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Author: luvtravelin

Joined: 7/14/2010
Posts: 17
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 20
Traveler Since: 2001

April 10, 2014

Of our 21 trips almost all have been insured thru USAA travel insurance. They by far have been the least expensive and prompt with a small claim payment.  I called an agency that was mentioned in the ITN magazine and when they heard we could use USAA they said "do it".

You have a dedicated line for USAA customers and you don't pay a fee, thus costs are less.  Sorry about getting off original topic, but wanted to give you our information on the insurance issue.

Author: franl24fan

Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 13
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0

April 10, 2014

Thanks for the info, they were my first choice.  For the past 10 years I had been using USAA travel agency to book my Royal Caribbean cruises, but last fall my agent left that company and her replacement did not provide the same service, so I have switched to a friend who is an agent for AAA. Don't get as much of a discount, but much better service. I am hoping GCT service will be more like the second  agent I spoke to, not the first one :-). 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 438
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

April 10, 2014

Interesting. I have a credit card and investments with USAA Savings Bank. I have home, auto, and umbrella liability insurance with USAA. It never entered my mind to go to them for travel insurance. I will certainly check that out for future trips. Thanks for mentioning it, guys.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 78
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 5
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

April 15, 2014

Capt Larry - I may be the other Pork Chop you remember from the forum. Would have replied earlier but just got back from the OAT Inside Vietnam trip and am still catching up.  Got out of the Navy after 10 years when the detailer said I really needed to go back sea on an aircraft carrier.   With two small kids and having already having experienced 3 West PAC deployments I decided I was done seeing the part of world covered with water.   I agree with you not wanting to travel to a destination by ship.

For my last 2 OAT/GCT trips I have started using USAA travel insurance and found it to be about half the price.   They have 3 levels of coverage and I use the middle level adding the cancel for work reasons for about $24 each person each time.   I’m still working and need to be able to cancel if an emergency comes up.  I haven’t had any claims yet, but on the Vietnam trip my wife got an ear infection and we had a doctor come to our hotel room one evening.   The total bill including doctors visit and drugs, was $70.   So I will soon be able to report on their quality of service.

Author: franl24fan

Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 13
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0

April 16, 2014

Hello to another pork chop  wow 3 of us on here.

I looked at the USAA coverage, will just need to find out how it works with a river cruise.

Leave in 2 weeks for Honolulu to board a 13 day repo cruise on Royal Caribbean, 6 days in islands, 5 days across, day in Victoria, then in to Vancouver. I did similar cruise in 2009, was my first time to Hawaii and I loved it. I am going back to the Arizona this time and adding tour of Missouri. 

Looking forward to my first GCT land tour in mid August. especially if they do change from that badly reviewed hotel. 

Thanks again for everyone's help. Maybe some day I will have done several GCT trips and can help out others.

 

Author: avalarue

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 70
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2008

April 28, 2014

Fran, you said, I also love to travel in Canada, my grandparents are of Acadian descent.

I would encourage you to take the Canadian Maritimes tour with Grand Circle. I learned about the Acadians for the first time there. They took us to a very interesting museum Along the Evangeline Trail at Grand Pre National Park. The whole trip was wonderful, except for the time on the road, especially the last day going back to Boston.

We took the NW Parks for our first GC trip and loved it. The longest day for us was Seattle to Spokane, but as had been said, there are numerous stops along the way, even for a wildlikfe photo op! Enjoy your trip.

Author: franl24fan

Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 13
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0

May 22, 2014

Thanks for the comment, I have been on a cruise for the past few weeks and just got back to GCT blogs.

I did the Road Scholar (Elderhostel) Canadian Maritime program last August and loved every part of it. After going to a concert in Summerside at the College of Piping & Drum I developed an appreciation for bagpipes :-).

I am looking forward to my first GCT program in August.

Author: pattimck

Joined: 1/9/2014
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2006

May 26, 2014

Recently I had to cancel a trip and was given a refund of the program costs, except of cours for the $300 travel insurance. But wait - there's more. Since I cancelled early on I was given a voucher for $300 to use on a future trip. I am pleased to report that the $300 was applied to Safari Serengeti scheudled (with OAT) for March, so the insurance was essentially refunded in full.

Author: cpamama

Joined: 6/3/2011
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2012

May 28, 2014

Hi, I have enjoyed this thread as I can identify with so much.

We have been on 3 GCT trips and I just can't say enough good things.  So far, all of our trips have been in Europe.  And we plan on taking at least 5 more with them in Europe.  The reason I want to see Europe before seeing all of the US is the plane ride...We are in our 60's and the ride to and from Europe is brutal.  Not much better to Hawaii and Alaska (We are in Memphis).  I figure when we are in our mid to late 70's we may be able to handle 3, 4 or even 6 hours trips, but not 10, 12 and more.  Coming home recently from Venice, it was a 17 hour day in the air and airports.  Last year was about the same coming home from Moscow.

On our recent trip to Italy, we had vastly different hotels.  The reason was explained to us as location, location, location.  In the smaller towns/villages we had much nicer hotels.  In Florence and Venice, the rooms were less than perfect, but were in great locations which was good because of so much to see.  All the rooms were clean, though--I would be appalled if they weren't.

We went to Alaska with Royal Caribbean in 2010. But we went on a land tour (small group) with them riding a train from Fairbanks to Anchorage before embarking the ship.  We enjoyed that more than the cruise.  We went to Hawaii in 2011 and used Pride of America as our floating hotel.  We arranged all of our tours on our own and rented cars on each island.  Good way to see the Islands!

In addition, we went on 2 other large cruses in 2010 and 2012.  Like some of you, we don't care to do that again.  (The Alaska and Hawaii cruising was great, but they were both land intensive.)  We enjoy the smaller group touring so much more.  Our first 2 trips with GCT were river cruises and we want to do more of those  :)

Lastly, thank you for the USAA insurance suggestion.  We have a USAA credit card and never thought of getting travel insurance through them.

Linda

 

 

Author: franl24fan

Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 13
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0

May 31, 2014

Linda, we seem to have done many of the same trips, small world.  As you mentioned, I too have tried to do some trips as soon as I retired at age 60, not so much for the flight times, although that is also getting harder, but more for the activity level. I do a lot of Road Scholar (Elder Hostel) programs, have finished up about all of my "bucket list" programs that involve more walking, standing and long bus rides. My thinking is, when my knees & hips give out I'll do more cruises. 

I just got back from a 13 day cruise on Royal Caribbean repo from Hawaii to Vancouver, 6 days in the islands. Added Kaui this time. Love Hawaii. I use Roberts Tours in Hawaii, instead of ships excursions. Next June I am doing an Alaska cruise tour with RCI, 6 days from Fairbanks to Seward, then 7 day cruise down to Vancouver.  In October 2015 I am doing a 14 day RCI cruise from Quebec, thru Canadian Maritimes, New England, Charleston and end in Ft Lauderdale. As a solo, I really have to watch out for deals since RCI went to 200% pricing. When I see a deal I jump on it., that is how I was finally able to do the Alaska cruise tour.  I wanted to do a GCT river cruise, but my budget is full for this year and next, so 2016 will be the year.  

I am looking forward to my August  14  NW National Parks with GCT, especially since it seems they are not doing North American land tours any more. They keep changing the hotels for our program, at least they dropped the hotel I had called them about.  

Maybe I'll meet up with you on a GCT or cruise. Happy travels. 

 

Fran 

 

 

 

Author: berlindb

Joined: 5/26/2012
Posts: 3
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

November 09, 2014

Fran,

We're looking at the NW Parks tour for 2015.  I'm interested in finding our how your August tour went.  We took the National Parks tour with GCT a few years ago and were underimpressed with the program director and the unsafe bus (cracked windshield and poorly operating AC).  We have traveled extensively with GCT in Europe and are use to very nice busses and fairly decent accomodations.  I can deal with less than standard hotels, if they are clean and nothing better available in the area.  Looking forward to your input.

LInda

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