Twelve Grand Circle Small Ships Rank In Top 50 of Condé Nast Traveler's Top Cruise Ships Poll

M/S Bizet rated #1 Small Ship in the world, for second year in a row

BOSTON—Readers of Condé Nast Traveler have named Grand Circle Cruise Lines' ship, the M/S Bizet, the best small ship in the world, according to the magazine's "Top 90 Cruise Ships in the World,” a readers' poll appearing in the magazine's February 2009 issue. A total of twelve Grand Circle ships made the prestigious list, six of which ranked in the Top 20.

The number one-ranked ship, Grand Circle's M/S Bizet, appears in the top slot for the second year in a row, with an overall score of 93.1, and special high marks for itineraries/schedules (98.1), crew/service (98.1), and food/dining (96.2).

"We're thrilled that the Bizet has once again earned the #1 spot in this coveted listing,” said Vince Cook, Grand Circle's CEO. "But it's perhaps even more gratifying to see that twice as many Grand Circle ships have made the Cruise Poll this year, as compared to 2008. That represents incredible progress, in a very short time, during a tough year for travel.”

Cook speculates that value is a key reason for Grand Circle's increased presence on the list. "Seasoned travelers are often attracted by our affordability, then very pleasantly surprised by the outstanding quality they receive. We think there's a ”wow” factor that inspires more and more of them to vote for us in these important consumer polls, year after year.” Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises typically cost hundreds, even thousands less than comparable programs offered by other cruise operators on the Condé Nast Traveler Cruise Poll.

Cook also acknowledges that Grand Circle wouldn't be on the Conde Nast list if they didn't provide a high level of comfort, but is quick to add that "Grand Circle has always been more about discovery than amenities. We aim to deliver a unique, even life-changing experience as our travelers encounter different cultures. Our success here is borne out by the consistently high marks we get for our itineraries and shore excursions.” The land portion of all Grand Circle Small Ship cruises is developed overseas by the company's regional office teams. "These are insiders with longstanding connections to the communities we visit, " says Cook. "We encourage them to be very creative, and as a result, our travelers enjoy special visits and intercultural activities that really distinguish us from other cruise operators.”