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FuelScience

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We've just scheduled our 10th river cruise and our first with Grand Circle. There doesn't seem to be a Grand Circle focused thread, so I'm starting this one. I don't see a lot of GCT cruisers on the Forum, but maybe this tread will encourage more postings and reviews.

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I get their catalogs, and they appear to be reasonably priced and solo friendly.  I'll be following this thread.  Thank you for starting it.

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I’ve done 5 river cruises with GCT ( and two with Uniworld).  Do you have any particular questions?  I’ve not done the cruise you’re booked on, though.

Edited by Barrheadlass

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14 hours ago, Barrheadlass said:

I’ve done 5 river cruises with GCT ( and two with Uniworld).  Do you have any particular questions?  I’ve not done the cruise you’re booked on, though.

Thanks. I don't have questions right now, but I suspect that I'll have some as the departure date approaches.

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We are regular GCT river cruisers and have done most of their European river cruises. Our only other river cruise was with Vantage. More recently we have done several of the small ship ocean/coastal cruises of their other brand, OAT. 

 

Both GCT & OAT have discussion forums on their website. Unfortunately few of those posters visit here. They certainly don't have a large footprint in the river cruise market.

 

What I enjoy is their touring model. They use onboard program directors/tour leaders who each have a smaller group for the entire cruise as well as any hotel stay. They also utilize local guides as it seems all the other lines do. The PDs/TLs offer additional "learning and discovery" activities on shore. Also, as their cruises tend to be a longer duration for the same distance they overnight in a few cities which provides additional opportunities to explore.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, CPT Trips said:

What I enjoy is their touring model. They use onboard program directors/tour leaders who each have a smaller group for the entire cruise as well as any hotel stay. They also utilize local guides as it seems all the other lines do. The PDs/TLs offer additional "learning and discovery" activities on shore. Also, as their cruises tend to be a longer duration for the same distance they overnight in a few cities which provides additional opportunities to explore.

 

 

I was attracted to GCT for these very reasons. Their Seine cruise is a one-way, 11-night cruise instead of the typical 7-night Paris-to-Paris itinerary. Also, the ship docks in Honfleur rather than busing passengers there. We're doing a pre-cruise extension in the Loire Valley, and it's our understanding that the PD accompanying us on that extension will be our PD for the entire cruise.

 

You mentioned the Forums on the GCT site. They don't seem to be very active. Interestingly there are only 6 reviews of our cruise on CruiseCritic, whereas there are over 500 reviews of the same cruise on GCT's web site.

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Posted (edited)

IN all likelihood, the PD on the pre will be your PD on the rest of the trip. The only occasion we experienced anything different was when there were more people on the pre trip than there will be in each of the groups on the ship. If the pre trip group is smaller, then people will probably be added once the main trip starts. They seem to like similarly sized groups.

 

 

Edited by CPT Trips

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On 10/1/2019 at 1:39 PM, FuelScience said:

I was attracted to GCT for these very reasons. Their Seine cruise is a one-way, 11-night cruise instead of the typical 7-night Paris-to-Paris itinerary. Also, the ship docks in Honfleur rather than busing passengers there. 

 

Another plus for us on our GCT Seine cruise was that the ship docked right in Paris, rather than outside of town as a few other lines did.  Although the docking site could change,  ours was two metro stops north (?I think) of the Eiffel Tower stop, with just a short walk from the ship to the Metro.  So close that we walked back to the ship along the Seine from the tower.  (Yes, we visited- we're true tourists!).  

 

We took the optional excursion to Versailles, and I took the optional excursion to see the Bayeux  tapestry while DH (CPT Trips) enjoyed a lunch of mussels in Honfleur.  We recommend both.  

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I’m currently on GCTs Rhine and Moselle presidents cruise (my 14th).  I had a talk with the president of GCCL about the companies selling their boats (two more sold this year).  He replied the will now have only three ships doing the Rhine, Moselle and Danube cruises plus the two ships in France.  With all the competition, they feel they can put out a better product with fewer ships.  Personally, I’ve had no problems with their product for the last 18 years.

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45 minutes ago, rogerdawhip said:

I’m currently on GCTs Rhine and Moselle presidents cruise (my 14th).  I had a talk with the president of GCCL about the companies selling their boats (two more sold this year).  He replied the will now have only three ships doing the Rhine, Moselle and Danube cruises plus the two ships in France.  With all the competition, they feel they can put out a better product with fewer ships.  Personally, I’ve had no problems with their product for the last 18 years.

 

It looks like their remaining ships are:

 

  • MS Bizet on the Seine (built 2002) 120 passengers
  • River Chanson on the Rhone (built 2001) 86 passengers
  • River Aria (built 2001) 162 passengers
  • River Adagio (built 2003) 162 passengers
  • River Harmony (built 1999) 140 passengers

Given the age of the ships, they should be close to being fully depreciated. This plus the fact that GCT doesn't use travel agents should make them a low cost operator. Is your ship showing it's age? How well has it been maintained?

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I was on the Harmony and it looked brand new.  The captain said the engines, generator, and other mechanical facilities were replaced and/or upgraded two years ago.

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Hi!  Going on the Oct. 20 Great Rivers of Europe GCT trip beginning in Vienna. Have never been in GCT before, but have been on several Overseas Adventure Travel land trips. I agree very little reviews etc. on either CC or the GCT website (which is pretty lame in general as far S traveler participation. Looking forward to the trip. Have only done one other riverboat trip (Uniworld B to B in France). Not expecting great luxury on this trip but interesting sounding itineraries and a good value for money. 

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That itinerary was our very first river cruise. Loved it and did all theIr European River itineraries since then. 

Not luxe physically, but service is top notch. Crew, particularly waitstaff, will know your name and your preferences in very short order.

One difference you'll notice is that the groups are larger than on OAT trips. Basic things like loading and unloading bus will take longer.

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On 10/15/2019 at 1:20 AM, CPT Trips said:

That itinerary was our very first river cruise. Loved it and did all theIr European River itineraries since then. 

Not luxe physically, but service is top notch. Crew, particularly waitstaff, will know your name and your preferences in very short order.

One difference you'll notice is that the groups are larger than on OAT trips. Basic things like loading and unloading bus will take longer.

Thanks for info 

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On River Aria now. Having a great time. No, not deluxe but great service and nice people. We have been lucky with weather and no interruptions with low water levels. 

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We've done five European river cruises with GCT, plus a recent Great Britain bus tour with them.  All of the trips have been great, with excellent program directors, nice accommodations, great people all around.  And, great prices.  For comparison we did one Viking trip on the Elbe, which of course, turned into a bus trip although we stayed on two identical Viking ships docked on the Elbe (Dresden and Wittenberg).  The difference in how we were treated by the two companies when we need to solve problems was like night and day.  The folks at GCT have their act together, while Viking's customer relations stunk.

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I totally agree. Wonderful service and nice people on the boat. We had a great time. And there was an elderly gentleman who was trying to take this same itinerary for the third time. Both other times the river level didn’t cooperate. he said that Grand Circle treated him really well in compensation both times.

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WE are taking the the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube in December.  We have taken more than a few trips with GCT and OAT, river cruises. Small ship adventures Including Antartica were great.  Land trips to Spain and Australia.  The Program Directors were

knowledgeable and professional in all cases. And the ships staff was great.

 

 

 

 

 

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