Dancing high above a blanket of pure white snow, Mother Nature’s greatest gift to us inspires and sparks the imagination. The dazzling display of spontaneous electricity seems almost magical, and provides the perfect backdrop for our discovery of this stunning frontier. Combined with the history and beauty of a traditional Russian Christmas, with the Golden Eagle as our chariot, this is a journey that glows brightly at every turn.
Such a high benchmark was set with Claudia and Jeremy as leaders, hotels, the ship and the shore visits that it will be a very hard act to follow. Believe me all my expectations and more were met.
L Taylor, Vietnam Delights
Our exciting journey begins today as we fly out of Australia’s sunny skies, and prepare ourselves for the chilly but stunning reception we’ll receive in Russia. Its incredible history and architecture will provide the perfect backdrop to a thrilling celebration that will see us usher in the New Year.
There’s no delay in reaching luxury once we touch down in St Petersburg, as we’re transferred to the opulent Grand Hotel Europe for a two-night stay. This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow guests. This is followed by our exclusive welcome dinner, which includes specially selected international wines, which you’ll enjoy with all meals during the tour. Enjoy the time to chat with those who are about to embark on this special journey with you.
St Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World. We’re here at the perfect time of year too, as the city will be beautifully decorated for Rozhdestvo (Russian Christmas) which is celebrated on the 7th January. There’s no better way to get a feel for the city than with a guided tour, and today we’ll take in the highlights doing exactly that. We’ll pay a visit to Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin, which was commissioned by Peter the Great, the husband of Catherine I, for his wife. Wandering the grounds and interior of the palace, we’ll be transported back to a time of opulence and luxury that is hard to imagine today. More history awaits us at the Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars. This breathtaking museum houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums and was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great.
It’s almost time to ring in the New Year, and there is no doubt that tonight’s celebration will be one to remember! But first, it’s off on a city tour to take in more delights of this beautiful metropolis. The true highlight of our holiday then awaits as we board Russia’s premier train the Golden Eagle, our amazing chariot on our unique journey to the Arctic Circle. Allow the opulence to wash over you as we settle into stylish cabins that will provide our stunning. Tonight boasts a unique opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve on board at our Gala Caviar Dinner in the beautiful restaurant car, decorated tonight for our New Year’s Eve Party.
After last night’s evening of celebration, we have a relaxed morning ahead of us. Perhaps listen to a lecture or just watch the show of winter landscapes that Mother Nature will display outside our windows. It’s then time to learn more about the world famous Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, from our guest astronomer’s extensive knowledge. During the lecture, we’ll get a taste of tradition as we have the chance to sample delicious freshly baked Russian cakes as our train crosses the Arctic Circle for the next exciting portion of our winter adventure.
We can’t get much further away from Australia’s sunny shores than the Scandinavian wonderland of Norway. Today we’ll take an overnight bag and leave our train to transfer across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two night stay at the magical Snow Hotel, where we’ll have a welcome drink in the snow bar. This truly unique hotel is built every winter exclusively with ice and snow. You What would a holiday be without sampling the local cuisine? As part of our traditional meal tonight, we’ll try a reindeer hot dog in the Snow Hotel’s warm lodge restaurant. Then it’s off on an evening bus tour in search of the Northern Lights. If the sky is clear our guest astronomer will be on hand to advise us during star-gazing.
There are some experiences that are unique to an Arctic winter and King Crab fishing is definitely one of them. We’ll begin with a snowmobile-drawn sleigh across the frozen fjords. Through a hole in the ice our master guide will show us how to catch the magnificent Arctic King Crab which can span two metres and weigh up to 15kgs. We then continue by sleigh to the nearby Fisherman’s Lodge. It is here by a cosy log fire that your King Crab meal awaits. There’s nothing more rewarding than eating the day’s catch!
This afternoon return to the Snow Hotel to see the resident reindeer and visit the biggest husky dog farm in eastern Finnmark, or return to Kirkenes Village for a tour.
The Snow Hotel stays at a constant minus five degrees centigrade and thermal sleeping bags are provided. Creature comforts aren’t forgotten though, with showers, toilets and a Scandinavian sauna provided in a heated building next to the hotel.
Our Norwegian sojourn ends as we cross back into Russia to re-join our train which is waiting for us in Nikel. We’ll spend the afternoon travelling through Arctic Russia, relaxing as the winter landscape constantly changes outside our window. Perhaps chat to fellow passengers or listen to a lecture by our guest astronomer.
Today we arrive in Murmansk, the world’s biggest Arctic city, but still a mere teenager by Russian standards at just 100 years-old. Located halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. As the homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers we’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.
There is no doubting Petrozavodsk’s importance, as one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia. It’s also beautiful - the country stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega. We’ll take a tour which allows us to fully absorb the 300 year-old history of this charming city. Some of its sights include the Round Square, one of the city’s most significant monuments of history. We’ll then celebrate Sochelnik, Russian Christmas Eve, with an upbeat and energetic Karelian Folk Performance and get a further taste of tradition with a Russian Christmas Eve meal, which is known as the Holy Supper.
Today we discover an important part of Russian history, the city of Vladimir which was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With these incredibly historic credentials, it’s the perfect place to spend Rozhdestvo, Russian Christmas, today. There’s no end to the number of fascinating places to visit and magical traditions to take part in. We’ll head on a tour today that takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. From Vladimir we travel to Suzdal’s St Euthymius Monastery for an enchanting choral performance by resident monks, and top it all off with a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Renowned for its status as a cosmopolitan metropolis, at Moscow’s heart is the Red Square. An iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.
Today we’ll be privy to an exclusive private viewing of the historic Kremlin, and see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. A return to the Moscow Aurora late morning ends our journey.
Back on home soil, it may take us a while to adjust to the sunshine!
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.
The Golden Eagle is your luxurious hotel on wheels. Unpack just once and settle into your well appointed and comfortable en suite cabin as you enjoy this voyage of a lifetime. Cabin attendants are on hand at all times to attend to your needs as you roll through the countryside.
Silver Class Cabins
Compact at 5.5m2, the Silver Class Cabins feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window. Cabins have private en suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
Gold Class Cabins
At 7.1m2 Gold Class cabins are extremely well proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating, to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window as well as a double lower bed and a single upper bed.
Imperial Suites are the most spacious cabins available on the Golden Eagle, measuring 11.1m2 and benefiting from a luxurious king bed as well as a sitting area with dressing table. Suite facilities include an en suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating, individual air conditioning, wardrobe, DVD/CD player with LCD screen, complimentary fully stocked minibar, safe and two large picture windows. Additionally, guests will enjoy included laundry service.
Based on per person, twin share in Silver Class – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Emirates. Prices from other cities are available on request.
Land Only guests join in St Petersburg for dinner on Day 2 and depart Moscow after lunch on Day 13.
Golden Eagle Cabin Supplement (Add to base tour cost, per person, twin share)
Gold Class $2,070
Imperial Suite $10,690
Single Suite Supplement including hotels (Add to base tour cost)
Silver Class $5,760
Gold Class $7,040
Single Suites at above prices are limited. For details please contact one of our Tour Sales Consultants.