Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Rail

An Uncommon Christmas in Russia (12 days)

Captain's Choice

St. Petersburg, Russia To Moscow, Russia

Valid for Departures: 06 Jan 2019 - 17 Jan 2019

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
06 Jan 2019
St. Petersburg, Russia
Belmond Grand Hotel Europe Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have just celebrated Christmas in the UK, and

are now bound for a second Christmas celebration

in Russia and hopefully, a spectacular display of the

Northern Lights.

On arrival in St Petersburg, meet your group at the

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, our home for two nights.

The Neo Baroque and Art Nouveau hotel has been a

part of St Petersburg’s history for 140 years and even

served as a hospital, orphanage and government offices

before being restored to its former glory. This evening,

we celebrate the start of our journey with a Champagne

reception followed by a delicious dinner in the hotel.

Day 2
07 Jan 2019
St. Petersburg, Russia
Belmond Grand Hotel Europe Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Schastlivogo Rozhdestva! Or Merry Christmas! Today is

Rozhdestvo, the Russian Orthodox Christmas, and we are

spending it in the former seat of Imperial Russia. Founded

by Peter the Great, this city served as the capital of Russia

until 1918 and remains its cultural heart. Opulent palaces

and historic monuments are neatly divided by charming

canals, and the city glitters with Christmas decorations.

Visitors to St Petersburg can be torn between touring

Catherine’s Palace, often booked out well in advance,

and seeing a Russian ballet performance. But we won’t

miss a thing. First, we tour Catherine’s Palace, a lavishly

decorated Rococo building. This is followed by the State

Hermitage Museum, once the Winter Palace of Russia’s

emperors and empresses. The innumerable masterpieces

contained within it began as Catherine the Great’s private

collection, and subsequent rulers continued adding to it.

Then this evening, we celebrate with Christmas dinner at

L’Europe Room within our hotel, before being treated to

a private ballet performance.

Day 3
08 Jan 2019
St. Petersburg, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We visit the city’s most important sites, including

St Isaac’s Cathedral, the largest Russian Orthodox

cathedral in the city. The excitement continues at

Nevsky Prospect, the Champs Elysées of St Petersburg,

which, lined by palaces, cathedrals, churches, department

stores and the Russian National Library, is a thoroughfare

for all. The boulevard even appears in Dostoyevsky’s

Crime and Punishment.

After lunch, we are driven to the station to board the

luxurious Golden Eagle train. Next stop, the Arctic Circle.

The well-appointed cabins are designed in a classic,

understated style. This evening, we indulge in the Golden

Eagle’s signature Gala Caviar Dinner and a live band.

Day 4
09 Jan 2019
Arctic Circle, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Having just climbed aboard our opulent train, we are in

no hurry to leave. A happy coincidence since, after last

night’s excitement, today is set aside for quiet relaxation

and anticipation on board. Comfortably warm in our

carriages, we can choose to attend a talk by our guest

astronomer over an afternoon tea of Russian cake.

Sometime in the evening, the Golden Eagle crosses

the Arctic Circle.

Day 5
10 Jan 2019
Kirkenes, Norway
Snowhotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The crisp air of the winter morning greets us as we step

off the train at the Russian border town of Nikel. From

here we are taken across the border into Kirkenes,

Norway. Here, we check in to the otherworldly Snowhotel,

where everything from the walls and roof to the beds are

made of packed snow and ice.

Take full advantage of this unique location with any

of the following Your World experiences:

- Take a snowmobile safari where you have the chance

to drive.

- Put on snowshoes and take a gentle walk through

the woods.

- Experience the magic of being pulled by a husky

sled across frozen lakes.

- Leave the modern world behind and search for

The Northern Lights on a husky sled.

After a round of welcome drinks at the Ice Bar, we take

a tour of the hotel’s ice sculptures. It is hard to imagine,

but when spring comes, the entire hotel melts away

and is rebuilt again in winter. This evening, we dine

on traditional Scandinavian fare, after which, we set

off in search of the aurora. If we are lucky, the lights

reveal themselves. Our guest astronomer points out the

constellations and tells us a little more about the lights.

As an insightful day culminates once more, we find our

way back to the Snowhotel. While it may feel as though

it has been nighttime for hours, this is just a trick of

Norway in the winter – we are likely to encounter many

long and dark nights on this journey.

Day 6
11 Jan 2019
Kirkenes, Norway
Snowhotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Arctic king crab can grow up to two metres from

pincer to pincer and is one of the most delicious and

indulgent seafood dining experiences. Today, you

have the rare chance to catch your own. We take a

snowmobile-drawn sled over frozen fjords, make a

hole in the ice, and pull in the crabs. At a nearby

fisherman’s lodge, we warm up by the fireplace as our

king crabs are cooked for a feast we will not soon forget.

After this satisfying lunch, choose from these Your World

experiences for the afternoon.

- Return to the Snowhotel to meet the reindeer living

in an adjoining park.

- Travel to Kirkenes and learn about daily life in an

Arctic village.

Day 7
12 Jan 2019
Nikel, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Our adventure in Kirkenes ends today. We recross the

border into Russia and board the Golden Eagle once

again. Spend a leisurely day enjoying the scenery as

we travel east through frozen lands. As before, we look

forward to an afternoon tea of freshly-baked Russian

treats while our guest astronomer entertains us with

stories about the stars.

Day 8
13 Jan 2019
Murmansk, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Murmansk, 195 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle,

was originally a settlement on a railway built during the

First World War to link Petrozavodsk to the Barents Sea.

Unlike other cities this far north, Murmansk’s climate

is influenced by the warm Gulf Stream, which keeps

its port ice-free all year-round.

Russia is the only country in the world that builds and

uses nuclear-powered icebreakers, and Murmansk

is home to the fleet. Today we are treated to the

unique experience of stepping aboard the Lenin,

a decommissioned icebreaker that has been turned

into a floating museum.

Day 9
14 Jan 2019
Petrozavodsk, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From Murmansk, we travel to Petrozavodsk which

resides at the other end of the railway line. The city

is set along the western shore of Lake Onega and is

the capital of the Karelia region. Its architecture is mainly

of a neoclassical style, and its culture sets it apart from

the rest of Russia.

Folk poetry and rune singing are much a part of

traditional culture, so at tonight’s dinner, we are

lucky to be regaled with a Karelian folk performance

– strings, harp and all.

Day 10
15 Jan 2019
Vladimir, Russia
Suzdal, Russia
Golden Eagle Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Vladimir, founded in 1098, is regarded as the cradle of

Russian language and culture. The relationship between

the city’s tradition and time becomes apparent as we

touch on some of the most fascinating sites. We tour

the World Heritage-listed Assumption Cathedral here.

Called Uspensky Sobor in Russian, the cathedral was

the mother church of medieval Russia during the 13th

and 14th centuries.

It’s almost unfathomable to conceive of a town with a

deeper history than Vladimir. However, as we travel on,

we manage one more. Continuing to Suzdal, the perfectly

preserved walled city dates all the way back to 1024.

Wooden cottages, church cupolas and the Monastery of

St Euthymius characterise the town’s idyllic nature. At the

monastery, we have the privilege of listening to a choral

performance by its resident monks. The day ends with a

horse-drawn sleigh ride through the picturesque town.

Day 11
16 Jan 2019
Moscow, Russia
Ritz Carlton Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The final leg of our journey takes us to, where else, but

Moscow. We arrive here in the morning, then check in to

the glitzy Ritz Carlton for one night. After settling in and

making ourselves at home, Moscow’s major sights begin

their call – Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, the grand

façade of the GUM department store and Lenin’s tomb

all await discovery. Later, we tour the subway. Of all the

metro systems in the world, Moscow’s stations are some

of the most extravagant. Each is unique, designed in a

baroque, Art Deco or Futurist style, and decorated with

frescoes of Russian history.

This evening, we toast the end of our adventure with a

farewell dinner in our hotel.

Day 12
17 Jan 2019
Moscow, Russia
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

One last experience awaits. Exclusive early entrance to

the Kremlin and its Armoury this morning allows us to

appreciate the magnificent buildings before the crowds

arrive. See an unrivalled collection of Russian, Western

European and Eastern applied arts.

Our journey concludes after lunch.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

Prepare to be awed by spectacles both natural and cultural.

We begin by celebrating the Russian Christmas on 7 January,

a Russian Orthodox convention dictated by the Julian calendar

– a truly distinctive Captain’s Choice experience. We then board our

privately chartered Golden Eagle luxury train, crossing the Arctic Circle

in search of The Northern Lights in Norway before returning

for an immersion in Russia’s most historic towns.

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