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River Rhapsody Review

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River Rhapsody
4.0 / 5.0
9 reviews

Bottom Line




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
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Ellen Uzelac
Cruise Critic Contributor

River Rhapsody Overview

In the 10 years that MS River Rhapsody has been sailing Europe's rivers, little about it has changed. Why tinker with a good thing? This understated, yet elegant, ship is a classic -- and is one of the reasons Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises has amassed such a following for its river itineraries.

Rhapsody, built snug enough to accommodate locks and low-slung bridges, is trim and fit, and it's pure magic to watch her tie up to town docks in storybook locations like Melk, Austria and Budapest, Hungary. While in port, Rhapsody becomes part of the local scene, giving passengers intimate access to the surroundings in a way that no large ship could.

While Rhapsody is small in scale, accommodating just 140 passengers, its educational enrichment component is nothing short of grand. Here's how it works: Guests are divided into as many as three groups, and each group is assigned a program director, who serves as tour guide, cultural liaison and concierge throughout the duration of the cruise. The "PD's," as they're called, are well-equipped and, because they are from the region -- on our recent 10-night cruisetour of Old World Prague and the Danube, one PD was from Romania, the other from Bulgaria -- they often share personal observations that add texture to the tour experiences. Of course, there are also optional shore excursions with local guides, along with a number of "highlights" tours that are included in the cost of the fare.

On large ships, crew can be somewhat anonymous. Not so on Rhapsody. With just 34 crewmembers, passengers get to know them by name and by personality. If nothing else, the hilarious crew show toward the end of each cruise is worth the price of the ticket. Rhapsody does close to 40 cruises a year during the European sailing season, starting in March and ending in mid-December. At 10 years old, Rhapsody is a ship that still packs a lot of punch.

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Top River Rhapsody Itineraries

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Fellow Passengers

Rhapsody's passengers tend to be retirees from the U.S. They're also a loyal bunch. Of the 76 guests on our cruisetour, almost half had taken three or more previous trips with Grand Circle.

Grand Circle River Rhapsody Dress Code

Rhapsody does not have a formal dress code, so personal preference prevails. Overall, passengers tend to dress somewhat casually. Jeans and nice tops are acceptable for nighttime dining. There are no formal nights.

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River Rhapsody Ratings

Public Rooms4.04.5
Fitness Recreation3.3
Value For Money5.03.9

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Awards and Recognition

Grand Circle River Rhapsody Member Reviews

River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Apr 2019
The Springtime beauty of the Great Rivers of Europe mingled with the excellent and caring of the River Rhapsody staff made for an amazing trip!... Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Nov 2018
Let me say the service on their ships The Melody and The Rapsody were impeccable. Gracious and hospitable on both. I say both because due to low water we were bused from one to another. We anchored in Strasbourg,... Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Aug 2017
We bused from Lucerne to Basel where we boarded the River Rhapsody where we were greeted with champagne and a hot towel - nice.... Read More
River Rhapsody
Sail Date: Dec 2016
The markets are spectacular and the Rhapsody offered so many rich musical experiences. The service and the leadership on this boat are incredible.... 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.


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