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Author: lauracunningham

Joined: 7/13/2013
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2010

July 13, 2013

I am shocked and appalled that people are actually calling limiting single openings without a supplement "discrimination".  I find this incredibly ungrateful as GCT and OAT are the ONLY tour companies who don't charge a single supplement on ANY of their land tours.  They also don't pretend like "matching" you with an unknown roommate is truly accomodating single people or remotely acceptable to some. 

The dilemma for the single traveler is that it is not always feasible to find a COMPATIBLE friend who wants to visit the SAME destination at the SAME time who shares the SAME socio economic status and can afford to travel.

I for one am extremely grateful someone has finally shown me, as a single traveler, a little respect and does not assume that I want to jeopardize  thousands of dollars and a trip of a lifetime on a COMPLETE UNKNOWN who could snore, be obnoxious, smoke, have overnight "guests", and who has access to my jewelry, money, etc etc. because we share the same room.

The option with other companies is you can pay 150 - 200 %  despite the fact that you are not eating for 1.5 or 2 people, you are not using  airfare/room on the bus for 1.5 or 2 people nor are you utilizing tours for 1.5 or 2 people.  Are you kidding me?  Now that looks more like "discrimination" to me or better yet gouging and its been a common business practice for years in the travel industry.

As for the river cruises,  Vantage by the way DOES charge a single supplement. They just hide it by having "single" cabins as do the larger cruise ships. Heres how it works - I considered them and called to find out what my costs would be for a certain cruise ($4799 pp) vs. what it would be for my couple friends coming with me ($3949 pp). For that price they get a regular size room and I get a broom closet for my extra $800 plus dollars. In addition, I also had to book a year in advance to get a single cabin. From time to time they supposedly have "single sales" but I'd be really careful, read the fine print and consider the manipulation around the supplement issue. 

Now on the river cruises through GCT - they OWN their one and only single supplement charge.  Its $595.   For that $595 I don't get a broom closet but a regular sized room as opposed to Vantage.

Thank you GCT/OAT for being progressive enough to recognize the value of Solo travelers in the travel industry and FINALLY show us a little respect and regard.  I've done 5 trips with these companies and plan to do 2 more in 2014.  They are wise enough to know that people like me will refer them to my single friends AND have brought my couple companions and girlfriends willing to share along with me.  If it weren't for their single friendly policy, none of this business would have come their way.

So if others want to enable  tour companies that cater to couples/twosomes to continue to gouge the single,  you go right ahead and fork over the supplement or bunk with an unknown possibly jeapordizing your trip.  As for me, I'm most appreciative and will be a loyal customer for life. I refuse to support companies who gouge the single traveler, cater to couples/twosomes and assume that rooming with an unknown is a viable option for an investment of thousands and a once in a life time trip. I'm choosing to be treated with respect rather than paying more to be treated as a second class citizen.

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 125
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2001

July 13, 2013

 Amen!  As a solo traveler, I am so happy with GCT/OATs "no single supplement" policy.  It's the reason why I keep returning year after year .... two trips this year and plans afoot (Columbia? Italy?) for next year.  

 

Author: jeantravels

Joined: 10/21/2010
Posts: 8
Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Most of Europe and New Zealand before discovering OAT. With OAT: Costa Rica, Heart of India, inside Vietnam early 2014. With GCT: Dubrovnik and beyond. Am also a Travel Ambassador and have earned the free trip. All it takes is 8 referrals: easy!

Traveler Since: 2010

July 13, 2013

 Laura and Sealinelady:  those are exactly my sentiments, I really appreciate the no single supplement and  I can't wait for the next two trips I have booked:  Croatia with GCT and Vietnam with OAT.   AND on top of the no single supplement, I have earned a FREE trip thru the Vacation Ambassador Program.    Host a Travel Party!

 

Author: lauracunningham

Joined: 7/13/2013
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2010

July 13, 2013

jeantravels and sealionlady - so glad to hear you like me are appreciative of  this policy.  As you can probably tell the whole "single supplement" issue is a pet peeve for me and if it weren't for OAT/GCT I'd probably be traveling on my own, making my own reservations with the exeption of the most exotic/dicey places.  I love the fact that the Ambassador program has worked out.  I too have referred 4 people so far.  It sure would be nice to meet up with you ladies on a trip.  As always safe travels!

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 46
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 1999

August 23, 2013

I,too, appreciate the solo friendly policy.

  But I can't always sign up as far in advance as is often necessary to get a single cabin, so I share.  And, it's been FINE!  Most OAT/CGT travelers are very experienced, flexible and personable.  My only condition is a non-smoker and of the same gender.  I had roomates in Peru, Eastern Europe, Greece and most recently the Dalmation Coast cruise.   While we didn't become lifelong friends, we were certainly polite and accomodating to one another.

One roommate had shared a room over a dozen times on OAT/GCT adventures and only once had a troublesome roomie.  This person had no business bieng on a cruise and OAT made it clear that passenger would be sent home, if the antics continued.

As I often remind people, don't you share a bathroom in the airport?  Didn't  you have college or camp roommate.  And, it's only for two weeks or so.  If you're worried about your valuables, lock them in the room safe.

So don't let the lack of a single cabin deter you.  Sharing the room can be part of the adventure.

 

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
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

Traveler Since: 2006

August 23, 2013

I respectfully disagree. Sharing a bathroom at an airport and sharing a cabin on a 5K cruise is not the same. We're not kids and it's not summer camp. Some of us are getting older and make one trip a year. I'd rather pay a supplement or book early and lose out on discounts than have a roommate who could ruin the trip. 

I was on one trip with two women who'd been friends for years but wound up in a screaming argument by the second week. One told me that her husband had warned her not to share a room with her friend. So, no thanks, I'm not willing to take a chance.

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

August 23, 2013

I had to check the dates of the last couple of posts, because it seemed so familiar.  Including the comparison with public restrooms and summer camps.  We went all through that last year. 

I agree with Luisa.  I've never asked for a roommate match.  If I don't have someone to travel with that I know, really know, will be compatible, then I travel solo and pay the supplement on the cruise.  I was very luck for ten years to travel with someone who was compatible.  We shared most interests and, if we didn't, she went her way and I went mine. 

We did see two disastrous matches on the Holland Belgium cruise around 2004, and I have mentioned that before.  One person pretended her roommate didn't exist.  Never looked at her or talked to her.  But she also was that way with everyone.  So why she traveled with a group was a great mystery.  The other one didn't drink, which was fine.  But she also criticized everyone else who had a glass or two of wine.  It was a real conversation-stopper.

In the past, I have booked way ahead.  So getting a single accomodation wasn't a problem.  That's no longer an option for me at my age.  But last year, my sister and one of her daughters went to Ireland and they each opted to have a separate room, so they were essentially traveling solo.  And they made their reservations only a few months ahead.  And there are last minute deals.  GCT has accepted more solo travelers than they say they will on every trip I've taken with them.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 414
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

August 23, 2013

I have seldom (if ever) joined into this kind of discussion because I have always toured as part of a couple. So to educate myself I did some research. I looked at the Great Rivers of Europe cruise on May 8, 2014, and calculated the price for a couple and for a solo, selecting the same cabin category. The base price was the same as were the fees and the air add-on. The only difference was a single supplement of $745. My interpretation of that was that the value of the cabin on the ship for the duration of the cruise is $1,490 and the other $3,750 is for meals, touring, and other amenities. That adds up to the $8,990 for a couple ($4,495 per person) and the $5,240 for a solo. For the added $745 the solo gets full use of the exact same cabin layout that is shared by the couple. OK. Now I think I understand.

Two things surprise me from this analysis. I would have thought that the value of the cabin would have been more than the 16.5% of the total cost, as indicated by this analysis. And I cannot understand why anyone would be upset at being asked to pay the full cost of a cabin when they are not sharing the cabin with someone else. And especially when the cost of the cabin is such a small portion of the total cost.

I have not done a similar analysis of a land tour, but I can extrapolate. What does surprise me is that most of the extensions appear to be free of single supplements. If that is true and if the analysis holds, it appears that any discrimination is against the couple.

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

August 23, 2013

Someone brought up the idea of couples being penalized last year, I think it was.  There is no single supplement on any of the GCT/OAT land tours, not just the extensions.  In most hotels, the price of a room is the same whether it's single or double.  So solo travelers not having to pay a supplement on land tours is not penalizing couples.  Two people sharing a room pay the price for the room, which they can split between them.  Solo travelers pay the price for the room and don't have anybody to split it with.  Couples sharing the room pay the same price as the solo traveler.

I can't address any of Captain Larry's conclusions, since I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm mathematically challenged.

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

August 23, 2013

Captain, I think it is a mistake to assume that the value of a cabin is twice the single supplement as it is probably somewhat more. Actually, I think their profit for a tour is higher when a cabin is sold to two people compared to one.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 414
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

August 23, 2013

Then, Janice, that adds fuel to my assertion that, if discrimination exists, couples are the ones who suffer.

Author: gobuckeyes

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

August 24, 2013

Since we don't know what prices GCT pays for hotel rooms everything is just a guess on our part.  This follwoing applies when the solo traveler gets a hotel/ship's double room, i.e. not a smaller room only assigned to a single person. However, it would be logical to ass/u/me:

1. GCT negociates a pretty good rate per hotel room based on the volume of rooms that they are booking.

2. The rate GCT gets is undoubtedly much lower than the hotel's "rack rate", and probably lower than what the average non-tour group guest pays. This is  evident as sometimes the GCT group gets bumped to another hotel due to overbooking. The hotel makes more money on the other bookings so they bump the GCT group.

3. My guess is that GCT pays a little more (i.e. maybe just a few dollars) for the room if two people stay in it (vs if just one person stays in it) to cover the costs for 2nd person's included breakfast.  Discounting the breakfast differential, if each traveler pays "X" dollars for a specific hotel, then GCT gets twice as much when the room has double occupancy, i.e. "2X" dollars vs "X" dollars form a "solo traveler".

4. GCT has to make a certain amount of profit to stay in business. I'm sure they figure some profit into all aspects of their vacation package (i.e. transportation, meals, tours, and hotel room, etc.). If someone pays a lower amount for an element (i.e. hotel room) of the tour it effects GCT's bottom line and I'm sure they try to make it up somewhere else. My guess is that the hotel room portion of the overall vacation cost is increased (slightly) to cover the specific number of rooms allocated to solo travelers. 

5. I wouldn't necessarily call it discrimination; however, I will say the people with double occupancy are definitely subsidizing the "solo" travelers (i.e. when GCT waives the single suppliment for the tour). 

 

 

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 414
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

August 24, 2013

Brutus, I think you were agreeing with me, but I'm not sure. Anyway, before any of the solo travelers think I'm picking on them, let me say that I have never yet purchased a tour because I was getting a better deal than someone else. Nor have I declined one because I thought I was being charged more for the same tour than someone else. I evaluate each tour simply on what it costs me and how good a value i consider that price. I have never yet taken a tour, with GCT or any other company, but what I felt, as Brutus was saying, that I am paying less through the tour company than I would have paid if booking everything myself.

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 5
Countries Visited:

OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda; 35+ more countries

Traveler Since: 2007

August 24, 2013

Dear gobuckeyes and CaptainLarry:

Here is a reply to a post I made two years ago regarding single rooms on ships:

"(A stiff price hike presumably means couples will be partially subsidizing singles.)"


"Oh dear, psallison!!!  I see you are a single traveler as I am.  I have always paid my fair share along with years of room shares and expensive single supplements and never feel when I am granted a free single supplement that couples are subsidizing singles.  Offering free single supplements is just another marketing tool that OAT/GCT uses to attract travelers.  This way they are still making a profit in volume, although slightly less profit than for those traveling in pairs.  Couples are not helping me pay for my trip.  Please, psallison, let us not put couples and singles at odds with each other through this travel forum."

I was dumbfounded a couple years ago on a trip when a wife whined that she and her husband had to pay double for everything.  Did she not realize that one couple equals two people. It's all in how you look at things.

Judy

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

August 24, 2013

With GCT's current pricing strategy for singles, I think I am getting more for my money if I don't share a room or cabin than someone who does. A couple can get the same value by booking two single spaces instead of a double providing there are two available.

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

August 24, 2013

Be realistic here.  YES, couples ARE subsidizing "free singles" - probably not a lot, but they certainly are.   The rooms (unless they are specific single rooms) cost GCT/OAT roughly the same whether there are two people in them or one (again - the ROOM, not the food or anything else) - so, yes, couples end up giving a little subsidy to the singles.   Not enough to be worried about -  but singles should not think they are covering the full cost!  They aren't (when there isn't a single supplement).

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
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

Traveler Since: 2006

August 24, 2013

We went through all this about a year ago. I agreed with Judy then and still do. Most GCT cruises charge a single supplement; a few do not, but the two single cabins are for single use only.

Perhaps couples pay a bit more, but they also have a shot at the last minute deals, which very rarely offers the deep discount to singles and I understand why. I got an e-mail a few days ago about the Russia trip, which has been discounted 50% and includes the visa. No singles; I check the deals often and single space has been extremely rare. 

I think OAT/GCT understand the market and want a large share of solo travelers.

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 414
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

August 24, 2013

We're getting dangerously close to comparing avacados and qumquats here, so this will be my last post on the subject. If it's a good deal for you, go for it regardless of what anyone else pays or what anyone else thinks. If it's a bad deal, walk away.

Author: wattsed

Joined: 3/30/2010
Posts: 138
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

All seven continents, 113 countries and all states except Hawaii and Idaho.Plus some interesting places that are not countries such as The zores, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, etc.

Traveler Since: 2010

August 24, 2013

I am with Captain Larry with respect getting my own "deal" without having to worry or think about what someone else is getting...If I think I am getting value for my money, so be it and I do not look back...if I had to worry about what a deal someone else is getting then I probably would never ever buy another new car, or a house or even a ring or other trinket in some isolated place like Mongolia or even spices in the spice market  in Istanbul for fear that someone else is getting a better deal than I!  Just sayin"!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 535
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

Traveler Since: 2006

August 25, 2013

I agree with both the last posts -- just do it if you think it's a good value for you. But, I had to laugh about Ed's comment about who gets the best bargain in the spice market.

On my Morocco trip we got off the bus somewhere in the south and were surrounded by kids selling blue scarves. I bought one for about $2.00 and got back on the bus and then a woman got on and said she got him down to ##. probably 50 cents. Then three different people loudly told me that I'd paid too much. The PD was near me and leaned over and said, "but maybe that boy can buy meat for his family tonight."

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