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Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

August 08, 2013

I feel a bit dense asking this question, because I feel I should know the answer. But nevertheless.... On the Italy: Tuscany, Riviera and Alps trip, is there just one group with one program director? Or do they sometimes have more than one group and more than one program director on a given depaarture? In other words, are they limited to one bus full on each departure, and if so, how many seats on that bus? I notice that the 2014 glossy GCT book describing the trips makes not one mention of group sizes, whereas the 2013 books were highlighting the "small group sizes", guaranteeing not more than 38 folks in a group. Thanks, experienced GCT travelers! Kristen

P.S. I may have answered my own question. I spoke with GCT on another matter and then asked about group size on this trip. She said "42" was the maximum. That, and the fact that small group sizes are not mentioned in the 2014 materials, would lead me to believe that the "guaranteed group size of only 28-38" touted in 2013 will not hold true in 2014.

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 09, 2013

That's a good question. A few years ago GCT had groups of 24, then it went back to 42, then down to max 38, now it seems to be back up to 42. Four more passengers don't bother me, but the problem is that the buses in different countries have a different comfort level. I felt squeezed in Austrialia (as did many others), but had plenty of leg room in Argentina. I wish the 38 had worked out, it does leave a couple of empty seats.

It sounds like your trip maximum will be 42 and that will have one group leader. There might be another group the day before or the day after you so you may run in to other GCT travelers -- we did in Ireland.

Author: mary jayne halli...

Joined: 9/25/2010
Posts: 53
Trips Taken: 27
Traveler Since: 1989

August 09, 2013

My experience with the group sizes, early years, they limited grouping on the side trips as there were no WHISPERS as they call them now, the little intercom system but now that they use the whispers, many times there are at least 40 in the group and myself being a photographer want to wander away from; the group a bit to take pictures and this way you are still in listening contact and you know when to get closer to the group.  Before the whispers (or intercom system) you had to hover around the leader to hear.  Either way, now it works.  However the trip I am leaving on this Monday there were only 15 listed in the group and now I believe it is because folks other than myself were smarter to check on the expected weather as I now know it is going to be HOT. 

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 09, 2013

I'm surprised a GCT trip would go with only 15 participants. I thought there was a minimum of 20-something. That is unless the 15 is just on the pre-trip extension.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 493
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

August 09, 2013

 Luisa,

Each trip probably has a different break even point, based on vendor costs, and last minute cancellations may take them even beyond that. We had a China and the Yangtze  trip a few years ago with 14. What a fantastic trip that was with a PD and a highly qualified local guide at all times. All of the local guides were PDs between assignments.

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 09, 2013

In Ireland a couple of years ago, it was 38 max.  And we had, I think, 35.  It seemed just right.  If those buses are designed for 50 people, it gives enough room to spread out.

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

August 09, 2013

Thanks, all, for your thoughtful replies. I've got a good picture now of what to expect.

Happy travels!             - Kristen

Author: captainlarry

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

August 09, 2013

"In Ireland a couple of years ago, it was 38 max.  And we had, I think, 35.  It seemed just right.  If those buses are designed for 50 people, it gives enough room to spread out."

That exactly matches the Ireland trip we took in June and July this year, Pauline. There were few if any empty "pairs" of seats since several "solos" were on the trip and they generally took a seat alone. Our PD published a list each day listing the seat assignments. I know that is objectionable to many, but I heard only one person grumble during the trip.

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

August 09, 2013

Captain Larry - I would welcome seat assignments, or a rotating system. I have been on a trip where a few people made it their business to approach the bus each and every time and place their belongings on the front seats. It became very annoying to the rest of us.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 493
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

August 09, 2013

 Rotating of the seats is really up to the PD to set the rules and enforce them. In India, we ahad one woman had problems with motion sickness, so we always ceded her a front seat. We all voluntarily moved around each day, but we had plenty of extra seats. On some trips the PD defines a strict seat rotation system and we have never found a problem with people obeying it.

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