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The ultimate voyage through Russia

with Telegraph experts

Epic is a word that suits Russia. The grand sweep of its history and landscapes fires the imagination like almost no other place, as the huge success of this year's BBC period drama War and Peace shows. The writer who adapted Leo Tolstoy's 19th-century masterpiece for the screen, Andrew Davies, will be among the special guests on this wonderfully luxurious cruise through some extraordinary sights. Starting in St Petersburg, this 15-day itinerary will give a taste of the opulence of the tsars and their extravagant palaces, and the nation's rich cultural tapestry from the Hermitage Museum to a private performance of Russian ballet.

Your voyage along the rivers and lakes that connect to Moscow will encompass some truly arresting sights: the ancient wooden churches of Kizhi Island, the 14th-century Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, and the rich layers of history in the Golden Ring of cities surrounding the capital city. Then as you explore Moscow, you will hear from two journalists with privileged insight into modern Russia: John Simpson and the Telegraph’s Moscow correspondent. Running on the centenary of the 1917 Russian revolution, this will be a voyage to match a majestic country. 

Departure Dates & Inclusions

Departing on Saturday 17 September - Saturday 1 October 2017

Cruise from only £3,995 per person

What's included:

•    Return flights from London Heathrow or one of twelve UK regional airports
•    14 nights luxury accommodation on board the boutique Scenic Tsar 
•    41 meals, with wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on board
•    All shore excursions and exclusive events as detailed in the itinerary 
•    All gratuities, transfers and taxes
•    Lectures and talks from Andrew Davies, John Simpson and Roland Oliphant

Our Experts

Andrew Davies

Winner of five Baftas and two Emmys, Andrew Davies is is best known for his sumptuous adaptations of classic fiction, including this year’s epic War and Peace. Since 1995 he has produced Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, Vanity Fair, The Way We Live Now, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility.

John Simpson

BBC world affairs editor and Telegraph columnist John Simpson has reported from 132 countries and 49 war zones. In the course of his 45-year career, he has covered everything from the takeover of Crimea by Russia to the liberation of Kabul from the Taliban. 

Roland Oliphant

The Telegraph’s Moscow correspondent, Roland has witnessed and reported on most of the major events in Russia’s post-Soviet evolution under Vladimir Putin.

Cruise Highlights

Andrew Davies on War and Peace
The award-winning scriptwriter and producer Andrew Davies wrote the hugely successful BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace - which includes many key scenes based in St Petersburg. As well as sharing his story of adapting one of the great works of world literature, Andrew will share behind-the-scenes stories of filming at Catherine’s Palace. 

John Simpson in Moscow
You will be joined in the Russian capital by the BBC’s world affairs editor, John Simpson. An internationally renowned journalist, John will share his experiences reporting from Red Square and reveal the stories that have shaped modern-day Russia in conversation with the Telegraph’s Moscow correspondent.

St Petersburg and Moscow 
Explore the landmarks and historic monuments of two of Russia’s most captivating cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, including the grandeur of Peterhof’s Grand Palace, Yusopov Palace, where Rasputin was murdered, the gilded beauty of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the secrets of the Tsars’ Winter Palace at the Hermitage, as well as Red Square and Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

Golden Ring Cities
Discover the religious significance of the Golden Ring Cities, often called “open-air museums” of Russia. Home to cathedrals, monasteries, churches and monuments dating back to the 12th century, these ancient cities include Yaroslavl, a Unesco World Heritage Site that was also used as a setting in War and Peace, and the 17th-century wooden churches of Kizhi Island.

Unforgettable culture
The itinerary includes a private performance displaying the spectacular grace and beauty of Russian ballet at the Palace of Prince Vladimir, an ornate setting for a special performance. Visit Russia’s Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, where you will learn about the country’s space programme and speak to a former cosmonaut.

About the Ship

Travelling is just as memorable as arriving on this cruise. There is no better way to experience the magnificent landscapes and historical cities of Russia than on the 112-passenger Scenic Tsar, one of the most spacious ship on Russia’s waterways. It offers a choice of five cabin grades ranging from 15m2 standard suites to the spacious 31m2  Royal Panorama Suite. Each is beautifully appointed and includes a range of luxury features and amenities including full sized balconies, en-suite bathrooms and satellite television.

There are several fine-dining options, including the elegant Crystal dining room and the Neva Lounge - or you can enjoy delicious dishes in the comfort of your suite with Scenic’s in-room dining options. As the ship is sailing, you can relax in comfort in its Panorama Lounge and Bar, or absorb the beauty of Russia’s tranquil waterways from the sun deck.

Additional on-board facilities include a luxurious wellness area complete with massage therapy and hair salon, a wifi connection and nightly on-board entertainment. Service is impeccable from the moment you step aboard - all essential components in this voyage of a lifetime through Russia.

Cruise Itinerary 

Day 1 Welcome to St Petersburg
Fly from a choice of thirteen UK airports. On arrival, transfer to the luxurious Scenic Tsar, your home for the next 14 nights. Enjoy dinner on board. Meals: D

Day 2 Guided tour of St Petersburg
Explore the Peterhof Grand Palace, including Catherine’s Block, the setting for lavish banquets and balls, before lunch and a tour of St Petersburg. Meals: B,L,D

Day 3 St Petersburg
Visit magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral or explore Yusupov Palace, scene of Rasputin’s assassination. After lunch explore the Hermitage before an official welcome dinner onboard. Andrew Davies will tonight tell the story of how he adapted Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace for the small screen. Meals: B,L,D

Day 4 St Petersburg
Tour Catherine’s Palace, where Andrew Davies will also share insight from his time writing the scenes filmed here for the acclaimed BBC drama War and Peace. Tonight enjoy an exclusive private performance by the Russian ballet at the Palace of Prince Vladimir. Meals: B,L,D

Day 5  St Petersburg
Glide under some of the city’s 400 bridges during a cruise of St Petersburg’s beautiful canals. Tonight, enjoy the view of the city as your ship sets sail down the Neva River. Meals: B,L,D

Day 6  Mandrogi
Explore this museum village, with ornate wooden houses reconstructed after the Second World War. Meals: B,L,D

Day 7 Kizhi Island
Visit the island’s Church of the Transfiguration with its 22 timbered onion domes, one of the finest examples of wooden architecture anywhere in the world. Meals: B,L,D

Day 8 Goritsy
Explore the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery. In the evening, Andrew Davies will talk about his work as a screenwriter, covering his adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, Doctor Zhivago, Mr Selfridge, House of Cards and others. A q & a follows.  Meals: B,L,D

Day 9 Yaroslavl
Discover the ancient city of Yaroslavl - which pre-dates Moscow - and a Unesco world
heritage. Meals: B,L,D

Day 10 Uglich
Pause on the Volga River to visit the classic Russian architecture of Uglich on an in-depth guided tour. Meals: B,L,D

Day 11 Moscow
Begin exploring the Russian capital, taking in Red Square and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. In the evening listen to the BBC world affairs editor John Simpson and the Telegraph’s Roland Oliphant and in conversation as they discuss the recent history of the country in a q&a, taking questions from the audience afterwards.. Meals: B,L,D

Day 12 Moscow
Today you will marvel at the city’s wonderful metro, and eat in a local restaurant. In the evening John Simpson will deliver a fascinating lecture on the highlights of his journalistic career. Meals: B,L,D

Day 13 Moscow
Meet a cosmonaut at the Museum of Cosmonautics. After lunch, visit the fine art at the State Tretyakov gallery or the Museum of the Armed Forces. Meals: B,L,D

Day 14 Moscow
See the heart of Russian power with a visit to the Kremlin before an acapella folk performance by Zltourst. Meals: B,L,D

Day 15 Return
After breakfast, disembark for your transfer to Moscow airport and flight home. Meals: B

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