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Our Top 10: River Cruises & Small Ship Adventures

Posted on 5/30/2017 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

Delve into history and take in the sights of Europe’s waterways aboard one of our award-winning river ships.

There’s a timeless allure to traveling by ship—relaxing on deck and watching the world go by, feeling the wind in your hair, greeting the day in a new port after cruising overnight. The journey is truly part of the destination. And if your idea of cruising only involves giant mega-liners that carry thousands of passengers, then you haven’t heard of small ship or river cruising.

On our Small Ship Adventures, operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line, our ocean-cruising ships carry just 24 to 98 travelers, and we explore on land in small groups of no more than 25—each with a dedicated local Trip Experience Leader. On our River Cruises, we cruise aboard 42- to 162-passenger ships, and explore on land in groups of no more than 47—each one led by an expert, local Program Director, which is something you won’t find with other river cruise lines.

In fact, our Trip Experience Leaders and Program Directors help set us apart because of the experience they deliver in every stop along the way. While we’re proud of our ships—and Condé Nast Traveler ranked our entire fleet among the “Top 100 Cruise Ships in the World”—we’re not about spas, casinos, or glitzy amenities. We’re about authentic, immersive cultural discoveries. And whether you prefer to travel by river or sea, that’s what you can expect on any of our Top 10 Small Ship Adventures & River Cruises.

1. The Great Rivers of Europe16-day River Cruise

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 162-PASSENGER SHIPS
The Netherlands: Amsterdam • Germany: Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Heidelberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau • Austria: Melk, Vienna

Venture through history along the scenic Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, where medieval architecture beckons from every riverbank ... time-honored wine-making traditions abound at hillside vineyards ... and landscapes seem to spring from the canvases of centuries-old masterworks. Journey on this European River Cruise—our most popular trip for more than a decade—through the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, uncovering local cultures along the way both onboard and off.

2. Romance of the Rhine & Mosel16-day River Cruise

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140-PASSENGER SHIPS
Belgium: Antwerp • The Netherlands: Willemstad, Kinderdijk • Germany: Bonn, Trier, Bernkastel, Boppard, Speyer • France: Strasbourg • Switzerland: Basel

On this comprehensive itinerary, take in the fascinating history and charming scenery of five European countries. Delight in the iconic blooms and windmills of the Netherlands … savor Belgium's diverse Old-World traditions … enjoy Rhineland vintages in Germany ... discover a different side of France in Strasbourg ... and explore Basel, one of Switzerland's most culturally rich cities.

3. Eastern Europe to the Black Sea13-day River Cruise Tour

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 162-PASSENGER SHIPS
Hungary: Budapest • Croatia: Batina, Osijek, Vukovar • Serbia: Novi Sad, Belgrade • Bulgaria: Vidin, Ruse • Romania: Constanta, Bucharest

Explore five Eastern European nations—Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania—on this Danube to the Black Sea cruise. For many Americans, life beyond the former Iron Curtain was long shrouded in mystery. But today, young democratic nations have opened their arms to Western visitors. Revel in regal Budapest, “Queen of the Danube,” and witness the lower Danube’s stunning gorges and mighty Iron Gates as you cruise continuously to the Black Sea.

4. The Seine: Paris to Normandy13-day River Cruise

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 120-PASSENGER M/S BIZET
Paris • Conflans • Vernon • Giverny • Les Andelys • Rouen • Normandy • Honfleur

Explore Paris, the “City of Light,” witnessing the monuments, cathedrals, and elegant avenues made famous in film and photographs. Then, journey though the heartland of France, docking to explore “Van Gogh Country” in Conflans; Rouen, the city made famous by Joan of Arc; and more. Thought-provoking remembrances await you as journey to the beaches of Normandy, the World War II Peace Memorial Museum, and the American Military Cemetery.

5. Romantic Blue Danube: Budapest to Prague15-day River Cruise Tour

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 162-PASSENGER SHIPS
Hungary: Budapest • Slovakia: Bratislava • Austria: Vienna, Krems • Czech Republic: Cesky Krumlov, Prague

Discover the storied capital cities of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and the Czech Republic on this comprehensive four-country journey—new and enhanced for 2018 departures. Each former Imperial City of the Austro-Hungarian Empire offers its own unique blend of late 19th-century elegance and modern appeal. Witness the detailed Art Nouveau architecture of Budapest … explore Bratislava’s quirky art scene … taste the local flavors of Vienna’s famed Naschmarkt ... and stroll along the fairytale streets of Old World Prague.

6. Grand Baltic Sea Voyage14-day Small Ship Adventure

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 89-PASSENGER M/V CLIO
Denmark: Copenhagen, Ronne • Poland: Gdansk • Sweden: Visby, Stockholm • Latvia: Riga • Estonia: Tallinn • Russia: St. Petersburg • Finland: Helsinki

Experience the countries of Scandinavia, a region filled with ice-capped waters, wind-blown beaches, bucolic farmlands, and acre upon acre of lush, verdant forestry. Then get a taste of Polish life before uncovering the turrets, spires, and cobbled streets of the Baltic states, which have reemerged as independent countries after decades of Soviet occupation. Then glide to St. Petersburg, the glorious port city founded by Peter the Great in the early 18th century.

7. Maritime Jewels of the British Isles & Ireland14-day Small Ship Adventure

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 98-PASSENGER M/V CORINTHIAN
England: London, Tresco • Wales: Fishguard, Caernarfon • Ireland: Dublin • Northern Ireland: Belfast • Scotland: Barra, Stornoway, Stromness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh

On this adventure, you’ll discover the Isles of Scilly, then follow the coast of Wales to explore fishing villages and mighty castles. Witness Dublin’s Book of Kells, and get to know Scotland, sailing from the remote waters of the Hebrides to the far-flung shores of the Orkney archipelago and onward to Aberdeen and Edinburgh. As you meet local people and learn about traditional culture, you’ll discover that the sun never sets on the charms of these isles.

8. Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast & Greece16-day Small Ship Adventure

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 50-PASSENGER M/V ATHENA
Croatia: Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Split, Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Gromaca • Montenegro: Kotor, Perast • Albania: Butrint, Saranda • Greece: Corfu, Delphi, Athens

Witness turquoise lakes linked by waterfalls, and whitewashed villages perched on sunbaked cliffs. Soak up the medieval beauty of Dubrovnik. Walk in an emperor’s footsteps in Split. Journey to the island that gave Marco Polo his wanderlust. And savor a warm welcome from locals who extend to us a taste of legendary Croatian hospitality. A visit to ancient Delphi and Athens rounds out your discovery on this singular journey of epic beauty.

9. Holland & Belgium in Springtime12-day River Cruise

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 164-PASSENGER SHIPS
Belgium: Antwerp, Ghent • The Netherlands: Veere, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Enkhuizen, Amsterdam

Celebrate the vivid—albeit fleeting—beauty, and renewed energy of the season on this enchanting Belgium and Holland River Cruise. Marvel at over 70 acres of colorful flowers as you walk along the manicured lanes of the world-famous Keukenhof Flower Park, only open from mid-March until mid-May. Delve into the region’s extensive World War II history in cities like Arnhem, the Netherlands, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kinderdijk Windmills.

10. Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d’Azur12-day River Cruise Tour

ABOARD THE PRIVATELY OWNED 46-PASSENGER M/S PROVENCE
Paris • Lyon • Viviers • Avignon • Arles • Nice

Marvel at the lights of Paris, and cruise through gently sloping hills and vineyards. Along the way, you'll witness the lovely landscapes and enchanting villages that inspired the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Get close to ancient history in Vienne—a city known for its impressive Roman amphitheater and Corinthian columns. View ornate papal palaces, Gothic cathedrals, and medieval fortifications. And, mingle with the jet set in Nice on the Cote d'Azur.



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