Cruise News UK goes on tour with Orthodox Cruises as the ms Anton Chekhov sails from Saint Petersburg to Moscow. This is the sixth in a series of articles aimed at describing, firsthand, a cruise on one of the most rapidly developing niches within the industry and how best to tailor this product to potential clients. Here we will explain why many of the industry’s leading figures are becoming increasingly excited by the prospect – and commercial viability – of river cruising.
Day five was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our cruise so far. The combination of architectural marvel, history and an element of the undiscovered all worked to make Kizhi a perfect Russian destination. For a river cruise it ticked all of the right boxes.
A theme of these blogs so far has been to comment on the lack of marketing presence which Russia has taken in recent times. The country is rich in history – from the revolution to Napoleonic wars and beyond – and the fact is that that offering hasn’t been translated to a public eager to have their appetite and knowledge fed with this kind of experience. Kizhi is the perfect example of this and a sign of the huge potential Russia has.
Today we sail to Goritsy which promises more of the same.
Sitting on the banks of the White Lake, Goritsy is a small settlement with a rich religious history at its core. It is the home to numerous monasteries, the most famous of which is Kirillo-Belozersky – a site which has connections to both the beginning and end of Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible’s life.
Founded in 1397 by St. Cyril of Bellozero, the monastery has
witnessed many events which have proved seminal in Russia’s history. It was the scene where the parents of Ivan the Terrible prayed for an heir and the same monastery where Ivan – that very heir as an old man – had planned to take his monastic vows to pray for salvation for, amongst many things, killing his own heir. In more recent times it saw the monks thrown out by the atheist Soviet government and the site turned into a museum. A terrible fate – although far more respectable when considering the brevity and permanent destruction many other religious buildings underwent at the time.
The tour is a great insight into a huge proportion of Russia’s history. It’s a great stop and everything runs smoothly. The tour guides are informed and interesting; while the scenery is breath-taking. The closed walls are an almost mythical reminder of the centuries of troubled history which have passed around us.
The more we sail on Orthodox Cruises route from Saint Petersburg to Moscow the more we are impressed by the running of a cruise which is still undoubtedly in its infancy within a global context. The destinations have the right mix of being unspoiled but with an appeal which is disproportionate. It simply doesn’t make sense. These are spots which tourists the world over would want to visit, however, right now they simply aren’t. What is interesting is the undoubted rise in popularity these destinations are undergoing. As Russia opens up to tourism more and more there will be a real explorative push away from the major attractions. Kizhi, Goritsy and – hopefully – tomorrow’s destination, Uglich, will be there to reap the rewards.
Read Day Seven of our Cruise Diary here