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Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2007

May 22, 2012

 At the latest Grand Circle event which we attended, they announced( just last week ), that they are now eliminating the fee for modification of the air and personal trip extension.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

July 31, 2012

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

Depends on the value of the extension. I look at what you get for the money. The ones that are just an overpriced hotel w/breakfast, no included lunches, no included dinners, and no included tours; I will pass on, The ones that include meals and activities I will consider. Some good ones (all on OAT trips) that I have taken include: Jordan before the Egypt trip, Tansmania before the Australia trip, and Iguassu Falls after the Argentina trip, etc.  

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
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 01, 2012

I took the post-trip extension in Dublin a year ago, because the main trip was much too short.  I was surprised that out of 38 travelers, only eight of us took it.  And if I'd thought of it, I might have extended my stay.  Three days really wasn't enough. 

I'm scheduled for the Paris to Normandy river cruise next July, and I am taking the post-trip extension in Brittany but not the pre-trip in Paris.  For the trip I had to cancel last month to the UK, I hadn't planned to take the pre-trip in London, only the post-trip in Scotland.  And I've put that trip back in my Travel Planner.  When in London, I was going to take in the Churchill War Rooms, and I still hope to get there.  I've been to both cities a number of times, going back to my first European trip in 1954.

Does anyone else remember a GCT event a couple of years ago, when one person began to dominate the Q&A at the end?  She started off by stating that she always enjoyed the extensions more than the main trips, so why couldn't GCT offer that as an option.  In other words, take the pre-trip and post-trip extensions and not the main trip.  It was explained that it wouldn't be a cost-effective move for GCT, but she kept on and on about it.   Until finally, the moderator (Dave?) said he would speak with her after the event was over.  She was sitting next to me, so I haven't forgotten it.

Author: jayge

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

August 01, 2012

If she was only interested in pre and post trips, wouldn't she be better off just taking one of their land tours?

We find rivercruising so relaxing and enjoyable and meeting wonderful people on the ship that we would not want to miss the main trip.  The pre and post trips are something we try to do also to extend the vacation and see those places too.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
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 01, 2012

She didn't say whether they were land trips or cruises.  She kept reiterating that the extensions were the only enjoyable parts of her trips.  And she didn't want to spend the money on the main trips, because she found them boring.  So she only wanted to buy the extensions.  I'm not sure how that would work out mathematically, since that's not my thing.  But it was explained to her that it just wouldn't work.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
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 01, 2012

 Pauline,

The Brittany extension is wonderful. It really completes the trip, with St-Malo and Mont St Michel taking you back to the middles ages. The footing is not great with a lot of stairs and inclines of cobblestones, but it can be done. My wife has had had 2 knee replacements and was determined that she would make it to the monastary on Mont St Michel and did. The local guide, Benedicte, was excellent,. bringing us up in stages with stops to talk and rest along the way. Only a couple of people did not go all the way. If we were to do this trip again, we would not do the pre-trip in Paris, as we did, but would go about a week early on our own to get more time in Paris, but we would do the Brittany post-trip again, If you haven't seen it, I have done a trip report on it. It is http://jackthetravelingman-seine.blogspot.com. If you have any questions about the trip, we would be glad to answer them.

Jack

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
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 01, 2012

Jack, I did see a posting you did while you were on the trip  -  in Rouen, I think.  And I did read your report.  I am so looking forward to this; I wish it wasn't a whole year away. 

As I said, I've been in Paris several times.  With a college friend in 1954 after she got her MS and I got my BA.  And then with other friends, as well as with my husband.  So I don't see the need of taking the pre-trip extension.  As for the couple of days in Paris when the trip first begins, I'm not taking the city tour or the tour of Versailles.  I've seen that twice when it wasn't so crowded, and I don't want my memories spoiled.  I'll see what special exhibits are going on when I'm there and, if there's something that pulls me I'll go.

After my trip to Russia a couple of years ago, I realized that I really had to do something to strengthen the muscles in my legs.  So I started PT and it has been successful.  I managed Ireland without much difficulty and would have been fine in the UK if I hadn't had to cancel.  I do pack a folding cane, and sometimes I have it with me on walking tours.  But mostly for reassurance that I won't lose my balance or trip over cobblestones.  It's a psychological support.  The physical problems stem from bursitis and old age.

Pauline

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
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 01, 2012

 Pauline,

Bringing your cane for the 1 or 2 walks in the old part of St-Malo and the tour of Mont St Michel would be strongly recommended. My wife, Ann, has not really used hers in a couple of years and was very glad to have it for these days as there are many stone staircases without railings. They would be doable without the cane, but much easier with it.

Jack

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2007

August 09, 2012

 Moving back to the original topic, we take pre- and/or post-trip extensions depending on what we want to see.  Cost and related value does play a factor, but is secondary to this variable.  That varies from trip to trip.  For example, on our recent Holland & Belgium River cruise, we took the pre-trip to Bruges because we wanted to see it, but did not take the post trip to Amsterdam, because we had been there.  On our next trip to Spain, we took nothing, because we were not interested in what was offered, however on our upcoming OAT trip to Turkey, we booked the Uzbekistan pre-trip because that was something we really wanted, and eschewed the post-trip Gullet boat ride, because it had nothing of interest to us.  Not so with our upcoming OAT trip to Nepal, in which we took both the pre-trip to Bhutan and the post-trip to Tibet, whose border, hopefully will not be subject to another Chinese temper tantrum and will be open.

Author: captainlarry

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

August 09, 2012

I have not seen any notice from GCT regarding the minimum number of subscribers needed to prevent cancellation of an extension. I assume it varies from tour to tour. On our recently completed Northwest National Parks tour we took the Victoria pre-trip extension. There were a total of 12 tourists on the extension, 12 out of the 33 taking the main tour. We did not want to take the post-trip extension of two additional days in Seattle. Apparently very few others did either because the extension was cancelled. The PD did not indicate how many, if any, had signed up for it.

On a tangentially related subject, GCT had eliminated the optional tour to Capilano Canyon from the stay in Vancouver. I communicated my disappointment to Boston and later to Cory, our PD. I asked Cory to be prepared to help us do Capilano Canyon on our own. She replied, via email, that the optional tour had been reinstated. I think that 20 of us took the optional tour. From the result I surmise that I was not the only one to communicate a desire for that optional.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
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, 2012

I don't know how many they need not to cancel an extension either.  In 2011, only eight of us took the post-trip extension in Dublin out of 38 travelers.  But my trip to the UK was changed to a week later, because not enough people signed up for the post-trip in the Scottish Highlands.  At least, that's what I was told.  But I did get the list of travelers before I had to cancel the trip, and almost everyone was taking it and nobody was taking the pre-trip in London.

My usual feeling is the same as several others have posted.  I may never get that way again, so I might as well see everything I can.  That's why I sign up for all the optionals, although sometimes I decide one or two are too strenuous.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
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, 2012

I should re-phrase that.  The trip wasn't canceled.  I was given the option of taking the main trip without the extension or moving to a week later with it.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2007

August 16, 2012

 It's difficult to give a number of travelers who are needed to have either a pre- or post-trip extension go.  We have been on a number of trips where we took extensions, and the number of people on the extension has varied.  We would opine that the decision to cancel a pre- or post-trip( as happened to us when our pre-trip to Monaco was cancelled on our Rhone river cruise ), is based on the time of year, the # of hotel rooms Grand Circle/OAT would have to commit to, # of seats for airline flights, # of travelers needed to make renting a vehicle profitable, as well as fees for included admissions, and of course, personnel, just to name a few.  We would suspect that if one called Grand Circle about a particular extension attached to a particular trip, one could easily get that information from them.  OAT trips, of course, are different, due to the smaller numbers of travelers.  In our experience, OAT will run a pre- or post-trip with as few as four people( we were actually on a post trip where we were the only ones who took it, but that was due to the other couple having to cut their main trip short in mid-trip ).  OAT usually cuts off their pre- or post-trips after 8, although some of those trips where a boat( such as the gullet on the Turkey trip ), can accommodate more.  On our Ancient Kingdoms trip, 12 people took the Burma pre-trip.  So, even here, it pays to call and ask.  They'll likely tell you.

Author: dmab

Joined: 3/8/2010
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2006

November 30, 2012
We have taken an extension on most of our 12 GCT/OAT trips. Most have been good to excellent, a few have been not worthwhile. Before you sign up for an extension, review the description carefully and read between the lines. Be sure to evaluate how much of the extension will be spent traveling and how much actually doing something. Also be aware that some extensions are little more that hotel, transportation and a short guided tour. In that case you might be better off seeing the extension area on your own.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
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

November 30, 2012

 Some extensions are" little more that hotel, transportation and a short guided tour", but others are highlights of the trip. We did The Seine: Paris to Normandy this past spring and, without taking optionals, that described our pre-trip in Paris, but Paris is a wonderful city to see on your own, and we had a wonderful resource in the program directoor. The Postrip to Brittany, however was very busy and a highlight of the trip. You must read carefully to make sure you are getting from the extension what you want. Sometimes you really just want the former, sometimes the latter. For a report on this trip see: http://jackthetravvelingman-seine.blogspot.com.

 

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 231
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2007

December 19, 2012

 there's a good thread on the OAT web site asking whether or not OAT should allow individuals to purchase extensions only.  Because of the nature of Grand Circle trips, we don't think it would be applicable to Grand Circle trips, but if anyone does want to put their two cents in, they can on the OAT web site.

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