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Author: kmburch

Joined: 7/3/2012
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 9
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1996

July 03, 2012

We're going on the Rhine-Mosel trip, with a pre=trip to Bruges, at the end of August. Any suggestions as to which of the not-included excursions are worthwhile taking?

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

Europe, Russia

Traveler Since: 2012

July 03, 2012

An affiliated inquiry. I'm going on a pre-trip in Switzerland. Are there ever too many folks who want to take an optional excursion so that some are denied going? In other words, if 45 people are signed up for the pre-trip, could all 45 go on a particular optional excursion? Thanks.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 512
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

July 03, 2012

 Regarding having too many for an optional, I doubt it would ever happen, as, on many occasions, everyone takes some of them, so they plan for it.  They may limit how many take an extension, depending on hotel capactiy, but you know that in advance. If it is an optional that you must prebook, that is another matter. You may get lucky and be able to uy it on the trip, but don't count on it. Some of these may have strict population controls, such as Versailles, so they can't add people as they go.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 424
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

July 03, 2012

On our Rhine and Mosel cruise in 2010 there were 44 persons on the Switzerland extension. Since we went Antwerp to Basil the extension was post-trip. Most of the 44 tourists took all three of the optional tours, and there was plenty of room for everyone. The boat on Lake Luzern was large enough for us all, and the restaurant on top of Mt. Rigi was also big enough. When we went to Giswil for the farm visit there was plenty of room on the train and the farmer provided three horse-drawn wagons so we all fit comfortably. The bus and cog railway to Kleine Scheiddig accommodated everyone as well. We had two Program Directors with us for the extension and one went on each optional tour. The other stayed behind to support the few tourists who did not take the optionals.

Author: suekansas

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 26
GCT Trips Taken: 14
OAT Trips Taken: 16
Traveler Since: 2003

July 03, 2012

  Hi kmburch,  you are in for a treat with this trip.  It has an outstanding itinerary.  We did all the optionals except for the Delta Works and the Kroller-Muller Museum.  We were totally happy with all the optionals.  I might mention that one needs to be fairly able-bodied to do the Marksburg Castle.  A lot of uneven walking and quite a lot of stairs.  At the end of my comments I will refer you to my travel blog and you can see for yourself what we did on the optionals.

Hi kristenc, as someone has already mentioned there should be room on the excursions for all the people in the group should they all decide to go on the optionals.  I just wanted to mention that you should highly consider doing all the optionals from Lucerne.  They are very well planned and worth every cent of what they cost (in our opinion.)  The hotel in Lucerne is in a fantastic location right in the historic center of Lucerne.  You will have plenty of time to walk around and see the highlights of Lucerne.  If you do the optionals I think you will come away feeling like you have really been to Switzerland.  The Kleine-Scheidegg train ride is not to be missed!  Then the boat ride and the cableway ride up the mountain was a fantastic experience in the Best of Switzerland optional.  And how can one go wrong doing the Swiss Idyll tour because the train ride in itself was great and then getting to ride in the horse & wagon was so much fun. 

Please refer to my travel blog of this trip.  The various trips are listed on the left hand side of the page as you open my blog.  The Romance of the Rhine & Mosel was indeed a winner!

http://thefarmersmeanderings.wordpress.com

 

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

Europe, Russia

Traveler Since: 2012

July 03, 2012

Thanks, Sue. I have read your blog(s) and appreciate the info very much. Yes, I definitely plan to do all the Swiss optionals, and they were the main reason I booked the extension. I would be terribly disappointed if, for reasons of number limitations, I could not go on these optional trips. Thanks again! I leave in four days! kristenc

Author: dk15urs

Joined: 7/22/2011
Posts: 11
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2012

July 04, 2012

7.4.12

Hello kmburch, just read your post that you are going on the Rhine/Mosel cruise at the end of August, we  were signed up to leave US 8.24 but that  cruise was cancelled, so we are  leaving US Aug. 19th, with 3 nights pre cruise in Bruges and a 4 night stay in Lucerne, am already very excited and getting things ready to pack. WOW! No doubt we will be taking too many items and then end up not using them.

Will you be going on the Rhapsody Ship? You are right to ask about the optional excursions, not all may be worth taking. I would love to take all the optional outings, but I don't want to go broke doing that.

Thank you captainlarry and suekansas for your input, it will help us decide  which optional outings to take. What month did ou go and what kind of weather did you encounter?  As far as paying for purchases is using the ATM machine the best and least costly way to go? Did you have any trouble using the ATM's?

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

Europe, Russia

Traveler Since: 2012

July 04, 2012

Captain Larry - thanks - your information was a superb answer to my questions. I really want to thank you for taking the time to write. You have definitely set my mind at ease and I am very much looking forward to these outings! Kristenc

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 146
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

July 31, 2012

The Rhine and Mosel Rivercruise June 27 2012. 

This was our second time for this cruise and our 8th rivercruise with Grand Circle.  Since there have been so many wonderful descriptions about this particular  trip and its optionals, I would like to tell you why we enjoy traveling so much with Grand Circle. 

The day before we left on Delta at Atlanta airport, I was having some heartburn and since I have had similar episodes, I decided to purchase several boxes of Prilosec.  It has previously worked within a relatively short time.  However, during the entire flight to Brussels, I was miserable and none of the medications were working as they usually do. 

Upon arrival in Brussels, Delta was very attentive and provided me with wheelchair assistance and sent someone to help my husband with the heavy luggage. Upon arrival in Brussels airport, I told the GCT Program Director that I was in pain and needed to see a Doctor but would wait until I got to the ship.

When we arrived on the ship, M/S Rhapsody, my assigned Program Director, Romana, asked if I wanted a Doctor or to go to the hospital.  I chose a Doctor.  She found one who could see me within 20 minutes; she called a cab and accompanied my husband and me there, stayed with me during the Doctor visit and then using the cab, she took us to an ATM to get cash and then to a Pharmacy to get medication.

Since the Doctor said the medication would take a couple of days to work, I must eat plain foods so I sought the Executive Chef, Sofka Bachkova, who said she would see that I had any kind of foods, prepared whichever way necessary.  For the entire two weeks on board, she made me plain soups with fresh vegetables and rice.  Also, pureed the meat on the menus, made me plain potatoes and steamed vegetables.  The Restaurant Manager, Zelijko Tesic, made certain to find me and deliver my special meals wherever I was sitting.

I was concerned what I would do when we took the post trip in Switzerland because of my eating needs and Romana saw to it that on the optionals which included meals, that she would call ahead and tell them what kinds of foods I could eat.

The above should tell you much about how Grand Circle employees take excellent care when you most need it.. 

We feel very relaxed when traveling with Grand Circle and know that, if needed, we will get the best of care. Incidentally, the Travel Insurance taken out with Grand Circle will pay the expenses I incurred.

We have had wonderful Program Directors on all 8 trips and Romana is definitely among the top of the list.

 

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 512
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

August 01, 2012

 Even when the circumstances are not as urgent, Grand Circle Cruise Lines can be quite attentive. My wife has dietary restrictions that are not of a critical nature, but are restrictions none the less. Upon boarding she will make them known to our program director and/or to the restaurant manager. In either case the restaurant manager will ascertain the nature of the restrictions and with tell the executive chef or, more likely have the executive chef meet with her. It helps to have a copy of the restrictions in writing so that everything is clear. He will then make sure that at every meal there is one or mare options that meet these restrictions. sometimes cooking something specifically to meet them. Upon entering the diniing room, the restuarant manager normally greets everyone. He will note where anyone with restrictions is seated and inform the servers for that table if a special meal is being prepared. In 5 cruises, not to mention 8 other GCT and OAT trips, we have never had a problem with dietary issues.

One one cruise, on the Aria, one of the women had fallen at the airport and needed medical attention. She was not serioiusly injured, but needed to have the dressing changed every day. The hotel manager provided the nursing services for the entire trip. The woman was quite happy over the care that she was given.

There have been many other cases over the years that have shown the care that GCT/OAT staff have for the travelers. This is one of the reason that we continue to travel with them.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 971
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 01, 2012

That's all very true.  On one of our cruises, Grand European Rivers, I think, we often shared a table with a woman who couldn't tolerate gluten.  She had informed GCT in advance, and the kitchen stocked the special flour.  She had her own breads, her own rolls, her own cookies.  I'd always realized that GCT made sure that travelers' needs were met, but this was an outstanding example.

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