower and the tourist trade has not yet gotten into full swing. 


    You Should Know

    Besides the Sea of Azov, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and White Sea all come together at the seaport of Rostov-on-Don. Rostov-on-Don is home to the Northern Cemetery, which is one of the largest cemeteries on the European continent. As many as 50 burials per day can occur at the massive graveyard. Because Rostov-on-Don is located next to several seas, its fish markets are teeming with a variety of fish.
  • Volgograd

    Formerly known as Stalingrad, Volgograd lies in southwestern Russia beside the Volga River. The city is the site for the Second World War's Battle of Stalingrad. The Panorama Museum, in the city, features a 360-degree painting of the conflict, including war-time artifacts and weapons. The city's Lenin Volga-Don Shipping Canal is marked with a large arch.

    Best Time To Visit

    Spring warms the countryside just enough to attract a small number of travelers – the ideal time to take advantage of the lower river cruise rates.


    You Should Know

    The city was founded in 1589. Its City Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of September. Volgograd was once called Tsaritsyn from 1589 to 1925 and Stalingrad from 1925 to 1961. The industrial city is the administrative center of the Volgograd Oblast (region) in southwest Russia.
  • Ulyanovsk

    Established as a city in 1796, Ulyanovsk is also the birthplace of the Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin. The Lenin Memorial complex in the city features a research center and museum in Lenin's former homes. The Museum of Civil Aviation exhibits old aircraft and helicopters.

    Best Time To Visit

    Plan a trip to Ulyanovsk during April or May when travel prices are lower but the temperatures are comfortable. 


    You Should Know

    Formerly known as Simbirsk, this city, located on the Volga River, was founded in 1648. It is the administrative center for the Ulyanovsk Oblast. The city was renamed in 1924 to Ulyanovsk, after Vladimir Ulyanov, better known as Vladimir Lenin.
  • Bolshoi Theatre
    Bolshoi Theatre

    The Bolshoi Theater is also located inside Moscow and it is one of the most visited places for those living and visiting the city. The theatre mainly does opera and ballet performances, but sometimes they have other shows that visitors can take part in, depending on what you want to see during that time.    

    Best Time To Visit

    Most of the shows are held at night, so if you want to visit during one of them then it is ideal to visit during one of the times when you're docked at port for the night.    


    You Should Know

    The shows each cost a different amount, and you can purchase tickets in advance to make sure you have one. The theatre was built in 1821 and is still standing and fully functional to this day.  
  • Hermitage

    Located in St. Petersburg, this is generally one of the biggest and most known places to visit in the area. It is one of the world's largest art collections by far. With many popular artists that have their artwork showcased in this museum, you'll easily be able to look through the halls of what is available.   

    Best Time To Visit

    This attraction is ideal to see during the off-season because it is less packed inside. However, if the weather is chilly and not so ideal, then this would be a good time to visit the museum.   


    You Should Know

    The Hermitage was once the official home to Russian Tsars throughout the years. Very few people were allowed to come into this home in the past. The Hermitage is huge. It consists of 5 interconnected buildings and has over 3 million art pieces.
  • Uglich

    You cannot take any Russian river cruise without visiting Uglich, a fascinating city on the Volga River. Located 155 miles north of the capital city of Moscow, the ancient town was established in the 10th century. Some of the town's sights include monasteries, churches, historic structures, and unique places, such as the interactive Hydropower Museum and the Museum of Russian Vodka.

    Best Time To Visit

    If you want to avoid the crowds, visit Uglich during April or May, or in the spring. At this time, the temperatures are agreeable and so are your surroundings, as you don't have to fight the rush of tourists that visit in the summer.


    You Should Know

    The Kremlin in Uglich is a true Russian architectural masterpiece. Built during the 10th century, the rose and aqua building is located on the Volga's high bank, and is the site of the murder of Ivan the Terrible's son, Prince Dmitry. The death of Prince Dmitry remains a mystery, still today. Historical experts believe the 8-year-old prince died as the result of a power struggle between some of the country's elite clans. The Alekseevsky Monastery was found at the end of the 1300s but was almost totally destroyed during a Polish and Lithuanian conflict in the early 1600s. The architectural highlight of the building is the Uspenskaya Church, whose refectory was known for its unparalleled beauty.
  • Nizhniy Novgorod
    Nizhniy Novgorod

    Once an important military city, Nizhniy Novgorod was closed to the public, or foreign travelers, when Russia was the Soviet Union. Since that time, the city has reopened so people can visit its historic sites and enjoy the river views. 

    Best Time To Visit

    A good time to visit Nizhniy Novgorod is in May or April when you can take a slower pace and not have to fight the crowds.


    You Should Know

    In 1932, the city was renamed Gorky, after the Soviet writer, Maxim Gorky, who was also a nominee of the Nobel prize 5 different times. The name was switched back to Nizhniy Novgorod in 1990. Nizhny Novgorod has been the venue for several films, including the 2010 film, Salt, which starred Angelina Jolie. The Soviet Union's first tank was made during the Second World War in Nizhny Novgorod.

Russia River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    To begin your Russian river cruise, you'll typically fly into a major city such as Moscow or St. Petersburg, which has international airports that connect Russia to the rest of the world. You can take a taxi or sometimes a shuttle service directly to the cruise terminal from the airport. Russia's river cruise ports are well-equipped to welcome international visitors, offering a smooth transition from your flight to your floating accommodation. The ports in these cities are often centrally located, making it convenient to start exploring immediately if you have time before your cruise departs. With modern amenities and signs often in English, boarding your river cruise in Russia is designed to be as easy as possible, allowing you to confidently start your adventure.

  • Experience the Flavors of Russia

    Russian cuisine is a hearty and flavorful affair, with dishes that have stood the test of time. When you're off the boat, dive into local classics like borscht, a beetroot soup that comes with a dollop of sour cream, or sample pelmeni, delicious dumplings stuffed with meat. Don't miss out on trying blini; thin pancakes often rolled with fillings like smoked salmon or caviar, a true taste of luxury.

    On the sweeter side, honey cake, known as medovik, offers layers of sweet indulgence. As for drinks, tea is central to Russian life, often served with a slice of lemon or jam. For something stronger, a shot of vodka is traditional, best enjoyed with a pickle or a piece of dark bread.

    For an authentic experience, seek out local eateries or markets in port cities. Many cruises offer food tours or cooking classes that can give you a deeper appreciation of Russian flavors. If you get a chance, attend a Russian tea ceremony or a vodka tasting, which often comes with stories and insights into Russian culture. These experiences will give you a true taste of Russia's culinary heritage.

  • mmerse Yourself in Russian Culture

    Russian culture is as rich as it is varied and deeply rooted in history and tradition. The country's customs are often linked to its Eastern Orthodox heritage, seen in the golden domes of its churches and the religious festivals throughout the year. One of the biggest cultural celebrations is the Russian New Year, followed closely by Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7th in accordance with the Orthodox calendar.

    Folk music and dance are also integral to Russian culture, with performances showcasing colorful costumes and intricate footwork. Matryoshka dolls, painted wooden dolls that nest inside each other, reflect the importance of family and heritage in Russian society.

    Throughout the year, numerous festivals take place, such as Maslenitsa, which marks the end of winter with pancake feasting and street festivals. Visiting during these times provides a unique opportunity to see the vibrant traditions and warm hospitality that Russia is known for.

  • Why Book a Russian River Cruise?

    Booking a Russian river cruise offers a seamless blend of value, convenience, and exclusive experiences that are hard to match with any other type of travel. Imagine unpacking once and waking up to a new city every day, ready to explore without the hassle of checking in and out of hotels or navigating local transport. The cruise itself is your moving hotel, restaurant, and entertainment venue all rolled into one. This means you get to save time and avoid the stress of planning the logistics of a multi-city trip. Onboard, you're treated to stunning coastal views that you just can't get from the land, giving you a unique perspective of Russia's expansive landscapes and historical sites. Plus, many cruises offer exclusive excursions that delve deeper into the culture and history of each stop, sometimes places that are off the beaten path and less accessible for the typical traveler. The convenience of having a range of activities, from cultural performances to historical lectures, right at your fingertips only enhances the experience, ensuring that every moment of your trip is as enriching as it is enjoyable.

  • Ready to Book Your Russian River Cruise?

    A Russian river cruise is an invitation to experience the vastness of Russia in a way that's both intimate and comprehensive. Glide through the heart of cities and countryside, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors unique to this storied land. Each stop presents its own piece of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the grandeur of Moscow's Red Square to the artistic streets of St. Petersburg and the quiet charm of riverside villages, there's something for everyone. Enjoy the ease of travel, the depth of experience, and the luxury of time that river cruising offers.

    If you're yearning for a journey that combines relaxation with exploration, comfort with adventure, and luxury with learning, then it's time to book your Russian river cruise. Don't just visit Russia—live it, one river bend at a time.

Russia River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Russia River Cruise?

    A Russia river cruise brings you through a series of places around Russia. From St. Petersburg to Moscow, and through some of the largest European rivers and lakes; you will be able to see a lot both on the ship and off of it. The cruises generally last between 10 to 15 days, and they provide many points of interest within those days. You can look into each of them to find the one that provides you with the many things you want to do, as well as activities and extras provided on the ship. If you go on an all-inclusive tour, Don River cruises typically begin in Moscow and do not follow the Don River as much as they follow the Volga River system. After some point, however, they connect to the Don River and normally conclude at the major port for the Don River, which is Rustov-on-Don.

  • What’s Included on a Russia River Cruise?

    Russia River Cruises, like almost all cruises are all-inclusive. You will find that lodging, meals, and activities are all included in the price. You can enjoy extra excursions, alcohol, and a number of other items for extra charges while there. There are even packages you can add onto the cost of the cruise. All Don River cruises feature stops at Russia's major cities, such as Moscow, Uglich, and Volgograd. Rustov-on-Don typically represents the final stop. Therefore, Don River cruises feature a number of popular stops along the Volga River before the final destination next to the Don River waterway. During your trip, you will enjoy Michelin prepared meals that are free and unlimited beverages. Most of the stops provide escorted tours of the major sites and attractions.

  • How Much Does a Russia River Cruise Cost?

    You can travel from 8 to 12 days while on a Russian River Cruise. You will be able to choose the length of stay, but keep in mind, that you will want to consider your budget. The longer the cruise, the more it is going to cost. The prices range from $3,999 to $6,999 depending on many factors. The type of room and extras are also important. 

  • What’s the Best River Cruise for a Russia River Cruise?

    While there is no right or wrong answer, the best Russia river cruise to take can be the one that offers you the benefits that you want. Each one comes with different amenities and activities, length of time on the water, and various stops along the way. Some of the more popular, recommended Russia river cruise boats are Viking River Cruises, Scenic Russia River Cruises, and Uniworld Boutique Russia River Cruises. However, these cruise lines all have somewhat identical itineraries, so it makes sure to look into how they spend their time off the ship.

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