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Author: rogerdawhip

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 16
GCT Trips Taken: 15
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

OAT trips taken: Egypt, China, Ireland, Guatemala, Thailand, Peru and Adriatic Cruise. Nine GCT river cruises: Great Rivers(3 times), Rhine& Mosel (2 times), Eastern Europe to the Black Sea, Rhone River, Holland & Belgium, Seine. Other: Russian river cruise twice.

Traveler Since: 2001

March 08, 2014

There is already a thread about this on the OAT website but I thought I'd start one for GCT. I just booked GCCLs new Bordeaux river cruise for April 2015 and was told I needed to go into My Account to accept the terms and conditions or my reservation will be cancelled.. As a whole I really don't have a problem with this since I always buy travel insurance but some of the wording does concern me.  In Section 3 part a, there is a sentence that says "You assume the risk of Grand Circle’s negligence".  This does bother me a little.  There are many other instances where the new terms and conditions pretty much absolve GCT of any responsibilities. Also, what if a traveler does not have a computer and cannot access thier My Account.  How do the accept the Terms and Conditions.      

Author: rkauzlarich

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 38
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2009

March 08, 2014

Please go back and reread the OAT thread on this subject.  Moderator Annmarie answers your question about signing the terms &conditions if you cannot or do not want to do so online.

 

Author: rogerdawhip

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 16
GCT Trips Taken: 15
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

OAT trips taken: Egypt, China, Ireland, Guatemala, Thailand, Peru and Adriatic Cruise. Nine GCT river cruises: Great Rivers(3 times), Rhine& Mosel (2 times), Eastern Europe to the Black Sea, Rhone River, Holland & Belgium, Seine. Other: Russian river cruise twice.

Traveler Since: 2001

March 08, 2014

I did see where the moderator addressed those not having internet connections...thanks.

My main concern was us passengers assuming the risk of GCT/OAT's negligence.  This sentence does not seem to be legal.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 441
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

March 11, 2014

I guess I have too much time on my hands, but this thread prompted me to go to a couple of other touring company web sites (including brother Henry's) and read their Terms and Conditions. They are all similar in content, but, as Roger pointed out, GCT is the only one I looked at that has the sentence about the customer assuming responsibility for the company's negligence. I also agree that, even if you sign off on the T and C, that stipulation would not likely hold up in a court of law. When I was in training to be a Naval officer one of the tenets we were taught was that "you can delegate authority but you cannot delegate responsibility."

Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 67
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2009

March 11, 2014

Thank you Captain Larry...an excellent observation.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 558
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

March 12, 2014

It is an excellent observation; the statement certainly doesn't inspire confidence in the company though -- drawing attention to the possibility of negligence before a trip.

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 48
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 1999

March 13, 2014

I find this topic interesting and did a little digging.  GCT/OAT is /was being sued for an accident that occurred in Egypt several years ago AND for failure of a charter airline contracted by GCT/OAT to provide transportations for travelers.  There are probably other lawsuits. It may be that GCT/OAT attorneys want proof that travelers acknowledge the existence of terms and conditions.  A version of informed consent.

I'm sure the goal is to make a dissatisfied travelers think twice about filing a lawsuit.

Adding to Capt. Larry's very astute point is the fact that a contract may contain provisions that a court will finds to be unlawful.

Summing up...this is GCT/OATS attempt at CYA!

 

Author: caseyt2

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2007

June 26, 2014

GCT's new Passenger Contract requirement is a shocking attempt to pass along any and all potential liability for any negative occurrence on a trip to its paying customers.  The fact we are being told we are responsible even for GCT negligence (!) is particularly onerous.

Regardless of what legal difficulties GCT/OAT may have incurred recently this new language should make any prospective customer very uncomfortable.  This "buyer beware" attitude certainly seems at odds with the company's numerous ads, and their attempt to preclude the filing of any future litigation by insisting that all disputes be subject to arbitration, and only in the state of Massachusetts no less, only adds insult to injury.

Hopefully GCT's management will re-think their position and decide to overlook what is obviously the creation of some over-zealous corporate attorneys.  Otherwise I'm afraid my wife and I (and many other GCT/OAT Frequent Travelers) may be looking elsewhere for our next vacation opportunity.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 441
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

June 26, 2014

It could certainly make for some "interesting" conversations between GCT lawyers and insurance company lawyers -- with the traveler caught in the middle, unfortunately.

I should add that, if I must assume all responsibility, I will likely be eliminating the middle man and booking my own tours directly with the suppliers wherever I am going. I just did that for my month in Malta this past winter. It was easy, it was cheap, and it was fun.

Author: lyn

Joined: 3/14/2010
Posts: 36
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

June 26, 2014

Ah, this is a topic near and dear to my heart after just accepting the Terms and Conditions for our recently booked trip with GCT.  I could find no such passage in Section#3 part a that states that "You assume the risk of Grand Circle's negligence".  Hmmm?  I do see that GCT is not liable  for any claims arising from any action of any Supplier.  I assume that means optional tour events and transportation etc.  There is a clause in this same section that states "GCT will not be liable for any claim unless due to GCT gross negligence..."  GCT has always had Terms and Conditions in the handbook sent to travelers, but they have not had us actually click a box to say that we accept them.  The new T/C have much more added language which may or may not be clear to those of us who are not versed in legal terminology.  All reputable  travel suppliers have similar language in their contracts with passengers.  It is usually found in the back of the travel catalog, aka "the fine print."  The new T/C will not stop us from traveling with GCT.  Happy travels to all...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 441
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

June 27, 2014

I just reread GCT's Terms and Conditions. There have indeed been changes since I last read them in early march of this year. The "offensive" sentence has indeed been removed. They now acknowledge responsibility for incidents caused by "gross negligence" on the part of GCT. So our protestations did not land on deaf ears.

While a careful reading and strict application of the Terms and Conditions would still give one pause for booking a trip with GCT, or any other tour booking company, most of us will still go along "fat, dumb, and happy" expecting the best. And generally that is what we get.

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 177
GCT Trips Taken: 13
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

June 27, 2014

We left on our trip to Egypt late January 2011 knowing about the tragic bus crash and death of those on the right side of the bus going to Abu Simbel. The bus driver fell asleep at the wheel on the dawn trip.  We were evacuated ourselves on Feb 2, 2011 from our ship on the Nile in Luxor to Milan,Italy in a charter hired by GCT which was the last flight out.  We never felt bodily harm but you could feel the tense atmosphere plainly. Cairo Airport was closed and we never knew about the thousands of people there cramming to get out.  We feel very grateful to GCT and their amazing efforts for our safety. Milan agents greeted us with "You're safe now, you're safe now" and did everything to get us home with 24 hours.  Egypt Air and GCT were amazingly prompt in refunds.  So, we are leaving in a few weeks for, I hope, a much calmer river cruise and will trust in GCT to again give us their best.

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 161
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2005

June 27, 2014

Thanks, Grammyflo, for posting that story.  I often wonder about Grand Circle/OAT travelers on the ground when I hear about a crisis in another country. Nobody ever tells what happened, either on the website or in the newspapers. Having a first hand account of your experience reassured me that if we were traveling when a war/uprising/hurricane/earthquake/coup/flood or other disaster happened, someone would be watching out for us! I think we need a thread for first hand stories of unusual events!

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 524
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 27, 2014

This, unfortunately is not a first hand account, but we had friends that, on their first GCT trip, I believe it was the Holland & Belgium in the Spring Time, encountered the shutdown of Northern European airspace with the Icelandic volcanic eruptions. They had nothing but praise for the way GCT handled it. Instead of just abandoning them at the end of the cruise, as other cruise lines did, they housed and fed them on the ship, even getting crew members to check on prescriptions that they we running out of, and getting them filled, a strong statement to have your generic prescription names. As some passenger made it to Europe for the next cruise, they were also taken on a second cruise. GCT also worked with getting them on flights homes as soon as they were able to. They told stories of people getting off of other cruises, crying as they walked down the pier, being abandoned at the end of their cruise. 

Grand Circle does not have a reputation for holding you to the fine print, but they apparently felt the need to try to protect themselves from frivolous demands in this overly litigeous society. I don't believe that these T&Cs are significantly different than the old ones, but I don't have a copy to compare to. I do not read them before every trip, but I did read them thoroughly before our first trip with the company, to Egypt, and occasionally scan them. Over the years there have been many posts on this forum about issues that were specifically mentioned in the T&Cs, but people did not read them and went with their own assumptions. Maybe more people will read them and have realistic expectations, if they have to check that they have read them.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 27, 2014

When this first came up a few months ago, I felt that the sentence that has now been removed was a mistake and I'm glad to see that it has been removed.  Not being a lawyer, I can't tell if a court would uphold it, but I'm glad it won't come to that. But I did say at the time that having people sign that they had read the T&C and agreed would put an end to frivolous lawsuits.  Too many people were claiming that they hadn't read them and so didn't know.  Not that the courts would accept that kind of argument, but this saves GCT/OAT/GCCL from having to bother about this.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 441
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

June 27, 2014

A similar story to that of nanaandpapa: We were on the Rhine and Mosel cruise with a Lucerne extension at the time of the Icelandic volcano activity. Flights were nearly routine from the southern and central European airports. But a couple of days before our schedule return home the British Airways flight crews threatened a work stopage (strike). Our PDs were on the phone with Boston continually for those last two days since most of our party were ticketed on BA for the return flights. Short story is GCT cancelled all British Airways flights and rebooked everyone on another airline. Depending on the destination, some were booked on Air France, some on SAS, some on KLM, but we were rebooked on Lufthansa. Instead of changing planes in London we changed in Frankfort. Turned out BA crews did not go on strike but GCT did not wait for the last minute to take action. There had to have been penalties to pay for cancellations and last-minute bookings, but charging anything extra was never mentioned. So, yeah, they handled the situation as well as possible and better than expected.

Author: bogey

Joined: 8/7/2011
Posts: 16
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

August 31, 2014

Just read the "94 complaints" site and went to GCT fourm.  Very interesting reading.  Also from threads in the OAT forum the first thing I noticed is that it appears that a good number of people never read the terms and condistion and than get upset when things don't go the way they (the traveler) expect.  One way I have noticed for a traveler to mess up their skd is to book  and early air arrival,  if OAT/GCT changes the tour date there is a possible problem. It is great to read the above stories of OAT/gct taking care of travelers when there is a problem.  We have taken 8 GCT trips and 10 OAT trips and "try" to go with an open mind, expecting OAT/GCT to step in when there is a problem  But, keeping in mind that we may have to solve  a problem ourselfs if necessary.  We are leaving on our 19th trip this Nov 20014,  OAT/GCT have been a great company to travel with,  Thanks GCT/OAT for some really good trips.  Bob

Just an add on::  We made reservations a week ago for a trip and now are getting bugged by GCT to accept the terms and condistions. per their GCT statement we have 21 days to accept,  or (here is the question) get our full payment back.  When I pull up our res it has gone from confirmed to requested??? We don't have any big problem with the T&C but don't care to be pushed.  Admin, what the deal???

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