Grand Circle Cruise on M/S River Melody Romance of the Rhine & Mosel Trip March 2014You might ask why would I be blogging about a trip that we took. Well there wasn’t that much information that we found on Grand Circle Travels or Grand Circle Cruise Line regarding our river cruise trip. We had questions that just weren’t being answered either in material sent from the company or online. We did a lot of internet searches prior to departing. If we were wanting more answers, I can imagine others are wanting some of the same too. So this is one of the reasons why I am posting.
So our questions were basically the following; what food are we going to be served and what was the quality of the food? Are the rooms adequate and are the fold out beds comfortable to sleep on for the length of our trip? Was there enough closet space? Like were we going to be packed in like sardines during our long river Trip? We wondered if the walking tours would be too slow for our style of traveling. Would they be giving out information about the towns we visit? What could we find in each town to do on our own? These were things that we wanted to plan out prior to our trip.
Things that we did know ahead of time were, the general age of a typical traveler on GCT. We knew how much older they were then we were, so we were okay with that. And it didn’t seem like it would be an issue other than maybe the walking tours. During our walking tour this was not an issue. I found that some of the older people could walk as fast as me and sometimes faster than me.
We were able to find at one time the actually sailing times of the ship throughout our trip. This was kind of helpful to figure out how much time would be actually spent at port and sailing to each town.
So to the questions were listed above, here are the answers. The food was amazing; the quality of the food and the service was unbelievable. They put so much thought into the menus and into each dish. The plate presentation is carefully crafted. So what I mean by carefully crafted is they placed a beautifully sculpted round disc of rice on top of the sauce and topped with lettuce greens and gingery scattered herbs dusted across the plate. The food quality was impeccable. This isn’t average restaurant food. Rather this was an adventurous upscale restaurant style food. So much of the food had plenty of taste, taste that complimented each part of the dish. They were not afraid of pushing the envelope on taste. The scale of the food was comparative to the high-end restaurants that we visit here in Minneapolis. As you can see the food is what really blew me away about this cruise, which was my highlight from the whole cruise.
Ok now to talk about the rooms. The rooms were actually pretty big for a cruise ship. Yes, the pictures online used creative camera angles to show more space than what was really there. But the rooms were adequate. There was plenty of storage space in both of the closets. The desk light was very dim and wasn’t very useful, but was a nice place to charge all of our electronic equipment. The bathroom was quite big for a ship bathroom. The shower area was big enough so you could actually bend down and pick up the soap if you dropped it. There is enough room for the two of us to walk around in the bathroom. Yes, maybe quite tight to walk around but the two of you could be in the bathroom at the same time. The beds were actually quite comfy.
Not sure how they were made, but they were actually really comfortable. There was even a way to raise the head of the bed. This was great because I have acid reflux. On the night of the captain’s dinner I found myself having issues so I raised the bed and I was able to sleep the rest of the night.
The only weird item of the storage space was the two small drawers that were next to the sitting area. Once you come back from dinner, the beds were made and that means the bed is pulled down. You’re unable to get to those two small dresser drawers easily. So my hint to you is, pull out your nightgown and whatever else you want to wear the next day and put it in the other cabinet before you go to dinner.
One other thing that we noticed is the floor in the bathroom was quite cold but we were on the bottom level of the ship. The bottom half of the room is below water level, hence the nickname aquarium class. In the morning the floor was quite alarming, so we threw down a hand towel and the bath mat on the floor before walking across it. The other weird thing we noticed about the bathroom was a very high lip on the floor when entering the bathroom. I caught myself tripping on that a number of times for the first 2 or 3 days but after that I became accustomed to it.
Storage space for your suitcases is wonderful. Under the sitting area, you can shove a nice size suitcase under it and a skirt covers this up. This was a great place to hide a suitcase in your room.
When you would come back from dinner each night, you would find two pieces of paper. One is a map of the town that you were going to be visiting the next day. The other paper is a schedule of what was going to be happening for the next day. Your bed will be in the downward position and with the sheets pulled back exposing the pillow and a mint placed on the pillow. Also the TV will be turned on to the channel that shows the features of the boat. This channel shows what the menu is going to be for the next day, the names of the tour guides, how to adjust the bed, crew photos, and other information about the ship.
The map of each town was quite detailed. It listed a couple of places that they recommend to visit. Some of the ports even had a list of some other places to visit with a little bit of the description of each and an address to find each one. These maps would’ve been nice to have seen prior to our trip, to help us get the understanding of each town.
For some of these things on their map, it would’ve been nice to have done just a little bit of research. I would have liked to seen pictures of the places to get a better understanding, prior to visiting these locations. Yes, there was free WiFi, which sometimes you were able to get onto.
There just wasn’t enough time to look at these places online to determine if they were worth your time. To explain about the free WiFi, when the ship sails into areas that have no cell phone coverage you don’t have access to WiFi. If the ship’s main entrance lowers below the metal dock the signal will be blocked too. Best places to get access are the chairs near the lobby 3rd and 2nd floor; and also the lounge area before the ship starts to move. Part of our morning routine was breakfast followed by sitting on chairs in the lobby to read our emails. Checking our email for lunch was pointless, because everyone was sleeping back home (time difference). Before the ship sails make sure to log on or you will most likely miss any emails till morning.
So I hope some of this information helps you in understanding what to expect from your River cruise. I will be blogging about a couple other things during our trip and some of the highlights that we found quite interesting. And yes, the food pictures and then more food and then more food. And on that topic, no I did not gain weight while on the trip. The plates were proportionally sized. And I took advantage of the fresh fruit served for breakfast every morning.