Voyage through the heartland of Russia aboard the deluxe Volga Dream, cruising along scenic rivers, lakes, and canals with stops at traditional villages and the two great cultural capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Starting at: $6,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 St. Petersburg's iconic Church of the Spilled Blood  Gallery inside the world-class Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg  The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, along a canal in St. Petersburg  St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg  The interior of St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, known for its dazzling interior of malachite and lapis lazuli  The palace and fountains at the Romanov summer palace at Peterhof  St. Catherine's Palace in Pushkin  Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi Island  Rich frescoes in the Church of Elijah the Prophet, Yaroslavl  Church of Elijah the Prophet, Yaroslavl, a World Heritage Site  The Golden Ring village of Uglich  Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, Uglich  A lock on the Volga near Uglich  St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow  The Moscow Kremlin with its many cathedrals  One of the many churches within the Kremlin  View of Moscow's Kremlin  Moscow's Red Square, a World Heritage site

Waterways of Russia

A Cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow Aboard the 109-guest Volga Dream

12 days from $6,995

Voyage through the heartland of Russia aboard the deluxe Volga Dream, cruising along scenic rivers, lakes, and canals with stops at traditional villages and the two great cultural capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The ship was luxurious, the educated guests were a pleasure to be with, the lecturers superb and accessible. Unless one experiences the Volga Dream with Smithsonian, he won't know the exquisite pleasure of listening to a lecture on Russian literature, while sitting in a fine lounge, watching the Russian countryside drift by. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. 

- Elizabeth B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Kempinski Hotel Moika 22

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

The Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 is housed in a pre-revolutionary mansion on the Moika Embankment just across from the Hermitage.  Its renovated interior is furnished with a mix of classic and antique pieces.  Amenities include the ninth floor Bellevue Bar with beautiful views over the city, the Beau Rivage restaurant featuring fine dining, a rooftop Wellness Center and a Tea Room where a Russian/English high tea is offered every day.  Rooms include satellite TV, wireless and cable Internet, minibar, hairdryers, heated bathroom floors, and bathrobes.

Number of nights: 3

Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel

Moscow, Russian Federation

The Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel is dedicated to providing you with an extraordinary experience here in Russia's vibrant capital. Boasting an unparalleled location in the historic city center, our hotel is moments away from legendary attractions including Red Square, the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theatre. Step into one of our 5-star rooms and suites, and enjoy an impressive range of luxury amenities - from state-of-the-art technology and deluxe bedding to a mini-bar and a well-lit workspace.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation, plus three nights at an upscale hotel in St. Petersburg (located across from the Hermitage) and one night at an upscale hotel in Moscow's historic city center. Excursions will be at an active pace and you will spend the entire day outside the hotel in St. Petersburg and Moscow. However, this program also features occasional leisurely river cruising. There will be some days with early morning departures (8:00 or 8:30 am.) Expect some standing and walking for long periods of time (up to two to three hours) during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities. (Guides will find places for you to sit if necessary, but this is not always available.) Walking will be over sometimes uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestone streets, city hills) and in Russia there are sites where stairs do not have handrails and elevators may not be available. There will be a hydrofoil used to reach Peterhof.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Tour Extension

Moscow Post-Cruise Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights 

Begin your post-tour with a panoramic tour of the major sights of the city – the monument of Peter the Great, Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, Bolshoi Theatre, and a view of Moscow from University Square on the Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovie Gory). Further explore the jewels of Russia’s capital with a visit to the magnificent State Tretyakov Gallery;  and tour the fascinating Cold War Museum at Bunker-42 on Taganka, a former secret military complex. Accommodations for two nights are included in the five‑star Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel, ideally located in the city center. 

The Pre-Cruise and Post-Cruise Options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Ship

Volga Dream

Exclusively chartered, the deluxe Volga Dream sets the standard for ships cruising the waterways of Russia. Its meticulous design, elegant appointments and richly deserved reputation for impeccable service provide guests with an unprecedented level of luxury on Russia’s waterways.

Each river-view suite and cabin features a wood- and marble-accented private bathroom, one queen bed or two twin beds, individual climate control, telephone, satellite television, minibar, safe, radio and plush robes. Most accommodations have one large picture window.

Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served in single, unassigned seating in the dining room. Skilled chefs specialize in the preparation of savory continental and local cuisine. Complimentary house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day.

The inviting lounge offers live music, a well-stocked bar and panoramic windows, and the library has Internet access. The full-length Sun Deck with teak planking and deck chairs recreates the ambiance of an oceangoing yacht. The ship has a boutique, fitness room, sauna and laundry.

 Stateroom Deluxe Cat 2  Lounge  Volga Dream dining  Lounge with Card Table  Volga Dream

Volga Dream

Exclusively chartered, the deluxe Volga Dream sets the standard for ships cruising the waterways of Russia. Its meticulous design, elegant appointments and richly deserved reputation for impeccable service provide guests with an unprecedented level of luxury on Russia’s waterways.

Each river-view suite and cabin features a wood- and marble-accented private bathroom, one queen bed or two twin beds, individual climate control, telephone, satellite television, minibar, safe, radio and plush robes. Most accommodations have one large picture window.

Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served in single, unassigned seating in the dining room. Skilled chefs specialize in the preparation of savory continental and local cuisine. Complimentary house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day.

The inviting lounge offers live music, a well-stocked bar and panoramic windows, and the library has Internet access. The full-length Sun Deck with teak planking and deck chairs recreates the ambiance of an oceangoing yacht. The ship has a boutique, fitness room, sauna and laundry.

 Stateroom Deluxe Cat 2  Lounge  Volga Dream dining  Lounge with Card Table  Volga Dream
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The ship was luxurious, the educated guests were a pleasure to be with, the lecturers superb and accessible. Unless one experiences the Volga Dream with Smithsonian, he won't know the exquisite pleasure of listening to a lecture on Russian literature, while sitting in a fine lounge, watching the Russian countryside drift by. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. 

- Elizabeth B.
Reading List
Russia of the Tsars (History Files)
By: Peter Waldron
History Files: This new paperback series presents the people, events, and ideas that shaped our past and made our present. Drawing upon the latest research, the books are abundantly illustrated with telling images from out-of-the-way sources, and offer the tangible fragments of vanished times in the form of loose-leaf facsimile documents that are included in the books. Between the seventeenth century and the 1917 revolution, the Russian Tsars became absolute rulers of the largest and most diverse empire in the world. The splendor of their court and their capital city, St. Petersburg, was extraordinary, but this imperial edifice was supported by the toil of millions of serfs tied to the land and brutally repressed. The vast majority of the people were uneducated, yet Russia produced writers, artists, and composers of world importance. The Tsars created a mighty army, but it failed them in the Crimea and in World War I. This empire of contradictions was to have a profound influence on both Europe and Asia. Peter Waldron tells the stories of all the Russians, exploring how the vastness of the empire and its extremes of climate affected the lives of rulers and peasants alike. He recounts how Peter the Great and later Tsars built the empire, and describes some of the individuals who worked for and against social change in Russia. Box features on specific people, places, and events and many quotations from Russian sources bring this saga vividly to life. The ten facsimile documents include a 1710 map of St. Petersburg, a newspaper report on the Crimean War, and the announcement of Nicholas II’s abdication in 1917. 133 illustrations, 89 in color, and 10 facsimile documents
Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida (Penguin Classics)
By: Various
From the reign of the Tsars in the early nineteenth century to the collapse of the Soviet Union and beyond, the short story has long occupied a central place in Russian culture. Included here are pieces from many of the acknowledged masters of Russian literature—including Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Solzhenitsyn—alongside tales by long-suppressed figures such as the subversive Kryzhanowsky and the surrealist Shalamov. Whether written in reaction to the cruelty of the bourgeoisie, the bureaucracy of communism, or the torture of the prison camps, they offer a wonderfully wide-ranging and exciting representation of one of the most vital and enduring forms of Russian literature.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Fodor's Moscow & St. Petersburg (Full-color Travel Guide)
By: Fodor's Travel Guides
Two cities with real Tsar Power, Moscow and St. Petersburg are the odd couple of Russia: one, the heart of the nation and home to the history-rich Kremlin, the other, a city born of the passion of its founder, Peter the Great, and today a gigantic Faberge egg stuffed with great art, sunset-colored palaces, and lollipop-striped cathedrals. As more travelers than ever are making their own voyages by cruising the Volga river, which connects Moscow and St. Petersburg, Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg also details many of the splendors of the connecting Golden Ring area.
Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, James Jenkin, Grant Taylor
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher Admirers of Russian literature claim that the 'Slavic soul' of writers such as Chekhov or Tolstoy can't be fully appreciated in translation. For the less ambitious, the language will bring you closer to deciphering the 'riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma' that is Russia. Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Lonely Planet Phrasebooks have been connecting travellers and locals for over a quarter of a century - our phrasebooks and mobile apps cover more than any other publisher! Order the right meal with our menu decoder Never get stuck for words with our 3500-word two-way dictionary We make language easy with shortcuts, key phrases & common Q&As Feel at ease, with essential tips on culture & manners Coverage includes: Basics, Practical, Social, Safe Travel, Food! Lonely Planet gets you to the heart of a place. Our job is to make amazing travel experiences happen. We visit the places we write about each and every edition. We never take freebies for positive coverage, so you can always rely on us to tell it like it is. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, James Jenkin, and Grant Taylor. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)
Russia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Anna King
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include: * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken
Russian History: A Very Short Introduction
By: Geoffrey Hosking
Russia's sheer size has made it difficult to mobilize resources and to govern effectively, especially given its harsh climate, vast and vulnerable borders, and the diversity of its people. In this Very Short Introduction, Geoffrey Hosking discusses all aspects of Russian history, from the struggle by the state to control society to the transformation of the nation into a multi-ethnic empire, Russia's relations with the West, and the post-Soviet era. Hosking, a leading international authority, examines Russian history in an impartial way, arguing that "Good Russia" and "Bad Russia" are one and the same. He also evaluates important individuals in Russian history, from Peter the Great and Catherine II to Lenin and Stalin.
Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia
By: Bruce Lincoln
For Russians, St.Petersburg has embodied power, heroism and fortitude. It has encompassed all the things that the Russians are and that they hope to become. Opulence and artistic brilliance blend with images of suffering on a monumental scale to make up the historic persona the late W. Bruce Lincoln's lavish biography of this mysterious, complex city. Climate and comfort were not what Tsar Peter the Great had in mind when he decided to build a new capital in the muddy marshes of the Neva River delta. Located 500 miles below the Arctic Circle, this area, with its foul weather, bad water and sodden soil, was so unattractive that only a handful of Finnish fisherman had ever settled there. Yet to the Tsar the place he named Sankt Pieter Burkh had the makings of a paradise. His vision was soon borne out: though St. Petersburg was closer to London, Paris and Vienna than to Russian's far-off eastern lands, it quickly became the political, cultural and economic center of an empire that stretched across more than a dozen time zones and over three continents.In this book, revolutionaries and laborers brush shoulders with tsars and builders, soldiers and statesmen share pride of place with poets. For only the entire historical experience of this magnificent and mysterious city can reveal the wealth of human and natural forces that shaped the modern history of the city and the nation it represents.
Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia
By: Suzanne Massie, Suzanne Massie
Details the history of Russia from the religious revolution of 987 to the political revolution of 1917, graphically describing Russia's political and cultural environments under Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great
Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin
By: Catherine Merridale
A magisterial, richly detailed history of the Kremlin, and of the centuries of Russian elites who have shaped it―and been shaped by it in turnThe Moscow Kremlin is the heart of the Russian state, a fortress whose blood-red walls have witnessed more than eight hundred years of political drama and extraordinary violence. It has been the seat of a priestly monarchy, a worldly church and the Soviet Union; it has served as a crossroads for diplomacy, trade, and espionage; it has survived earthquakes, devastating fires, and at least three revolutions. Its very name is a byword for enduring power. From Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin, generations of Russian leaders have sought to use the Kremlin to legitimize their vision of statehood.Drawing on a dazzling array of sources from hitherto unseen archives and rare collections, renowned historian Catherine Merridale traces the full history of this enigmatic fortress. The Kremlin has inspired innumerable myths, but no invented tales could be more dramatic than the operatic successions and savage betrayals that took place within its vast compound of palaces and cathedrals. Today, its sumptuous golden crosses and huge electric red stars blaze side by side as the Kremlin fulfills its centuries-old role, linking the country's recent history to its distant past and proclaiming the eternal continuity of the Russian state.More than an absorbing history of Russia's most famous landmark, Red Fortress uses the Kremlin as a unique lens, bringing into focus the evolution of Russia's culture and the meaning of its politics.
Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
By: David Remnick
Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeOne of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times From the editor of The New Yorker: a riveting account of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has become the standard book on the subject. Lenin’s Tomb combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. Remnick takes us through the tumultuous 75-year period of Communist rule leading up to the collapse and gives us the voices of those who lived through it, from democratic activists to Party members, from anti-Semites to Holocaust survivors, from Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Sakharov. An extraordinary history of an empire undone, Lenin’s Tomb stands as essential reading for our times.  
The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
By: S. A. Smith
This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favor of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny.
The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
By: Masha Gessen
National Book Award winner Masha Gessen's biography of a ruthless man's ascent to near-absolute power.The Man Without a Face is the chilling account of how a low- level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.Handpicked as a successor by the "family" surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country's fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her account of how a "faceless" man maneuvered his way into absolute—and absolutely corrupt—power is the definitive biography of Vladimir Putin.
The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia
By: Susan Jaques
Ruthless and passionate, Catherine the Great is singularly responsible for amassing one of the most awe-inspiring collections of art in the world and turning St. Petersburg in to a world wonder.  The Empress of Art brings to life the creation of this captivating woman's greatest legacy An art-oriented biography of the mighty Catherine the Great, who rose from seemingly innocuous beginnings to become one of the most powerful people in the world. A German princess who married a decadent and lazy Russian prince, Catherine mobilized support amongst the Russian nobles, playing off of her husband's increasing corruption and abuse of power. She then staged a coup that ended with him being strangled with his own scarf in the halls of the palace and herself crowned the Empress of Russia.Intelligent and determined, Catherine modeled herself off of her grandfather in-law, Peter the Great, and sought to further modernize and westernize Russia. She believed that the best way to do this was through a ravenous acquisition of art, which Catherine often used as a form of diplomacy with other powers throughout Europe. She was a self-proclaimed "glutton for art" and she would be responsible for the creation of the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world, second only to the Louvre. Catherine also spearheaded the further expansion of St. Petersburg, and the magnificent architectural wonder the city became is largely her doing. There are few women in history more fascinating than Catherine the Great, and for the first time, Susan Jaques brings her to life through the prism of art. 24 pages of color illustrations
Peter the Great: His Life and World
By: Robert K. Massie
From the Modern Library’s new set of beautifully repackaged hardcover classics by Robert K. Massie—also available are Nicholas and Alexandra and The RomanovsAgainst the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great, crowned co-tsar at the age of ten. The acclaimed author of Catherine the Great, Robert K. Massie delves deep into the life of this captivating historical figure, chronicling the pivotal events that shaped a boy into a legend—including his “incognito” travels in Europe, his unquenchable curiosity about Western ways, his obsession with the sea and establishment of the stupendous Russian navy, his creation of an unbeatable army, his transformation of Russia, and his relationships with those he loved most: Catherine, the robust yet gentle peasant, his loving mistress, wife, and successor; and Menshikov, the charming, bold, unscrupulous prince who rose to wealth and power through Peter’s friendship. Impetuous and stubborn, generous and cruel, tender and unforgiving, a man of enormous energy and complexity, Peter the Great is brought fully to life.   The Modern Library of the World’s Best Books   Peter the Great Winner of the Pulitzer Prize   “Enthralling . . . as fascinating as any novel and more so than most.”—The New York Times Book Review   Nicholas and Alexandra   “A magnificent and intimate picture . . . Not only the main characters but a whole era become alive and comprehensible.”—Harper’s   The Romanovs   “Riveting . . . unfolds like a detective story.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited
By: Vladimir Nabokov
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Defense.
The Winter Queen: A Novel (An Erast Fandorin Mystery)
By: Boris Akunin
Moscow, May 1876. What would cause a talented student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public? Decadence and boredom, it is presumed. But young sleuth Erast Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this death is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done–and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed firsthand by Fandorin himself. Relying on his keen intuition, the eager detective plunges into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at the center of a vast conspiracy with the deadliest of implications.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy) 
  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Travel Director(s), and local guides throughout the tour.
  • Meals, including special Welcome and Farewell Receptions, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • All on-tour transportation unless otherwise noted.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à la carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Gratuities to ship and hotel staff.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • A program of optional excursions available at additional cost.
  • Taxes.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with cancelled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration

Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments
Deposit of $1,000 per person ($200 per person pre/post optional extensions), per tour, payable by check or major credit card, to the tour operator is required to reserve a space on a tour. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a "late registration" and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call a Reservations Specialist at 855-330-1542, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs
Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellation within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: Entire deposit retained.
  • Final payment due: 95 days before departure.
  • Cancellation made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policies.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, or otherwise because of a flight delay, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time.  If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high fees for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation fees before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation fees related to domestic or international airline tickets.

Travel Insurance Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Smithsonian Journeys provides the following travel coverages with Travel Guard as part of your trip.

Limit (Maximum per person)

·   Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains up to $100,000

·   Emergency Medical Expenses up to $25,000

·   Emergency Dental Expenses up to $500

The Evacuation/Repatriation provides coverage for emergency air and ground transportation due to a serious illness or injury.  You also have worldwide access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline if you need help with lost documents, cash transfers, and other travel-related problems.

IMPORTANT: Smithsonian Journeys offers an optional, travel insurance plan which will cover you for trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness, medical expenses, and accidental death. To learn more, visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call 800-208-6142. Please consider this or other coverage.  Many insurance and HMO/PPO plans offer reduced benefits when traveling internationally and Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the U.S. 

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If you are a U.S. citizen and your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For certain international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and/or with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State no longer will add visa pages into U.S. passports. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we strongly recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we strongly recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, itinerary changes, speakers, experts, places visited, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation use, hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants when they are available; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

This paragraph relates solely to the tour operator (Thomas P. Gohagan & Company). You agree that any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) concerning, relating or referring to these Terms and Conditions, the brochure or any other literature concerning your tour, or the touritself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16, either according to the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or pursuant to the Comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures of the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS). Such proceedings will be governed by substantive (but not procedural) Illinois law and will take place in Chicago, IL. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contract is void or voidable. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you (and we) are waiving our right to a trial by jury.

Any action or legal proceeding against the Smithsonian Institution in connection with your trip shall be brought only in a United States federal court of competent jurisdiction.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals in certain hotels or aboard ship. There is no smoking aboard the ship, and some hotels may not allow smoking anywhere on the property. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator books services of independent suppliers for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator is liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited to inappropriate or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Thomas P. Gohagan & Company and its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors or trustees, successors and assigns (“Gohagan”) and Smithsonian Institution and its  Regents, officers, employees, representatives, agents, successors, and assigns (“Smithsonian”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your tour including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel, or other transportation companies, guides or guide services, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  All such persons and entities are independent contractors.  As a result, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person or entity or of any other third party.

  

In addition and without limitation, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is responsible for any injury, loss, death, inconvenience, delay, or damage to persons or property in connection with the provision of any goods or services whether resulting from, but not limited to, acts of force majeure, acts of government, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, bites from or attacks by animals, insects or pests, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, sickness, illness, epidemics or the threat thereof, the lack of availability of or access to medical attention or the quality thereof, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, mechanical or other failure of airplanes, vessels, or other means of transportation, or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart timely or safely. 

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The reader has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation including the Dispute Resolution paragraph as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour as well as the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The reader further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to acts of force majeure, the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, other criminal conduct, illness, inadequate medical facilities and difficulty in evacuation to same, and damage to persons or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of the Smithsonian, the United States, and/or Gohagan. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.