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Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

July 28, 2012

 Right now, on the OAT web site, there are two threads eash asking that question.  We'd like to combine them into a thread dedicated to ONLY Grand Circle trips( sorry, no OAT trips please-you can post them on the OAT web site threads ).  So we'd like to ask everyone to tell us what their most favorite and least favorite Grand Circle trips were.

We'll begin with our:  Our most favorite was Prague and the Blue Danube and our least favority was Spain & Portugal in Depth.

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

July 28, 2012

I'm so glad you started this thread.

It's hard to pick my most favorite GCT trip, but I think that it will have to be the Best of Eastern Europe that I took in 2001 right after 9/11.  Most probably because of emotional reasons and also because we were very welcomed everywhere we went.  As a group made up of people scheduled to leave here on 9/12 and another group scheduled to depart a few days later, we were what was left of the two tours after people canceled.  We bonded more than any other tour group I've ever traveled with. 

And my least favorite was my first experience with GCT.  That was the Costa del Sol.  Not that there was anything wrong about it; it just didn't thrill me.  So that when my friend and I were planning to go to Eastern Europe, we were going to do it on our own.  Using the GCT itinerary as a template, we started costing it out and by the time we had finished with Poland we'd already spent more than the GCT tour.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 446
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

July 28, 2012

Pauline, I liked the Costa del Sol and might have repeated it had GCT not dropped the program. But it was not my favorite. GCT was just the booking agent for a Holland America Lines tour of Alaska that probably was my favorite. It qualifies because GCT put together a cruise and land tour with a return cruise in a fashion that was not proposed by HAL. Also, the price charged by GCT for the whole program was the same as HAL was charging for half of it. The HAL tour guide marvelled at how many more meals were included for the GCT travelers than for the others on the tour. So GCT made a great contribution. The title of the GCT program was Ultimate Alaska, the Yukon and Vancouver.

I supose with nine trips there has to be a least favorite, but it's hard to pick one. There were some things I didn't like about all of them, even Alaska, but none of them were bad. If I have to pick one it is the trip to Sicily, although it was very enjoyable. But in comparison with the others it probably comes in last place.

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 132
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

July 29, 2012

I have taken four GCT trips and have not really disliked any of them.  However, my all time favorite was the Christmastime on the Seine in 2009.  My least favorite was the Christmastime on the Seine in 2010.  So ..... what happened?  Well, the 2009 trip had two wonderful guides, Marie Livet and Olivier Horslaville.  They were well-organized, interesting and fun.   On the 2010 trip the guides (and this may have been their first trip with GCT; they may have improved) were a nightmare of disorganization.  They never had maps available, they didn't make announcements of walking tours, they seemed totally unprepared.  They seemed to lack basic information on a major city, Rouen.  I was glad I had been there before; I would have missed some interesting places had I not been on the 2009 trip. 

Having said this I look forward to going on a third Christmastime on the Seine in 2013.  It's just too much fun!  I love a more uncrowded Paris; I love Rouen, I love the cozy convenience of the Bizet. 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 559
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

July 29, 2012

My favorite GCT trip was the Crossroads of Turkey. The country is beautiful and interesting and we had a wonderful program director who was knowledgeable and helpful when needed. It also had enough free time that I could get out on my own and pursue my interests. I know some GCT travelers want a full itinerary but I'm not one of them. 

My least favorite was Australia, New Zealand and Fiji because, like Sealionlady, the trip was affected by the worst PD of any trip I've taken. She was knowledgable, but overbearing, gossiped about trip participants and treated us like children. The countries and itineraries were wonderful I would still recommend the trip but hope for a better PD.

My second favorite trip was Discover South America, and once again we had a wonderful PD who was knowledgable and available if needed. I enjoyed the Costa del Sol trip; it was relaxed but offered enough local tours and a couple of overnights to be interesting.

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

July 30, 2012

I think the problem with our stay in Torremolinos was that the dine-around didn't work too well while we were there.  It was over New Year's and the three weeks following, and a lot of the restaurants on the dine-around were closed for the month of January.  That left us with the Hotel Barranquilla and a couple of smallish cafes.  The menus were very limited, and I finally got fed up.  I'd been to Spain before, and I knew the food could be better than what we were  offered.  So I asked to see the regular menu and paid extra for a really good garlic soup and lovely grilled baby red mullets.  Which I shared with the rest of my friends.

What we saw, both on the Costa del Sol, and in Sevilla and Cordoba and the other towns we visited was very worth while.  The weather, with the exception of a couple of days of rain, really cooperated. 

So this trip was my least favorite.  I can't say that any GCT trip has ever been a disappointment.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

August 01, 2012

We made an interesting observation.  On the OAT web site, there's a thread that details suggestions for web site improvement.  Several people have posted their opinions.  But several times, a moderator has also posted acknowledging the suggestions, and although not necessarily guaranteeing implementation, at least acknowledging them.  We're wondering why no moderator or better, someone who makes policy at Grand Circle, is paying attention to THIS and other similar threads?  After all, aren't these threads, mostly by clients, many of whom are long-time clients mean anything?  We know that Grand circle/OAT has evaluations, but aren't THESE forums also important?  At least to be acknowledged as such? 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 279
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

August 01, 2012

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for your comments.  Please know every comment is read by a Moderator and, when needed, forwarded to the appropriate manager at Grand Circle.

Should you have specific issues or questions about a trip, feel free to call us directly at - 1-800-321-2835.  If you have individual concerns or questions about our Forum, please send an email to gctforummoderator@gct.com.

Also, as a friendly reminder - please try to keep posts related to the original topic or open a new thread.

Kind Regards,
Michelle
GCT Forum Moderator

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 527
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

August 01, 2012

 If everyone wanted the same things, Grand Circle's job would be very easy and everybody would love every trip.  One person's favorite trip might by anothers least favorite. One person might think that there were too many bathroom breaks and another think they were too few. If Grand Circle reacted to every individuals complaint by eliminating a trip, there would be no trips at all. you see differences of opinion on all forums, TripAdvidor probably being the best example, where one person will say the hotel was spotless and another saying it was filthy, one saying that the desk staff was extremely helpful and another saying that they were aloof. Satisfied customers don't post as often as unsatisfied, so a thread such as this is not representative. The trip surveys are the best measure, as you get a much higher respones rate.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

August 01, 2012

Michelle-We were most appreciative of your call to us regarding our above post.  As long time travelers, we continue to say that most of the time, Grand Circle/OAT gives us best value for our travel dollar, and with two trips booked for 2013, we continue to travel with the company.  Our only concern was that we felt in a post such as this, which lists shortcomings, many be clients who have numerous trips with the company, should be acknowledged by the company.  Sharing what each individual likes and dislikes in a personal evaluation is good, but sometimes the company needs to be 'reminded' of those assets and shortcomings in a public post.  such is the case here, and the acknowledgement is, IOHO, going to be taken perhaps more seriously than an evaluation squeezed into a box which in itself may be insufficient to properly detail what one wants to express.

 

So, we thank you for your reply.  It's good to know the company is listening.  Now, perhaps some implementation... 

Author: christiea

Joined: 5/7/2010
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2005

September 03, 2012

Probably our favorite GCT trip was our first: The Best of Eastern Europe.  We had an excellent guide and the sights and history were mind-opening.  Lodging and transportation arrangements were okay.

Our worst trip was Discover South America, Chile and Argentina, with pre-trip to Peru.  Not once, but twice, Grand Circle switched hotels on us to disgusting not-equal places.  In Lima our hotel was under construction with dust, bare lightbulbs and fungus on the amenities; in Buenos Aires, we were switched to a rabbit-warren place with dirty beds and peeling walls.  Everyone complained; we were told the published hotel was unavailable.  Not so; some of us checked and were told 1) there was availability and 2) GCT hadn't used them for six months, even though mailings advertised it.  We were given a "free lunch" to compensate for three days. Our friend has never traveled again with GCT.

If there is to be a substitution, the hotel should be equal, as promised.

Author: dmab

Joined: 3/8/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2006

October 26, 2012

After 12 trips our favorite GCT trip is the Crossroads of Turkey for many of the same reasons an earlier poster mentioned, The Best of Eastern Europe trip was a close second.

There have been no bad trips, our least favorite trip was still a good trip, Spain and Portugal. GCT air travel arrangements were bad and frequently changed as the trip date got closer.  Our PD was distracted because her mother was seriouly ill and GCT couldn't/wouldn't get her a replacement so she could go be with her mother.  It was still a largely enjoyable trip.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

October 26, 2012

I've taken 4 GCT trips and here is how I'd rank them:

1. The Great Rivers of Europe

2. America's Majestic National Parks

3. Northwest National Parks

4. Northern Mexico And Copper Canyon

 

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