We just returned from two cruises (river and small ship) a few days ago. We used Whispers on both trips. The ear piece was the over the ear and ONLY for the right ear, with a small extension that sat just above the ear canal. It was good, but had a lot of static. Both of the trips, the guide (or PD) who wore the master with a over-the-head, on a strong wire, with a mouthpiece. Neither of the guide's or PD's were working right and had to be changed. They worked okay, not great, but had a lot of static, and each guide used hands a lot, and turned their head a lot, so the sound would fade in and out. I really like them, since I am very short and usually the die-hard history buffs like to be in the front so they can put their two cents worth in or ask question after question, so that the taller persons are usually in the front and I'm moving out of their way to get some air.
I have over the ear buds that fit in the ear, but their sound is not good(not expensive enough), and I couldn't use them because I too wear hearing aids--my husband was able to use for a while. Also, with the over the ear GCT whispers, I couldnt' wear a hearing aid in that ear. And since I wear glasses, it took some finagling to get the hearing piece over my ear with the eyeglass stem.
These whispers are not a new way of guiding a tour; we've used them for some years. It's just that some PD's are just getting them, like our PD on our recent small ship cruise. It was only the second cruise he was using them, and he didn't like whispers. I have to say, the batteries in these newer whispers lasted the whole trip; we didn't have to give back every other day for re-charging like in the past.
As for the PD's not being around. On both these trips, each PD was at the beginning of the tour to make the introduction, and they were quick to tell us where we were to meet at the end of the tour, that s/he would be there. They also were at a middle point or two to take care of anyone who may have needed help, questions, and to see how things were going. GCT has some good PD's like that. And on hikes, the PD was back and forth countless time to be sure everyone was okay,keeping up, or falling behind,never far away.
I would suggest if GCT is going to continue using whispers, they should consider getting left ear hearing pieces as well as right ear.