Cruise of the Czars: The Russian Waterways

  • $2,899
    Tour Only
  • $3,799
    Flights Included
  • 12
Book Now Request Info

Save $25 When You Book Online.


This incredible, air-inclusive Russia cruise is back by popular demand! On your journey through this storied country via the waterways, you’ll discover amazing architecture, unique palaces, old-world towns, and so much more. Sailing upstream we start in Moscow, bringing you to the iconic Kremlin, Armory Museum, Red Square, and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Then, navigate through some of Russia’s oldest, most picturesque towns and cities. You’ll visit Uglich, Goritzy, Kizhi, and others to learn more about the country’s history and rural life. In captivating St. Petersburg, tour beautiful cathedrals, fascinating bridges, the Hermitage Museum, and Winter’s Palace, along with many other great sights. With reverse sailing also available, this cruise is the ultimate way to experience Russia!

For COVID-19 updates, please scroll down to our Before You Depart section. 

Did you know that you can make this tour private for your friends and family? Find out more about pricing and options for your group.

Itinerary at
a Glance

  • 10-night cruise
  • Moscow 
  • Uglich
  • Yaroslavl
  • Goritzi
  • Kizhi
  • Mandrogi
  • St. Petersburg


  • Red Square 
  • St. Basil’s Cathedral 
  • Kremlin 
  • Armory Museum
  • Czar’s Cannon 
  • Governor’s House
  • Island of Kizhi
  • Peter and Paul’s Fortress 
  • Hermitage Museum

Activity Level: Discoverer 

Your Tour

  • Round-trip airfare from New York (JFK) (passengers may also book this tour without flights)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges 
  • 10-night cruise aboard the MS Moonlight Sonata
  • Ground transportation in air-conditioned motor coach
  • 29 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners 
  • A complimentary glass of wine, beer, or soda with dinner
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking Cruise Director & tour guides

Tour Itinerary

Depart USA

Depart on your overnight flight to Moscow.

*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Moscow on Day 2.

Arrive in Moscow

Arrive at the Moscow airport and meet your tour director who will escort you to the cruise ship. You will have a tour briefing on board, followed by a welcome dinner and time to relax in the music lounge.

MS Moonlight Sonata | Dinner


Today you will have an early morning wake up with a delicious buffet breakfast aboard the ship. Start exploring Russia’s historic capital city with a panoramic bus tour that takes you to see all the best highlights of the city—Kremlin Towers, Red Square, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Tverskaya street, and more! Break for lunch at a local restaurant and then take a comprehensive tour of the Kremlin, which explores the Palace of Congresses, Senate…


Enjoy a day at your leisure around Moscow. We have a variety of optional activities and tours, or you can discover the city independently and immerse yourself in the local culture with a plethora of museums, parks, shops, cafes, and more throughout the city. Head back to the ship for lunch and departure for Uglich. We’ll provide you with a briefing about the route and Moscow Canal, and then gather for a fun welcome cocktail…


After breakfast, learn more about the ancient town of Uglich, take a Russian language class, and dive into the world of Russian craft making. An optional craft-making class aboard the ship will also be available. Next, have lunch and head out on a walking tour to uncover the rich history and religious narratives found throughout Uglich, as we stop at the territory of the Kremlin, Dmitry on the Blood Church, and Transfiguration Cathedral. Arrive back…


Today we’ll arrive in Yaroslavl and have an early breakfast before heading out on a bus tour of this old-world city. Admire the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, explore the beautiful interior of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and visit the Yaroslavl Art Museum (former Governor’s house) for an interactive experience with exhibits featuring 18th- to 20th-century Russian art. Back at the ship you’ll have lunch after departing for your next stop,…


This morning after breakfast, your guide will teach you a bit more about the medieval town of Goritsy and escort you around to it’s fascinating sights including the Monastery of St. Cyril on the White Lake, a significant structure built between the 15th and 16th century that also served as fortress and trading post. Inside this beautiful building is the Museum of Icons, where you can discover interesting art pieces, stone exhibits, manuscripts, and books.…


Today you’ll have a leisurely morning and afternoon aboard the ship. Continue refining your Russian language skills with another class, take a Russian dancing class, and more! Later in the day, we’ll venture out into Kizhi, a lovely island featuring the country’s oldest wooden church, the Kizhi Pogost, which we’ll explore and learn the history of while taking in this area’s picturesque surroundings. This evening we’ll depart for Mandrogi and enjoy a fun pirate-themed dinner…


Following breakfast, your guide will share some information about Mandrogi, another old-world village featuring scenic landscapes and quaint wooden houses. You’ll be able to tour the area, browse craft exhibitions, and explore authentic Russian pie and pancake shops. For lunch, we’ll eat a “Shashlik” (kebab) BBQ lunch ashore, weather permitting. Upon returning to the ship, we’ll sail onward to our last destination, St. Petersburg. This evening we’ll gather for a Captain’s farewell dinner and put…

St. Petersburg

Begin your adventure in Russia’s iconic port city! This morning you will head out for a panoramic bus tour featuring Smolny Convent, Tavrichesky Palace, Summer Garden, Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and so many more exciting sights. Plus, explore the Spire of the Basil Island and tour the Peter and Paul Fortress. Return to the ship for lunch and then enjoy some free time to explore the city, relax in the music lounge aboard the…

St. Petursburg

On your second day here, pay a visit to the Hermitage Museum, a renowned art and cultural institution featuring a wide variety of exhibits ranging from an Egyptian Hall to European galleries showcasing artwork from Leonardo di Vinci, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and more. The remainder of the day is at your leisure, or you can join one of our optional tours later in the afternoon. Tonight, come together with your fellow travelers to savor a farewell…

Depart St. Petersburg/Arrive in the USA

Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the U.S. 

*The tour will end for passengers who did not purchase flights on Day 12 in St. Petersburg.

| Breakfast

Guided Tour Pricing

Book by Jan. 28, 2022 to get the best price. The starting prices below reflect a $100 discount applied when you pay by echeck.

Prices and dates below include round-trip airfare from New York (JFK). Travelers may choose to purchase the tour only, and arrange their own arrival in destination.

2022 Tours Tour Only With Flights  
May 14
May 25
$3,499 $2,999
$4,399 $3,899
August 22
September 2
$3,399 $2,899
$4,299 $3,799
September 11
September 22
$3,499 $2,999
$4,399 $3,899

Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $1,599.

Jun 13 ’22 Departure: This is a reverse sailing and starts in St. Petersburg and ends in Moscow. Land only services start upon independent check-in at the boat in St. Petersburg on Jun. 14 and end after breakfast on the boat in Moscow on Jun. 24.

MS Moonlight Sonata
Rates are based on Category B cabins. Upgrade to higher category cabins:

  • Category A Junior Suite on the upper/boat deck with balcony: Add $749 per person
  • Category A Single Cabin on the upper/boat deck with balcony: Add $599

For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00am – 5:30pm EST) at 1.800.337.7773.

Reservations and Payments 
Reservations can be made by phone (1.800.337.7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of your non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, which must be received at the time of reservation. Deposits are $99 per person for all 2021 departures, and $300 per person for all 2022 departures. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. Please see the smarTours Terms and Conditions for complete booking information.

Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.

The tours below are a sample of the most popular optional excursions offered during this cruise. However, please note that some of the optional excursions are NOT available on all sailings, are dependent on the days/dates your ships are in port, and are subject to a minimum number of participants. The prices shown are estimates and are subject to change. A final list of optional excursions will be reconfirmed once on board.

"Kostroma" National Folk Show

  • Moscow
  • From approx. $97 Per Person

The Russian National Dance Show “Kostroma” cleverly unites lyrical sketches with elements of folklore and ancient Russian epics to accurately depict a mother, wife, daughter, son, husband and warrior of Russian heritage. Through masterful dancing and acting, this show highlights the unique spirit of the Russian nation.

Moscow at Night with Metro

  • Moscow
  • From approx. $71 Per Person
Discover the unique atmosphere of Moscow at night on a late evening bus tour. Your first stop will be in the city center where you will enjoy a short ride on the Metro and see the magnificent art at 2 to 3 of the main stations. Then, you will continue by bus to view illuminated skyscrapers, bridges that cross the Moscow River, and the fabulous St. Basil’s Onion Domes from the open-air observation platform on…

Tretyakov Gallery

  • Moscow
  • From approx. $85 Per Person

Founded in 1856 by influential merchant and collector Pavel Tretyakov and presented as a gift to the city in 1892, it is the world’s number one museum of Russian art. Ranging from exquisite and mysterious 12th-century icons to the politically charged and prescient canvases of Russia’s favorite realist master, Ilya Repin, the collection is a rich and revealing insight into the history and attitudes of these long-suffering yet inspired people.


  • From approx. $85 Per Person
Visit the Novodevichy (or New Maiden) Convent, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia. Founded by Tsar Vasily III in 1524, the Convent marked winning the city of Smolensk back from the Lithuanians in 1514. The new convent was consecrated in honor of the Mother of God Hodigidria which according to a legend was painted by St. Luke himself. You’ll also see the so-called Novodevichy Cemetery which was established outside the south wall and…

Catherine's Palace & Amber Room

  • St. Petersburg
  • From approx. $97 Per Person
MUST PRE-BOOK! Please note that due to concerns regarding availability, you must sign up for this optional tour in advance of your final payment due date. This optional tour must be paid in full at that time.  Travel to Pushkino to visit Catherine’s Palace, the summer residence of the Russian imperial family. In 1710 Peter I presented these lands to his second wife Catherine I. Explore the palace and the surrounding park and learn of…

Peterhof Gardens

  • St. Petersburg
  • From approx. $84 Per Person

On this tour you will visit Peter the Great’s Summer Residence. While the Grand Palace does not rival the opulence of Catherine’s Palace, its distinctive feature is the beautiful gardens, which is highlighted by unique fountains. A beautiful and idyllic setting along the Baltic Sea!

Russian Ballet

  • St. Petersburg
  • From approx. $150-$190 Per Person

Russia is home to some of the best ballet troupes (Mariinsky, Bolshoi) and ballet dancers in the world. Depending on the dates of your cruise, the shows and ensembles will vary. No matter which performance and dancers you see, you’ll surely be captivated by the unparalleled talent!