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Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 523
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

April 26, 2014

I think it could be done the way another company did in the example I gave on the Italy trip that I'd taken. The PD announced the night before that the walk the next day would be faster than usual and people who couldn't keep up shouldn't go. Several stayed near the hotel and shopped or took leisurely strolls.

You're right, it could be too complicated, but I don't think it has to be. I didn't take Frannie's suggestion to mean that they would divide the group for every event, just the ones that would be faster or have steep hills, etc., when they know some would not be able to keep up.

I think I'm beating a dead horse anyway; I doubt that anything will change. The slow walkers will be annoyed if the PD doesn't wait for them and the faster walkers will be annoyed if they have to wait. Another option is for the PD to speak to the slows individually and suggest they do something else.

It's better than this: "When asked if he could slow down the pace during walks, he replied, "maybe you should not have come on this trip!"

 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 239
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

April 26, 2014

It's funny the different takes on this.  In most of the 11 or 12 trips with GCT we've taken, MOST of the time the PD was behind the whole group except when they were giving a description or discussion with the whispers.  Most of the time, the PD walked between the front, middle and back to see if all was okay.  One PD on the River Seine cruise even pushed the wheelchair of one of the passengers who insisted on going on the tour. Her caregiver was not able to push the wheelchair herself.  The terrain was up hill and not on any concrete, but on dirt with rocks.  Someone helped her to push over the rocks.  I mentioned to the PD that it wa nice of her to take charge of the wheelchair when it wasn't her job.  She told me that IT WAS HER JOB.  This woman in the wheelchair is the same woman the PD spent a whole night with in the hospital-- this terminal woman who was given hours to live, holding her hand lest she die there; that was not the first night the PD spent in the hospital with her.  The PD did not make breakfast, but she was there, without a wink of sleep or a change of clothes, on the bus tour that left at 9:00 am.  Again she told me it was her job!  She cried when she asked forgiveness if she sneaks a few winks in the back of the bus, but to pray for that woman.  I think the woman was eventually medevac-ed out that day.

 I agree with some of the posters on the What to Know in brochures and catalogs.  For the Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast, we had very challenging activities, but there was nothing describing what the "3-4 miles throughout a day" would entail.  I told the PD that a more descriptive explanation of just what the trip entails would be more  helpful so that we can either book the trip or not.  I also wrote it in my review.  No one said we had to partake of the tour, but waiting with the bus driver would not be a good idea since we would not be going back to the same area to board the bus.  I don't think GCT will ever change the description, though, just my hunch.  On this particular itinerary, I called GCT several times to discuss the hikes and was told that looking at the other trips we  had taken, we could certainly do the Hidden Gems.  

I received a booklet from AAA on a trip recently, and they described the activities as one, two, or three walkers, and stated the challenges in degrees of 1 walking, 2 small hill, 3 challenging hike, or something to this nature--I don't have the book now.  

Even though I walk on a treadmill at 3 miles per  hour, and around our park sometimes at at least 3.3-3.4 mph, we rarely use a cane on trips, just to go up or down hills or steps--and that's a lot.  We are in constant pain with our knees and back, but we don't keep the others from going at their pace.  We don't ask the PD to "wait for us" or help us.  They do it anyway, because, more than one told me, IT'S OUR JOB.  

 

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 68
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

April 27, 2014

I am not a good walker. I have had two joint replacements (hip and knee) and have joint pain and aching when walking. Thus, I do bring my cane on trips, knowing we'll walk a lot, even though I don't use the cane at home.. I take advantages of pauses to sit, stretch my hips, or lean on something. I take pics, so sometimes fall behind the group. I have been known to slip into a shop for a dark chocolate bar! Despite these issues, on a GCT trip I found myself in about the middle of the pack, easy to keep up because of whisperers, and easy to judge what the pace would be with a particular guide on a particular day, and thus being able to adjust my activities so as to not lose the group. More annoying was the couple who ALWAYS had to be right up with the guide, monopolizing with their questions, and always sitting in the front seat of the bus, every single time. I found this behavior to be offensive, unsensitive and selfish. I loved it when one city guide, when this couple asked for some historical date to be repeated, referred them over to the statue's plaque for the info! 

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 50
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2007

April 27, 2014

On all our GCT/OAT bus, boat, and safari rides, seat rotation was the rule: either voluntarily by the group members ourselves, or enforced (gently but firmly) by the PD's/TL's.  Makes a much more equitable and enjoyable experience. 

Author: kristenc

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 68
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

April 28, 2014

I've heard that, Noseycat! Just didn't happen with this particular group and PD, who, by the way, was fabulous.

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 268
Trips Taken: 0

May 05, 2014

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for all of your valuable comments regarding the rigors of some trips and how the PD's handle them relative to the group.

I have shared the thread with key Managers for their review.

Please note, we have updated the trip expecations and rigors information for 2015.  They can be found in our 2015 brochures and on the left side of the Web page (of the trip you are considering) under the title What To Know. 

All the Best

Annmarie

Forum Moderator

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 139
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

May 05, 2014

Well done!  I just took time to read the specs for several of the trips we have taken, and found the information quite complete and mostly accurate.  I like the way that the topic is broken down into categories: terrain, pacing, etc. This addition to your website should be very helpful to travelers, and certainly is more useful than a "star" rating system.

My one small quibble with what I read was the temperatures on the Great Rivers of Europe trip. Listed with a high of 75 degrees, but our trip was during a heatwave where temperatures were consistently in the 90's!

I appreciated the fact that the information given was specific to the trip being talked about. You did not just say vaguely "Must be able to walk three miles a day" for every trip, but rather, gave more definite guidelines for travelers, enabling them to assess their ability or tolerance levels. This change is an excellent addition to your webpage for 2015.
 

Author: janice!

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

many

Traveler Since: 1999

May 06, 2014

I agree with Gaynell that the What to Know information has been reatly improved. However, there is still nothing mentioned about the walking pace which was an issue on a recent Italian tirp as described in the April 19 post. For the sake of slow walkers, I hope the PD in that case is a rare exception.

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 139
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

May 06, 2014

Janice, I'm not sure I think that the "walking pace" is something that can be consistently described in a brochure or regulated by Grand Circle. That's such an individual thing, and one PD's slow pace might seem fast to some people, and vice versa. My husband, with his long legs, sometimes slows down to what he considers a slow stroll, and to me, with my short legs, it's still a pretty brisk pace. And even when I walk slowly, I have a walking partner friend who thinks I'm going too fast. Everybody has their own opinion! 

I think the Program Directors just need to be observant of their travelers, and tuned in to individual differences in their particular group. Most of the time, with only a very few exceptions, I have found them to be considerate and thoughtful of the group as a whole, adjusting the pace according to the weather, the terrain, and the abilities of those they are guiding. 

Author: judynagy@aol.com

Joined: 5/14/2014
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 2

May 14, 2014

Understanding Program Directors:  No matter what your age, this is a growing problem.  It's called LACK OF ENUNCIATION.  Few Americans under 40 were ever taught to enunciate their words clearly.  You don't have to be louder or slower.  You don't have to repeat yourself.  Speak at a normal rhythm and enunciate your words carefully.  Even with heavily accented English, I can understand if you enunciate each word.  I have a slight hearing loss, so I am becoming militant about people who just blather on without regard to my ability to understand what they're saying.  I bring it up every time - someone has to try!  On the other hand, it must be very frustrating to PDs when people don't process the information they are hearing.  As we all have observed, there are always a few in every group who don't "get it".  I would suggest that PDs tell their group that questions can be asked at the end of the communication ... people who understand can go off to do whatever, not being held up by the clueless who need something repeated 8 times.  

Author: judynagy@aol.com

Joined: 5/14/2014
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 2

May 14, 2014

singsling, your story about the terminally ill woman and the PD is so touching.  We have been on two previous GCT trips with beynd-excellent Program Directors but this story describes a woman of such compassion that it nearly moves me to tears.  I hope she wins some kind of award for DOING HER JOB.  Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

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