Russia’s onion-domed churches, spires, monasteries and villages are more accessible than ever for luxury travellers. The countryside between Moscow and St Petersburg is not easy to get to and one of the best ways to travel in Russia is on a river cruise. Here are three luxury river cruises Russia in the land of the Tsars.
The boutique River Victoria is decked out with a bold bordello-like colour scheme. Think strawberry red, apple green and royal blue. The bright colours paint a happy mood in the staterooms and public areas, such as the Chagall Lounge, Pushkin Restaurant and Serenity River Spa.
Staterooms and suites are European chic and come with bathrooms stocked with plush bathrobes and luscious L’Occitane en Provence toiletries. Other amenities include climate-control thermostats, telephones and an infotainment centre with flat-screen TV and complimentary movies.
The 98-stateroom Viking Rurik has Scandinavian-chic staterooms with 66cm flat screen TVs, free wifi and 24-hour concierge service.
Viking’s long association in Russia gives it the edge when it comes to cultural immersion and Itinerary highlights include ports such as Kuzino, where there’s an option to visit a children’s art school, and Mandrogy. Also on the program are talks by former Red Army soldiers and lecturers from the Smithsonian Institution and performances by artists from the Mariinsky Theatre.
Meeting a cosmonaut is one of the treats while cruising aboard Scenic Tsar The visit to the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is part of Scenic’s Enrich programme, which offers other money-can’t-buy cultural experiences. They include home visits with tastings of authentic Russian tea and a traditional Russian lunch in an old-world wooden ‘Podvorie’ restaurant, which serves home-grown produce and wines from the owner’s summer residence.
Most of Scenic Tsar’s staterooms and suites have private balconies. All cabins have ensuites, satellite TV and a mini bar with bottled water replenished daily.