The Viking Kirov may be the finest riverboat ever to sail in Russia, as it is a floating hotel, offering a comfortable environment for the duration of the trip. The captain, officers and crew are Russian, and the hotel management and catering crew are Swiss, a blend that offers excellent service and a deeper understanding of Russia. Because this 430-foot boat carries only 199 passengers, you are ensured an intimate cruise that allows you to mingle at will and have space and time to get to know your fellow travelers, who tend to be largely over 45 and are a cosmopolitan mix of Europeans and Americans.
Viking Kirov Destinations
This ship journeys back and forth between St. Petersburg and Moscow on the Timeless Russia cruise.
St. Petersburg is well known as the most European city in Russia. It sits on the Baltic and the Gulf of Finland, and was designed and developed at great expense by Peter the Great to be his Window on the West. This was to be the premier face Russia showed to the world, and, despite the difficulties of building a city on a soggy swamp, the Tsar managed to string together an extraordinary city built across 42 islands that is crisscrossed by rivers. Featuring more then 350 bridges, architectural masterpieces in the Italian and French Baroque, and neo-classical buildings, the city is a true sight to behold. The hermitage museum, in the winter palace, is full of treasures, and other attractions include the Cathedral of St. Isaac, Peter and St Paul, and several amazing palaces. Enjoy the mild weather and the outdoor cafes and public parks in between fascinating destinations. Three days here may not be enough.
The next stop is Kizhi, an Island at the north end of Lake Onega The island, whose name means island of games, was located on a 14th century trade route. Stop by the Transfiguration Church, which has three-tiers, 22 domes, and dates from 1714. The Church of the Intercession was amazingly built in 1764 without the use any nails. Both churches lie within the same walled compound, and visitors can see the 1862 octagonal bell tower. One unique treasure is the Open Air Museum of Architecture, which has many buildings including wooden houses, windmills, and two 18th-century wooden churches. Founded in the 26th century, the settlement grew around the Spasskiy Church and served as a defense post against Swedish and Polish invasions. During the reign of Catherine II the Great, several major peasant revolts took place in Kizhi between 1769 and 1771.
Next you sail along the Volga-Baltic Waterway, which is a system of rivers, lakes, inland seas, and canals in western Russia linking the Volga River, the Baltic Sea, and Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The Moscow Canal system starts at Rybinsk on the Volga River and the Rybinsk Reservoir, and goes northward by way of the Sheksna River. Your next stop is Goritzy, a tiny and rustic village founded by Ivan the Terrible and built in the 14th century. Next, you sail to Yaroslavl, one of the seven cities of the Golden Ring, spread across both sides of the Volga River. Yaroslavl is often thought of as one of Russia's most beautiful cities, with wide tree-lined boulevards, many parks, and several amazing churches. Founded in 1010 by Yaroslavl the Wise, it was the capital of an independent state from 1218 until 1471, when it came under the rule of Moscow.
Up next is Uglich, one of the oldest cities on the Volga River. This city was founded in the 10th century, and the old Churches of St. Demetrius and St John can be seen from the river. This also is one of the oldest towns in Russia. Among the architectural monuments you'll see are the Kremlin, the Palace of Czarevich Dimitry, and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior. It was also the place of the murder of Dmitri (son of Ivan the Terrible) in 1591.
You'l also have three full days in Moscow, which for six hundred years was the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, but which lost many historic churches and buildings in the 1930s. This capital city is the home to Red Square, The Kremlin, Bolshoi State Theatre, and the Moscow State Circus. Museums include the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, with a fine international collection, and the State Tretyakov Gallery.
For more than 600 years, Moscow was the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church but in the 1930's many churches and historic buildings were demolished to make way for modern avenues and administrative centers. The citizens of Moscow prefer the impromptu street markets to the huge state department stores, and churches that were destroyed or abandoned during the Soviet era are being lovingly restored. Within the Kremlin, the first stone cathedral, the Assumption, was built in 1326 and palaces, monasteries, and churches were erected. As the capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) from 1918 until its dissolution in 1991, Moscow attracted world attention as a centre of Communist power.
Viking Kirov Accommodations
When you worn from tromping around the charming cities and rustic towns along the Volga, Kirov's cabins are spacious, comfortable, and all offer a view. There are 103 total cabins, 74 standard cabins, 20 deluxe cabins, 2 suites, and 7 single cabins, varying greatly in size and in amenities, although all feature private bathrooms, showers and air conditioning.
Viking Kirov Dining
Each morning onboard the Kirov begins with a buffet breakfast, complete with a selection of fresh breads, eggs, cereal, pastries, cheese, European cold cuts, and fresh fruit. Hot breakfasts are available to order as well. For lunch, there is a broad salad and sandwich bar, and soups and entrees are available with dessert. Dinner is a five-course gourmet menu with a choice of entrees, including regional specialties like roast port and Barbary duck breast and old favorites like roast beef and poached salmon.
Viking Kirov Entertainment
While riverboat cruising is geared toward exciting excursions in the ports of call, while onboard you will have plenty to do. Strike up with new friends in one of the two onboard bars, or read up on the regions you'e visiting in the library. Relax your muscles and mind with a sauna and a massage, or enjoy en educational lecture on local culture and history. Music and dancing are the norm for the nightly festivities.
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