Grand Circle Corporation is a global enterprise—comprised of a family of travel companies—committed to changing people’s lives by offering high-impact experiences to our travelers and building local communities through philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and volunteerism.
The original Grand Circle Travel was founded by retired high school principal Ethel Andrus in 1958, to serve members of her new association, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Grand Circle eventually grew into the Grand Circle Corporation, and in 1993 acquired Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.). O.A.T. had been founded 15 years earlier by another education professional, a teacher named Judi Wineland.
Our Grand Circle family includes:
Grand Circle Cruise Line
The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958
Our award-winning cruise division operates Grand Circle Cruise Line Small Ship Adventures and River Cruises. On our Small Ship Adventures, you’ll travel aboard our privately-owned or privately-chartered 24- to 98-passenger small ships. (Or a chartered 400- to 1000-passenger Hurtigruten ship for our Fjord Cruise & Lapland adventure.) Each of these ocean-going vessels is able to access smaller ports that most other American companies miss, giving you a more authentic sense of everyday life in your chosen destination—away from the typically tourist crowd. Throughout your journey, you’ll explore in a small group of no more than 25 American travelers—with a local Trip Leader by your side—for a truly intimate experience.
With itineraries designed to maximize cultural interaction—and the lowest per-diems available in cruising—our River Cruises are the most discovery- and value-rich way to traverse Europe’s waterways. Aboard our
46- to 164-passenger privately-owned vessels, you’ll visit iconic capitals and small towns, while unpacking just once. And on land, you’ll explore in a group of no more than 47 Americans, with a local Program Director fostering unforgettable discoveries and camaraderie every step of the way. It’s unique benefits like these that have earned us the title of “Best River Cruise Line for Enrichment” from the editors of Cruise Critic and why Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted us #1 “World’s Best River Cruise Line” five years in a row.
Grand Circle Travel
Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value
Grand Circle Travel makes the world accessible through trips that deliver unmatched discoveries, leisurely pacing, more travel choices, and comprehensive value. Our journeys take you beyond the major sites (although you’ll see them too, of course) and into the heart of your destination. In a group of no more than
42 Americans, you’ll break bread with local families, and go behind the scenes to see how they truly live and work. And with you every step of the way will be your local Program Director, who will make your trip come alive in a way that only an insider could. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore independently and make the discoveries that are most meaningful to you.
Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)
The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
Overseas Adventure Travel offers unique small group adventures worldwide to Americans over 50. We explore on—and off—the beaten path with a local O.A.T. Trip Leader, immersing ourselves in local cultures, sampling unique modes of transportation, and staying in authentic lodgings that reflect the essence of your destination. You’ll be part of a group of no more than 10-16 travelers, slipping into the flow of local life without disrupting it. As you experience adventure travel with O.A.T., perhaps you’ll find yourself reciting a lesson in a local elementary school, admiring the handiwork at a women’s weaving cooperative, or lending a hand during the local rice harvest.