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4 Cruising the Volga on MS Rostropovich

Cruising the Volga on MS Rostropovich


Firebird Cruise | MS Rostropovich Ship

One of the greatest ways to explore western Russia is indeed on laid-back yet activities-filled Russian river cruises along the Volga River. Just picture yourself on board a luxurious ship that’s like a hotel on water enjoying the passing by scenery of the countryside? The high-comfort 5-star vessel named in honor of the famous Russian composer, Mstislav Rostropovich, is among the most popular travelers’ choices for cruising Russian waterways, and in this overview, you can get an insight and sneak peek on the highlights making up this hit Volga cruise program.

Firebird Cruise | Onboard MS Rostropovich

To the rhythms of MS Rostropovich

With delicious gourmet meals, great accommodation, exciting pre-planned entertainment, and, of course, sightseeing tours with local professional guides all included in the program, the answer to “why see Russia as part of a Moscow to St. Petersburg cruise program” becomes quite obvious.

Several full days in each of the Russian capitals plus a relaxing cruise part in between – such a way of discovering Russia has gained popularity among travelers in the recent years. And with all the various ship choices available on the route, the 5-star MS Rostropovich has proven itself to be amid the top vessels for foreigners wishing to travel to Russia.

 

What to expect onboard?

Firebird Cruise | MS Rostropovich Ship

MS Rostropovich is a modern ship that was designed to accommodate more than 200 passengers. It was fully refurbished in 2009, its cabins and common areas are located on four decks which are connected by an elevator. Apart from the cabins, on board you can find a lounge, gym, conference hall, medical room, bars, and restaurants.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

During the cruise, guests dine in the ship’s restaurants, Opera and Symphony, and enjoy delicious meals of European and traditional Russian cuisine, prepared by experienced chefs. Wine and soft drinks are served with every meal, a coffee station with beverages is also available any time of the day.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

As for the cabins, all of them are like hotel rooms, equipped to modern standards with air-conditioning, large beds, electric sockets, flat-screen TVs, safes, and private bathrooms. There is a total of 100 of them on MS Rostropovich, ranging by category from Standard rooms to Suites. Most have walk-out balconies, others have panoramic windows. The most comfortable cabin options are the spacious suites: Hermitage, Mariinski, and Bolshoi, named after famous Russian venues.

 

What kind of onboard activities to anticipate?

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

Here’s the fun part: if you think you’ll be bored while cruising, trust us, you won’t! From the minute you step onboard the ship you’re greeted with a traditional Russian bread, salt and vodka ceremony and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

Obviously, it’s not obligatory to participate in all the activities of this Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise but here are a couple to definitely look forward to.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

Every day on the ship is filled with fun activities to join, including a welcome reception with the Captain, an excursion of the ship’s bridge, entertaining folk performances, a talent show, and even classes of Russian language, Russian history, singing, cooking traditional pelmeni, and more. Other highlights favored by travelers are the Russian tea party, and, of course, the exciting vodka tasting party.

 

What parts of Russia are seen?

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

The 12-day all-embracing MS Rostropovich cruise program reveals the authentic side of Russia. The destinations where the ship makes stops introduce travelers to Russian culture, history and traditional life. The main ports of call enroute are Uglich, Goritsy, Kizhi Island, and Mandrogi.

The unique places visited during tours along the way of the Moscow to St. Petersburg cruise include the 1397 Monastery of St. Cyril, the wooden miracles of Kizhi Island and its Transfiguration Church, real Russian villages in the countryside, and more.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

Mandrogi, a port of call en route is a place very enjoyed by travelers. This traditional village shows what everyday life was like back in the days, displaying not only architecture but local crafts too.

 

How about time in Moscow and St. Petersburg?

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

Another great thing about this Russian river cruise is rightfully the fact that several days before and after the cruise program are reserved for touring Moscow and St. Petersburg. And during this time you get to stay in select 5-star hotels which are located right in the city centers, meaning you can visit the places that interest you after the guided tours by yourself. Moreover, this means you won’t need to spend hours of your vacation time for commuting in heavy Moscow and St. Petersburg traffic while you make your way back and forth from the heart of town to the ship port that’s set in the outskirts of town.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

The St. Petersburg tour part covers all must-sees: the incredible collections of the Hermitage Museum, trips outside the city to royal Peterhof – renown for its parks, fountains and palatial buildings – as well as to the Tsarskoe Selo and its lush Catherine Palace with the astonishing Amber Room. Of course, landmarks of St. Petersburg like the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Blood are on the list as well.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

In Moscow you can count on seeing all the highlights, including an inside visit of the world-famous symbol of Russia, St. Basil’s Cathedral, located on the Red Square, enjoying incredible Russian artwork in the Tretyakov Gallery, and, without a doubt, checking out the red-walled Kremlin territory and it’s Armoury. Other places on the agenda are the Sparrow Hills, Novodevichy Convent and several adorned Soviet-style Moscow metro stations, many of which are called “palaces of the Moscow underground”.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

The entrance fees are already included so there won’t be any unpleasant on-the-spot surprises. Plus the sightseeing programs are designed in a way that you get enough free time to explore on your own, visit places that you want and dine in restaurants and cafes to your liking, regardless of group preferences.

 

What about the Russian visas and the rest of the pre-trip preparation?

What is more, if you plan to travel with the Firebird Moscow to St. Petersburg cruise, there’s no need to worry about visas, as the document preparation process is taken care of for you. The approval rate is about 99%, ensuring that your Russian visas shouldn’t be a question of concern and surely not an obstacle preventing you from fulfilling your wish to travel to Russia.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

To top it all, the Firebird Cruise package also covers round-trip airfares from New York JFK airport or flight credit for those who’d like to depart from or arrive to other airports. And there will be someone to meet you at the airport in Russia too. Private airport transfers both ways with safe drivers are also a question that’s settled, so there’s no need in costly taxi rides.

Firebird Cruise | Moscow to St. Petersburg Cruise on MS Rostropovich

All in all Russian river cruises are a great travel option for those who want to discover the largest country in the world, it’s rich culture, traditions and history, and combine this experience with a lot of fun and leisure aboard the ship.

 

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4 Responses to “Cruising the Volga on MS Rostropovich”

  1. tanksoldier says:

    I’ve actually done this… Moscow to St Petersburg. It was interesting, tho the stops at the small villiages along the way got repetitive. Day 1: Today we saw a Russian Orthodox church being restored which used by the communists to hold sheep, a kremlin destroyed by the Mongol-Tatars and a statue of Lenin with a pidgeon on its head. Day 2: Today we saw a Russian Orthodox church being restored which was used by the communists to house soldiers, a kremlin destroyed by Mongol-Tatars and a statue of Lenin with two pidgeons on it’s head. Day 3: Today we saw a Russian Orthodox church being restored which was used by the communists as a library, a kremlin destroyed by Mongol-Tatars and a statue of Lenin with no pidgeons on it’s head… they must have the day off.

  2. Rob Normann says:

    Russia is so exciting and so huge, i would love this cruise on the river.

  3. Katharina says:

    Mscisław Rostropowicz was also a great conductor and virtuoso of cello, I am glad that he has his beautiful souvenir like this ship and beautiful tours of the most beautiful Russia!

    • Lumpy Gravy says:

      … in fact, he wasn’t at all a composer, just a brilliant cellist (one of the very best) and a much sought-after conductor who performed with orchestras all over the world. Unfortunately, during the Yeltsin years, he also became one of the greediest money grabbers in all of Russia. According to John Helmer, old Mstislav was so greedy that even some of the budding oligarchs were shocked.

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