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Sail Date: March 2019
We wished to learn about the Normandy Invasion and enjoy another river cruise. The Normandy day trip was quite emotional and many passengers were there to honor relatives and veterans. The itinerary, staff, Program Directors and food ... Read More
We wished to learn about the Normandy Invasion and enjoy another river cruise. The Normandy day trip was quite emotional and many passengers were there to honor relatives and veterans. The itinerary, staff, Program Directors and food were all outstanding. Christophe Leger was our leader and a passionate traveler, historian, and all around good guy. His concern for our welfare, attention to details, and his enthusiasm for French culture and history all contributed to a very enjoyable cruise. A nice touch was the added shuttle bus for those of us who arrived a day early to give us 2-1/2 hours in Paris for a walk-about and a café lunch. This was a nice surprise. Also on departure day, GCT provided an employee to greet us at CDG to point us to the correct departure counters. That place is humongous! I nearly hugged the guy! I suggest asking for a top deck cabin on the right-hand side, as we tied up 3 times to another boat and had to keep our curtain closed during the day. Also when the Eiffel Tower lights up, you can't see it from your port-side cabins. Another suggestion: for the wonderful home-hosted visit, the bar staff onboard had gift wrapped bottles of wine. Our family was enthusiastic to collect various wines and this was an easy solution to bringing a hostess gift. We booked this cruise at the last minute and yet all details were handled well. You can't go wrong with Grand Circle Tours. This is go-to tour company! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We cruised with overseas Adventure Travel and loved the ship. The food on board really emphasized the food of the region, and the chef was delightful. He really cared that people liked what he served. The cabin was nicer than ... Read More
We cruised with overseas Adventure Travel and loved the ship. The food on board really emphasized the food of the region, and the chef was delightful. He really cared that people liked what he served. The cabin was nicer than expected. It was very well designed and comfortable. We had a small balcony-we were traveling in March and it was cool so we didn’t use it as much as we would have liked, but it was nice to pop out in the morning while we docked, or to check the weather. The cruise worked out so both sides of the boat sometimes had a better view, so one side isn’t better than the other. There is one large lounge-comfortable with books, games, etc, and a variety of seating. This was our first small boat cruise and it was much more relaxing than a larger ship. We would sail on this ship again anytime. I will review the activities on the OAT website. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
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: September 2018
The boat, CONCERTO, was excellent- the rooms were large and spacious; the bathroom was clean. The food was nothing special however. The staff were very nice.There were smaller issues and I’ve reviewed the same in another post on the ... Read More
The boat, CONCERTO, was excellent- the rooms were large and spacious; the bathroom was clean. The food was nothing special however. The staff were very nice.There were smaller issues and I’ve reviewed the same in another post on the Nile Cruise. Hady, our guide, was excellent- he’s a formal Egyptologist and knew the nitty gritty of Egyptian history- and answered our questions easily. He’s been doing this for the last 15 years. Hady, gave us excellent tips and other general information on each port of call; how much we should be tipping different people; taking us to the correct shops; etc. It was an excellent four days- and the five of us (including Hady) became very friendly and easy to be with each other. The one-day difference between a 4 day-3 night (Aswan to Luxor) and 5 day-4 night (Luxor to Aswan) cruises is due to the fact that with the former you are traveling WITH the current so you get to Luxor faster; and with the latter, you are brunting the current so your travel increases by one day. The sights are exactly the same but it only takes longer due to the time of travel up river. Ports of call were: Aswan (departure)-Kom Ombo-Edfu-Luxor. Hady accompanied us through the trip, from day 1; and attended to all our queries, needs, etc. He was extremely professional, a very knowledgeable person and a very nice person to be with. During my communication with Hany, I also set up with him for the Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum tour in Cairo. As mentioned above, the food was nice- but nothing special. It was a buffet set up for all meals and the timings were set- so you either ate in those times or you missed the meals. The staff were very courteous and the cooks made my omelette very well. You should not tip individually- the Cruise requests that at the end of the cruise to put in whatever gratuity amount you want into an envelope and with your room number deposit it into the box at the reception. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It became a bus tour because Grand Circle did not give us the option to postpone this cruise to a time when the water level would not be low. We did not cruise and had a bus ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It became a bus tour because Grand Circle did not give us the option to postpone this cruise to a time when the water level would not be low. We did not cruise and had a bus tour for $12,000. They were aware of the water level problem because they had a prepared presentation regarding the water level. Terrible disappointment and we were offered a $200 credit for a future cruise to take before August of 2019. We paid for a river cruise this time! The owner, Harriet Lewis, and CEO, Chris Zagmont, do not even respond to personal letters to understand how disappointing this trip was and they do not care! An optional tour of the Salt Mine presented in our personalized booklet was not offered due to low number of passengers. They knew how many passengers were on this tour before they printed the booklet and showed it as an option.We had to unpack before they told us our ship could not sail, bused up to another ship where we unpacked and then were told this ship could not sail either![ Stayed in hotels where cruise experience of socialization, dance, wine, which was supposed to be included, were not available. We would have gone by bus if we wanted a bus tour but Grand Circle Travel decided that we did not need this river cruise and took our money anyway knowing they could not provide what was promised. Murphy beds in abins prevent spouses to sleep together. Curtains had to be closed since ships park close togetherf. Dark room all the time. No compensation for window room when sent to hotel. Go on another line!!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
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: May 2018
Meals: Breakfast: full gamut of choices from freshly made omelets on down to fruits and danish. Lunch: plenty of options each day from cooked dishes to make your own sandwiches. Dinner: portions small, but meals are 4 course! I asked ... Read More
Meals: Breakfast: full gamut of choices from freshly made omelets on down to fruits and danish. Lunch: plenty of options each day from cooked dishes to make your own sandwiches. Dinner: portions small, but meals are 4 course! I asked for double lamb chops, no problem. You could double whatever you wish. I often had two desserts as I wanted to taste several options. Always available at lunch and dinner are hamburgers and breast of chicken. Both rather plain, but good if you don't fancy what's on offer on the menu! Staff was very accommodating. I required Kefir milk and they went out and bought a supply just for me! Danish shortbread cookies appear in the lounge near the coffee machine in the afternoons. You will gain weight and won't ever have hunger pangs! We felt so stuffed we decided to skip dinner one evening. We made sandwiches at lunch and put them on top of our air conditioner. Cold enough to keep them cooled all afternoon. Our cruise was a month. Some days we felt less social and needed a break, so we took lunch back to our cabin. Never had any issues with buffet lines. Everyone very respectful. Five of us chose to stay on board the day the rest went on an excursion and the boat sailed on to meet them at the next port. One couple stayed in their room. We and another person had lunch in the dining room, having pre ordered our sit down meals from a limited menu! We had thought we'd have to take something from breakfast as there wouldn't be lunch. They seem to think of everything. Wait/Kitchen staff: EVERYONE was super nice, helpful and friendly. I was pleased that we were allowed to have a cousin and wife spend a day with us in a port as visitors. We were also allowed to book them in for dinner at a reasonable cost. There are no reserved tables, but we were told to be first to enter the dining room and we would easily be able to snare one of the two tables for 4. They understood that another couple stuck with us would have been bored with our catch up on family conversation! As guests they also allowed free beer and wine in the lounge. Library: comfortable and an excellent amount of books to suit all tastes. Lounge: comfortable. Bit crowded for port talks. Fine for entertainment and lectures as not everyone is there. Cruise Directors: Our Cristian, along with Kiril, Ivor and Zoli on the Eastern Europe portion of our cruise were top notch. On nights where local entertainers didn't come on board, the cruise directors came up with more than enough things to keep us happy....even horse racing, with betting, and drinks! We had a resident pianist half the cruise and resident pianist/singer the other half. The crew's show was a riot. I thought it was going to be a talent show, but not so! The cruise directors make a point of sitting with you at meal times...at least breakfast and dinner, one or two of them at a time. They purposely make the rounds of tables and are happy to talk about whatever you wish and answer any questions, difficult or otherwise about their lives and countries. Experiences: All programs were good to excellent. We had many surprises from lectures to walks to food tastings. The home hosted lunch was informative and interesting. Playing a language game with the children who are learning English was great fun. Highly recommend Grand Circle. This was our second trip with them. First was a ground tour. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because it went up the Eastern Coast of Italy from Malta to Venice in 17 days. (or vice-versa) It was called the Undiscovered Adriatic and it was! Malta is a jewel and a good starting point for us. Then up the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went up the Eastern Coast of Italy from Malta to Venice in 17 days. (or vice-versa) It was called the Undiscovered Adriatic and it was! Malta is a jewel and a good starting point for us. Then up the coast to local towns with many UNESCO stops along the way. Too many highlights to mention here. The ship is small only 50 passengers. There are 2 trip leaders so we were in two groups. Crew, food and accommodations were very good to excellent. The rooms are smallish for me but adequate for sure. Balcony rooms are a waste since we were so busy there was no time to sit around and the deck on the upper level was delightful. It was truly an amazing adventure for discovery, learning and history. And making Limoncello and cannolis were a lot of fun!. We even took the bicycles out for a spin at a local beach. One could say it was a bit expensive but meals, entertainment and local tours are included. A definite adventure into the local culture of the stops we made. Even Plan B's were wonderful. That occurs when the sea is too rough to move. Lots of walking, we recorded almost 5 miles a day. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
River Adagio, from Budapest to the Black Sea, Aug 18-30, 2017 The River Adagio is an older ship, but kept in very good shape. All cabins are 160 square feet with two beds that fold out from opposite walls with a narrow, permanent table ... Read More
River Adagio, from Budapest to the Black Sea, Aug 18-30, 2017 The River Adagio is an older ship, but kept in very good shape. All cabins are 160 square feet with two beds that fold out from opposite walls with a narrow, permanent table in between. I traveled solo, so I found the cabin quite sufficient. This was my first river cruise and first time with Grand Circle and I couldn't be more pleased. I chose this itinerary as, other than Budapest, it was completely new to me. I was lucky in that our weather was excellent (sunny and in the 80s-90s almost everyday). The ship holds about 160 passengers and we were divided into four sightseeing groups, each with its own Program Director, who co-ordinate the daily activities. After breakfast we usually had a bus or walking tour and returned to the ship for lunch. After lunch there was usually a walking tour and some free time for shopping or further exploration. We returned to the ship in late afternoon and had a port talk (about the next day's destination, schedule and activities), followed by dinner and then either an activity (karaoke, bingo. trivia contest) or a folk performance. If you chose to participate in all the activities, you were kept busy from about 8 am to 10 pm! They pack in a lot. There was only one full cruise day and it's of the most scenic part of the Danube passing the rock sculpture of Decibelus and going through the Iron Gates (locks). Grand Circle emphasizes "learning and discovery." They hire local guides for every stop who talk about their country's/city's demographics, geography, history, culture, economics, etc. Our four program directors were from Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The crew and the staff of the River Adagio was mostly from the Balkans, too. The meals onboard ship also reflected the cuisine of the countries visited. So, although the guests are predominantly American, Grand Circle creates a culture-rich experience in many other ways. In addition, Grand Circle arranges a family visit in which groups of about ten have lunch in a local family's home and visit with them to learn about their lives. Grand Circle also arranges special talks at various stops along the journey. We heard from a man in Budapest who helped the refugees flowing into Hungary two years ago. In Serbia we heard from an older man who told us what it was like to live under communism in Tito's Yugoslavia. In Bucharest we heard from a man who took part in the 1989 revolution which overthrew the dictator, Ceausescu. We also heard a talk by a young woman who is part of the Roma community. The meals and service onboard were delicious and excellent. Breakfast was a large buffet with a wonderful variety of traditional breakfast foods. Lunches and dinners were full service meals with several courses and several choices, mostly with a local flavor. They did their best to accommodate special diets. Wine and beer flowed freely with lunch and dinner. The staff and crew were very friendly, always reminding you to have a good day or meal. Grand Circle caters to an older clientele (50+). Most are seasoned travelers who want more than a quick overview of the places visited, a big shopping trip or a fancy ship. They have developed a very loyal following who act like an arm of their marketing department. Read Less
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