I chose this trip because my mother wanted to do the Christmas markets. It sounded fun too. She has taken 16 Grand Circle trips in the past and had always had nothing but amazing things to say about them. As a matter of fact she would always compare regular cruises to her “wonderful” Grand Circle River Cruises. She would criticize every cruise line we traveled on again with Grand Circle being so great in so many ways(to her).
I should have realized that while planning this one she couldn’t answer many of my questions about the boat, and other things that something might be off. I could blame her memory, but it’s not that. The problem was GCT trips really aren’t anything to remember. She couldn’t even tell me if there was a closet in the room or one thing about the room other than the beds come out of the wall.
I can tell you there are a few things I did like about the trip. We were there to see the Christmas markets. Every town had one, although one town, Melk hadn’t opened theirs for the season yet.
Clean. Basic bathrooms that are the saddest I have ever seen. It was clean, but I hated it. Only plus it had over any cruise ship of the 10 lines I’ve been on-it had a bathroom night light. So when you went in it wasn’t jet black and you didn’t have to be woken by a bright lite.
Most things were closed and Zero Christmas markets were open. The town seemed deserted. There is a beautiful castle looking-Abby in the town. Due to my Mom not feeling well and since she had done it before, we chose not to take the excursion. Instead we walked to town that was a little unsafe as it was dark by 3:30pm and the boat was Down this road through the woods. I would not have done it alone.
I was really excited to see Vienna. But was more than a little surprised that I didn’t like it that much. My mother and I came in early on our own and also took the train to Salzburg. We LOVED Salzburg. It’s not cheap but very pretty. Vienna is big city, people aren’t that nice, but there are 4 good Christmas markets. I think there are more but count on 4
Charming town even though locals seem to resent the tourists. Don’t go into a store near the market called Snowball. Owner is a horrible angry man that kicked my 80 year old mother out of the store for having a drink. Yes, he had the right but he could have been nice too. Add to that when I tried to look at some stars to see the colors on the boxes I was advised not to touch the merchandise. Really, not touch any of the paper stars or anything else in the shop. When I said I would just leave, he screamed at me to get out of his shop. I had been nice and not out of line and still I was treated like I was trespassing. However, it does explain why he had zero customers when other shops next to the market were jammed. He was more upset about not continuing his coffee time with his friends, versus helping actual customers. I actually was ready to buy 5-6 of these amazing stars too. When he threw me out of the shop he told me I was losing his education of the product. What? They are paper stars, how much education could there be. Do NOT buy or go into this horrible mans shop. He gives other good Germans a bad name.