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June 21, 2010
Making a difference “Down Under”: Grand Circle Program Directors
I never tire of hearing travelers praise our Program Directors, because I truly believe our guides are the best in the business—not only because they’re good at what they do, but because they genuinely love sharing their countries and cultures with others.
And lest you think I’m unduly biased on the subject, I’d like to share some of the comments I’ve received from travelers about the outstanding Program Directors they’ve encountered on our Australia, New Zealand & Fiji vacation …
“Ronan McChesney is truly exceptional,” say seven-time travelers Carol and Roger Garvelink, of Troy, Michigan. “In our first meeting as a group, he called everyone by name as we entered the room. (We never did figure out how he did that!) Later in the trip, he made it a point to spend time with each person individually.” The Garvelinks also praise Ronan for his “great sense of humor,” adding that “his Irish lineage was apparent and delightful.”
Rosie and Ladd Jones, first-time travelers from Atlanta, Georgia, have similar praise for Program Director Pam Jeffrey. “She not only made our journey smooth and wonderful,” the couple report, “she also went out of her way to accommodate every wish of the 36 travelers in our group, from vegetarian meals and Sydney Opera tickets to airplane seating and dinner reservations. No matter what was required, Pam was always able to handle it both pleasantly and efficiently. Because of her, we will always consider Grand Circle first for future travel.”
And Pam isn’t the only Program Director praised for her attentiveness to individual needs. As Daniel Shewfelt, a two-time traveler from Essexville, Michigan, says of Maree Greenwood, “She informed us on the first day to let her know if we had any personal plans or hopes that we wanted to see fulfilled on this trip, because she would be glad to help us with them. And she kept that promise, not only for me personally—by helping me connect with relatives who live outside of Sydney— but for every other traveler in our group.”
Daniel continues, “Many tour guides show you an area or a city, but Maree shared her corner of the world with us. She made the places we visited come alive with history and personal memories. One of the highlights for the entire group was when Maree took us by her childhood home in Auckland. Several of us on the bus that day got choked up as she related happy tales from her childhood. Years from now, I may forget some of the museums and famous landmarks we visited, but I know I won’t forget driving through that neighborhood, waving at the kids heading home from school, walking down the same hill that Maree walked as a girl.”
As you might imagine, reading comments like these makes me proud for the enthusiastic and compassionate women and men who lead Grand Circle vacations—in the South Pacific and around the world—and their unique ability to provide travelers with special moments they’ll remember for a lifetime.
Have you encountered a Program Director like Ronan, Pam, or Maree during your own travels with Grand Circle? If so, I’d love to hear more about how he or she enhanced your experience. You can share your thoughts with others by posting your comments below this Journal entry, or you can email me directly at email@example.com.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring South Africa, Eastern Europe, and Italy. If you’ve explored any—or all!—of these fascinating destinations with Grand Circle, please send your stories and pictures to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.