2003 Waterways of the Czars & Estonia

You’re invited to join Fred Theurkauf, on September 13, 2003 for a fascinating bridge holiday to Russia & Estonia. This exciting journey begins with a relaxing 10-night first-class river cruise through the heart of Russia, land of czars and kremlins, onion-domed cathedrals and ancient wooden architecture. We’ll fly from JFK to St. Petersburg via Finnair and immediately be welcomed aboard our floating hotel, the m/v Viking Pakhomov (all shore excursions included) for three nights in St. Petersburg, five nights cruising through Russian hinterlands via lakes, canals and the Volga River, and two nights docked in Moscow. We’ve planned an additional two nights on land exploring the spectacular sights of Moscow while staying at the Marriott Grand Hotel in the center of the capital. Then, we fly via Estonian Air to the seven-hundred year old medieval city of Tallinn for an additional three nights with accommodations in the charming Old City. We’ll be the invited guests of local bridge players for dinner and bridge in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tallinn, plus we’ll enjoy more bridge sessions with our own group shipboard.

Dates: September 12 to 29, 2003 - 18 days
Cost: from $4,466 per person/double occupancy

Tour Schedule
Day 1 Depart - Helsinki
  Fly today from JFK via Finnair to Helsinki, Finland. Upon arrival, we'll transfer to the Airport Bonus Inn Hotel for a chance to relax before continuing on to St. Petersburg for our delightful tour.
Hotel: Airport Bonus Inn Hotel

 This evening, we'll join the local Helsinki players for dinner and duplicate by special invitation of Kauko Koistinen, President of the Finnish Bridge Federation.
Day 2 Helsinki - St. Petersburg
  Enjoy breakfast at our hotel this morning prior to departing on our Finnair flight to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival, we'll immediately transfer to our floating hotel, the m/v Viking Pakhomov for our 10-nite cruise including our first night in St. Petersburg, "Venice of the North." Relax, unpack and dine aboard our ship this evening.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 St. Petersburg
  This morning, enjoy a guided city tour of this sprawling one-time capital of Russia that spans islands, rivers and canals. On the agenda today-Nevksy Prospect, St. Isaac's Cathedral with its massive gilded dome, and Peter & Paul Fortress, Peter the Great's city stronghold until 1703. This evening, enjoy an evening theater preformance in the heart of St. Petersburg.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 St. Petersburg

The magnificent grounds of Peterhof
Today's excursion takes us to the magnificent summer Palace of Peter the Great, known as Peterhof. This afternoon, you'll tour the Hermitage, built as a retreat for Catherine II, and boasting an extensive array of artwork from western Europe's great masters.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Enjoy an evening of dinner and bridge with the St. Petersburg players as they welcome us for an extraordinary evening of dinner and social duplicate.
Day 5 Cruising
  Spend your day relaxing and sightseeing from the deck of your ship as we cruise from St. Petersburg through beautiful rivers and lakes.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Enjoy a duplicate session with our own group today, directed by Frederick the Great as we cruise the Baltic Waterways from St. Petersburg.
Day 6 Kizhi Island

Church of the Transfiguration
Enjoy a morning walking tour of Kizhi Island set amid Lake Onega. Enjoy one of the finest assemblies of ancient wooden churches and view the fairy-tale like Church of the Transfiguration. This afternoon, you'll have time to explore the island further on your own or relax aboard our vessel.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Cruising
  The whole of today is spent cruising. Relax on board and enjoy the scenery as we cruise past peaceful farmland, beautiful pastoral scenery and charming lakes.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Enjoy a duplicate session today aboard our vessel as we cruise past lovely Russian countryside.
Day 8 Kostroma / Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl's Bogoyavleniya Church
This morning, tour one of the loveliest cities of the Golden Ring. Kostroma is regarded highly by Russians as it is said to have preserved the feel of typical Russian provinces. Enjoy scenery often used as the setting for Russian films and literature. This afternoon, take a city tour of Yaroslavl, a nearby Golden Ring city, known as the oldest city on the Volga.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 Moscow
  This morning sail into the cultural and political center of Russia and enjoy a guided city tour to include Red Square, Moscow University and St. Basil's Cathedral with its colorful onion domes. This evening, enjoy an exciting performance of the Moscow Circus.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 Moscow

Kremlin Tower in Moscow
This morning, we'll tour within the walls of Moscow's famous stronghold, the Kremlin. View sights including the Ivan the Great Bell Tower as well as a chance to tour the Armory Museum with its spectacular collection of imperial treasures, ornate carriages, and weaponry.
Hotel: m/v Viking Pakhomov
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 Disembark - Moscow
  Bid Das Vidanya to the m/v Pakhomov this morning as we disembark and depart for the Russian countryside and the city of Zagorsk, famous for its role in Eastern Orthodoxy. The Sergiev Posad monastery, now a place of spiritual and nationalist pilgrimage, is the center of the Russian Orthodox Church and home to a museum of ancient embroidery, gold and silver tableware, palace furniture and tapestries dating from the 17th century. Enjoy lunch in local style at the nearby Russian Yard Restaurant and tour the Toy Factory this afternoon. This evening, check-in at our hotel and enjoy a special guided Moscow-by-Night tour, an opportunity to view the grandeur of this illuminated city (optional Bolshoi Performance).
Hotel: Marriott Grand Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 Moscow

The underground Moscow Metro
“No trip to Moscow would be complete without a visit to its celebrated Metro stations with their marble statuary, intricate mosaics, and crystal chandeliers.” This morning we head deep beneath the city for an adventure on this famous subway. On to Arbat Street, a pedestrian-only outdoor marketplace where you’ll have time to shop, people-watch and grab a bite to eat. This afternoon, we’ll enjoy a visit to the famous Tretyakov Art Gallery, housing a superb collection of Russian art and icons.
Hotel: Marriott Grand Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

 Prepare for a fun evening tonight as we head for the Bermuda Triangle Bridge club as the invited guests of local Moscovites for dinner and bridge.
Day 13 Moscow - Tallinn
  Relax at our hotel this morning on our final day in Russia. Later this morning, we depart for a visit to the Pushkin Art Museum, famous for its collection of French impressionist art—one of the best in the world. This afternoon, fly via Estonian Air to the beautiful medieval city of Tallinn. Upon arrival, enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Hotel: Vana-Wiru Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 Tallinn

Tallinn's distinctive walled Old City
Depart from our hotel this morning for a walking tour through the heart of this charming city including visits to Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral, the Lutheran Dome Cathedral—where you’ll be afforded panoramic vistas over Tallinn and the Baltic sea—plus ancient Town Hall. After time for lunch in the city center, depart for additional touring of the surrounding areas. We’ll visit the ruins of St. Brigit’s Convent, see the Forest Cemetery, Kadriorg Park and Palace and the beloved Estonian Song Festival Amphitheater.
Hotel: Vana-Wiru Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

 Tonight, enjoy the hospitality of the Tallinn players as they treat us to a special evening of Estonian fare and social duplicate.
Day 15 Tallinn
  Explore Hanseatic Estonia from centuries past as we tour the Open Air Museum today, complete with windmills and wooden buildings. After enjoying lunch at the local tavern, we’ll head to the Dominican Monastery for a real treat! Brew your own spirits under the auspices of the local Estonian monks. Tonight, enjoy Farewell Cocktails at our hotel and a special medieval Farewell Dinner feast at famed Olde Hansa Restaurant in the heart of Tallinn.
Hotel: Vana-Wiru Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16 Tallinn - Depart
  Depart for the United States this morning via a short Silja Line Sea-Cat hydrofoil ride to Helsinki, where we’ll board our Finnair flight to JFK for those not continuing with us to Poland.
Meal(s): Breakfast

Your 18-Day Package Includes

 TRANSPORATION: Round-trip air transportation via Finnair; 10-night cruise on the m/v Viking Pakhomov; Deluxe air-conditioned motor coach throughout; Domestic air via Estonian Air Moscow to Tallinn; Baltic Sea crossing via Silja Seacat hydrofoil.

 ACCOMMODATIONS: First-class and deluxe hotels throughout on land; First-class accommodations aboard the m/v Viking Pakhomov while cruising.

 MEALS: 6 Regional breakfasts (B), 2 Lunches (L), and 4 Dinners (D) on Land, plus all meals shipboard while cruising.

 PORTS-OF-CALL: Explore seven ports-of-call while cruising with INCLUDED shore excursions in: ▪ St. Petersburg ▪ Kizhi Island ▪ Uglich ▪ Yaroslavl ▪ Kostroma ▪ Moscow

 BRIDGE HIGHLIGHTS: Join local players for dinner and bridge in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tallinn plus shipboard sessions with our own group.

 OTHER SERVICES: Full-time English speaking tour guides throughout, airport transfers, porterage and hotel service charges.

The Merchants' Renaissance Cloth Hall in Krakow
5-Night Poland Extension

Dates: September 29 to October 4, 2003
Cost: $1,283 per person/double occupancy

Join us on an exciting 6-night extension to Poland, Homeland of Solidarity. It all begins when we disembark at the hydrofoil dock in Helsinki, Finland. We'll spend the day touring the city of Helsinki and overnight there before boarding our Finnair flight for Warsaw the next morning. Upon arrival, we'll immediately head for the Warsaw train station and board the "Krakow Express" for Krakow on Poland's southern tip. We'll spend two days exploring Krakow and playing bridge with the local Polish players. Next, we'll head north after a moving stop at Auschwitz to Warsaw, visiting the famous monsatery of Jasna Gora enroute. In Warsaw, we'll tour the Royal Route, Lazienki Park and Castle, enjoy a special evening of duplicate with the locals, plus a private evening Chopin Concert followed by dinner at the most famous restaurant in Poland. Join us as we explore a country rich in history, heritage, culture, religious fervor, and home to one of the most important political movements of our time.

Your 6-Day Extension Package Includes

 Accommodations: 1-nite Helsinki Ramada Airport Hotel; 2-nites Krakow’s Radisson Hotel; 3-nites Warsaw’s famous and historic Le Meridien Bristol Hotel.

 Fully-guided city tours in Helsinki, Krakow & Warsaw plus visits to world-renowned Jasna Gora Monastery & Auschwitz Concentration Camp (optional), Zelazowa Wola (Chopin's birthplace) and Lowicz.

 First-class rail from Warsaw on the famous “Krakow Express”

 Private Chopin Concert on the Lazienki Palace grounds followed by dinner at the famous Bazyliszek Restaurant.

 Private lunch in a Polish home.

 Dinner and bridge with local Polish players in Krakow and Warsaw.

 Round-trip air on Finnair between Helsinki and Warsaw.

 Included meals: 6 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, and 3 Dinners.

Click here for a full-color brochure.