Grand Circle Travel
Grand Circle Travel got its start in 1958 as the touring arm of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). In 1985, Alan Lewis purchased Grand Circle Travel and moved its offices from New York to Boston (not far from his office is his brother’s office, Vantage Travel, another river-cruise-vacation contender).
Grand Circle now operates 9 ships in Europe and two in Russia. The vessels range in capacity from 46 passengers to 216 passengers, with the majority capable of carrying 140 passengers. All ships except the two deployed in Russia were launched between 1998 and 2003.
In Russia, the 216-passenger Rossia and Tikhi Don both operate on the Volga, Svir and Neva rivers, between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Ranging in size from 130-150 square feet, cabins are equipped with satellite TV.
Designed for the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers are River Harmony, River Melody, River Rhapsody, and River Concerto. All have a capacity of 140 and are equipped with elevators. Some upper-deck cabins have balconies. Limited primarily to wider sections of the Danube are the River Aria and River Adagio, each with a capacity of 164. On smaller rivers, the company operates the 120-passenger Bizet. Smaller still, for cruise programs in France, are the 46-passenger Chardonnay and Provence. These ships have no elevators and only two main decks.
The River Anuket (built in 2001) is deployed on cruises on the Nile (Egypt).