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Author: loisfran

Joined: 3/28/2012
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2012

October 17, 2012

MY SUGGESTION TO GRAND CIRCLE IS TO CHECK OUT THE ROOMS AT THE HOTELS THEY USE. EVERYBODY HAD DIFFERENT SIZE ROOMS. THIS MADE THE DIFFERENCE OF A GOOD OR BAD TRIP. I READ ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO HAD AN AWFUL ROOM AT CONCHA PARK IN SORRENTO. I HAD A WONDERFUL ROOM, BUT IN CHIANCIANO MY SOLO ROOM WAS LIKE A CLOSET AND THE BATHROOM SMELLED FROM SEWER,  GCT SHOULD MAKE SURE ALL ROOMS ARE ON AN EQUAL BASIS. AS FOR PAST TRAVELLERS, SOME HAD UPGRADES AND SOME NOT. SYSTEM NOT WORKING. GCT NEEDS  TO REWARD THEIR PAST TRAVELLERS IN WAYS IT DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS WITH GCT.  LOIS LIEBERMAN SEPT 13, 2012 TUSCANY AND AMALFI COAST TOUR

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 118
Trips Taken: 17
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

Traveler Since: 2000

October 18, 2012

The bad rooms you described are certainly not acceptable.  However, you'll never get all rooms the same.  And the better rooms "should" if possible go to the frequent travelers  -  ALL TRAVEL companies (hotels, airlines, etc) give "upgrades" to their regular travelers!  That is the way the travel (and many other businesses) operate.  Again, the "sub-standard" rooms are certainly not acceptable - but you'll never have all rooms the same!

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 241
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

October 18, 2012

Most GCT program directors go around and ask each room's occupants if everything is okay with the room.  We have had some who didn't ask, expecting  us not to complain.  We didn't like her anyway. But, for the most part, if they didn't go to each room, they at least announced it at the welcome meeting or on the bus.  And, if there was any problem with the room, the PD went to the desk to get the persons in another room.  This also went for the river ships, as well.

 

 

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 1999

October 19, 2012

Singsling's experience is certainly different than mine. No PD has ever come to my hotel room or boat cabin to see if everything is okay. I don't even recall group announcements regarding room satisfaction. I can recall requesting a change of rooms on two GCT trips. In both cases, I went directly to the hotel reception desk, explained the problem and was given a different room. The PD wasn't even in the hotel the second time because the person who was supposed to meet us at the airport. wasn't available. So the PD met a group of us at the airport, took us to the bus and then went back into the airport to wait for the next group to arrive.

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 19, 2012

 We have never had a PD ask us to go to them with cabin problems on a river boat, but have frequently had them announce to everyone to go to them with hotel room problems. If we have a problem, we just go to the desk and it has always been resolved. If it wasn't we would have gone to the PD.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

October 19, 2012

 

janice_ (posted)...Singsling's experience is certainly different than mine. No PD has ever come to my hotel room or boat cabin to see if everything is okay.

My experience is more like janice's; they usually do not come around, But surprise...surprise on my last OAT trip to Costa Rica the tour guide (Osvaldo Padilla, aka Ozzy) did come around; however, it was an OAT trip (smaller numbers) and he was an exceptional guide. Usually the good guides will give you their room number at check in and ask that you contact them if you have any problems. The not so good guides just tell you where/when to meet them for the bus and hope you don't bother them with any problems.   

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loisfran (posted)...MY SUGGESTION TO GRAND CIRCLE IS TO CHECK OUT THE ROOMS AT THE HOTELS THEY USE. EVERYBODY HAD DIFFERENT SIZE ROOMS. THIS MADE THE DIFFERENCE OF A GOOD OR BAD TRIP. I READ ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO HAD AN AWFUL ROOM AT CONCHA PARK IN SORRENTO. I HAD A WONDERFUL ROOM, BUT IN CHIANCIANO MY SOLO ROOM WAS LIKE A CLOSET AND THE BATHROOM SMELLED FROM SEWER, GCT SHOULD MAKE SURE ALL ROOMS ARE ON AN EQUAL BASIS. AS FOR PAST TRAVELLERS, SOME HAD UPGRADES AND SOME NOT. SYSTEM NOT WORKING. GCT NEEDS TO REWARD THEIR PAST TRAVELLERS IN WAYS IT DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS WITH GCT. LOIS LIEBERMAN SEPT 13, 2012 TUSCANY AND AMALFI COAST TOUR.

The assignment of rooms, rooms for solo travelers, and past traveler perks has been addressed in numerous threads on this and the OAT forum. I don't want to

:horse:   here, but I'll just add:

 

1. GCT/OAT awards a contract to a hotel for a number of rooms. I'm sure that they get a bulk discounted rate. Also, I'm sure there is no stipulation that all rooms have to be identical. In fact with a lot of the hotels it is impossible for everyone to have an identical room. There just aren't that many rooms that are identical in the hotel. The rooms are generally assigned by the hotel (based on GCT/OAT's passenger list). Full fare customers are going to get the hotel's better rooms, and GCT/OAT travelers will get a room from what is left, etc, You basically book a "run of house" room, CGT/OAT only guarantees you a room.  If I was the hotel manager I'd probably assign the smaller rooms to the solo people too.

2. If something about your room isn't right (i.e. plumbing doesn't work, bad smell, etc.) by all means bring it to the attention of the hotel and tour guide. Usually it will be corrected.

3. Lots of companies give perks to their repeat customers, and GCT/OAT is no different.  It's just good business. I'm pretty sure that the list of travelers that GCT/OAT gives the hotel for room assignment has the number of past trips that person/couple has taken. Sometimes they do assign the larger room or the room with a better view to the person that has traveled with GCT/OAT the most. GCT/OAT gets a lot of repeat business and they want to keep these people loyal (i.e. coming back).  

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 538
Trips Taken: 8
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

October 20, 2012

I agree with most of what has been written -- it's not possible for everyone to have an identical room, etc, especially in small hotels. On eight trips the PD has never checked my room. Once on an OAT trip the PD called and asked if my room was satisfactory, so I assume he did it for everyone.

However, I disagree with Go buckeyes about frequent travelers getting the better rooms and that the PD includes the number of trips on the list for the hotel. In my experience I got better rooms before I reached Inner Circle and know that my room on two trips was better than that of another single who was Inner Circle. On one trip, the PD asked at the end of the trip who was Inner Circle and gave us pins. My rooms throughout the trip were always next to, or very near travelers whose last names were near mine in the alphabet.

Although I don't believe the PD lists the Inner Circle members for the hotels, he/she may indicate a few who have taken many trips or some who have made special requests (view, lower floor, etc.).

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

October 21, 2012

luisa (posted)...However, I disagree with Go buckeyes about frequent travelers getting the better rooms and that the PD includes the number of trips on the list for the hotel. In my experience I got better rooms before I reached Inner Circle and know that my room on two trips was better than that of another single who was Inner Circle. On one trip, the PD asked at the end of the trip who was Inner Circle and gave us pins. My rooms throughout the trip were always next to, or very near travelers whose last names were near mine in the alphabet.

Although I don't believe the PD lists the Inner Circle members for the hotels, he/she may indicate a few who have taken many trips or some who have made special requests (view, lower floor, etc.).

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Most likely luisa has not been on the same exact trips that I have so (no doubt) her experiences/observations on this matter could very well be different than mine. Basically we both can be correct based on the trips we have taken. You will notice that I said it “sometimes” happens, which is not very often but it has happened. A couple examples:

a. On a recent OAT trip to Argentina/Chile the tour guide mentioned to me (at the local airport) that I’d be getting a better room at the hotel due to the number of trips that I have been on, etc. The better room was one with a “lake view” as opposed to a “wooded (and parking lot) view”. GCT/OAT’s evaluation form for the tour guide has a question something to the effect “Did he/she recognize the Inner Circle members, etc.?” My guess is that some program directors really like their job, they want a good evaluation, so they might just push the Inner Circle recognition with the hotels more than others.

b. On another trip there was some discussion between the travelers about the sliced fruit in their room. Others commented that they didn’t get any fruit. The tour guide mentioned that the hotel just did that for the GCT/OAT Inner Circle members, etc.

 

 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 241
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

October 21, 2012

Our experience has been exactly as "gobuckeyes" has described his experiences with GCT/OAT hotel rooms.  We've not been on OAT tours, but most of the GCT tours/cruise we have taken our PD has at least mentioned if we have any problems to contact the front desk and if their resolution is not satisfactory, let him/her know.  Since we have been Inner Circle members for some time now, most of the PD's come to the hotel room to ask if all is okay.  We have not had the fruit plate in a  hotel room, but did get one on a river cruise a while back.  Mostly, Inner Circle members were invited to a cocktail party on river cruises and one get together on an escorted tour, just snacks and juice.  I'm glad they don't serve alcoholic beverages anymore, although I do enjoy them, I'm sure some members of our travel groups may not appreciate only champagne if they are in recovery or because of religious beliefs. I can't say we've always gotten better rooms because we are Inner Circle members.  Some rooms have downright small.   

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 538
Trips Taken: 8
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

October 22, 2012

Gobuckeyes: " a. On a recent OAT trip to Argentina/Chile the tour guide mentioned to me (at the local airport) that I’d be getting a better room at the hotel due to the number of trips that I have been on, etc. The better room was one with a “lake view” as opposed to a “wooded (and parking lot) view”. GCT/OAT’s evaluation form for the tour guide has a question something to the effect “Did he/she recognize the Inner Circle members, etc.?” My guess is that some program directors really like their job, they want a good evaluation, so they might just push the Inner Circle recognition with the hotels more than others." 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is really funny because I almost gave that trip as an example. The Chile/Argentina trip was my second or possibly my third. But I was not Inner Circle at that time.

In Bariloche I had a large, beautiful lake-view room with two beds (king and a twin) and a jacuzzi tub. I could open the window and hear the waves lapping over the rocks and got great photos of the sunset over the lake and the mountains. I also had a large room in Buenos Aires, where another single who was I.C., complained that hers was so small she was bumping into the furniture.

I liked the trip so much that I took again as my seventh, guess what -- as an Inner Circle member I got the small room with three (? for a solo?) narrow beds with a view of the parking lot.

So, I agree that it is the PD, some make the effort to recognize Inner Circle members and some do not and leave it up to the hotel staff. I doubt that Buckeyes and I had the same PDs on the Argentina trip.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

October 22, 2012

xerxes (posted)...Such differences in accommodations, etc. between long-standing travelers with GCT snd the first time user is reason enough for me not to consider GCT for any bussed itinerary.....I suppose if you enjoy Motel 6 accommodations, GCT fits in fine with your plans.

Trips taken: 0

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Keep in mind, that I travel to another countries to see the country, meet their people, and experience the culture differences there, etc. I do not go there to sit around all day in the hotel room. A typical day on most GCT/OAT (bus type) trips, you are out of the room by 8 AM and are not back until after supper (around 7 - 8 PM). All you really do in the room is sleep, shower, and you know what on the toilet. The only really important things about a hotel room are: clean bed, hot water (in the shower), and toilet flushes. When asleep at night with the lights out all hotel rooms look basically the same.

Personally I'd rather the "tour operator" spend a higher percentage of the cost of the tour on more included tours/meals and less on the actual hotel, etc. I've never actually stayed in a Motel 6 with GCT/OAT; however, the smaller, family owned, non chain, "local flavor" type hotels are OK with me. Heck, on one OAT tour (i.e. Morocco) the hotel room for 2 nights was a pup tent.

 

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 23, 2012

I took the Ireland in Depth in July of 2011.  After we checked in at each hotel, our PD would call to ask if everything was all right.  In Cork, I mentioned that the deadbolt did not work.  And a maintenance worker showed up about 10 minutes later to fix it.

My sister and her daughter took the same trip this past July, but each traveling solo.  In Cork, my sister who was not Inner Circle was assigned a lovely room.  When she got downstairs, she told my niece about it.  Someone overheard and complained to the PD that such a lovely room should not have been assigned to someone who was not Inner Circle.  Not complaining about her own room, but that my sister got a nicer one (she said).

I have never had reason to complain about any room I was assigned.  As someone (several someones) have remarked, how much time do you actually spend in the room.  As long as it's clean, has a comfortable bed and an ensuite bath with hot (not scalding) water, that's good enough.

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 241
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

October 23, 2012

I agree with Pauline, gobuckeyes, and xerxes on why I'm in a hotel in a city across the Atlantic or Pacific--to sightsee, enjoy the culture, learn about the place, etc.  When I told my husband about all the comments on Inner Circle vs non-Inner Circle he had the same feelings as I.  We have been down the Pension route in the early 60's for 3 years, when as a young soldier, he and I took advantage of his military tour in Germany as a luxury of seeing the world on a few Deutsche Marks for a room with the bathroom down the hall, and a chamber pot in the room at some places, with a delicious continental breakfast while we chatted with the owner. As a young bride going to Basel Switzerland for the first time, the only "robe" I took was my wedding negligee; I had never been in a pension before that, so was not wise and had to go down to the half level below to use the toilet, and directly in the line of view was the bar; I was the entertainment for that night. Our bathing room was opposite direction on the same floor as our room.  I learned what to take on subsequent trips.  We are long passed those days and do want a comfortable room, but it doesn't  have to be lavish; we only ask at least it be 3-star type and in good repair and clean--I do inspect under the sheets and don't know what I'd do if I found bedfellows under them.  It might end my travel days!  But, not  having a fancy room does not make me measure my pleasure on a trip.  What is important to me is what sights we see, historical nature especially, a good PD, good food, good travelers who are not late on the bus, and no one in the back of the bus singing "O' Solo Mio"   because he or she had too much to drink while off the bus.  Yes, some of the prices of these trips are pretty steep; my alternative is not going at all, because our days of driving in large cities on our own, looking for things to see and do, wasting time learning how to read the train system information.  All that is left up to our PD and Grand Circle to do that for me.  We've driven in most of Western Europe andJapan, and even Singapore.   What can you see when you whizzing by on an expressway, or trying to avoid accidents because people are whizzing by you in a small town with streets not big enough for one car let alone two.   Thank you very much, but we'll continue to take these well-planned tours with GCT or another company that we've used and if I don't like the room, I'll let someone know or get it changed myself. 

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 23, 2012

Since I now travel solo and will be 80 next month, I prefer to travel with a group.  And of them all, GCT is the best for solo travelers.  The small (?) cabin on the Allegro or Rossia or any of the GCT river cruises is fine for someone that's only five feet tall.  For several years I traveled with a friend, and we went all over the place.  On GCT trips to Europe and Central America, with other groups to the Canadian Maritimes and the trans-Canada railroad, and independently to Australia and New Zealand.  In New Zealand, we stayed in motels and did a lot of our own cooking (breakfasts, anyway) and either drove or took the Intercity motor coach all over.  Both retired, we could stay as long as we wanted.

I also prefer that GCT allocate the money to meals and tours, rather than luxurious hotel rooms.  I don't travel to see a hotel room.  And I don't want meals to cater to what they may think are American tastes.  I can eat that at home, and it will be better.  Every time I see a traveler's review that complains about the food because "it's not what we're used to," I want to write back and say "then stay home."

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 538
Trips Taken: 8
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

October 24, 2012

Just to be clear, when I posted about the difference in the hotel rooms in Bariloche it was to point out that I had a superior room on my second trip but not on my seventh when I was Inner Circle. I didn't complain about the room to to the PD or that other travelers had better rooms. It was a couple of days so didn't matter much.

On my Ireland trip, two couples raved about their rooms with verandahs and were surprised that first-time travelers got such nice rooms. I think there were only a few pepole who got those rooms but I didn't hear anyone else complaining about it; I can't imagine anyone doing that. I figure that in the long run it works out but that being an Inner Circle member doesn't guarantee me a better room than anyone else, if I get the lake- or water-front room it's a bonus.

Author: walshcs

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 102
Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, the Canadian Maritimes incl. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI, Montreal (Quebec), , and many USA cities incl. NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, Portland Oregon, the Oregon coast, Maine coast, parts of Florida. I took a 10 day tour to Costa Rica where I was especially thrilled to experience the tropical plants, birds, volcanos, and met the friendly Ticos. I did Ireland in Depth with GCT Oct. 2011 and it was an inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful experience to finally visit the land of my Irish ancestors. Completed the Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast with the pre-trip to Venice April 21, 2012 and it was a travel dream fulfilled. I booked Guatemala with Tikal, Antigua and Atitlan for January 2013 and had a wonderful adventure discovering modern day Maya culture and learning about ancient Maya city states with my visit to Tikal. It was very exciting that OAT brought back the trip to Japan. I had the trip of a lifetime including the pre-trip to Tokyo in Nov. 2013 and even did the Maiko make-over in Kyoto. My friends at home couldn't believe the "20 year old" in the photos of a Geisha were really me. Thank you professional photographer & photo shop! :) The next trip booked for Sept. 2014 is the Best of Eastern Europe (land trip version) and I'm looking forward to history & culture in that region. Now I finally have the resources to pursue my "bucket list" of foreign travel and the freedom to chart my own life's course. Ask questions that will satisfy your requirements/interests in a travel buddy. Looking forward to meeting you here and maybe in the world. Warm regards, Cate I'll post a photo when I remember to bring one from home. (Only have internet at work for now.)

Traveler Since: 2011

October 24, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I'm late joining this discussion so you may have all moved on by now. I would like to offer that no PD on either of my CGT trips inquired about the quality of my room, HOWEVER, when I expressed dissatisfaction or had a specific problem I brought it to my PD's attention, and on both occasions I was immediately moved to a better room. In Ireland one of my "non-smoking" rooms reeked of stale tobacco and I was moved to a lovely, clean room. In Venice I was first shown to a tiny, dark, very hot "closet" and moved that same day to a much more satisfactory accomodation.

I am dismayed by the number of folks posting to this thread expressing unhappiness about Inner Circle members not always receiving rooms as nice as first time travelers. As a well-traveled person who has only taken 2 trips with CGT so far, I feel that if we pay the same money, we are ALL entitled to a comfortable, functional, attractive room. The one thing about this company that I don't like is that they seem to exploit the human need to receive preferred treatment once we have achieved "club status". Just keep increasing my credits/discounts for my future trips and I will be delighted that my company loyalty is appreciated and rewarded. And improve the quality of any included meals for all of us! Keep the pins and other gifts...reduce the overall cost of the trips instead.

Anyway...travel friends, if you are not happy don't hesitate to voice your concerns and needs...you deserve good value for your travel investment.

Best to you,

Cate

 

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