BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Grand Circle Cruise Line, the leader in small ship and river cruising worldwide, was ranked the #1 "World's Best River Cruise Line" in the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards featured in the November issue and on Condenasttraveler.com. This is the eighth year in a row that Grand Circle's fleet has been rated among the world's best in the prestigious magazine's annual survey and the first time it has ranked #1.
"We are honored to be recognized by Conde Nast Traveler and thank its readers for recognizing our efforts to provide them with a 4-star cruise at a 3-star price that is $50-$500 less per day than other small ship cruise lines," said Grand Circle Chairman and CEO Alan E. Lewis. "Our mission is not to deliver fancy ships with luxurious spas but to help change our travelers' lives by offering affordable river cruises that engage them with local people and cultures throughout their cruise. To-date, Grand Circle has helped change the lives of more than three million travelers, while also assisting communities where we travel through our World Classroom program, which supports 100 schools in 30 countries."
Grand Circle Cruise Line was established in 1998 after the successful charter of a European river ship the year before. Lewis began to build and then acquire river cruise ships as well as small-ocean faring vessels to serve the American 50+ market. Today, Grand Circle Cruise Line consists of more than 60 vessels ranging from 50-250 passengers, including 14 privately-owned and operated river ships, three 50-passenger, four-plus star ocean faring ships, and dozens of small, exclusively chartered vessels designed to offer intimate and affordable cruise experiences to older Americans.
The fleet offers a wide range of small ship and river cruises and cruise tours throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia, Burma, Antarctica, and Panama. Every program offers pre- and post-trip options, opportunities to combine trips, add break aways or city stays before or after one's trip, myriad air travel choices, and other options designed to let travelers build the vacation that best suits their needs, interests, and wallet.
Grand Circle has more than 30 offices worldwide, which enables it to hire and train its own local Program Directors (guides) on its river cruises, operate and staff its river and small ships to control quality, and create "real deal" itineraries for travelers that include such activities as visits to homes, meetings with leaders, students and artists, and frank discussions about a destination's history, culture, politics, challenges and more.
Grand Circle Cruise Line has served 550,000 travelers since 1998, including more than 150,000 people traveling as solos. In the past five years, Grand Circle has witnessed enormous growth in the number of female travelers choosing river cruising—from about 52% in 2007 to close to 70% today. About one-third (32%) of Grand Circle's river cruise passengers book as solo travelers, 92% of whom are women, prompting Grand Circle Cruise Line to offer free or reduced single supplements, free single supplements on pre- and post-trip options, free roommate matching service, a complimentary online Travel Companion program, a best price guarantee, and a free 126-page tips booklet, "101 Tips for Women Travelers," which is available by calling 1-800-248-3737.
Results of Conde Nast Traveler's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards are derived from a survey of the magazine's subscribers. This year, 46,476 readers responded to the survey, which asked them to rate the world's best cities, hotels, airlines, cruise lines and more. In the river ship category, readers rated their experiences based on the ships' activities/facilities, cabins, crew/service, design/layout, food/dining, itineraries/schedule, and shore excursions.
To learn more about Conde Nast Traveler's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards, please click www.condenasttraveler.com/rca. To view a short video on Grand Circle Cruise Line, please click here The GCCL Experience or click www.gct.com for more information. Grand Circle Cruise Line also offers more than 20 videos on its www.gct.com web site.
About Grand Circle Cruise Line
Grand Circle Cruise Line is part of Grand Circle Corporation, the leader in international travel, adventure and discovery for Americans aged 50+. Through its brands Grand Circle Cruise Line (est. 1998), Overseas Adventure Travel (est. 1978) and Grand Circle Travel (est. 1958), the company has served more than three million Americans. Grand Circle Cruise Line owns or charters more than 60 river cruise ships and small ships ranging from 50-250 passengers. The company's charitable arm Grand Circle Foundation has donated or pledged more than $91M to more than 300 humanitarian, cultural and educational organizations in 50 countries since 1992, including 100 schools in 30 countries.
SOURCE Grand Circle Cruise Line