My absolute favorite vacation trip of my lifetime was the European River cruise I took with Grand Circle from Paris to Nice, France. The official name is 2017 Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d’Azur. I am not the only one who loved it. Also, TripAdvisor rates it five stars, and they won the Conde Nast Traveler Best Cruise award many times plus Cruise Critic.com lists it as the Best Cruise for 2017.
It was a pleasure from the super-cool French flight from NYC to Paris on Air France to the farewell party on the Parisian river The Seine, toasting French Champagne while the Eifel tower sparkled overhead. Superb!
Cruise travel is ideal for people, like me, who want to relax and let others do the planning. Grand Circle has the right balance of done-for-you tours and free time to explore independel7y. While I have traveled extensively, this was my husband’s first trip to Europe. Understandably he was a bit apprehensive going to a foreign language speaking country. Well, with Grand Circle he was guided every step of the way, and he appreciated it and also agreed it was the best vacation we have ever taken.
Expert program directors are what makes Grand Circle Cruises the best. Since you are assigned to a director and are one of a small group of about 25 passengers you get personalized attention from these friendly and very knowledgeable travel experts, who become friends by the end of the cruise.
Cruise Summary Grand Circle website – GCT.com:
“Come marvel at the lights of Paris, the capital of romance … then explore France by River Cruise Tour, where you’ll sail throughout the French countryside aboard one of Grand Circle’s private French river cruisers—which offer a more intimate cruising experience, with a maximum of just 46 American travelers. Along the way, you’ll discover the lovely landscapes and enchanting villages that inspired the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries … revel in picturesque scenery, like gently sloping hills and vineyards that sustain one of the greatest wine industries in the world, and visit ornate papal palaces, Gothic cathedrals, medieval fortifications, and ancient Roman ruins … Finally, we’ve added an extra night in the Cote d’Azur’s premier Riviera hotspot—elegant Nice—at no additional cost. You’ll have more time to explore the city’s golden sands and opulent casinos without additional costs. In fact, we’ve reduced prices $200-$300 per person on most 2017 departures.”
Reviews from other Cruisers
“We returned last week from our GCT River Cruise from Burgundy to the Cote d’Azur. I guess calling it a river cruise is going a bit too far as we only had a very few hours of actual cruising (Macon to Lyon). Our group of 46 enthusiastic travelers were done in my Mother Nature as the Rhone River rose to levels that prohibited our lovely M. S. Chardonnay from traversing the river. This untimely event was met head on by the entire crew and our very capable Tour Director, Audrey, as they immediately put “Plan B” into effect. As it turns out, our sister ship, the M. S Provence was facing the same problem as she lay docked in Arles. Arrangements were made to bus our group to Arles to board the Provence while their passengers were bussed north to venture aboard the Chardonnay. Additionally, buses were arranged to insure that none of the cities and villages on the scheduled tour would be missed. As compensation, all ship-board tours were given free of charge to all passengers. It was quite an undertaking for all concerned but somehow, the GCT folks made it all work. In reviewing both ships I would say that the accommodations on both were excellent and some of us preferred the Chardonnay while other liked the Provence. Both crews did an excellent job (we had 3 days on the Chardonnay and 4 days on the Provence) but I would have to give a slight edge to the staff of the Chardonnay. Each day brought new adventures as we bused to Beaune, Avignon, Viviers, the very lovely, magical town of Oingt, Lyon, the Camargue, Le Baux en Provence, Arles and the picturesque city of Nice. The weather cooperated nicely and we had plenty of sunshine with only 3 hours of rain the entire trip. It is hard to single out any specific visits as being the best, from the beauty and majesty of Paris to the bucolic autumn scenes throughout the French country-side. Each day was special and won’t soon be forgotten. Meals were all wonderful and the kitchen staff of both ships did a spectacular job of providing a first-class dining experience while making special accommodations for those with dietary requirements. There was on-board entertainment and frequent drink specials at the bar. The staterooms were roomier than I had anticipated with plenty of drawer space for clothes (a unique idea that the Novatel Tour Eiffel Hotel might want to copy) Audrey was both entertaining and informative and her pride in her country quite obvious as she provided background info on all of the places we visited. She would often purchase local candies while we were touring and share them with the passengers when the bus departed. For my wife and I, this was our first River Cruise. I can imagine that other trip providers might do a fine job on their tours but it is not likely that any of them do a better job than Grand Circle. It was an awesome and memorable two weeks. Merci Beaucoup, GCT.
Most memorable moment Watching the Eiffel Tower “twinkle” on the hour from a boat on the Seine River and the scenic beauty of the town of Oingt.”