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River Melody Review

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River Melody
-- / 5.0
3 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line

About

Passengers
140

Crew
32

Passenger to Crew
4.38:1

Launched
1999

Shore Excursions
0
Sails To
Sails From
Grand Circle Cruise Deals
Glenn Tucker
Cruise Critic Contributor

River Melody Overview

The 1,949 ton, 140-passenger River Melody made its debut in 1999, as one of a trio of river cruisers (along with sisters River Harmony and River Rhapsody) ordered as a follow up to Grand Circle's successful River Symphony. At 361 feet in length and a breadth of 38 feet (for easy canal transits), the ship accommodates 140 passengers in 70 twin cabins. The ship is four decks high, including the open Sun Deck, and contains not only a large public lounge and bar, but a single-seating dining room with river views, a small comfortable library, a full reception center and a limited fitness area that includes a sauna. Elevator access is available to all but the lowest cabin level or the outdoor Sun Deck area.

While the company's initial programs concentrated on the well-known Rhine cruise, itineraries have been greatly expanded to the Danube and the Mosel, as well as seasonal Christmas market cruises, and voyages in Holland and Belgium for the spring floral season. "The Great Rivers of Europe," a voyage between Amsterdam and Vienna has become Grand Circle's signature voyage just as its included 'Discoveries' and its onboard Program Directors have become hallmarks of its operations. Cruises are marketed with air included from US departure points, and pre- and post-cruise extensions are offered.

Cabins: All of the ship's cabins are outside ones, non-smoking, 150 square ft. or larger and equipped with twin beds (and only twins) that fold into the wall during the day, leaving small sofa-style seating available. Warm-toned wood paneling and veneers are used abundantly, and cabins are both light and comfortable with wall-to-wall carpet and small desk/vanity areas. The rooms have individual thermostats and are equipped with sufficient closet/storage space, wall safes, direct-dial phones and multi-channel color TV (including a view from the bow-mounted camera).

The private bathrooms have showers, but not tubs, and come with a hair-dryer, soap/shampoo dispensers and assorted toiletries. The main difference in the cabins is based on their deck location and view. Serenade Deck cabins have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and a small balcony; Sonata/Cantata Deck accommodations have large picture windows; Prelude Deck rooms are located at water level and have chest-high windows.

Dining: The Restaurant is located aft on Serenade Deck, the topmost enclosed area, and offers extensive views of both the river and the surrounding areas. The restaurant offers single open seating at all meals and is a non-smoking area. The overall menu is what might be termed Continental-American and should be generally familiar to the American passengers, though a strong effort is made to offer German-European choices and preparations. Both breakfast and lunch service is fairly casual, in a semi-buffet style, with assorted local and regional specialties offered.

Dinner is a more formal menu-centered service, and depending on the situation, will have a limited selection of options available to the guests. Complimentary local wines are served with dinner, or you may order from a selected list at an extra charge. Dress is also casual, though many gentleman feel more comfortable on special evenings with a sports coat or blazer, while women often take the opportunity to dress at a resort or country-club level.

Public Spaces: In keeping with the size and capacity of the vessel, public spaces are not numerous but are sufficient to meet the needs of the passengers and offer comfortable venues for personal relaxation and public or group events. In pleasant weather and along especially scenic stretches, the Sun Deck serves as an open lounge area and is often the most popular spot onboard. Just below it is the combined Serenade/Harmony Deck, which also includes most of the general public areas.

At the forward end of this deck are the large Main Lounge and its adjacent Bar/Pub. This area serves as the main gathering space on the ship and is used for meetings, lectures, demonstrations and evening entertainment. Full bar service is provided day and evening and part of the Bar/pub even serves as a separate meeting space. Just aft of this are the reception/lobby facilities, and off to one side is a nicely stocked library that also provides a calm place for private enjoyment or quiet conversation. The aft portion of this deck is occupied by the restaurant. The fitness area and sauna are located below, on Cantata Deck and are easily accessed.

Activities: All Grand Circle trips, cruises or otherwise, are strongly oriented towards guest enrichment and that was one reason why the company decided to own its ships and shape the experience. Each ship is staffed with a team of three to four Program Directors who act as combination lecturers/tour guides/cruise directors. Experts in local history, culture and the arts, they lead excursions, teach classes, and introduce passengers to everything from onboard craft demonstrations to language lessons to home visits with a chance to interact with the local people. These activities are an integral part of the cruise experience and the Program Directors are the facilitators. Ashore, you will learn about architecture and history, and have many chances to walk and wander on your own; onboard, you'll learn language and cooking and participate in discussions on a range of topics related to your itinerary.

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Awards and Recognition

Grand Circle River Melody Member Reviews

River Melody
Zoning out
Sail Date: Nov 2012
Our walking tour was the first of many strolls through various river towns which highlighted the history and architecture of the area.... Read More
River Melody
Bob W.
Sail Date: Jun 2007
After lunch en board River Melody, we had time for a quick walk to explore Nussdorf. ... Read More

Grand Circle Cruise Line Fleet

River Harmony
7 reviews

River Harmony made its debut in 1999. At a breadth of 38 feet (for easy canal transits), the ship accommodates 140 passengers in 70 twin cabins.

View All Grand Circle River Harmony Cruises
River Melody

Grand Circle's River Melody sails European itineraries on an intimate, four-deck ship with all outside cabins. The Sun Deck is a popular outside lounge space.

River Rhapsody
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Rhapsody was built to accommodate locks and low-slung bridges, and it's magical to watch it dock in storybook locations like Melk or Budapest.

River Allegro
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Small and sociable, River Allegro is an older ship made new after an overhaul reduced the number of berths from 108 to 90 and provided expanded public areas.

River Adagio
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Built specifically to navigate the locks and canals that lead the Danube into the Black Sea, River Adagio features a comfortable, egalitarian feel.

Bizet

Designed to navigate France's Seine River, the 120-passenger Bizet is a 366-foot riverboat with three decks designed to navigate France's Seine River.

River Aria

River Aria sails on the Danube as well as other Dutch and Belgian waterways. Launched in 2001, this four-deck river vessel accommodates 164 passengers.

River Concerto

River Concerto accommodates 140 passengers on itineraries along the Danube and Rhine as well as Dutch and Belgium waterways. The 366-foot river cruiser launched in 2001.

Chanson

Acquired from Sea Cloud Cruises in 2014, the 90-passenger Chanson toured the Bordeaux region of France in 2015.

Provence

Grand Circle designed Provence for the small waterways flowing among the vineyards and villages of France. Launched in 2000, the 292-foot riverboat accommodates 46 passengers.

Corinthian

Grand Circle entered Antarctica cruising with Corinthian, an ice-strengthened ship bought in 2014 from Travel Dynamics International. The 98-passenger vessel received a $5-million renovation after acquisition.

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