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Grand Circle Cruise Line Reviews The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide
Grand Circle Travel Reviews Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958
Grand Circle Travel
Grand Circle Travel
Grand Circle Travel is proud of the discovery-rich and value-packed vacations we’ve been offering travelers for more than 55 years. We believe there’s no better way to learn about our trips than by reading what travelers like you have to say about their experiences in unedited and unbiased Grand Circle Travel reviews, such as those displayed below. In them, learn about the gems of Old World Europe on one of Grand Circle Cruise Line’s award-winning River Cruise or Small Ships, during which you’ll enjoy intimate, unique experiences; or witness the breathtaking beauty of Italy’s rolling hills on an enriching Grand Circle Travel Land Tour. Whether enjoying up-close-and-personal discoveries led by our expert, resident Program Directors; connecting with local culture during exclusive Discovery Series events like Home-Hosted visits; or making memories independently during your leisure time, our vacations are the right combination of pacing and discovery for American travelers 50 and older.

Grand Circle Travel Reviews

Average Rating
4.7   4.7 | 647 reviews
590 out of 647 (91%) reviewers would recommend Grand Circle Travel or Grand Circle Cruise Line
Rating Breakdown
5 ★   517
4 ★   75
3 ★   29
2 ★   16
1 ★   10
Rating Summary
Accomodations   4
Food   4
Itinery   5
Trip Leader   5
Value   5
Recent Grand Circle Travel Reviews

Spain & Portugal in Depth

A wonderful surprise tour! The best ever!

5   2 years ago
I had toured Italy, did the Great Rivers of Europe cruise, visited Paris and London, so I had naively thought I had "seen it all" and held no great expectations for Spain. I was totally amazed, impressed and truly excited about this tour. We missed out on the company pretrial of Barcelona, so we "did it on our own." We took the bullet train from Madrid and stayed at the same hotel as GCT folks. But we did not get to see nearly as much as they did. It was a fun two days, but I was glad to join the tour group and have a bus and a guide! Our bus was a new Mercedes with wifi. A fantastic ride and driver. The places we visited were excellent and it is hard to pick a favorite as they were all so different and interesting. Probably my least favorite was the horse ranch, but even it was very interesting as we got to see the inside of the ranch owner's home and enjoyed a very good meal there. The hotel rooms were very nice, but you do have to climb in and out of very tall tubs, which is difficult for short, older folks! The optional tour to Tangier was fantastic! I am so glad that I took advantage of this opportunity to visit Africa! Got to go on a camel ride and mark that off my bucket list! The food and wine was very reasonable, when we had to dine on our own. I learned to enjoy tapas, especially the green peppers! The Valley of the Fallen, the Mosque Cathedral, The Alhambra, Lisbon and Barcelona stand out as the highlights, but I really liked everywhere we went. Our guide, Juanjo, was the best guide ever. He took care of injuries, complaints, lost articles and all of us seniors with all our problems, like a pro. I would not have his job for anything! His sense of humor was great, and I will always remember that "Spain is a civilized country." It closes from 2PM to 5 or 6 PM every day! Really, all in all, this is a great tour that I recommend for anyone who can walk 5 miles a day and climb stairs. And Spain is a great country with lots of wonderful UNESCO sites to visit.
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast

Great Experience-Learned A Lot

5   2 years ago
This was our 4th GCT/OAT trip. It lived up to our expectations and fulfilled its pre-trip description completely. We began with the pre-trip to Venice. Venice is a wonderful city with great old architecture and the famous canals. The city is very busy, but amazingly clean. We often went out on our own early in the AM and late at night for photographs and felt completely safe walking anywhere. Our guide, Stefania, was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The main part of the trip began in Tuscany. The "home base" for this week was Chiancino. This is a quaint, quiet town, but does seem a bit out of the way. The Hotel Patria is a well kept facility with friendly staff. While Chiancino is a bit isolated, it provides for quiet evenings with friends and relatively easy access to the various locations throughout Tuscany visited during the week. The day trips to Florence, Pienza, Siena, Assisi were good. To be completely objective, I would have wanted another day in Florence. There is just too much to experience than the time allotted provided. Having to choose between 2 world class museums could be avoided by having another day and including both. In a few of the day trips the local guides, while filled with wonderful knowledge, seemed to be rushed. The experience was still outstanding, so maybe the rushed feeling was a personal thing as I desired more time for picture taking. I must add that the Etruscan Museum is suburb and should not be missed. The second week of the "standard trip" was spent in Sorrento. This is a busy town with a lot to offer. The restaurants are good and, if you are into shopping, the opportunities are everywhere. We skipped the cooking class and took advantage of the time to visit the "old fishing harbor". This is a bit of a walk away from the center of town, but well worth it if you like colorful fishing boats and picturesque docks. The day trips to Hercolanum and the Naples Archeological Museum was a highlight of the entire trip. Pompeii was equally great, but much more crowded. Both locations could have had more time allotted. Our local guide, Mario was super. He is obviously an educated archeologist with a passion for teaching. He was a tremendous asset for our group. The Amalfi Coast day trips were fun. The optional boat trip was, again, well worth the time. The optional trip to Capri was definitely something that must be experienced, but Capri itself is a bit touristy. For us, the hotel in Sorrento, the Cesare Augusto, was good. The first two days there was plumbing noise when the shower was run, but this settled down. Our room was spacious and comfortable. We must add that our guide, Fernando, was outstanding. His sense of humor and his organizational skills shined. His efforts made the trip a lot of fun. His local knowledge is deep and contributed to the success of the trip.
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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NEW! Bordeaux: Vineyards, Vintages & Chateaux

Paris + Wine Country! What could be better?

5   1 year ago
My husband and I debated which French river trip to take for months. When we finally called for reservations, we still had questions. The helpful agent listened patiently and then recommended we consider this river trip as my husband is not a City Person! She was "right-on" with her advice. I had visited Paris previously so I insisted that we start with the pre-trip. We made a list of all the places we wanted to see, and we actually were able to see a third of them. We ate lovely meals in the neighborhood restaurants near our convenient hotel, Les Jardins du Marais. We recommend both the little restaurant next door, Les Petites Canailles, and the one down the street a few blocks, Centenaire Bistrot. The highlight of our Paris stay was the evening Vivaldi concert we attended at St. Chapelle. I got tickets on line before we left home. We opted for the "cheap seats" in the back to better enjoy the sunset's light pouring through the amazing windows. My husband loved the small towns we visited. La Rochelle was our favorite. We visited the open-air market, the fabulous aquarium, walked the narrow streets, and dined at sidewalk cafes in this small town. Stops in the other ports along the rivers were also pleasant. The lovely wine town of St. Emilion was a favorite, too. The ship was comfortable, the staff congenial, and the food fabulous. Our guide Edward was marvelous! I think that some of the negative points made by other reviewers have arisen because they did not read the description carefully enough. We found the trip to be as "advertised!"
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Romance of the Rhine & Mosel

Our 10th trip with GC/OATs?.never disappointed

5   2 years ago
We had 3 trip Program Directors on the ship and everyone felt they had the best; we KNOW we did?.Tim was great. These guys and gals work 14 hour days 7 days a week making our excursions off the boat so streamlined. The staff is amazing and they too from those in the kitchen preparing these gourmet meals (presentation was outstanding), the very caring waiters to the lovely gal who kept our room impeccable?it was a very memorable holiday.The beds were very comfortable and the room and bath were fine and unlimited towels. If you want to save a little, skip the balcony on the top floor. The footage of the balcony that you probably will never sit on takes away from the size of your cabin. There is plenty of seating on the outside upper decks if you want to be outside. Be careful not to select a room on the ship near the lobby?..you could have your view blocked. When booking, be specific about your room location. Also, now, GC is so much MORE accommodating with N/S flights--we are on the west coast and I won't go if I have to stop in Chic or NY. The Air Dept at GC really is great. You can view on-line EXACTLY where your room is located; most are all perfect. The Captain and his crew were all so personable; after 2 weeks we hated to see the cruise come to an end. After dinner each night, returning to our room, we have all the printed data for the next day awaiting us on our pillow?including the menu for lunch and dinner (always a choice of 3 entries) plus a buffet?included wine at lunch and dinner though {we only indulged at dinner.} Each morning we would take a local morning tour of the city or town with our Program Director where we were docked. In the afternoon, optional $ tours were available - we never missed one - a lot of care is put into selecting what we would enjoy seeing in the area?.don't miss the optionals. [so reasonably priced compared to BIG CRUISE ship shore excursions] Entertainment was always provided after dinner in the lounge; very comfortable leather couches and chairs?..a nice place to read or listen to your IPOD or visit at the bar with fellow travelers or just watch the world go by. Always extra snacks provided and huge piles of cookies and ice cream with all the toppings. Try to drop a few pounds before the cruise so you can indulge. There is a gym and sauna and hot tub and stretching classes each morning along with a lovely lady who provides massages. We tried to dine with different travelers at each meal; so much fun hearing of others travel adventures. We are in our early 70s and remember our first cruise when all the music was from BIG BANDS?.well, I want to tell you they have added 50s and 60s music now too. We know it's time to stop cruising when they are playing RAP. We met some wonderful fellow travelers as we always do and plan to reconnect with a lovely couple this winter while we are in San Diego. We have made friends for life at Grand Circle and OAT travels. Like the competitor river cruises (who advertises heavily on TV-you get more for your buck with Grand Circle) having cruised with the other big boys in the river cruise companies. We enjoyed passing the beautiful vineyards for miles and the many gorgeous castles and cathedrals. Your camera will have lots of fun. The only downside is the long flight and time change; we always say this is the last time we are going to fly for 10 hours?..then recovering from the flight, we find ourselves booking another trip. We are the lucky Americans that can visit and revisit our roots -since this is where our ancestors came from. Hope this little information just off the top of my head gives you an idea of what to expect. Also, these kids on the ship come from very poor countries (Olesia-Ukraine and Yavi) and granted they are lucky to have these job but they work for every dime. They depend greatly on the generosity of your gratuities; compared to the rest of the world we are the elite. Hate to see at the end of a trip how some cruisers start complaining about little things to justify not being a generous American tipper. Many feel the cost of the trip is enough?..but try to be generous. Any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at ILOVESEQUIM@YAHOO.COM; more than happy to share my travel experiences.
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Spain & Portugal in Depth

A Taste of Spain and Portugal

5   2 years ago
Saw magnificient palaces, churches, art galleries, and monuments. Enjoyed several surprise adventures and tastings with a wonderful program director. Entertained with flamingo dancing and visits to horse and bull breeding ranches. Learned a lot about the history of Spain and Portugal, events in 20th century, and current events. Tasted local cuisine and enjoyed shopping for area specialities (mosaic tiles, almond candies, cork accessories). Highlights included: Royal Palace, Prado and Thyssien art galleries (on our own) in Madrid, day trips to Toledo and amazing Ronda, Granada's Al Hambra, Cordorba's Cathedral, beautiful Seville, and intriguing Lisbon. Enjoyed the beauty and warmth of Torremolinos and a day trip to Mijas (on our own).
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Review   1


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Treasures of the Aegean: Greek Island Cruise, Athens & Istanbul

From ancient civilizations to crystal waters

5   2 years ago
Treasures of the Aegean is, truly, a treasure, made more so by our guide, Maria. Her expertise, caring and love of her country made the journey special from beginning to end. Crystal waters and beauty of the Greek Isles will stay with us. Starting in Istanbul and ending in Meteora & Athens, was an Alpha & Omega experience. Hotels and food throughout the journey were near "excellent."
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Holland & Belgium in Springtime

Ship full of germs

3   2 years ago
I have been on five previous cruises and have never seen a ship so full of sick people. The HVAC system was blowing hot air on us in the lounge and dining area and cold air the next night. The hand sanitizer on the left side was not working. I mentioned both of those conditions to Eva, who was in charge of the ship, and was told how to better use the sanitizer. I got sick the last three days of the cruise and spent the last day in bed. Since we were parked so close to the train station, I could not hire a Taxi to carry me and my baggage to my next destination. So it took me 30 minutes to walk and find the right platform to go to Delft. I then spent the next 3 days in bed in Delft recovering. I then went back to Amsterdam for five days still feeling like I had no energy with a terrible chest cough. I worked so hard to stay healthy on the ship; but when everyone at my table was sick, and everyone was coughing without covering their mouths, I had no chance to stay healthy. I heard that a doctor was called on board because of the many sick people. I have never eaten in such cramped quarters on any of my 10 trips to Europe, Russia, and Greece. I seriously considered not traveling with Grand Circle until they do something to help that situation. Eva was wonderful, friendly, and welcoming as she had remembered me from a cruise the previous year as well as a few other staff who also remembered me. Marlika, our tour guide, was outstanding in helping me coordinate the rest of my journey. I loved the outing where we got to pick our own Tulips and bring them back to our room to bloom. The food was delicious and the staff was outstanding. I was traveling solo; and I think they made more of an effort to be friendly. Yes, the scenery wasn't as dramatic as some other trips; but I expected that and came for the fishing villages and the Tulips.
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Myself

NEW! Bordeaux: Vineyards, Vintages & Chateaux

Not up to GCT's usual level

3   2 years ago
The overall problem with this trip is sameness -- sailing up and down the same, non-scenic stretch of water, visiting yet another winery to look at big vats in a cellar, etc. Maybe it's because I've taken a lot of GCT river trips, but I think they've run out of interesting places to visit and creative things to do, and are now trying to craft new trips. Also, the lower-level rooms on the river Chanson are ridiculously small.
✘ No, I do not recommend this trip.
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NEW! Bordeaux: Vineyards, Vintages & Chateaux

Bordeaux

5   2 years ago
Trip itinerary is well planned with something for everyone. Enjoyed the variety of chateaus that we visited. Small villages during the river cruise were charming. Wine tasting was educational and enjoyable. Our first time in this part of France and the countryside is beautiful. The M/S Chanson is a beautiful ship with an attentive, well trained staff. The cabins on the lower level are not large but are well planned with ample storage. Main difference between the two decks is that there is a small sofa in the upper deck cabins and the upper deck has windows versus portholes. I would book the lower level again since we were seldom in the cabin except to sleep. A little disappointed that the 'house wine' served at meals on the ship is not local to the region. Weather was cold and wet for entire trip; so if you plan to travel in March, go prepared for the cold side of the published "average" temperatures. Our program director, Heloise, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She is a real asset to Grand Circle Cruise Line.
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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Old World Prague & the Blue Danube

One of our best vacation trips! Highly recommend!

5   2 years ago
This is our first time with GCT and first river cruise. Plus features include: Attentiveness of the program director; Availability of alternative walking tours; entertainment by crew members; included city tours; included transfers. Suggestions: provide water on the bus ( or at least sell for a small price); prepare travelers regarding coins for bathrooms
✔ Yes, I recommend this trip.
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