Yes, there are many active shells still, although I'm not sure which ones are based in GMT that are still active. I found a relatively recent thread on FFXIAH tossing around some names and servers: http://www.ffxiah.com/forum/topic/30495/gmt-ls/
FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck: Retired December 2014
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.