Cruising the Russian waterways between St. Petersburg and Moscow is a great way to see some of the Russian countryside. Many ocean-going cruise ships visit St. Petersburg on cruises to northern Europe and the Baltics, but for those seeking an in-depth experience in just one country, a Russian Waterways cruise is a marvelous way to discover the culture, history, and people of Russia. Since Russia's capital is landlocked, a waterways cruise is the only way to get to Moscow on a ship.
I sailed on the Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises' M/S Rossia, and loved the ship and itinerary. The small ship sailed the 900 miles separating St. Petersburg and Moscow in seven days, and we passed through 21 locks as the Captain navigated the rivers, lakes, canals of the Volga-Baltic Waterways.
More Photo Galleries and Information on Russian Waterways Ports of Call
Photo Galleries of the Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises' M/S Rossia
M/S Rossia Russian River Ship - Cabins and Interior
M/S Rossia Exterior and Deck Areas
M/S Rossia Dining and Cuisine
Russian Waterways Onboard Activities
The River Terminal is northwest of St. Petersburg on the Neva River, a drive of about 30 minutes to an hour from downtown (depending on traffic).
Riverboats at the Saint Petersburg, Russia River Cruise Terminal
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Neva River Bridge and Sunset Near St. Petersburg, Russia
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Factory on the Neva River Near St. Petersburg, Russia
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Neva River Bridge Near St. Petersburg
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Neva River Sunset in Russia
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Cargo Ships on the Neva River in Russia
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Cruising the Svir River in Russia
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Industrial Area Along the Svir River in Russia
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Small Russian Village on the Svir River
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Cruising the Svir River in Russia - Evergreens and Beech Trees
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Svir River Bridge
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Riverboat on the Svir River in Russia
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Russian Village on the Svir River
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Russian Riverboats at the Dock on Kizhi Island in Lake Onega
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Cargo Ship on the Kovzha River Section of the Volga-Baltic Waterway of Russia
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River Traffic on the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia
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Fishing from the Banks of the Kovzha River in the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Ship's Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Ships in Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Water Pouring into Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Gates Opening in Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Leaving a Lock on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Houses Along the Shoreline of the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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River Traffic on the Kovzha River Section of the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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River Ships on the Kovzha River in Russia
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Village on the Kovzha River Section of the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia
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White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia
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White Lake Village and Church on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Tug Pulling Logs in White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Riverboat on White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia
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Pleasure Boat on White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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White Lake Church on the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia
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M/S Rossia's Sister Ship, the M/S Tikhi Don, on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
The M/S Rossia rendezvoused with her twin sister ship, the M/S Tikhi Don in the White Lake of the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
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Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises' M/S Tikhi Don on the White Lake
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Crew Transferring Package from M/S Tikhi Don to M/S Rossia
We all speculated about what cargo was in this large box. Imagine our surprise when we learned it was a box of Matryoshka dolls, ready for painting.
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Tikhi Don River Cruise Ship - White Lake on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Krokhino Church - Flooded Remains of 15th Century Church
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Krokhino Church - Edge of the White Lake on the Sheksna River
The Krokhino Church sits on the edge of the White Lake on the Sheksna River of the Volga-Baltic Waterway. It was built in the 15th century, and it was flooded when the Soviets built the hydroelectric stations along the river in the 20th century.
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Krokhino Church - Edge of the White Lake on the Sheksna River
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Krokhino Church - Between the White Lake and the Sheksna River
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Krokhino Church - Located on the Juncture of theWhite Lake and the Sheksna River
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Village of Goritsy, Russia on the Sheksna River on the Volga-Baltic Waterway
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Goritsy Church of the Resurrection on the Sheksna River in Russia
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Church of the Resurrection in Goritsy, Russia
The somewhat dilapidated Church of the Resurrection is the most prominent site in Goritsy, Russia.
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Church in Uglich, Russia as Seen from the M/S Rossia River Ship
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Church of Saint Dmitry on the Blood in Uglich, Russia on the Volga River
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View of Church Domes in Uglich, Russia
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Church of Saint Dmitry on the Blood in Uglich, Russia
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Russian Naval Ship on the Volga River
Most of the ships on the Volga-Baltic Waterway were either cargo or passenger ships. However, this military ship was also patrolling the river.
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Russian Orthodox Church on the Banks of the Volga River
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Tourist Camp on the Moscow Canal
We saw several tourist camps and campgrounds along the river, especially as we neared Moscow.
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Volga River Bridge
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Church on the Banks of the Volga River in Russia
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Belfry of the Flooded Church of the Trinity in Kalyazin on the Volga River
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Church of the Trinity Belfry in Kalyazin, Russia
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Volga River View - Hotel on the Banks of the Volga River in Russia
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Church of the Trinity and Satellite Dish - Old and New of Russia
The contrast between the belfry of this flooded 17th century church and the modern satellite dish is interesting.
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Large Satellite Dish on the Volga River Near Kalyazin, Russia
This gigantic dish looked very out-of-place along the Volga River, especially since most of what we saw was countryside, villages, and churches.
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Moscow Canal Lock in Russia
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Leaving a Lock on the Moscow Canal in Russia on the M/S Rossia River Ship
Moving through locks is always fascinating, and this one has a vertical gate that drops down and lets the ships pass over it.
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Village on the Volga River in Russia
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Riverboat on the Moscow Canal in Russia
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Fisherman on the Moscow Canal in Russia
Fishing is certainly a world-wide activity, as I see determined fishermen everywhere I cruise.
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Sailing on the Moscow Canal in Russia
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Moscow Canal View in Russia
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Homes on the Moscow Canal in Russia
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Church on the Moscow Canal in Russia
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Northern River Terminal on the Moscow Canal at the Khimki Reservoir near Moscow
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Kizhi Island Open Air Museum on Lake Onega - Karelia, Russia
Kizhi Island is one of over 1650 islands in Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe, which is in the Karelia Republic. Kizhi is one of the largest outdoor museums in Russia, and focuses on peasant life and customs in the Russian north and includes 83 wooden structures, most of which date back to the 18th or 19th century.
Kizhi Island is often included as a port of call on Russian Waterways cruises between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The museum has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990. The open air exhibit includes churches, homes, and other old wooden buildings that were either built on Kizhi or have been collected from around northern Russia and preserved on Kizhi.
We visited Kizhi for a day from the Grand Circle M/S Rossia and loved walking around and learning about this fascinating part of the world. It was a rainy day, but the trails were wooden or paved, so we just wore our rain suits and carried umbrellas.
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Svirstroy, Russia - Russian Waterways Cruise Port of Call on the Svir River
Svirstroy is a small village of about 1000 residents located on the Svir River about 150 miles east of St. Petersburg. The Svir connects the two largest lakes in Europe--Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega.
Svirstroy is sometimes a port of call on Russian Waterways cruises between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The highlight of our day in Svirstroy was a walk through the small village and a visit to the home of Julia, a retired widow who served us tea and piroshkis while we queried her about life in Svirstroy over the past 75 years.
We also loved the shopping in Svistroy, which was much cheaper than in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The residents of this small village have built wooden kiosk-sized shops and sell all sorts of Russian handicrafts and artwork. Needless to say, everyone loaded up on souvenirs and gifts. Fortunately, it was a short walk back to the river ship!
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Yaroslavl, Russia - The Russian Florence - City of Churches and Bears
Yaroslavl, Russia is a town of about 600,000 residents at the junction of the Volga and Kotorosl Rivers. Yaroslavl is almost 1000 years old, having been founded in the year 1010 by Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise.
Yaroslavl is home to many churches, most dating back to the 16th or 17th century. We went inside the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet and were mesmerized by the magnificent icons and frescoes of the church. A small men's choir serenaded us, which added to the atmosphere. Next, we rode the short distance to the Spassky Monastery, which is one of the oldest complexes in Yaroslavl. We gazed up at the Spaso-Preoprazhensky Cathedral (Savior Transfiguration Cathedral) and were entertained with a bell concert outside the cathedral.
Finally, we enjoyed watching a wedding motorcade of gaily decorated cars zip through the streets.