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My wife and I are going to be on "The Great Rivers of Europe" cruise on Oct. 30. Has anyone taken a cruise with this company? If so what was your experience. Also are their dinners informal, or do they have formal nights.


Thank You

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My Mother and I did the GCT Christmas Markets on the Rhine last December with them. It was wonderful! Totally different experience than a large ship cruise, so be prepared for some changes. Not bad, just different. GCT markets themself to the Americans so that makes it much easier. Also be prepared that this will be a much older and experienced group traveling on the river cruises. At age 40 I was by far the youngest person on board other than crew members. I would guess the average age to be closer to 65. I was somewhat prepared for this but not prepared for all the grumpy old people! With only about 115 passengers it wasn't as easy to get away from the grumpy ones as it would be on the larger ships. However, you learned who they were quickly and just stayed out of their way!


Meals were a bit of a problem for me as I am a bit of a picky eater. Breakfast was great as there was always a good selection from cereal, eggs, fruit, chesse etc plus they had an omlet station set up. Lunches too were okay. Dinner on the other hand was an issue. They usually had only 2, sometimes 3 choices. If there was a third choice it was usually vegetarian. One of the two choices was always some sort of seafood, which I don't care for. The last choice was usually a red meat of some sort, but lots of times it would be duck, phesant, lamb, that sort of thing. See, I'm more of a beef and potatos type of gal, so I had some issues. But I didn't starve. Their version of a cruise director figured out that I wasn't into the meals so much and made arrangements that I could order a steak, hamburger or chicken any time I wanted. They did go out of their way to make sure we were happy. There were a few nights where we stayed in town on our own for dinner to experince something different too.


Dress code on our trip was very relaxed. It was pretty cold so lots of warmup type outfits for the gals, lots of Christmas sweaters that sort of thing. Jeans were totally acceptable in the dining room, even at dinner! gasp! Only one night, captains dinner, that a few got a little more dressed up for. Saw a few sport coats brought out, but nothing like you see on a big ship.


If you are used to cruising on the large ships it's going to be a different experience for you but if you go into this with an open mind and not trying to compare everything you will have a good time. I am ready to go again but my husband isn't interested in the older crowd, so will have to convince my Mom to go again. Luckily, that won't be too hard!


If you have any other questions I can help with, just let me know.


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We took this same cruise in July and had a wonderful time. It was our 4th trip with Grand Circle and we have never had a complaint. (Yes, you will find some complaints on this board). Dress for dinner is very casual. A river cruise is very different from cruising on the big ships, but we enjoy the smaller crowds and the more relaxed itineraries. You will not find casinos or lavish nightly entertainment. However, there is some sort of local entertainment most nights. Yes, you can bring liquor or wine on board. You are not supposed to bring your own drinks into the lounge area ( though some people did). If you have any further questions, I will be happy to answer.

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While I never tried to bring liquor on board, I certainly brought just about everything else with no problems. Started with a 6 pack of diet coke and would bring a can every morning to breakfast as that is my way of getting caffine since I'm not a coffee drinker. Our favorite waiter started bringing me a glass of diet coke after a few days. We also had gone thru some farmer markets and brought back cheese, stuffed olives and that sort of thing. Had our own cocktail parties in the afternoon in the lounge and there wasn't a problem with that either other than a few passengers being jealous they weren't invited. If you are the type that needs a midnight snack be sure to bring something with you. After dinner there isn't anything else offered to eat. The lounge had a full bar and always had coffee and hot chocolate there to help your self. In the afternoons there would be some cookies out and almost always saw some fruit.

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Two years ago I took this same trip with GCT, about the same time of year. We were on the Concerto. It was one of my very favorite trips. Everything about this trip was enjoyable, and we had probably the best program director ever. Of the 110 passengers aboard I can only recall 2 or 3 grumpy old folks. Oh wait a minute....I'm probably "old folks"....but I'm surely not grumpy. A lot is written about meals........try to be flexible. Dinner selections are beautifully presented, but limited, but alternatives can be worked out. The buffet lunches are very good, and the soups are wonderful. I personally never cared for the way the eggs were prepared, but didn't get worked up over it.....there was always oatmeal, and fruit and pastries. If you feel a need to snack before bed, explore the bakeries and shops ashore and bring back something wonderful and different. Don't get stressed over clothes......very few men wore a jacket and that leaves more room in the luggage for purchases. Most nights we returned from touring just before dinner, and only freshened up. For the Captain's dinner, men wore dress shirt & tie or nice sweater, and ladies wore nice sweater or top with nice slacks. More importantly, be prepared for cold weather.....warm jacket, gloves, hat/ear muffs. I was very happy to have "cuddle duds" to wear on several cold days. We also experienced snow, so I would suggest a pair of shoes with a good tread....I did a lot of slipping and sliding. Our trip started on Nov. 4.....so you could possible experience the same cold weather. This in no way hampered our trip. We loved all the ports, walking tours, and dinners at local restaurants that had been included. Rooms are small, but not "too" small, with plenty of storage. The beds do pull down from wall, but were very comfortable. Local entertainment came aboard at various stops, and were very enjoyable. Unlike an ocean cruise, the ship is the vehicle, not the destination.....and the destinations are wonderful. One thing other than warm clothes that I feel is of utmost importance that few people mention is get travel insurance to not only cover flight or lost luggage, but medical evacuation. Worth the investment if ever needed. There are some negative comments about GCT on this board, but also many positive comments. We are taking our 2nd GCT trip on Oct 1., doing Budapest to the Black Sea with pre and post trips. Enjoy your trip!



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We did the Great Rivers of Europe cruise with GCT two years ago. It was in July, so you will be experiencing cooler weather than we did. In Europe, you have to be prepared for just about anything, weather-wise, any time of year.

With us, the first week was cold and rainy, and the second hot and dry.


There have been several excellent reviews of this itinerary on this board, several with pictures and day-by-day descriptions.


We loved the trip. My husband was in a wheelchair, but that didn't hamper us. Every stop was an adventure. Every evening a local entertainer or group presented a program, all of them very enjoyable. I didn't miss the casinos or glitzy productions. Dress was very casual, even on dinners like Captain's welcome and farewell. No cocktail dresses or tuxes, resort casual sufficed throughout the cruise.


Last summer we did the Romance of the Rhine and Mosel cruise, also with GCT. I have also done six land tours with GCT and the sister company, OAT, with whom I will be traveling to Peru and Equador next month. From my experiences, I would recommend them highly.


I've never had a problem with the food, I found it very good and plentiful. I asked for, and received a number of their recipes, particularily the cold soups which were outstanding. They were my husband's favorites, and I made them for him at home a number of times. More like a dessert than a soup.

We bought schnapps along the way that we enjoyed before dinner in our cabin or on our balcony. I wouldn't think of taking my own liquor into the lounge, just as I wouldn't on an ocean liner. The cabins are smaller than on an ocean vessel, but cozy and comfortable. We used our balcony, tiny as it was, every day the weather allowed.


River cruising is quite different from ocean cruising. It's hard to compare apples and oranges, but I think I like river cruising more. I felt like I was able to experience Europe much more than would ever be possilbe on an ocean cruise of Europe ports. You are right there, in the middle of it, on both sides of the ship, from quaint small villages to huge cathedrals, campgrounds to castles, something to see every minute. The sights are almost always a block or so walking distance from the ship.


One word of caution. Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared for the cobblestones! Lots of walking.


It's a wonderful trip, of the considerable traveling in over 100 countries, and over two dozen cruises around the globe, I would rank Grand Circles, "Great Rivers of Europe" one of the very best.

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We just returned from 2 weeks on GCT's, Ms. Bizet on the Romance of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. We had a great time even tho the first 5-6 days were cold and rainy. Dress was very casual. Most wore the same outfit they wore for the tours to dinner. For the captains welcome dinner I was surprised to see a few men in sport coats, shirts and ties. Some women were slightly more dressed up....meaning slacks and a top which was a little more dressy. A few wore skirts but nothing really dressy. Most were in very casual clothes, including jeans.


Altho, we were not on the Great River trip, if you have any other questions about GCT ....ask away. mems

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Glad to see MEMS had a good time on the Romance of the Rhine and Mosel. I just returned home last evening from that cruise on the MS Debussey. We too, had rain the first 3 days, but after that beautiful weather. I did get to wave at MEMS as we docked at Trier as they were about to leave. We were doing the sime itinerary but going in the opposite direction.

Going back to the question..... Great Rivers of Europe. I did that one a couple of years ago and last year did the Budapest to the Black Sea. The Great Rivers is the best. The others are good, don't get me wrong, but the itineray on the Great Rivers is so good. The Romance of the R & M is very good also. Going to the Black Sea is just different. Interesting but not as scenic. Would I do it again? No. Would I do the Great Rivers again? Yes!

The people rarely dress up for dinner on GCT ships. Some dress a little better for the Capt's Farewell dinner, but others come in the jeans. So casual is the dress as a rule.

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Hi Carol,

Sorry I was so late waving to you. We overslept that morning. When I looked at the clock I jumped out of bed, dressed and went to the lobby. I saw that there was a something next to us when I went into the lobby never realizing it was Debussy. Dah! Seems you had a nice chat with some of our fellow travelers since our ships were side by side. When I went up to the sun deck I voiced my disappointment that I didn't connect with you and the guy you talked to told me ....."There she is". That's when I waved. We did have a great cruise. One interesting point. Our ship hit something in the middle of the night as we were going to Koblenz and damaged the prop. Captain had to go to "plan B". Ended up doing an unexpected stop in Rotterdam, and going into drydock for repairs. We were still able to do our tours by bus and meeting our ship that afternoon at the next port. Some people stayed on board during the repair but they were without electricity. It was an adventure. GCT really did a fine job and we will cruise with them again. Looking at the south of France on the Rhone. How was your cruise? Did you have a good time? mems

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