9 Grand Circle River Rhapsody Cruise Reviews

The Springtime beauty of the Great Rivers of Europe mingled with the excellent and caring of the River Rhapsody staff made for an amazing trip! From airport to airport and every river in-between, safest travels without any worries. ... Read More
The Springtime beauty of the Great Rivers of Europe mingled with the excellent and caring of the River Rhapsody staff made for an amazing trip! From airport to airport and every river in-between, safest travels without any worries. The dining and hotel staff were patient, gracious and went above and beyond every day. I traveled with my Mother, at 50, I was the youngster among the passengers... And had one of the best travel experiences of my life. I wouldn't recommend this cruise line for wee children but for families and friends travelling in a group I would recommend it. I'm personally planning on returning to the Rhapsody for the Springtime 2021 trip or the Christmas 2020 trip. I'm sure all of the Grand Circle ships have great staff, but the Rhapsody staff made me feel so comfortable, as I was alone after dinner often and early morning since my Mother was sleeping. I felt like I was always safe, welcome, taken care of in every professional way possible. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Let me say the service on their ships The Melody and The Rapsody were impeccable. Gracious and hospitable on both. I say both because due to low water we were bused from one to another. We anchored in Strasbourg, France for 3 days and ... Read More
Let me say the service on their ships The Melody and The Rapsody were impeccable. Gracious and hospitable on both. I say both because due to low water we were bused from one to another. We anchored in Strasbourg, France for 3 days and bused to the cities. One city alone we rode 3 hours one way and 2 1/2 hours back. Given a mere 3 hours for the walk around part of the town and then the markets themselves. We had to rush back to hear a port talk and have 7 pm dinner. We could have dinner in the city and not rushed back. We could not see the markets at night. Which was the whole point of a Christmas Market Cruise. This was, and I mean was, a LAND TOUR by BUS. I had called Grand Circle to find out if they were cancelling with options and I was told the ships were traveling well, when I received a letter advising of probable deviation I called again, and again was assured that it could be all well. No cancellation by the company. Later on the cruise I was told by the captain that they had been changing ships due to low water all summer. I have been left extremely disappointed by a Grand Circle, due to the fact that other company’s had cancelled with options of refunds or credits to another cruise. All we were given was $100.00 to be used within 2 years. Really! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Romance of the Rhine and Mosel I went to a presentation by GCCL and could not believe how many people had cruised with them before. Many had traveled more than 20 times with GCCL. Mom, 92 and still agile, and son active 70 year old ... Read More
Romance of the Rhine and Mosel I went to a presentation by GCCL and could not believe how many people had cruised with them before. Many had traveled more than 20 times with GCCL. Mom, 92 and still agile, and son active 70 year old really enjoyed the pre-trip in Switzerland. I used to live in the pacific northwest and am familiar with mountains, but the alps are amazing. We bused from Lucerne to Basel where we boarded the River Rhapsody where we were greeted with champagne and a hot towel - nice. Our state room was on the second deck in the very front right over the bow thrusters which made quite a lot of noise when used (locks and docking). It is a good thing that I can sleep through anything. Still I would try to avoid room 214 or whatever is just across the hall. I did like that the beds folded up during the day so that there were small couches and a table you could sit at. I do not like the duvet covers because it is so hard to regulate sleeping temperature. Closet space is adequate. The ship is not new 1999, but it is spotless. Our ship had engine problems and so we were stuck at a location not on the itinerary for 2 nights. GCCL program directors worked till late at night to arrange great tours and buses. I think that what we experienced may have been better than what was on the normal schedule. (We didn't miss any of the signature stops), Service in the dining room was really excellent on the right side of the ship, the servers learned our names and what we liked. The left side of the ship had ok servers, but not outstanding. I thought that the food was excellent and varied (with a local offering at each port). Now to the best part of the cruise, the program directors. All three were excellent, but ours Rebecca was far and above any that I could imagine. She was articulate, caring, observant, interactive with locals and us, purchased food for us to try. I don't have enough superlatives to describe her. Local guides varied from really excellent to mechanical. The guide our group had in Marksberg castle was not very good. Overall I really enjoyed the trip and definitely would travel with GCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I wanted to take this cruise to experience the Christmas markets and to view firsthand the Christmas experience along the Rhine River. It was absolutely amazing. The markets are spectacular and the Rhapsody offered so many rich musical ... Read More
I wanted to take this cruise to experience the Christmas markets and to view firsthand the Christmas experience along the Rhine River. It was absolutely amazing. The markets are spectacular and the Rhapsody offered so many rich musical experiences. The service and the leadership on this boat are incredible. From the Captain to the Hotel Manager to the crew itself, the entire focus is on the comfort and enjoyment of the guests, and they are all involved. There is a unique hospitality that surrounds the guests and that is especially apparent in the marvelous food that is served three times a day as well as the numerous special parties and celebrations. The best thing, I guess, for me was that I was able to buy all my Christmas presents on this trip. Of course, I shopped at the Christmas markets, but I also shopped in the ships' gift areas. Frankly, I found a great many things for myself. I plan to take this cruise again this coming Christmas. There are so many guests that take this trip year after year. That would be heaven. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
A few things first. This is a small ship because you have to have a small ship designed to go on the rivers in Europe, get under bridges, and put you into the heart of a city. f you want a 5,000 passenger behemoth with 20 ... Read More
A few things first. This is a small ship because you have to have a small ship designed to go on the rivers in Europe, get under bridges, and put you into the heart of a city. f you want a 5,000 passenger behemoth with 20 restaurants,different entertainment every night, and a water slid this is not for you. Second, the people going on these cruises primarily want to see interesting places and history. If you want to be entertained 24 hours a day with shows on the ship go elsewhere. Third, it is an older group of people because they have the money and time to do a two week tour. Europe is not the US with access everywhere to the handicapped. Some of the places we went were demanding and require walking. If your felt that they were too demanding you can stay on the ship. But this is part of seeing stuff. I have no idea why the people who travel with Grand Circle are almost all Americans. The ships, and I have been on several Grand Circle river ships and one Viking (but not a Longship), are all the same. Well designed, comfortable, and beautifully maintained. You never see anything shabby or dirty. The cabins are small, but well thought out. They have an upper open deck with part of it shade protected, and one part enclosed with glass. They have one dinning room which is comfortable and surrounded by windows. There is a very large lounge with comfortable chairs and sofas. The food is very good. I had always thought that the food was just OK until I took a cruise on the Fathom Adonia and learned that the Grand Circle food is actually very good indeed. Breakfast is a large buffet with many choices. They even seem to cook their own pastries - if the don't they fooled me. It never seems institutional. Lunch is either a buffet or you can order off the menu. Lots of choices and most days they have a chef cooking a pasta in front of you. Dinner is ordering from a menu. Ample choices. If you don't like what they have you can always get salmon or a hamburger. Service is excellent and you quickly learn the staff and they learn what you want. Tipping is suggested but not mandatory and they do a great job - tips are distributed to the entire crew, not just the wait staff. . Beer and wine is included at lunch and dinner although I wasn't crazy about the wine. The cost of beer and wine at the bar is reasonable. They have a package for soft drinks that I like. I don't recall if they have a "happy hour". There is a welcome reception and you get to know the captain and his staff. Some ships offer a tour of the bridge and kitchen - this ship only offered the kitchen tour. The internet is free and not always available but often enough so that it is not a problem,. This trip the front desk was not helpful with how to access the internet and I had to ask a passenger how to do it. It turned out that the instructions were in the cabin. The front desk is generally helpful, but you can always ask the Program Director or the hotel or restaurant manager. Entertainment is a piano player and there are programs at night. There Is also an evening "port talk" to tell you what they are doing the next day. I would have wanted more history about each place we visited in advance, Grand Circle has a program director for each 30 or so passengers who is with you the entire time and always available. They vary a little in quality, but all are very good and professionals. Our program director was born in Switzerland to American parents and had been to high school in the US. She was superb in Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, but not as knowledgeable about Antwerp. They provide an individual earpiece on the tours to hear the guide or program director that works beautifully. The only thing that was not good was when they told us information on the PA system on the ship when we went though the area with the castles - I missed most of that due to poor quality. They should have used the individual earpieces but that was not an option. The only problem that we encountered was in some cities after the guided tour they leave you on your own to explore the city. Sometimes they come back and meet you at a designated spot and sometimes not - they should always come back - eventually someone will be left. A great value. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We took our first Grand Circle river cruise this spring (2013), on the M/S River Rhapsody, and I want to voice a few cautionary notes, to help people decide whether this cruise is for them. But first the strong positives. (1) The staff ... Read More
We took our first Grand Circle river cruise this spring (2013), on the M/S River Rhapsody, and I want to voice a few cautionary notes, to help people decide whether this cruise is for them. But first the strong positives. (1) The staff are uniformly competent and helpful. As just one example: my wife and I were each sick for a couple days. During those periods every employee seemed to know of the problems, and asked if there was anything they could do to help. The head of the dining room had special (very mild) meals prepared for my wife. (It was almost with reluctance I left the room on these occasions--I had to repeatedly decline offers of assistance.) Not once did we encounter any attitude other than an earnest desire to help. (2) This attitude extends to excursions off the ship. The Program Directors (PDs) led people onto the trams (streetcars), led them off, and continually operated on the assumption the passengers were inexperienced and needed assistance. It was a very safe and protective environment. (3) The accommodations were comfortable and the food was excellent. (A trifle ornate for my taste, but, if my worst problem is five-course dinners, life is pretty good!) However, here are some factors you may find worth considering. 1. There is a lack of "diversity". For example; our last land tour was with Trafalgar and we enjoyed the company of passengers from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Canada and England. The passengers on this GC cruise are all from the US. (A fellow passenger who travels with a friend from Canada said she had to forward Grand Circle information to the friend--Grand Circle would not even mail literature outside the US.) The result is (in my opinion) a far less diverse or cosmopolitan social setting. During one meal, for example, the conversation focused on the difference in winter weather between west Texas and east Texas. [Also, do not expect meals as in a restaurant. There are no tables for two--when you eat you socialize.] 2. This tour was advertised as featuring "walking over uneven surfaces" and people were warned the PDs could modify participation or even send travelers home if individual limitations impacted the group's experience. Yet our group (which was comparable to others--35-45 people with one PD) were mostly in their 70s or 80s, with several people in their 90s. Some people used canes; one a walker, others were very hunched over. (My wife and I are in our early 60s; our choice was to offer to help the stragglers or ignore their struggles.) I trust you can envision the speed with which this large group moved, and the time spent catching up, resting, etc. 3. Perhaps our expectation of experiencing the culture of the areas we traveled was unrealistic, because--since all tours were with our group and all meals were provided--we only ate and socialized with our other passengers. Basically, we found ourselves in a cocoon of US people protectively following the PD's flag to see and be described the sights. 4. The tour literature indicated we would have internet service, although it might not always work when we were cruising. This is an optimistic exaggeration. Even when there was a connection (at some of the stops, and occasionally when traveling) I found it only accessible late at night or when other passengers were on a tour or at a meal. (Apparently having many people trying to access it during "free time" overloads the system. Someone also lamented that many people now had "smart phones" that automatically accessed any available network for various "apps"--weather, news, etc. And forget Skype or any program that requires a faster connection.) I happened to need access at least every couple days; my repeated requests for advice on how to obtain that access finally led to the crew advising me to walk into town and find a McDonalds. (Apparently all McDonalds in Europe now have free wi-fi.) Do not plan on having regular internet access. 5. Room idiosyncrasies. Our lamp lights were 8 watt fluorescent and the ceiling light had three 40 watt bulbs; not quite bright enough for me to read by, unless it was sunny. There is a reading light inside the pull-down beds, but, if you are unwilling to limit yourself to reading only while opening up the bed and lying down, bring or buy more powerful bulbs (240v, standard screw-in sockets). Also, we booked a cabin with a balcony. Turns out those are on deck 4 (Serenade deck), which is the corridor between the dining room and lounge. If regular traffic and loud conversation outside your door (especially when people line up for the dining room to open) bothers you, don't select this deck. Also, one has to go to the lounge or Sun deck to hear the intercom with a PD's description of the sights we're cruising by, so we didn't use our balcony much. [Note if anyone from GC reads this: it would also be nice if there was music available in the cabins--we didn't really care about European sports or showing one movie over and over.] This tour had mostly repeat customers of GC, indicative that many people enjoy this level of attention, and the cloistered environment and slow pace. If you are in this category, I highly recommend this tour. However, as I'm sure GC will agree, this tour is not for everyone, and there are other reputable companies out there. I encourage you to compare. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
With an American 70-cabin river boat and 34 crewmen and program directors all with excellent conversational English, this was an excellent adult touring and discovery Rhine and Mosel rivers cruise - from Antwerp, Belgium, through the ... Read More
With an American 70-cabin river boat and 34 crewmen and program directors all with excellent conversational English, this was an excellent adult touring and discovery Rhine and Mosel rivers cruise - from Antwerp, Belgium, through the Netherlands and Germany, and touching France, to disembarkation in Basel, Switzerland. The boat was impeccably clean and inviting, serving full breakfasts and gourmet meals for lunch and dinner (including wine at dinner). The 132 passengers were grouped with three dedicated and local-knowledgeable program directors, so we got to know each other quite well, leaving contacts for further get-togethers. Guided port walking tours to ancient market squares, churches and half-timbered buildings in the close-by quaint Roman and Medieval-founded towns along the Rhine and Mosel rivers were almost everyday. Included bus tours were provided: to the every-10-year Floriade horticultural exposition in the Netherlands, to castles, to the WWII liberation museum and Remagen Bridge, and on the French Alsatian Wine Route; and a canal boat tour was made of Trier, the principal city of the Mosel valley. Only 4 optional extra cost tours were offered (Dutch Delta Works, Luxembourg, Marksburg Castle, and the Black Forest), all in parallel with other included town info tours. On-board activities included daily piano, vocal, magic, and gypsy entertainment, as well as kitchen and bridge tours, a Belgium chocolates discovery by treasure hunt and candy display and explanation, and a 'horse" race, all in the separate lounge - just plain fun. We were upgraded to a balcony stateroom - enough room for two chairs, but we were outdoors for beautiful weather throughout the trip (early July) except for two short rain episodes. Embarkation and disembarkation shuttles and assistance were well coordinated, as was the administration of the whole cruise. It was the cruise of a lifetime, and we'll probably do another soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We were asked by retired friends of ours to join them on a river cruise on Grand Circle Travel's "River Rhapsody" for a cruise up the Rhine and Mosel rivers. We have been on numerous large ship cruises but never on a river ... Read More
We were asked by retired friends of ours to join them on a river cruise on Grand Circle Travel's "River Rhapsody" for a cruise up the Rhine and Mosel rivers. We have been on numerous large ship cruises but never on a river ship. We had a couple of major concerns; "would there be enough to do on such a small ship?" and "we will probably be the youngest people on this ship". We are in our early 50's and still have active lives and like to have an active vacation. We ultimately signed up for the trip along with 2 other couples, friends of ours that are our same ages. THE SHIP: Regarding the ship itself I learned online that the River Rhapsody was about 20 years old. Needless to say I had concerns about the condition of a vessel that old. But my concerns were soon laid to rest. I'm not sure when the last updating/refitting was, but the ship looked new. The condition of all of the paint, tile, carpet, lighting and furnishings was excellent. Our stateroom was very well laid out and indeed had the largest shower of nearly any cruise ship I have traveled on. The old joke in the industry is that to take a shower on a cruise ship you first soap down the walls of the shower, and then you jump in and spin. If I drop the soap in a normal shower I might be able to squat down to get it, but more than likely I would have to step out of the shower to pick it up. Not so on the River Rhapsody. The shower was more than ample. There was plenty of storage in the stateroom with an overall great use of space. This was partly due to the interesting design of the beds. They fold down from the walls on each side of the cabin. When folded down there are overhead reading lights, and the head of the bed raises up like a chaise lounge for added comfort. When stowed away, the beds become a rather small settee with a table between them. The only drawback with the design is that they cannot be reconfigured into a queen size bed. Noises on this ship were somewhat of a problem. There were numerous locks our ship had to navigate on this journey, many in the middle of the night. The compact size of the ship did not allow for much in the way of sound isolation. Many times people in our group were awakened in the middle of the night by all of the noises associated with passage through a lock, under a low bridge or setting up the gangway at a dock. The associated electric motors and hydraulics reverberated through some of the cabins at a level that would wake many of us up in the middle of the night. If this is an issue of maintenance of the equipment, then they absolutely need to fix the problem. If this is the nature of the ship itself then perhaps more care in performing / scheduling these operations (particularly in the middle of the night) would benefit the passengers slumber. We did find out later from repeat passengers that the balcony staterooms on the upper deck were much quieter. PROGRAM DIRECTORS: This was a new one for us. After a couple of ports we got the concept. The program director is sort of a tour guide / camp counselor for a portion of the passengers on each ship. At each port there is generally a walking tour to orient the passengers to the port. This was a great service in that we learned information about the port or found places to go in the port we might not have learned about or found on our own. These walking tours usually took approximately an hour. That left us the rest of the time in port to wander on our own. Most of the time this concept worked very well. Other times the pace was maddeningly slow. Again, we like to spend as much time in port as possible exploring, shopping, dining, and taking pictures. It did not always work out that way with the amount of hand-holding required by some of the other passengers. THE CREW: The crew on the ship was as good as or in some ways perhaps even better than any I have encountered on any ship or cruise line. Because of the small number of passengers (140 max.) and the small size of the crew (I believe it was 28) you really get familiar with the crew; much more so than on a large ship. There was never a request that was too great and the friendliness and attention to detail was top notch. One evening before dinner we were having drinks on the sun deck of the ship while in port. The captain as it so happens was off that evening and he sat with us sharing wine and conversation. That was delightful. THE FOOD: Another concern with the smaller ship was regarding the availability and the variety of food. There is only one dining venue on this ship and only during set meal times. The food however was plentiful and in the off hours there were usually snacks in the lounge. There were a couple dishes and meals that were very good but, while the presentation was beautiful, the overall quality was only average. WINES: We are primarily fans of dry red wines. The regions we traveled through primarily have white and sweet whites at that. In a wine shop in Cochem I asked for a dry red and was introduced to a variety called a Dornfelder. It was about 13% alcohol and thus very dry. It was magnificent. From then on whenever we found a bottle shop in port we looked for/asked for Dornfelders. Wi-Fi: The ship also had free Wi-Fi available. There was a 500 megabyte limit for your sign-on but we never hit the limit. That may be partly due to the fact that it was not always working. In fact, if I can fault the customer service on the ship in any way it would be because of the Wi-Fi. I was having a terrible time connecting at one point of the cruise. When I pointed out that I was unable to connect to the Wi-Fi, every response from the Hotel Manager was directed back at me regarding my competence in using it or that perhaps that I had done something wrong with my account (in the interest of full disclosure I work extensively with computers in my job so I am very familiar with connecting to a network). I'm sorry but rule #1 in customer service is you do not blame the customer. Later when numerous other passengers were unable to connect, well suddenly there was an admission by the Hotel Manager that they had a problem with their equipment. Ugh. ITINERARY: The itinerary on this trip was fantastic. The number of ports we saw, the variety of places we went would be hard to duplicate by any other form of travel. We started in Antwerp Belgium and went up the Rhine to Basel Switzerland. There were also several days spent on the Mosel. Our countries included Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland, and because of an optional excursion we signed up for, Luxembourg. The Program Director for our group (Gunther Callebaut) was superb. He was very knowledgeable with respect to the history and culture of each port and spent considerable time orienting us to the layout of each city and places of interest we should not miss. He was very personable and also had a great sense of humor. The only scheduled port we missed was Boppard Germany. That was due to the large amount of barge traffic on the Mosel and the fact that one of the 2 locks available in Koblenz was not working thus doubling the amount of time it took for the series of barges to pass through. Once we finally made it through that lock the ship actually stopped in Koblenz instead of Boppard. Upon leaving Koblenz we saw what has to be the most stunning section of the Rhine. From Koblenz up through the next several miles of the Rhine we passed by 17 castles. It seemed like at every bend of the river you could look further up stream and see another castle on a bluff overlooking the river. Amazing. Our individual ports and excursions were as follows; • Antwerp Belgium - It's a beautiful and a very easy city to navigate. Plenty to see and great places to eat. They also have a Paul's Patisserie in the Groen Platz. One of my favorite places I remember from Paris. • Willemstad Holland - Very picturesque little village built within the walls of an old star shaped fort. Apparently it is a vacation/retirement spot for the very well heeled. An absolutely delightful little village. • Kinderdijk Holland - This is where the windmills are located that are seen in so many postcards. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site and part of the passage paid to Grand Circle by each passenger is donated to the Kinderdijk site through the Grand Circle Foundation. • Nimegen Holland - Picturesque city but not much to do. The optional excursion for this port is the Kroller-Muller museum. That might be the better option for this port. • Bonn Germany - A much larger city than either Bernkastel or Cochem but with the university located there it very much has a college town feel. Beethoven's house is there as well as St Remigius, a small church in which he played the organ for Sunday services as a boy. Our optional excursion was to Augustusburg Palace. Wow! • Cochem Germany - Wow! Walt Disney must have visited here before designing Epcot or Disneyland. The city was like a movie set. Make certain to go to Reichburg Castle which is on a hill overlooking the city. It is well worth the visit. • Bernkastel Germany - Like Cochem the day before, an amazing village. Be sure to visit the Dr. Thanisch Winery. Also if you hike up the hill to the castle ruins you will be rewarded with a great view of the city, the river and the Mosel valley. • Trier Germany - A larger city like Bonn. At first it looked like just a big city but the more we explored the more we liked it. Make certain to visit the Black Gate, the Amphitheater and the Trier Cathedral. • Traben-Trarbach Germany - A very small village. We chose the optional excursion into Luxembourg which included a stop at the American Cemetery where the soldiers from the Battle of the Bulge are interred. General Patton is also buried there. Luxembourg City is very picturesque. Be sure to see the Prime Minister's residence and the Parliament building. • Boppard Germany - Noted in the intro above • Speyer Germany - Beautiful small city and also the location of our home hosted coffee. The latter turned out to be a complete disaster. The wife of our host was 'called away' because of work. The husband filled in as host. We've all heard the expression the "Ugly American". Well we were unfortunately the guests of the Ugly German. What was supposed to have been a cultural exchange between us ended up as an hour long lecture from him about the evils of American foreign policy from Ronald Reagan to Afghanistan. It was an unbearable experience which was later made all the worse by the wonderful stories we heard from the other passengers about their respective home hosted visits. I believe they have been removed from the list of host families. • Strasbourg France - What a beautiful city. Feels a lot like Paris but with an obvious German influence as evidenced by the amount of half-timber buildings. Our first morning included a boat ride through the canals of the city and a walk through part of the city to the Cathedral. You really need several days to see it all. In the afternoon we did an excursion to Baden-Baden and the Black Forest. Our second day in Strasbourg was a trip to the Alsatian town of Riquewihr. Wow what a beautiful village! Be sure to get the Muenster Cheese Pretzels. Delicious. • Basel Switzerland - Another big city. Very picturesque and historical but by this point the trip was wearing on us so we probably did not enjoy it as much as we would have earlier in the trip. LOCAL GUIDES: Occasionally the program director will hand-off their group to a local guide, presumably because the local guides have better knowledge of the port. Our guide in Antwerp was fantastic... very informative and very funny. Our guide in Trier was pitiful. Very hard to understand and completely blew past the Trier Cathedral, a must see as far as our group was concerned. We went back to it after the tour. WHISPERNET: This is a remote listening device for hearing the guide or program director as you move about on your walking tour. It's basically a radio receiver and as long as you have your receiver tuned to the frequency your guide is transmitting on, you can hear them up to about 50 feet away. A really great concept but for me it failed in the execution. My receiver was always cracking and popping in the earpiece. They said it was because the battery was low so they had to recharge it. This meant that much of the time I had no receiver and unless I was walking within earshot of our guide I missed much of the commentary. Others in our group had the same problem. PASSENGERS: The passengers of the ship were primarily retirees as we expected. Some of the passengers were really old and considering they were on vacation, really unpleasant to be around. With some of the passengers there was a cliquish mentality about the number of trips taken with Grand Circle and being part of the "Inner Circle", the name for their frequent travelers. While visiting the city of Bonn we were in a cafe and I overheard the discussion of another couple from our ship. The husband asked if she wanted to get something to eat. She said, "No, we paid for the food on the ship and we are going to eat the food on the ship!" Really? You come all the way to Europe on vacation and you're not going to sample the local cuisine? Surely a meal off the ship will not bankrupt you and if so then how did you afford the cruise in the first place? Which brings up another point... the obvious engineering of the daily schedules to race back to the ship for lunch or dinner, with little or no options for those that want to stay in port for the meal. As I stated before, in my humble opinion the food on the ship was only average to begin with and was hardly worth racing back to the ship for or was hardly so good that you could not afford to miss it. CONCLUSION: So we come to the question which we all of our group asked of and answered for each other... "Would we travel with them again?" To a person each of the six of us said not for another 10 or 15 years. Virtually everything that Grand Circle did was great, start to finish. Overall we had a good time and are glad we went on the trip. But the general age and attitude of some of the passengers really began to wear on us. For those that want or need or prefer to have everything planned out for them so they don't have to worry about or even think about the details, it's great. Our group however was composed of younger competent world travelers that needed more latitude and options in the daily schedule. And I'm sorry, but sitting in the lounge working a jigsaw puzzle on a sailing day does not constitute enough in the way of entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Background Information My wife and I are in our mid-fifties. This was our first river boat cruise. We have cruised 9 times before (8 Caribbean & 1 Panama Canal). This was our 3rd trip to Europe. The first 2 were "on our ... Read More
Background Information My wife and I are in our mid-fifties. This was our first river boat cruise. We have cruised 9 times before (8 Caribbean & 1 Panama Canal). This was our 3rd trip to Europe. The first 2 were "on our own" style vacations. Travel to Port of Embarkation This proved to be the most challenging part of our trip. Our flight from St. Louis was delayed by 2 hours because of weather. We were concerned that we might not make it in time for our connecting flight in Chicago. Not to worry, our flight from Chicago to Amsterdam was delayed by 24 hours due to mechanical difficulties. United Airlines did provide us with food and hotel vouchers as well as a credit to be applied to a future flight. Ship Info The River Rhapsody is a small ship designed to travel European Rivers. There were about 120 passengers on our cruise. There are three decks and a sun deck. There is a lounge, dining room, and a small exercise room. The staterooms consist of two double beds (not convertible), a bathroom, desk, and storage space. We found the room to be adequate for our needs. There is a safe in each room. Electricity is European so you might wish to bring an adapter. Service The service was the best I have encountered on any cruise. Everyone seemed to be fluent in English and all announcements were in English. This is a "cash-free" ship which means you provide your credit card information at time of embarkation and simply charge your on-board expenses(optional excursions, drinks & souvenirs) to your credit card. You will be given a detailed statement at the end of your cruise. All shipboard expenses are in US dollars. You will need a small amount of Euros for local purchases. We took e200 and came back with money left over. Shore Excursions This is really the heart of this cruise. Amsterdam Since we were a day late in arriving, we did not have much time in Amsterdam (about 4 hours). We did take a tour (included) of the Red Light District. Cologne In the morning we had a shipboard lecture on Germany Today and the Cologne Cathedral. In the afternoon, we had a walking tour (included) of the old city and then had some time to wander around by ourselves. The cathedral is truly magnificent. Note: unless you are an expert do not try to take pictures inside the churches and castles. They are too dark. You might wish to rely on postcards. Koblenz In the morning, we had a walking tour of the old city (included) and wandered around by ourselves in the afternoon. There is a huge statue of Kaiser Wilhem I mounted on a horse. This is a must see. Mainz In the morning, we cruised along the most beautiful section of the Rhine. Most of the river castles are located here as well as the famous Lorelei Rock. In the afternoon, we took a walking tour (included) of the Old City of Mainz. This is the city where printing was invented and the Gutenberg Museum is well worth the time to visit. In the evening, we took the optional tour to Rudesheim for a winery visit and dinner at a local restaurant. Heidelberg Today was an optional tour to Heidelberg. Since we had been there three years ago, we opted to stay on the boat. If you have not been there, it is well worth the added expense. Wertheim This is a charming small German town. There is an included walking tour. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit the home of a local German family. It was interesting to see how they lived. Wurzburg We did a tour of the Old City. Of particular interest are the Cathedral and the Residenz, one of the Bavarian King's Palaces. Rothenburg We did the optional tour here and it is well worth the money. This is Germany's best preserved medieval town. Of particular note here are St. Jacob Church, The Christmas Museum, and the Museum of Punishment. Bamberg We did a walking tour of the city (included) and a sample of the local delicacy "smoked beer." I tried it. It must be an acquired taste. A must see is St. Martin Church in the university district. Nuremberg We did an included tour here. We saw the Nazi Congress Hall, the Nazi Rally Grounds, and the Palace of Justice made famous by the movie "Judgement at Nuremberg." In the Old City, there are several churches worth visiting, as well as the "Beautiful Fountain." Kelheim Here we took an optional tour of Kelheim & Weltenburg. At Kelheim, we saw the Liberation Hall Monument and at Weltenberg we visited a Benedictine Abbey. The beauty of the abbey is worth the visit. Regensburg The main attraction here are the churches and they are all close. First the cathedral, second the "old chapel," and finally St. Joseph. Passau The main attraction here is the Cathedral. It contains the second largest pipe organ in the world (the first is the Mormon Tabernacle). Melk Abbey This is a large and very impressive abbey. Don't miss the chapel here. Vienna We arrived late and most of the attractions were closed. Dining There are three set open seating dining times. Breakfast (buffet), Lunch (combination buffet/menu), Dinner (set menu). There were limited choices, but the food was well prepared. Fellow Passengers The average age was 60+. No Children. Tipping 10-12 dollars per person per day for staff 4-6 dollars per person per day for cruise directors 2 dollars for 1/2 day excursions for local guide 3 dollars for full day excursions for local guide Same for local bus drivers. Summary This cruise is intended for people looking for an educational/cultural experience. It is an excellent value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
River Rhapsody Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment N/A 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.3
Family N/A 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.1
Service 4.0 5.0
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 3.7

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