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24 Day Russia Waterways & Danube River Cruising Tour 2014

Join us on a majestic cruising tour including the Volga River in Russia, the longest river in Europe and the Danube River, the second-longest river in Europe. Enjoy a 13 day cruise and tour between the vibrant cities of Moscow and St Petersburg along the Volga, Svir and Neva rivers, exploring the forested islands, vast lakes and quaint lifestyles of rural Russia. Continue to enjoy an 8 day cruise on the Danube River which has inspired dozens of artists to create masterpiece throughout the centuries. You will discover 3 stunning capitals on the Danube River cruise, visiting the impressive Benedictine Abbey of Melk, enjoying a classical concert in European capital of music: Vienna and going on an adventure of the Hungarian Puzsta to get amazed by one of the most beautiful views of Europe in Budapest. As the places are limited and will be sold out very quickly, you are suggested to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Day 01: Australia – Beijing – Moscow

Depart to Moscow via Beijing on Air China and fly overnight.

 Day 02: Moscow – Cruise Ship

Connect your flight in Beijing to Moscow in the afternoon and arrive at Moscow in the evening. Upon arrival, you are transferred to the wharf where you will embark on the cruise ship for your Russia Waterways tour.

 Day 03:  Moscow (B/L/D) 

Moscow is Russia's largest city, it's political and economic capital. Through bribes, diplomacy and coercion, Moscow overcame its two rival principalities to become Russia's first city. Moscow's role was briefly challenged when Tsar Peter the Great moved the capital to his new city Saint Petersburg, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Today is dedicated to exploring Red Square, Leningradskaya and Tverskaya streets, Novodevichiy Convent (exterior), KGB (exterior), GUM and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (exterior). You may also like to take part in the optional excursions like Moscow by night & Metro. 
Accommodation:  On board.

 

Day 04: Moscow (B/L/D)

Today is very special, as we will go inside the Kremlin - the ancient castle built to withstand the Mongol hordes. Throughout history, the Kremlin has been the centre of political power in Russia and it remains a symbolic political centre even today. It is the official site of the inauguration ceremony of the Russian President. The Kremlin is a living museum of Russia's history. This historical treasure has been so well preserved that it seems that you are travelling back in time. You will see the most interesting places in the Kremlin as you follow our professional guide in the steps of some of the world's greatest leaders and its most terrible dictators. Afterwards there will be optional excursions on offer which may include the National folk show 'Kostroma.'
Accommodation:  On board.

 Day 05: Uglich (B/L/D)

Uglich is a small town located on the Volga River. It is most famous for the tragic events that took place in 1591, when the 10 year old  Prince Dimitry, the last heir to the thrown of the ancient Ruyrik Dynasty, was killed here. Historians now agree that he was killed by Boris Godunov, adviser to Dimitry, who wanted the throne to himself. Dimitry's death plunged Russia into decades of political turmoil known as the Time of Trouble.
You will discover the town on a walking tour with a visit to the Kremlin, Transfiguration Cathedral, and the church of Saint Dimitry on the Blood.
Accommodation:  On board.

 Day 06: Yaroslavl (B/L/D)

By today's standards Yaroslavl is small, but its place in Russia's history and culture cannot be underestimated. Before it was annihilated by the Mongols it was Russia's largest city, its economic, political, cultural and scientific centre. It was rebuilt shortly after but was once again burnt to the ground. While the Mongols had been preoccupied with Yaroslavl, Moscow was able to harness enough power to overthrow the 'Mongol yoke.' You will explore this town on the Volga River by bus with stops in Nikolas Wonderworker, Governor's Art Gallery, and church of the Prophet Elijah. You will also have free time to explore the local market.
Accommodation:  On board.

Day 07: Goritsy (B/L/D)

Goritzy is famous for the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (1937). This monastery's strong walls and bastions were used by some nobles as a safe house during the Time of Trouble. The Polish Armies stormed it, but never succeeded capturing it. Unfortunately, the monastery was not successful in repelling the attacks of other invaders four centuries later. The Bolsheviks closed the monastery in the early 20th century and sent its monks to the prison camps. On your walking tour around the small town you will go inside the local Monastery of Saint Cyril on the White Lake, an exceptional Museum of icons.
Accommodation:  On board.

 Day 08: Kizhi (B/L/D)

Kizhi-Island Kizhi is the name of a unique island located on Lake Onega. In the centre of the island stands the amazing Transfiguration Church. This wooden church and its 22 domes are said to be built without a single nail. In fact, originally, the Transfiguration Church was located in another place. The Bolsheviks, who had little, if no, respect for religion, had some respect for its architectural value. So they decided to move this unique church as far from the major cities and people as possible, to distant Kizhi Island. You will devote this day on the island to the open-air museum of wooden architecture.
Accommodation:  On board.

 Day 09: Mandrogui (B/L/D)

Mandrogi is the name of a small village that has no architectural wonders, giant castles or churches. You will however discover the unique style and architecture of the northern tribes that have occupied these lands for centuries. Here among the beautiful landscapes of this peaceful place we will have Russian famous shashlik (meat kebab) made on the grill. You will have free time to stroll around the town and buy some souvenirs, before returning to the ship. Whilst cruising on board the ship, you will experience live music concerts, a Russian language course, Russian song lessons, dancing music in bars nightly and the Captain's bridge tour.   
Accommodation:  On board.

 Days 10 – 11: St. Petersburg (B/L/D)

St Petersburg is Russia's cultural and historical treasure, one of the world's most beautiful cities. It is known as Venice of the north, thanks to its numerous canals and hundreds of bridges. It can rightly be called a living museum - so many of its buildings are a part of Russia's history. These two days there will be a bus city tour to Smolny convent, Tavrichesky Palace, Summer Garden, Palace embankment, Winter Palace, buildings of exchange and Nevsky Prospect. There is a walking tour of St Peter and Paul's Fortress. Also included is a visit to the Winter Palace, which is home to the Hermitage Museum - the largest collection of Russian art in the world. The Hermitage originally started as the private art collection of Catherine The Great. The art works are displayed in numerous halls, many of which are works of art in themselves. You may like to take part in an optional excursion to a Russian Folk Show, or a Rivers & Canals tour at night. 
Accommodation: On board.

 Day 12: St Petersburg (B/L/D)

Today is at leisure to explore St Petersburg. You may wish to take the optional excursions on offer to Pushkin (Catherine Palace and Park) or Peterhof (lower park only). 
Tonight there will be a presentation of the crew and the staff, followed by dinner.
Accommodation:  On board.

Day 13: St Petersburg (B)

After breakfast, disembark the cruise ship and you are transferred to hotel in St Petersburg for a night.

Day 14: St Petersburg – Munich – Passau (B)

After breakfast, you are transferred to airport for your flight to Munich. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to Passau. The border city Passau is one of the most important tourist places of Bavaria and is also known as the Dreiflussestadt (City of Three Rivers). The Danube River is joined there by the Inn River and the IIz River. The town has a medieval centre, complete with the Sankt Stephan Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ. Embark on the cruise ship for a Danube River cruise.

 Day 15: Melk (B/L/D)

This morning the ship is moored in Melk. This town is best known as the site of a massive baroque Benedictine monastery named Stift Melk. It is impressively located above the town on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river. In the afternoon the ship will sail in the direction of Vienna where we will arrive in the early evening.

 Day 16: Vienna (B/L/D)

The next stop will be Vienna, the capital of Australia. You have the possibility to join a sightseeing tour that passes by the most important sites and monuments, such as the Opera, the Rathaus, the Parliament, the Burgtheater and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. The old centre and the St. Stephansdom will also be visited. In the afternoon you will have free time or you can join another wonderful excursion to the Schonbrunn Palace, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage and one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Around dinner time the ship will leave the Austrian capital and set sail to Budapest.

 Day 17: Budapest (B/L/D)

The ship will arrive at Budapest in the morning. The Danube divides the city in two parts: traditional “Buda” and cosmopolitan “Pest”. This afternoon you can have a guided sightseeing tour. See the large Boulevards, the famous Parliament, the Opera, Heroes Square and the Fisherman’s Bastion. Other noted sites are the Market and Chain Bridge. But what would Budapest be without a view of the city full of lights? In the evening there is an option to do the excursion Budapest by night. You will be taken to a typical Hungarian restaurant for a night with typical Hungarian food, wine and music. At the end of the tour you will be taken up on Mt. Gellert, where you will have an exquisite view of the city at night.

 Day 18: Budapest – Puszta (B/L/D)

This morning you have free time to discover more of this bustling city. You can also join a truly remarkable excursion to the Hungarian lowlands. In the afternoon the ship will set sail to the Esztergom. This is one of the oldest cities of the country and is famous for the Basilica, the largest church in Hungary. During the short stop the passengers that went on the Puszta excursion will re-join the ship.      

 Day 19: Bratislava (B/L/D)

Today the ship will dock in the morning in Bratislava, the capital of Slavakia. With a guide you can discover this young capital of 450.000 inhabitants by bus and foot. You will see, among others, the National Theatre, the St. Matin’s Cathedral, Michael’s Gate and the Old Town Hall.

 Day 20: Durnstein (B/L/D)

Today you will be in Durnstein, a charming old village in the heart of the Wachau-valley with a medieval castle. From the pier you will go directly to the historic city centre on foot, strolling past the city wall through the city gate to Pranger Square. From here you have a lovely view of the castle ruins. After the city tour you will be taken to a wine tasting, where you will taste three typical, delicious wines of the Wachau region. In the afternoon the ship will continue for an overnight cruise to Passau.

 Day 21: Passau – Munich – Beijing (B)

After breakfast it is time to disembark in Passau. You are transferred to Munich airport for your flight homeward to Australia via Beijing on Air China. Fly overnight.

 Day 22: Beijing (B)

Arrive in Beijing and you are transferred to hotel. You will have a free day in Beijing to do exploration or shopping on your own.

 Day 23: Beijing – Australia (B)

You are at leisure until afternoon when you are transferred to airport for your flight homewards to Australia.

Day 24: Australia Arrival

You arrive in Australia in the morning. Your unforgettable Russia Waterways and Europe Danube River Cruising Tour ends.

 Tour price: $6,980 per person, twin share.

Single supplement: $1,680.

Inclusions:

1. Air China economy class air-ticket: Australia – Beijing – Moscow//Munich – Beijing – Australia.
2. Airport tax and fuel surcharge.
3. International flight from St Petersburg to Munich, Germany and taxes.
4. A 12-day river cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg including all port taxes in a twin shared cabin of Main Deck on the cruise ship.
5. A 8-day Danube river cruise including all port taxes in a twin shared cabin of the lower deck on the cruise ship.
6. All transfer and transport.
7. All on-shore excursions as indicated in the itinerary.
8. Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
9. Services of English-speaking guides.

Exclusions:

1. Travel insurance. 
2. Russia visa fee (current $130 for single entry) for Australia passport holders.(No China visa is needed now for stopover in Beijing for less than 72 hours).
3. Tips to guides and drivers.
4. Personal expenses.
5. Any services or meals not mentioned in the itinerary. 
6. Optional tours.

Cruise ships used for this tour:

  • Russia Waterways cruise: 

             21 May – 01 June & 23 July – 03 August: Georgy Chicherin
             25 June – 06 July & 17 September – 28 September: Konstantin Simonov

  • Danube River cruise: The MS Serenity

The MS Serenity is a comfortable and modern river cruise vessel with a capacity of 190 passengers.?The spacious vessel combines modern comfort with a cozy atmosphere. Passengers can enjoy the relaxing board life in the lounge/bar, the panoramic restaurant, on the sun deck and in attractive bar on the ships stern. On the Serenity passengers will also find a small shop, an elevator and 95 passenger cabins. All cabins are outside cabins and approximately 12 m2 big and are equipped with twin beds, radio, TV, safe, air conditioning as well as a bathroom with a shower and toilet. The vessel was built in the Netherlands in 2006 and has been sailing a great variety of itineraries with satisfied customers from all over Europe. The Serenity can sail all the way from Amsterdam to the Black Sea which offers many possibilities. In 2013 the vessel will predominantly sail on the Danube.



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