Boston Jan 22 2014 /prnewswire/
BOSTON, Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Grand Circle Cruise Line’s entire fleet of privately-owned river and small ships have made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 “Top 100 Cruise Ships in the World” listing, reported CEO Vince Cook today. Two of Grand Circle’s 50-passenger ships, the M/V Artemis and the M/V Arethusa, took the #1 and #2 spots, respectively, in the small ship category, while the M/S Provence and M/S River Allegro ranked 2 and 3 in the river cruise ship category. Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 100 Cruise Ships in the World” listing, the result of the magazine’s annual cruise poll, is available online and will appear in the magazine’s February issue. This is the ninth year in a row that Grand Circle Cruise Line has been included in the prestigious listing.
“We are honored to be recognized by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for our ships and for our guides, nautical and hospitality crew who work so hard to deliver authentic, culturally-rich experiences at an excellent value,” said Cook. “With per diems that typically are $50 to $500 less than other small ship cruise lines, Grand Circle strives to make travel more affordable for more Americans, including solo travelers, and to connect them with local people and communities so that they gain an intimate understanding of the countries they are exploring. Ultimately, our journeys are not about our ships per se but about the cultural experiences travelers have along their way.”
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Access Ports Larger Ships Cant Reach
Our 16- to 210-passenger small ships are ideal for the spirited adventurer, often docking right in the heart of the cities we visitand even accessing off-the-beaten-path ports. As a result, you and your small group of 20-25 maximum spend less time transferring to and from your destination, and more time immersing yourself in local customs. For example, you’ll discover Swedish daily life in Visby, an island that can only be reached by plane or small ship. In the Galápagos, you’ll snorkel among sea turtles from your catamaran. And in the Arctic, youll cruise among beluga whales and tender to shore for immersive interactions with wildlife found nowhere else on earth. Whats more, you can often take advantage of this proximity by going to and from your ship at leisure.
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Review Of Grand Circle Cruise Line
One of the industry’s small cruise companies, GCCL-Grand Circle Cruise Line was established in 1958 as a travel company serving the American Association of Retired People . Since then, Grand Circle has expanded as an independent cruise company offering meaningful experiences for the “over-50’s”. Today GCCL offers a full range of cruise tours and land tour programs. The company’s main business is discounted, extended-stay travel vacation programs in Europe, most occurring during winter in the south of Spain. Grand Circle also provides escorted tours all around the world, with a strong emphasis on enrichment.
In 1985 the company was acquired by Alan and Harriet Lewis. They took operations to higher levels by building on the company’s original base and expanding the destinations and offerings available. A continuing feature has been the right decision to avoid public advertising, focusing on referrals, past guests and direct requests for information. The Program Directors of the company started out as resident hosts, lecturers, and guides and developed over the years into hallmark service for the Grand Circle company. With each new program and destination, regional offices were opened across the globe, providing support and monitoring operations in an area. The new options often came at request or suggestion of past passengers, who form sort of an “alumni” association.
Grand Circle Travel Reviews
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Page 1John of Sarasota, FL Verified Reviewer
We have just returned from our 6th, and probably last, Grand Circle tour. They have provided great service in the past, but this tour was bad. The Tour guide read from a book, did little guiding on site and was mainly interested in getting us back on the bus. It felt like a school tour where I had the least interested parent supervising me. Our buses had problems the drivers were pulled from retirement and were unfamiliar with the vehicles. We ran off the road and almost flipped–and Grand Circle did NOTHING. Poor food, poor guidance and no involvement from the guide or the Company.
16 peopleJoAnne of Sequim, WA Verified Reviewer12 people
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River Cruise Ship Tracker
Ship tracking is based on the AIS technology . Cruise ship tracking is possible because the AIS is mandatory equipment for all commercial ships with gross tonnage 300GT and above.
The equipment’s low cost helped all the AIS tracking enthusiasts to purchase such a receiving system and install it at home. These systems stream the received data to web-based trackers. Live tracking of riverboats is a necessity for the shipowner. It also provides valuable info about the ship’s current location and course, which helps families of the crew and also friends and relatives of the cruise passengers. And frankly speaking – ship tracking is fun!
Grand Circle Priorities: Price And Personalization
Grand Circle Cruise Line owns and operates five river vessels cruising Europe in 2020, ranging from 86 to 162 passengers.
On the smaller vessels, the company is focused on offering a more intimate atmosphere and a more personalized experience for passengers, Grand Circle Cruise Line President Simon Laxton, said in the 2020 European River Cruise Market Report Cruise Industry News.
We have focused our product on Europe, spanning 18 countries and seven rivers, including 17 optional land extensions, Laxton said. We have river cruises that travel through one country, for example, the Rhone from Paris to the Mediterranean, or up to eight countries from the Netherlands to Romania.
Offering a best price guarantee, Grand Circle promises that travelers will not find a lower price, and if they do, they will match it.
We manage every aspect of the journey, from the English-speaking crew to the meals, he added. The ships sail nearly year-round, except for January and February. December features holiday sailings and Christmas markets, while spring cruises in Holland and Belgium highlight the tulip fields in full bloom.
Catering to American passengers 50 years and older, among the features that set Grand Circle apart, said Laxton, are value, with travelers receiving a four-star experience at what he called an unbeatable price for a nearly all-inclusive experience.
In 2019, Grand Circle is expecting to carry approximately 22,000 passengers on its river cruises.
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Grand Circle Cruise Line
Voted the #1 River Ship Cruise Line in Condé Nast Travelers 2016 Readers Choice Awards , Grand Circle Cruise Line is widely known for exceptional value and high-quality experiences around the world. With more than 50 small ships and river ships that we either own or privately charter, we offer river and small ship cruises and cruise tours throughout Europe, as well as Burma, Antarctica, Panama, and beyond.
The Best River Cruises Blend Refined Onboard Accommodations With Exciting Itineraries Along Some Of The Worlds Most Memorable Waterways
After pandemic-related challenges at the beginning of last year, river ships got back to what they do best: exploring inland waterways in Europe, the United States, and select other destinations around the world. Travel + Leisure readers enthusiastically returned, setting out on voyages both classic and new.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in six categories, including river cruising.
The top three in the river cruise lines were very close in their scores. Viking, the world’s largest river cruise company, moved up two spots into the lead position. Tauck, the well-known tour and river-ship operator, retained its No. 2 spot. “The itinerary was thoughtful as well as instructive,” wrote one reader who traveled on the Joy. In the No. 3 spot is Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, with praise that included this rave from one voter who sailed on the : “This was an exceptional cruise. The staff was excellent. I can’t say enough about this cruise line and this ship.”
Find the full list of the best river cruise lines and more on what sets Viking apart below.
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Snake And Columbia River Cruises In The Usa
Columbia and Snake river cruises are among the best options for vacation travel in Northwest USA. The route includes ports in Oregon and Washington states. Itineraries are tailored to maximize daytime cruising travel for optimal viewing of iconic highlights, such as Columbia River Gorge, local museums, forts, wineries. Cruisetour deals on major companies are inclusive of all shore excursions, offered in each port along the route.
Columbia River cruises are operated with either roundtrip from Portland Oregon or one-way itineraries between Portland and Clarkston WA. These voyages offer nearly 1600 km of river travel. The best companies serving the routes are American Cruise Lines and UnCruise Adventures. Their fleets include newbuild riverboat replicas, all-American staff, and crew , first-class onboard enrichment programs .
Generally navigated with big-sized ships , Columbia is the largest river in the USA’s Pacific Northwest. It starts in Rocky Mountains , flows northwest, then south into Washington , then turns west and forms most of the Oregon-Washington borderline, and finally flows into the Pacific Ocean. Columbia River’s length is 2000 km , and its largest tributary has length 1735 km .
The following map shows all Snake and Columbia river cruise ports along the itinerary from Portland to Clarkston.
Privately Owned Or Chartered For Immersive Discoveries
All of the ships in our fleet can navigate narrow passageways and off-the-beaten-path ports, so no matter where you choose to travel, you can expect to feel fully immersed. Our 50-passenger Mediterranean small ships, 89-passenger M/V Clio, and 98-passenger M/V Corinthian are privately owned, which means we manage every aspect of your voyagefrom your crew to your mealsto ensure they meet your expectations on your trip to Europe, Antarctica, or the Middle East. Meanwhile, our chartered vessels in Norway, the Arctic, Patagonia, the Galápagos, and Panama are purpose-built for their environments, so even though your time onboard is shorter on these itineraries, you can expect a tailored experience.
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Grand Circle Cruise Experience
Grand Circle Cruise Line offers a full range of small-ship cruises for the over-50 set.
As with all Grand Circle Cruise Line’s programs, company’s passengers are over 50, in some cases even much more so. The line doesn’t market to families and doesn’t accept kids as passengers. Its guests are generally well traveled, with large percentage repeat passengers and members of their Inner Circle loyalty program, an organization for those who have made 3 or more trips with the line. The majority of passengers are married couples, though clusters of friends sailing together and singles are not unusual. Given Grand Circle’s focus on learning experiences, most of the company’s guests are open-minded and curious, eager to try new things.
Since Grand Circle is an American cruise line and generally does whole-ship trips, the language of the day at all times is the English. The crews, and most especially the company’s Program Directors, are at the very least conversationally fluent. Most of Grand Circle passengers are Americans or American-connected.
Dining is also professionally handled. Depending on the ship, there is a mix of a buffet and served . Though menu options vary, regional and local specialties are always included. Specialty evenings are also offered – for example, an Egyptian buffet – depending on the itinerary.
Choose Viking If You Might Reschedule Your Cruise
A Viking cruise, booked through travel agents, requires a $500 per person deposit and full payment within 90 days of departure. Most promos require full payment when you make your reservation. If you need to reschedule, Viking is the better bet since it has the most ships on Europe’s waterways — 46 and counting — and thus more choices. It also has a more generous cancellation policy than Grand Circle does.
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Watch Video Below And Join Gccl Family
Take a look at the video below and see why you should join us on board our ships in 2022 season!
Our Crew would like to thank you for voting us #2 Small Ship Ocean Cruise Line!
O.A.T. was voted #2 Best Small Ship Ocean Cruise Line in Travel & Leisure annual Worlds Best Awards. This is a big accomplishment for all involved in delivering an excellent Small Ship experience to our travelers. As a special thank you to our travelers, the Small Ship onsite team created the video below.
Watch the video below and listen to GCCL Crew’s messages to our travelers!
Work with the World’s Best!
At Grand Circle, our #1 goal is to deliver our travelers the best travel experience at the best valueto lead as the best cruise line and travel company in the industry.
Were extremely gratified when our travelers and industry experts recognize that commitment, and honor us by giving us award-winning high marks in independent surveys.
Grand Circle Cruise Line makes Times Square billboard!
Grand Circle Danube River Cruise Caters To Both Active And Less Active Passengers
There is a slower paced tour option available for those who feel they cannot keep us with the group. Portable light-weight seats are available for those unable to stand in one spot during long explanations. An electric chair is attached to the stairs on the ship. Electric bikes are available onboard for very easy peddling along some of the most beautiful bike paths in Europe.
There is little that Grand Circle hasnt thought of to accommodate a somewhat older clientele. But for the most part, that older clientele is a feisty group of fun-loving, adventurous travelers who are loathe to slow down.
Worried about needing to swarm around our guide in order to hear what was being said? Check. Each person, however, has his own individual listening device so that you can hear the tour guide as you walk through the cities, even if youre a block away. At this point, we stopped worrying.
The boat passengers are divided into four color-coded groups each led by a program director. Stefan was ours, but all four participate in the ongoing upkeep of the troops. Everyone associated with Grand Circle and the ship is, well, friendly doesnt do them justice: funny, accommodating, out-sized personalities all eager to please and despite my husbands cynicism, I dont think its just because of the tip
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Entertainment Aboard Grand Circles Danube River Cruise Combines Both Learning And Laughter
Ah, the night-time entertainment corny, yes fun, more so. I usually avoid karaoke but here, its just another excuse to laugh yourself silly. Rather than a contest to judge the best singers, it instead intended or not became an exercise in which group sounded the most hilariously awful.
And the crew talent show? Okay, so maybe it looked like a bunch of 10-year-olds in their first school production. Suffice it to say that when the kitchen staff did Swan Lake, it was downhill from there, prompting the ships captain to implore, Whatever happens on board, stays on board! And then there were the horse races. Dont even ask. Lets just say that it involved a lot of shots. So another boring night.
And when we werent laughing, we were learning something. Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, conducted by our Four Musketeers, revealed personal experiences from their teen-age years: how their families were impacted by the Soviet domination of their countries until the end of Communism there in 1989.
Homes confiscated, fortunes lost, food rationed, travel prohibited, spies in communities, labor camps. Their schoolbooks were the same as had been used for generations, and they didnt discover until later how much misinformation they contained. Again eye-opening.
Yes, I know, I promised to tell you all about the magnificent cities we visited. Immersive history, architectural grandeur, every city an open-air museum of stunning edifices spanning multiple centuries. But I lied.
Elbe River Cruises Highlights
- See a lot of the European countryside when you are cruising along an Elbe cruise.
- You can stop at many of the places, get off, and explore the area before getting back onto the ship.
- Do not worry about booking a hotel in any of these places, you stay on the ship.
- Everything is planned out, so you don’t have to check out the many places you need to stop.
- This is an affordable way to see a lot more of the area and the world.
- You can go for an extended period of time, or a shorter one depending on what you want to do for the cruise.
- The ship gives you something else to do while you are setting sail, so it is like having two vacations in one.
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