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Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 246
Trips Taken: 0

March 05, 2010

Have you included a Pre or Post Trip Extension on your GCT vacation?

Author: triplecrownprinc...

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 7
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

March 05, 2010

 We are going on the Great Rivers of Europe April 21 trip.  We are going to take both the Vienna and the Brussels and Paris Extensions.  I posted a roll call on cruise critic, but have not had a response.  Hopefully, this forum will catch on as it is a great communication tool.

Author: arizonaroamer

Joined: 7/11/2010
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

July 11, 2010

Re the pre/post trip extensions: always take them. They add wonderfully to the depth of the trip in general and give you a few moments to recover from jet lag. We prefer the guided pre/post trips to being on our own because they open our eyes to the "must see" places.  As we continue to travel with GCT/OAT we reaize some of the places would be repeat and then we likely would not take them, but you will regret not visiting one of these locations after you get home.

Author: boleta

Joined: 10/1/2010
Posts: 13
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2002

October 04, 2010

 If we have been to the cities of the pre-trips and/or post-trips, we normally do not take these.  But, when we haven't been, we do take them; one never knows if one is going back to that area to visit in the future.  So, it is nice to take both the pre- and post-trips.  On the other hand, if you haven't been to one of these cities in a long time, you may wish to visit them again.

Author: janelehr

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 26
Countries Visited:

As a Navy wife, I lived in Japan. With GCT and OAT, I have taken 21 trips and visited all the continents. Every trip becomes a favorite, but very high on my list are Antarctica, Africa (Cape to Cairo), Turkey, Russia, Peru, Guatemala, Italy, France, and Ireland.

Traveler Since: 2005

October 04, 2010

Absolutely take extensions if possible. You have endured a long flight; now see everything you can. Some of my extensions have been the most memorable parts of the trip: Zimbabwe and Botswana, Jordan, Machu Picchu, Iceland, Berlin, Paris, and the Outback of Australia. It's an absolutely shame to travel all the way Down Under and not see the Outback--it's probably the prime  "must-do" extension.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

October 04, 2010

We have added a trip extension to five of the seven GCT trips we have taken, and we added an extension to the trip we have coming up. The best extension to date was the addition of Lucerne, Switzerland, to the end of the Romance of the Rhine and Mosel cruise.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
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 05, 2010

I absolutely agree.  I can think of only two trips where I didn't take both the pre- and post-trip extensions where they were offered.  Sometimes, one may not be on a particular trip.  I didn't take the Brussels and Bruge extensions after the Grand European Rivers trip because I had been there only the year before on the Holland and Belgium trip.  And I didn't take the Helsinki/Tallin post-trip extension on the Russia Revealed trip I took this past August.  And now, I'm sorry.

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

October 05, 2010

The pre and post are marvelous. Brugge was wonderful. Fiji was outstanding. Switzerland after the Rhine and Mosel was our favorite; Hong Kong was awesome. Looking forward to Paris and Jordan.  Japan post trip was disappointing because there was so much traffic to get anywhere. We missed a trip because of airport connections. Otherwise, the extensions add so much to your travel.

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 125
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

October 05, 2010

We try to take as many pre/post trip extensions as possible.  (also optional tours on trips)  It depends on timing, cost, how often we've visited previous.  As others have stated, you've already paid for airfare and they do add alot to the trip.  I could be wrong, but, it seems some of the extensions have gone UP in price and DOWN in length of stay.  With the economy we have now, it seems like better bargains could be found, at least at hotels.  We are booked on the Christmas Markets on the Rhine in December and have recently added the post stay in Brussels, even tho we've been before.  We originally booked this tour in Jan. 2010 and I thought the ext. was for 5 days & 4 nights.  It is actually 4 days & 3 nights.  The last day is a complete waste of time since you depart for home right after breakfast.  I think it's a little pricey...but, it is what it is...and we're going!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
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

October 05, 2010

I just looked at the line above this box and it reads "Destinations" Central America" "Trip Extensions" So, was the original question about extensions on a Central America trip?

 I echo Hootie, it depends upon time, cost, and interest. I enjoyed the extension to Alexandria and was disappointed when the Jordan extension was canceled because of lack of interest. I did not take the "must take" Outback extension on the Australia trip because I was traveling solo and with the cost plus the single supplement it would have been close to, or over, with taxes -- $2000 -- $400 plus a day. Not many people in our group did take it, maybe one third and no singles did. If I were going now that OAT/GCT has generously waived the single supplement I would do it.

I would not take an extension in a major city again. Did it once and it was a huge disappointment because of the location of the hotel. We had only a few days and didn't like spending so much time on transportation. Our litlle group was very unhappy. I would pay for breakaway and choose my own hotel, so I learned a lesson on that trip.

 

 

Author: jggoodrich

Joined: 2/22/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2001

February 22, 2011

Hi Jane Lehr,  Good to hear you're still traveling.  We get some good ideas from you.  We, too, try to take pre and post trips especially if they are to far flung places where we've already traveled for hours.

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2005

July 30, 2011

 We take extensions only if they interest us and we haven't been there before. Of course there are some places you just love to return to so we do those too. I was really disappointed recently on an extension to Munich after Essence of the elbe. It was basically a one day Munich experience because of a drive from Prague which took all day arriving at a non0centrally located hotel in Munich at 5:00 PM. This was followed by one day in Munich and the following day was the all day optional to Neuschwanstein and Oberammergau. I think the sceduling could have been better and the extension pricey. I notice someone didn't like their Japan extension. Don't know if that referred to Hiroshima and the Inland Sea but we loved that, maybe a bit more than the main trip. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
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

July 30, 2011

I did take the post-trip extension in Dublin last month.  And I'm very glad I did.  I don't know why GCT's itinerary has such a short time in that city for the base tour.  In fact, the original itinerary, before Waterford was added to replace Wexford, had less than 24 hours.  You stopped at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells on the way to the hotel, and then the next morning you left.  Even with the added three days, there wasn't enough time to see everything I wanted. 

I can't think of a single extension I've taken that disappointed me.  Never felt that I shouldn't have spent the money.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 143
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2004

July 30, 2011

We have completed 7 Grand Circle river trips and usually take pre and post extensions.

We thoroughly enjoyed, as a post-trip, the Switzerland extension with the Rhine and the Mosel river trip.  We did all the extra options and greatly enjoyed them.

On our recent trip "Eastern Europe to the Black Sea" we took both pre-trip to Sinaia, RO and the post-trip to Prague.  Please note that the entire trip was a repeat for us and was still very enjoyable.

It is easy to make new friends on the "extension" trips because the group is smaller than on the rivercruise itself.  However, we still make many friends on the rivercruise also.

We particularly enjoy extensions whereby on the first day arrival at the hotel, we meet for a drink and then Grand Circle has arranged a "group" dinner for us in the hotel.  In Prague, we had a Farewell Drink and dinner at a local restaurant (included).  Also, in Prague at the Sychrov Castle (afterwards we had a welcome drink, tour of the manor and dinner before returning to the hotel (included dinner with optional tour).

On the pre-trip to Sinaia, Romania we took an optional tour of the Azuga Wine Cellars, with dinner and we highly recommend this.  They have a lovely building on the grounds where they served dinner.  We had done this "optional" on our previous trip and liked it.

On the main trip we were taken to Varna where Grand Circle had arranged for a lovely lunch at a beautiful resort hotel/complex right on the Black Sea.

I hope all of this will be enjoyable reading to those of you who are taking trips with Grand Circle.

Let me conclude that one of our top favorites was the trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow.

There were many interesting things to do on that trip and we intend to go again.

 

My husband and I do not particularly like being "left" to do things in a strange city and instead prefer after an "optional" that we have dinner together. 

 

Author: elna

Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 56
Trips Taken: 6
Countries Visited:

France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Austalia, Finland, Estonia, England, Scotland, Wales, Pakistan, Singapore,

Traveler Since: 2009

July 31, 2011

We took the post trip in France (Honfluer to Paris), the pre trip on the Russia Revealed and the pre and post trip recently in the UK.  Depends on where we're going and what we want to see. They are definitely value added-- $$$ and sightseeing.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 143
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2004

August 01, 2011

Elna, when did you take the Russia Revealed trip? We took it but did not take the Kiev extension because I was concerned about what I read on TripMates (I think that is what it is called) about the hotel being so smoky that even after they opened the window, went out to dinner and came back, it made no difference.  Also read about prostitutes in the lobby at night.

We are considering going back to the Russia Revealed trip and would like to hear how you found the hotel.  Did the windows open?  I have severe allergies and avoid hotels which have  been painted, new carpets, etc. even as recently as the past year.  I always pick hotels with windows that open, just in case of problems.

Was there much to see in Kiev and did Grand Circle have any good optionals?

If it is not too much trouble would appreciate hearing from you.  Thank you.

Jayge

 

 

 

 

 

Author: pegheeter1

Joined: 6/28/2010
Posts: 22
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2001

August 01, 2011

My husband and I took the Russia Revealed trip in 2010, and also the Kiev extension.  We were more than pleased - it was, in our opinion, equal to or better than the Russian base trip.  We are especially interested in WWII sites, and Kiev has a lot of history in that era, as well as the Chernobyl museum. 

I assume that the hotel is still the Radisson Blu - since allergies are not a concern, I can't address the issue of windows that open, but we don't recall anything out of the ordinary.  The hotel was very well located - we could walk to almost anything - and there were a couple of nearby cafes or cafeterias which were just fine.  I can't remember anything out of the ordinary about cleanliness or odors or whatever.  If you do go, be aware that ATM usage is a bit tricky - even though you tell your home bank that you'll be in Ukraine, ATM may not accept your cards.  Several of our group had to spend time getting cash.  If you have US dollars - at least a few $20 bills - it may be helpful.

You might be encouraged to hear that we had a large group on the extension - two program directors and two buses full. 

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 143
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2004

August 01, 2011

Dear Pegheeter,

Thank you so much for your valuable information.  I always felt that we missed something by not going there after reading some bad reviews of the hotel but you have reassured me.

We probably will repeat the trip next summer and really enjoyed it about 3 summers ago.  Loved going to all the places...the ballet, folk dancing, Russian circus...can't remember all of it.  Of course, it will be a 3rd time in St. Petersburg and we will have to find something to do in that city besides the Palaces.  If anyone has any suggestions about St. Petersburg on our own, kindly let us know.

Thanks again Pegheeter.

Jayge

Author: dandara

Joined: 5/20/2012
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 5
Countries Visited:

Across the continental U.S.; Alaska, British Columbia and eastern Canada. With GCT: Turkey and Seine cruise. With OAT: Real Affordable Costa Rica (2012), Ancient Kingdoms with Burma pre-trip and Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai post-trip (2013). Before I discovered GCT and OAT: Caribbean, including three times to Jamaica. In 1985 I traveled solo to London on my first trip out of the U.S, and have been back three times. France four times, Switzerland four times, Italy twice, Japan once. Also Egypt, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Austria. At age 30 I did the Tour de Mont Blanc (hiking) with Mountain Travel Sobek. My previous group travel was with Collette Vacations and Go Ahead - both great companies, but I favor GCT now since they saved the butts of everyone on my April 2010 Seine cruise after the volcano erupted, and OAT for wonderful small-group adventures.

Traveler Since: 2010

May 20, 2012

I love reading all these replies and would like to add a bit of my own advice. And, Jane Lehr, after our wonderful April 2010 Honfleur-to-Normandy trip on the Bizet, I am also glad you are still on the road.  On that Seine river cruise trip, everyone, I loved the London pre-trip but wish it could have been one day longer because the last day consisted of getting up very early to get a ride to Heathrow and then fly to deGaulle airport. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Istanbul pre-trip, however, on "Crossroads of Turkey". There is a lifetime's worth of experiences in Istanbul and having a few extra days to do some of them really got me into the Turkish spirit.  After arriving at the Titanic City hotel the first day, nothing was better than enjoying a real Turkish bath in the hotel spa in the basement. What a great way to unwind from a series of three flights!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
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

May 21, 2012

There are two ways of extending the end of your trip. If you make your own air reservations you can leave and return whenever you want. The other is to take the GCT air reservations and pay a fee for "breakaway" travel, which I did on the crossroads of Turkey trip and added three days on my own after the three day extension. I loved every minute and wished I'd had a few more days.

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