Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises to Launch Second River Ship in Russia April 30th
Launch Follows $13M Refurbishment
BOSTON—Strong interest among older Americans in travel to Russia has prompted Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises, the award-winning leader in international small ship travel for Americans 50-plus, to launch its second ship in Russia this month. The 216-passenger M/S Rossia will join sister ship, the M/S Tikhi Don, in Russia when it sets out on its re-positioning cruise from Rostov-on-Don to Moscow on April 30, 2007.
Grand Circle acquired the M/S Rossia, along with the M/S Tikhi Don, in late 2004 in order to meet growing demand for river cruising in Russia by seasoned American travelers. In 2006, more than 2700 travelers went to Russia with Grand Circle, which anticipates 8900 travelers this year and 9860 by 2010. Grand Circle employs 18 Russians with offices in Moscow, opened in August 2005, and St. Petersburg, opened in February 2006, and 224 people onboard the ships.
The M/S Rossia’s launch follows a $13M refurbishment, including complete remodeling from stem to stern to meet Grand Circle fleet standards. The M/S Rossia has a capacity of 216 passengers, 110 outside cabins, two lounge areas/bars, a sun deck, library and restaurant. The cabins range in size from 130-150 square feet and include twin beds that can be converted into doubles, a picture window that opens, a table, two chairs, closet, satellite cable TV, refrigerator, safe, international telephone, and a private bathroom with shower (and hair dryer) and 220-volt and 110-volt outlets. (The M/S Tikhi Don underwent a similar refurbishment ($5M) prior to its April 2005 launch). Both ships will be based in Rostov-on-Don and sail under the Russian flag. The ships are 54 feet wide and 425 feet long.
The M/S Rossia will join her sister ship in sailing on Grand Circle’s popular “Russian Waterways” itinerary, a 16-day cruise tour that begins at $2795 and which visits Moscow, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kizhi and St. Petersburg. Grand Circle offers a second program in Russia, “Tatars, Cossacks & the Golden Ring,” an 18-day cruise that visits Rostov-on-Don, Volograd, Kazan, Kostroma, Moscow and more. This itinerary will be the one that the M/S Rossia will follow on April 30 as part of her re-positioning, although the M/S Tikhi Don will normally serve this program.
Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises is a division of Grand Circle Corporation, the largest U.S. tour operator of international travel, adventure and discovery for Americans 50 and older. Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises serves Grand Circle’s two brands: Grand Circle Travel and Overseas Adventure Travel through more than 40 itineraries in 30+ countries and along some of the world’s great waterways. Its fleet of more than 50 small ships includes: 16 river ships, six barges, a 16-passenger Galápagos expedition vessel, the 330-passenger M/S Paul Gauguin, and six new 50-passenger ships (the first of which will launch next month), and more than 20 exclusive charters. Both the M/S Rossia and M/S Tikhi Don will serve Grand Circle Travel passengers.
Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises has been recognized both for the quality and unsurpassed value of its small ship offerings. In 2006, 77% of Grand Circle’s small ship passengers rated their experiences as “excellent.” Recently, readers of Travel + Leisure rated Grand Circle as the “World’s Best Value Cruise Line” as part of the magazine’s “World’s Best Awards.” And in the past two years, Condé Nast Traveler has included Grand Circle’s cruise line in its annual Gold List of World’s Best Cruise Lines, while its readers named the cruise line as one of the Top 5 World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Lines (#2 in 2006) in the magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
For a free copy of Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises new “101 Tips for Small Ship Travelers Abroad” or a free small ship catalog. please call 1-800-248-3737.
About Grand Circle Corporation
Established in 1958, Grand Circle Corporation is the leader in international travel, adventure, and discovery for Americans aged 50 and older. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., the company has 45 offices throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Through its brands: Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises, Grand Circle Travel, and Overseas Adventure Travel, the company offers more than 150 extended stay vacations, escorted tours, river cruises, barge trips, small-ship adventure ocean cruises, and soft adventure vacations. Since 1992, the non-profit Grand Circle Foundation, with an honorary board that includes Sir Edmund Hillary and Lech Walesa, has donated more than $30 million to humanitarian, cultural, and environmental organizations around the world.