River Harmony Cruise Review by VickyN: GCT RIVER HARMONY - BASEL TO ANTWERP - JULY 2010
GCT RIVER HARMONY - BASEL TO ANTWERP - JULY 2010
The river cruise and tour was with GCT on the River Harmony. It was 5 days pre-cruise in the Alps, from Lucerne, then 14 days on the Rhine and Mosel rivers, then 4 days post-cruise in Brugge. The pre-cruise and post cruise were good; nice hotels and good tours, but the river cruise was not my cup of tea. It was very regimented with tight schedules and too many ports. I think we visited 11 or 12 ports but I lost count. I much prefer setting my own schedule, stopping to smell the roses and being able experience each port's uniqueness. In talking with many towards the end of the cruise, few could recall one port from the next.
The schedule was; up at 7:00-7:30, go eat breakfast, pick up transmitters, meet guide ashore to do 2+- hour walking tour of each village. Then, back to boat for lunch, then back to village on my own as there was nothing to do on the ship, then meet for the next day's preview talk at 6:45 while we sail for next village, then dinner at 7:00, then nothing to More do but go to bed with nothing on TV but 2 old movies which were supposed to be appropriate to the tour; i.e. war movies like Anne Frank.
The food, though presented well, was German, Swiss, Belgian food featuring blood sausage, over cooked meat with gravy over everything, sauerkraut, beets, cabbage, over cooked vegetables...you get the idea...old world food! There were no chops, no steaks, and the only seafood was overcooked, previously frozen fish. Both lunch and dinner seemed hurried with standing in line for the lunch buffet. Midway through the trip, I started staying ashore after the walking tour and searching out brew pubs to sample the local beer and then trying to find a pizza parlor for lunch! GCT sells only to Americans so for me, it would have made more sense to serve us the type of food we are used to with a sprinkling of the old world. The wine served with dinner was very poor quality. Even the bartenders remarked about it. I opted to buy a wine package and also buy wine ashore.
There was no pool or spa on the sun deck. I was one of only three people who lay in the sun but after the heat wave in Switzerland and part of Germany, most of the time it was cloudy and cool. I believe I was the only person to use the spa on the lower deck but only used it once as only one jet worked. The ship was very well kept and clean. I had a cabin on the top deck with a small veranda. My cabin was small but at least the bed was good.
The Captain and other staff personnel were great and so were the tour directors. They were definitely a high point.
So, my bottom line is; River cruising is definitely not for me and I doubt that I will ever do another. Less
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