Couple thing: First, we've been on 9 "counted" trips, 5 of them river cruises. The 10th trip was in 1995, and GCT says they don't count after 5 years. We began in 2006. Not sure Pauline is in this 5 year time frame. Our last river cruise was 2008 to on the Russia and the Volga River (not sure title), just before they started the Russia Revealed cruises.
Second. Since the first river cruise we started with GCT in 2006, we have liked/loved every PD. On the first, we had 2, and one of them was with us on the pre-trip. All of the other PD's we had more than one on the cruise, sometimes 3-4. The ones we had were great. On the escorted trips, we also have had great PD's. They just recently in the last few years started the PD emailing each traveler about 2 weeks before the trip. This last escorted trip to Ireland this past summer, our PD emailed us; we emailed back with some dietary concerns. Then she called us the day before departure (we were just about to go out the door to a hotel near the airport). On our return, she also called to see we got back okay. That is service. We had only one very unpleasant PD, that was on the Norway Coastal Cruise and Lapland (the Hurtigruten Cruse Line). Our PD seemed to expect us to know everything just from reading the Travelers Handbook. She refused to talk loud enough for people to hear, and everyone was nudging each other to find out what she said. We asked her to use a mic, talk louder, or repeat. She became disgruntled. She did not give us enough info on what to expect on the Hurtigrute ship, she did not give the ship's restaurant manager our dietary concerns, she embarrassed my husband for no particular reason by looking at the menu for the evening and approaching my husband at the table of 6 that we were, and asked him "Mr. xxx, tell me, yes or no, can you eat the mashed potatoes? " My husband was going to ask if they were made with milk or cream, but she cut him off and said, "I said answer yes or no." At t his point my husband got up and left; she treated him like a 6 year old. The other 4 at the table were dumbfouinded that she treated us that way. We arranged to speak with the manager outselves, but also before that we didn't want to overstep what she might have arranged with the manager, because he didn't speak English. Before we got on t he ship she didn't give us any boarding information, and didn't explain how the optional tour activity desk worked. We loved the cruise, the food, the ship, the ports, but few of us like her. I did a review of the cruise and mentioned this as well as in our evaluation after the cruise. Other than this, we have had wonderful PD; Dina on the Hamburg and River Elbe cruise (first one) was the very best; we wrote a letter to Alan and Harriet about her. Our next best was Dee Dee on the Northern Ireland Pre-trip-Ireland in Depth was the 2nd best. Zoe and her now husband on the Eastern Europe to Black Sea was also great. There were 3 PD's on that cruise. The excellent PD's is another reason we choose GCT over others. We took another company's cruise-tour to Alaska in 1999 and we didn't think that tour director was personable enough, gave us some info on what to do in a town, but most of what we saw we figured out on our own, we had been to most of the ports before.