River Rhapsody Review

River Rhapsody
River Rhapsody
River Rhapsody
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Passengers 140
Crew 34
Passenger to Crew 4.12:1
Launched 1999
Shore Excursions 0
Ellen Uzelac
Cruise Critic Contributor

River Rhapsody Overview

In the 10 years that MS River Rhapsody has been sailing Europe's rivers, little about it has changed. Why tinker with a good thing? This understated, yet elegant, ship is a classic -- and is one of the reasons Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises has amassed such a following for its river itineraries.

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Rhapsody, built snug enough to accommodate locks and low-slung bridges, is trim and fit, and it's pure magic to watch her tie up to town docks in storybook locations like Melk, Austria and Budapest, Hungary. While in port, Rhapsody becomes part of the local scene, giving passengers intimate access to the surroundings in a way that no large ship could.

While Rhapsody is small in scale, accommodating just 140 passengers, its educational enrichment component is nothing short of grand. Here's how it works: Guests are divided into as many as three groups, and each group is assigned a program director, who serves as tour guide, cultural liaison and concierge throughout the duration of the cruise. The "PD's," as they're called, are well-equipped and, because they are from the region -- on our recent 10-night cruisetour of Old World Prague and the Danube, one PD was from Romania, the other from Bulgaria -- they often share personal observations that add texture to the tour experiences. Of course, there are also optional shore excursions with local guides, along with a number of "highlights" tours that are included in the cost of the fare.

On large ships, crew can be somewhat anonymous. Not so on Rhapsody. With just 34 crewmembers, passengers get to know them by name and by personality. If nothing else, the hilarious crew show toward the end of each cruise is worth the price of the ticket. Rhapsody does close to 40 cruises a year during the European sailing season, starting in March and ending in mid-December. At 10 years old, Rhapsody is a ship that still packs a lot of punch.

Fellow Passengers

Rhapsody's passengers tend to be retirees from the U.S. They're also a loyal bunch. Of the 76 guests on our cruisetour, almost half had taken three or more previous trips with Grand Circle.

Grand Circle River Rhapsody Dress Code

Rhapsody does not have a formal dress code, so personal preference prevails. Overall, passengers tend to dress somewhat casually. Jeans and nice tops are acceptable for nighttime dining. There are no formal nights.

Grand Circle River Rhapsody Gratuity

Crew gratuities are pooled and shared equally. Rhapsody recommends a flat tip of $10 to $12 U.S. per person, per day. Gratuities for the crew may be deposited in a tip box at the reception desk or paid by credit card. It is customary to tip the program director assigned to your group $4 to $6 per person, per day. Tips to the PD's, who are independent contractors, should only be in the form of cash -- U.S. dollars, euros or local currencies.

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Grand Circle River Rhapsody Member Reviews

River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Apr 2019
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!...Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Nov 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,...Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Aug 2017
We bused from Lucerne to Basel where we boarded the River Rhapsody where we were greeted with champagne and a hot towel - nice....Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Dec 2016
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...Read More

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