I found another great deal from Gate 1 for a twelve day river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow with stops in Mandrogi (reconstructed 18th century Russian village), Kizhi (Church of the Trasfiguration), Goritsy (Monastery of St. Cyril), Yaroslavl (Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery and Cathedral), and Uglich (Church of St. Dimitry-0n-Bood and Transfiguration Cathedral). It is the same itinerary that Viking Cruises do, but our cruise was half the price ($3,000 with airfare). We cruise from Sept 15-25 so we are hoping the weather will be nice. The most difficult part of planning the trip was getting the Russina visa, which is a long and cumbersome process. GenVisa has a very helpful example page that will walk you through the process.
In spite of hurricane Florence, we flew out of Gainesville and Atlanta without a hitch, and our flight from Paris to St. Petersburg was also easy. A Gate 1 representative met us at the airport and drove us to the MS Chicherin on the Volga River. The biggest surprise was how warm it is (my guess is 70’s), no need for a jacket. We arrived on board around 3:30 pm. Luckily, this first day is simply unpacking. The rooms are very tiny, with hand held showers like you might find on a sailboat, but hey, we’re in St. Petersburg! So far the food has been quite good. Here is a map of our route. We pass through two of the larges lakes in Europe, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega as well as White Lake and the Ribinski Reservoir (which was an ecological disaster that flooded hundreds of villages).