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Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
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

October 26, 2012

That's really nice!  I remember that you have allergy problems because I suffer from pulmonary problems and slight asthma, which is not the same.  But I do have to be careful in places with a lot of dust.  I think what you have is similar to what people have reactions to in what they call "sick buildings."  And they're usually new or newly renovated buildings.

Pauline

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 146
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 2004

October 27, 2012

Pauline, you are right I do suffer from environmental-type breathing problems which means I have to try to investigate as much as possible before I take a trip...especially involving hotels.  I cannot stay in buildings which are new or even a couple of years old or ones which have been renovated.  I try to check out the ships by asking people on these boards if they detected new carpets, etc. and this has been very helpful to me.

It isn't just traveling as I can encounter the same at Doctors', Dentists' offices too.  I manage very well with it though. 

I just read today on these boards about someone being placed in a hotel under construction or renovations (they were switched to this lesser hotel, I believe).  That is not good for anyone who travels to be placed in such a hotel situation where there is construction dust, hammering, etc.  This would not be something I could check out beforehand (if GCT changed hotels at the last minute).  It makes it difficult for everyone and not just me.

Pauline, hope to meet you sometime.  We are running out of Grand Circle rivers and are redoing some of them.  We wanted to go on the new one Ukraine to the Black Sea but they are putting us in a hotel instead of the ship for several nights so we have to rethink the trip as adding pre and post to a main trip which includes nights in a hotel makes for about 14 hotel stays. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
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

October 27, 2012

Jayge,  I'm scheduled to take the Paris to Honfleur cruise in July with the extension in Brittany.  I booked that the first day the 2013 cruises were opened up.  And I chose it over the Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, because all the shore excursions were new to me.

Now, I don't know what will come next.  Over the years, I've seen three river cruises mentioned, none of which were ever offered by GCT/OAT.  One was the Columbia River in Oregon.  One was the Mississippi on a paddlewheeler.  And the last was something that used to be offered by a company called Clipper Cruises, but they were not sailing ships.  It was Colonial Brasil and the Rio Negro.  They stopped offering it a number of years ago, but how that brochure appealed to me!

Author: pltexas

Joined: 2/26/2012
Posts: 11
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

October 30, 2012

 Judylee,

I am  very disappointed to hear of your experience w/your PD on the Eastern European cruise.  We are going to south pacific in December w/GCT and upon our return, we were going to book that cruise.  However, we just finished a trip with another company and had the same horrible experience with our PD that you described - we will NEVER travel with them again, and now I can honestly say i'm having second and third thoughts about GCT's cruise.  Too bad - I was so looking forward to it, but I refuse to go through that experience again with a horrible PD, especially given the cost - GCT isn't exactly a discount travel company.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 494
Trips Taken: 15
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

October 30, 2012

 pltexas,

This type of performance by a PD is not typical. Out of 13 GCT/OAT trips, we have only had one PD that we have not been totally satisfied with, although we have not done this particular trip. If this PD was as bad as Judylee stated and people stated that on their post-trip evaluations, I'm sure he/she does not work for them anymore. I assume that the trip you  are about to take is Austarlia, New Zealand and Fiji. We had a graet time on that trip, Our PB was Maree, who came across as a bit of a taskmaster at first, but she was excellent, and, since she laid down the law in the beginning, no one was ever late for a departure, normally a major aggravation on group travel. If you would like a preview of the trip, I did a trip report on it. It is http://jackthetravelingman.blogspot.com.

By the way the PD we were not happy with was in Israel, and he no longer works for them.

Author: jandb

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 33
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1999

October 31, 2012

 We have been very pleased with all of our PDs, perhaps because all the groups we have had the good fortune to travel with have been enthusiastic travelers.  We had one PD who admitted our group brought out the best in him.  We had another who was inexperienced and was frequently prompted by the bus driver; we even had to go back to pick up a couple who were left behind.  However every one took it in good spirits and the PD made up for his lack of experience in enthusiasm.  He even found several "discoveries" which were unique for our group.  Both of these PDs were on extensions.  We have had several local guides who were not very good and a couple of bus drivers who ranged from surly to downright scary!  But the bus driver in Turkey was fantastic...cleaning the windows at every stop, greeting us with refreshing hand washes each time we reboarded the bus when we were hot and dusty, providing us with cold water, and sometimes entertaining us with songs and dances during lunch breaks.

 

 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 271
Trips Taken: 0

October 31, 2012

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for your comments.  Please know that we review all the ratings from our Post Trip Surveys.  Should any aspect of our trips - trip leaders, optional tours, hotels, etc. -  not be rated well by our travelers, we review these items very closely.

As always, should you have any specific concerns or feedback about any of our trips, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at 1-800-321-2835.

Kind Regards,
Michelle
GCT Forum Moderator
 

Author: pltexas

Joined: 2/26/2012
Posts: 11
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

November 06, 2012

Thanks for the encouragement about the PD in response to my post.  After my last trip, as i described, I am just gun shy I guess - because it was such a horrible experience.  We traveled in the spring to Chile and Argentina and had Vicky for the PD and did the Peru extension and had Walter for the PD - they were both AMAZING!!!  We had one local guide in Chile - Nelson - he was not pleasant - he was not a good tour guide at all and no one in our group cared for him.  He spent most of his time on a soapbox about politics.  He was the only down note about that that whole trip. Walter even made rain in Machu Pichu enjoyable!!   I'm going to be very optimistic about our trip to SP and hopefully that will be as good as our S America trip and i'll be over the PD paranoia! :-)

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