Ask Harriet: Finding a travel partner

It’s easy to see that Alan and I are huge music lovers, judging by the names of our River Ship fleet: M/S Aria, M/S Concerto, M/S Harmony, etc. Which is why I was particularly intrigued by the letter 8-time traveler Charles Collins wrote to me after his second trip—or encore vacation, if you will—on The Great Rivers of Europe cruise. As Charles explains, he used to be a former road manager for bands, but in retirement travels by waterway.

On each of my cruises with Grand Circle, when there is a birthday celebration in the dining room, it begins with a few bars of the Stevie Wonder song “Happy Birthday,” written to honor the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. It was written when I was Stevie Wonder's road manager, and the song was instrumental in getting the Martin Luther King holiday passed in Washington, D.C. and I think it would be interesting for travelers to know the background of this song.

—Charles Collins, 8-time traveler, Columbia, MD

Hi Charles—From Romance of the Rhine & Mosel to The Seine: Paris to Normandy and beyond, I’m so glad you have enjoyed your many cruises with us. And you’re correct—we try to never let a celebratory occasion slip by. We love honoring our travelers’ birthdays onboard our vessels, and sometimes those festivities include not only the traditional birthday song we all know but a passage from the 1981 song that Stevie Wonder wrote while you worked together. While your fellow travelers might recognize the tune, they may not realize what a big difference that song made here in the states. It must be a special thrill for you to hear a piece of your personal (and national) history playing as you travel overseas with us.

I hope you’ll join us for many more River Cruises—and celebrate many more birthdays with us—in the years to come. Thanks for writing!

Ask Harriet

Q: I like to travel solo, and sometimes I make my travel plans last-minute. Can Grand Circle help me find a travel partner?

—Christine Pomianek Wahl, first-time traveler, Marlton, NJ

A:  Hi Christine—I’m so glad you are thinking of joining us for one of our trips. I also enjoying traveling on my own at times, so I can relate to your questions. I’m proud to say that Grand Circle offers a terrific free Roommate Matching Service where we help connect you with other same-gender solo travelers. It’s also a great way to meet new friends, and this spirit of sharing and adventure is truly one of the many ways in which Grand Circle Cruise Line passengers inspire me!

If you want to reach out to other solo travelers on your own, you can also connect through Travel Companions feature. This feature allows you to post a profile online or search other travelers’ profiles to find someone who shares the same hobbies and interests as you.

As part of the unique value we like to provide, many of our trips also have free single supplements. Plus, there are plenty of vacations to choose from when you reference our frequently updated Last Minute Travel Deals. It sounds like you have a flexible schedule, so you have plenty of options.

We look forward to seeing you on one of our vacations soon!

Do you have questions for me about trips you’re taking or vacations you would like to go on with Grand Circle Cruise Line? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!

Ask Harriet a question or share your thoughts with her

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me, or comments about the stories featured in Harriet’s Corner? Please email me at—and your submission could be featured in the next Harriet’s Corner update. I look forward to sharing what you have to say!