Introduction. After a year (2008) without an overseas trip, our relaxing 18-day ocean cruise in the spring (Bound for the Baltic) had gone very well, and we decided to take the Grand Circle Travel (GCT) river cruise Romance of the Rhine and Mosel that we'd been looking at for a long time. In spite of some annoying problems with the air arrangements through GCT and some initial problems with Jane's health, it was a wonderful trip. We even managed a brief side-trip to Verona at the end to see old friends.
Friday, 31 July - Sunday, 2 August. Largely because of GCT's exorbitant surcharge to leave from Washington Dulles as we usually did, we elected to drive to New Jersey and fly out from the Newark airport. Our son Larry lives nearby and that gave us a chance to visit his family for a couple of days on each end of the trip.
Sunday, 2 August - Monday, 3 August. Larry drove us to the airport, and our Lufthansa flight took off about 6:30 p.m. The seats had the least leg room we'd ever experienced. We landed in Frankfurt about 7:30 a.m. Then we had to take another flight to Brussels to join our tour. We landed there about 10:30, but it was past noon by the time our bus left the airport and nearly 1:00 p.m. by the time we boarded the M.S. River Rhapsody in Antwerp. We had been on the Rhapsody before, for GCT's Great Rivers of Europe trip in 2006.
A large buffet lunch was waiting for us, and by the time we had eaten, our luggage was in our cabin. We quickly unpacked, finding plenty of room for our clothes and other belongings. We hadn't had much sleep for 24 hours so we rested for a couple of hours. By then it was time to get ready for the 6:30 "welcome cocktail" in the lounge. That was followed by the first port talk, then dinner in the dinning room. As usual on these cruises, the food was great - three courses for lunch, four for dinner (five on special occasions), all with reasonably sized portions. We finally left the dining room about 9:00 and were glad to retire early.