The First Newly Designed Russian Passenger Ship Since Fall of Iron Curtain Debuts On Academic Arrangements Abroad's Luxury Cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg

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Experience the excitement of an inaugural voyage aboard Volga Dream II, the first newly designed passenger ship in Russia since the fall of the Iron Curtain, on Academic Arrangements Abroad's "Waterways of the Tsars" luxury cruise next June, an iconic voyage from Moscow to St. Petersburg along the Volga River and its waterways.

St. Petersburg
Inaugural cruises are unique and exciting experiences, and with the combination of extraordinary lecturers, private access to important sites, and the special events planned along the way, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Academic Arrangements Abroad, the leader in upscale cultural travel, has exclusively chartered the M.S. Volga Dream II for its "Waterways of the Tsars" cruise next June. The trip will mark the maiden voyage of this luxury river vessel, which is the first newly designed Russian passenger ship since the fall of the Soviet Union. (Her sister ship, Volga Dream, was originally built in 1959.)

The program begins with a four-day stay at The Ritz-Carlton in Moscow's Red Square. Passengers will discover the cultural landmarks of Russia's capital city on exclusive visits that include a before-hours tour of the Kremlin and a backstage meeting with a performer at the newly restored Bolshoi Theatre. Volga Dream II then sets sail for St. Petersburg along the waterways of the Volga River, calling in Uglich, to see its five-domed Church of the Transfiguration; Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga; Goritsy, home to the UNESCO-recognized Ferapontov Monastery; Kizhy, a tiny island housing remarkable 18th-century wooden churches; and Mandrogi, a reconstructed Russian village.

After disembarking, passengers may remain in St. Petersburg for an optional three-day extension, which includes a tour of the Hermitage when it is closed to the public and a performance at the Mariinsky Theatre during the city's renowned "White Nights" music and arts festival.

Much more than a vacation, this maiden voyage will immerse travelers in the art, architecture, history, and culture of Russia with onboard lectures from esteemed curators and professors. These include Maryan Ainsworth, Curator of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Stephanie Sandler, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University; and Patrick Bowe, architectural historian and author of various books on gardens, including Gardens in Central Europe and Gardens of the Roman World. Also joining the trip is Jack F. Matlock, Jr., who served as the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and was President Reagan's principal adviser during negotiations with Soviet President Gorbachev. Ambassador Matlock is the author of several books on the Cold War and is looking forward to sharing his unique perspective on history and how it is shaping current events in Russia today.

As the first newly designed passenger ship since the demise of the Soviet Union, Volga Dream II features such state-of-the-art amenities as individually controlled air conditioning in the staterooms, high-speed internet, an elevator, fitness center, library, outdoor dining area, lounge, spacious sun deck, and promenade deck. All 81 staterooms offer river views and most have balconies.

"Inaugural cruises are unique and exciting experiences, and with the combination of extraordinary lecturers, private access to important sites, and the special events planned along the way, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Jim Friedlander, President of Academic Arrangements Abroad. "In part because of current political events, this is a fascinating time to be there."

Founded in 1977, Academic Arrangements Abroad provides an insider's look at extraordinary destinations in more than 50 countries through its networks of museum curators, professors, and diplomats. In 2013, its popular "Sicily By Sea" cruise was selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of the magazine's "50 Tours of a Lifetime." For more information, call (800) 221-1944 or (212) 514-8921, or visit

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