7 Grand Circle River Harmony Cruise Reviews

This was our 3rd river cruise, the first and last on Grand Circle, The river boat is in desperate need of a makeover, cabin decor is worn looking at best. Mattress was in need of replacement. Disappointing that we rarely docked close ... Read More
This was our 3rd river cruise, the first and last on Grand Circle, The river boat is in desperate need of a makeover, cabin decor is worn looking at best. Mattress was in need of replacement. Disappointing that we rarely docked close enough to a town to walk on our own. This was a 14 day trip from Basel, Switzerland to Antwerp, Belgium. For the money we could have gone on a better river boat company. Grand Circle lowered the price $4,000 per couple a few weeks after we paid in full. They would not adjust our price. We were given misinformation when booking about all on board gratitudes were included, this was not the case. Also misinformation on how much extra premium economy air was. Each port we got a short walking tour. Optional tours such as a Marksburg Castle should have been included in the price. Optional tour to Luxembourg wasn’t worth the money. Had a short visit there, lunch, over 90 minutes were spent at the American Cemetery. Followed by a visit to the German Cemetery. Program Directors were average. Food was average, limited choices. Some of the entertainment brought on board was good. This was our 16 trip to Europe, if you are ok with bare bones accommodations Grand Circle will work for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have cruised before with Grand Circle. They offer a relaxed, affordable way to see various river cities in comfort. These cruises are for people who want to see things, not be entertained, overeat, or have extravagant luxury. The ... Read More
I have cruised before with Grand Circle. They offer a relaxed, affordable way to see various river cities in comfort. These cruises are for people who want to see things, not be entertained, overeat, or have extravagant luxury. The passengers are generally older and have cruised before. The ships are appropriate for river cruising where the ships have to be small enough to fit under bridges. This ship is in great shape and spotless. It could have been built yesterday. I have never been on one of their ships that did not have a wonderful crew. You will get to know the crew who do a great job. The food is excellent and more than enough. The included excursions are great and they generally have an optional extra cost tour that is well worth the money. My experience is that they are almost identical to Viking river cruises but a slightly better money value. They do not use travel agents which I think is a disadvantage but is probably why they are a better value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
River cruising on the Rhine/Mosel provided us with the overview of first-time European visit. The stops were adequately timed, the river boat staff was helpful and the arrangements made for the shore excursions by Grand Central were very ... Read More
River cruising on the Rhine/Mosel provided us with the overview of first-time European visit. The stops were adequately timed, the river boat staff was helpful and the arrangements made for the shore excursions by Grand Central were very well done. There were significant problems with the hearing devices allowing us to hear the guides that were not addressed until about half way through the scheduled dates. Complaints were not followed through until much too late and the groups were too large (much > than 25). The major problem was with Grand Central's scheduling of our connecting flight on our return. They gave us MUCH TOO LITTLE time at the Paris Airport to make successful customs and connections. Then, our Air France hosts had no one available to help us make other arrangements until 2-3 hours later, after any remaining flights had left. After arguing with them for 3-4 hours, we finally received some vouchers for food and a local room. All this time, we were in contact with the Grand Circle "help" desk. They were of NO HELP WHATSOEVER. Their last comment after we had failed to find anyone at several Air France help desks was "go to the police"! That was the extent of their help. The cruise was, overall, a good value and well planned. The transportation arrangements afterward were a disaster and the "help" non-existent. The audio problems with the guided tours was solvable/preventable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I wanted to experience the Rhine and Mosel Rivers and to go to Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland. The Ship was excellent and the food divine. The tours were one of a kind in some places. The 120 ... Read More
I wanted to experience the Rhine and Mosel Rivers and to go to Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland. The Ship was excellent and the food divine. The tours were one of a kind in some places. The 120 people on the ship were all older but refined and easy to get to know. The optional tours were fabulous and not that expensive. I took all except one in Germany to an old castle which I had already been to years ago. The cabin attendant Albano from Portugal was a gem. He was the top hit at the talent show when he sang Louis Armstrong. I must say that you meet the nicest people on Grand Circle. Not pretentious but down to earth wonderful individuals. GCT has program directors on the whole trip who "baby" you and pamper you to the nth degree. Many people on the cruise were returnees and some had over twenty trips with GCT!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our eighth river cruise with Grand Circle Travel (GCT). It was our second cruise on the River Harmony. We have also cruised on the River Aria, River Concerto (two times), River Melody (two times) and Bizet. We have done the ... Read More
This was our eighth river cruise with Grand Circle Travel (GCT). It was our second cruise on the River Harmony. We have also cruised on the River Aria, River Concerto (two times), River Melody (two times) and Bizet. We have done the Christmas Markets Along the Danube and Christmastime on the Seine previously. Each were unique in their own way. Most of what we can say about this cruise and ship could be also said avout these other ships and cruise itineraries. Only some of their ships are listed as available to review on this site because they have not been professionally reviewed by Cruise Critic. I hope they do review them because we have found GCT to be a very good value. We flew into Basel, Switzerland and took a taxi to the ship, since we booked our own air arrangements. After lunch on board we went into town on their included shuttle bus transportation. This was the first of the Christmas Markets we visited on this cruise. While all of them we have visited share similarities, each one has unique elements not found at the others. Each market has plenty of Gluhwine, sausages,crafts, music and decorations. I will mention the other things that are unique in each one.Basel had a particularly extensive hat stand! The one really outstanding element of the Christmastime river cruises is the fantastic atmosphere and good mood throughout the areas visited and onboard the ship (both passengers and crew!) We went inland by bus to Kaysersberg and Riquewihr in the Alsace region of France. The Alsace has been part of Germany at other times in history and so it has a strong Christmas market tradition like Germany. The most notable aspect in these two wine towns were the extensive decorations on the fronts of the buildings along the winding streets. On day three we visited Strasbourg, still in the Alsace. A canal cruise through the oldest part of the city was included and very picturesque. There were numerous markets around the city which helped spread out the very large crowds visiting right before Christmas. These markets are very popular with people from throughout Europe, especially Italians we were informed. We enjoyed a very delicious waffle with Nutella from one of the stands and a Flamekuchen (kind of like a small pizza but native to this region) from another. While we waited to board the tram back to the ship we enjoyed a six piece Salvation Army brass band playing carols. An all you can ride public transit pass was provided to us by the ship. On day four we were transferred to the spa town of Baden Baden in Germany with a chance to taste the "curative" (meaning pungent smelling!) water the town has been known for since Roman times. We had a chance to stroll this elegant spa town and visit the Christmas markets before returning to the ship. Later there was an opportunity to have coffee and cake with a local family when we arrived in Speyer. Day five took us from Speyer to Mainz, Germany. On day six we visited the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz and saw an operating replica of his revolutionary printing press before visiting the many markets there. But the most unique visit we made here was to St Stephens Curch to view the incredible modern stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall. This is truly a must see when visiting Mainz.We tasted some fantastic German potato pancakes from a stand at the market. On day seven we cruised the most scenic stretch of the Rhine, past the notorious Lorilei rock. (This famous mermaid of the river was even spotted on board !). We passed numerous castles and terraced vineyards along the river, on our way to Koblenz. We were in Koblenz on day eight as well. This is where the the Mosel River meets the Rhine at the Deutsches Eck (German corner). We docked on the Mosel near the famous statue of Kaiser Wilhelm. We had a walking tour in Koblenz (as in all of the places visited) and took the cable car across the Rhine to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. We toured this incredible fortress on our own before descending back down to the other side of the river on the cable car. Day nine gave us an entire day and evening in Cologne. During an included walking tour with our excellent program director Eva we saw the old town and where cologne was was created before visiting the remains of the three wise men in the cathedral. Truly something to do at Christmas time. There were six Christmal markets in Cologne and we made it to all of them-on foot. We purchased three of the unique mugs at several of the markets as souvenirs. Each market had its own commemorative mug specific to that particular market. Our last day was in Nijmegan, Netherlands where there were no Christmas markets! Then we spent the afternoon cruising to Amsterdam where there was only time left for a quick walking tour along the canals and through the red light district. There was even a touch of Christmas here from the two transvestite Santas we passed! Only in Amsterdam... Well that's a VERY quick summary of the ports of call. On the ship the food was excellent and very plentiful and the staff extremely accommodating, as we have found on our other GCT cruises. These cruises have 120-160 passengers, so there is more of an opportunity to meet people, especially as there is one dinner seating and no assigned tables. Once again the very pleasant holiday atmosphere makes cruising at this time of year special. Another unique aspect to these cruises on GCT is that the pasengers are divided up into three groups of about 45 people each of which has a program director that conducts the tours for that small group. The wireless receivers allow you to hear her commentary even when there is traffic noise. The PD's went out of their way to customize the cruise for us. Visits to Riquewihr (truly a highlight) and Ehrenbreitstein were not on the original itinerary, for example. River cruises are truly the easiest way to travel in Europe and we can recommend them without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
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 ... Read More
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 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. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We have just returned from our first trip with GCT. This is not a first riverboat cruise, but the first with this com. First of all the River Harmony is a lovely CEAN ship. We chose the prelude deck and it was quite fine. Husband thought ... Read More
We have just returned from our first trip with GCT. This is not a first riverboat cruise, but the first with this com. First of all the River Harmony is a lovely CEAN ship. We chose the prelude deck and it was quite fine. Husband thought one deck higher would have been better. The Captain was next to us so if it is good enough for him it is fine for us. Being at the water level did not create a problem. The only noise was when the barges would pass by and it sounded like water rushing by the boat. When you heard it you then got use to it and knew what it was. It is strange how the boat never rocks with the water motion. Our room was the nices when it comes to storage and though the beds are only 2 twins i think most people know how to handle that. The beds were nice as I liked the idea that you could elevate them, just like a chaise lounge, good for those who do sleep at home with their beds up some. The bathroom was the best size especially the shower of any cabin catagory we have had on a cruise ship. Even if you are large I don't think you will have much trouble with the shower curtain taking a shower with you. The crew and the Captain are just as friendly and nice as you could ever expect. Our captain was always where he could be seen. Even on departure day the first group leaving at 4:30 a.m. he was there to say good bye. Everyone has a bad day but they never show it. They love to talk to you and of course the policy of GCT is for them to call you by name. They do a great job of learning that very fast. program directors are top notch. They are young and I can't figure out how they keep their cool around all the SENIORS. They know their stuff and if they can't answer some question they will let you know they will find out. I do think sometimes people try to test them. Our stops were very nice,you can check out the itinerary for those. Most included tours were of the towns, villages etc. It is nice as the P.D. do give you a good overview. The optional tours which for us was Luxembourg was very good and included a lunch that was very nice. The highlight of this tour is going to the American cemetary,puts tears in your eyes, the sight is just beautiful Other optional was the Delta Works, I did not want to go but was glad I did. Many women think it is a man think, but to see the work and story behind it was worth it to me. Now about food. The presentation is beautiful. Many people think it is good. I would only rate it as fair. I did not starve or go away hungry, but it was not high on my list of best ever food. Plenty choices for breakfast, with lovely fresh fruit. Lunch, salad bar could have had more things to put on the greens. Soup they served and the cold soup was my favorite as it always is on any cruise. Dinner is another story. Two choices for entrees, and all else is the same for everyone. Always on the menu is salmon or grilled chicken. There is a vegeterian choice also. Since at the end of the day dinner should be relaxing I found they rush to clear your courses so everyone is served the same thing at the same time. GCT to to blame for having only a certain amount of servers and believe me they work their tails off. More servers could make for a more relaxing meal. Breakfast and lunch you pretty much wait on yourself so that works out o.k. Evening was nice to be on the sun deck and a few nights they had special entertainment or just a great guy singing and playing the key board on the off nights. After a long day of walking and sightseeing it was good to turn in early for what would be a new adventure on the river the next day. It is a very relaxing way to see Europe along the rivers. Yes I would go again but not ready to sign up for another yet. This was a first for the home visits and that was very interesting. The home we went to the lady went beyond her duty to serve good treats and it was nice to see her home and yard. In fact I have emailed her with a return already. I think they love what they do with the Grand Circle program. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
River Harmony Ratings
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